Thursday, June 30, 2011

Tabata: What is it and why should you do it

We've all heard of the Tabata, but what exactly is it?  The Tabata is named for a study done by Dr. Izumi Tabata and his colleagues at the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo, Japan.  Here is the abstract from PubMed:

1.Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1996 Oct;28(10):1327-30.

Effects of moderate-intensity endurance and high-intensity intermittent training on anaerobic capacity and VO2max.

Tabata INishimura KKouzaki MHirai YOgita FMiyachi MYamamoto K.


Department of Physiology and Biomechanics, National Institute of Fitness and Sports, Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan.


This study consists of two training experiments using a mechanically braked cycle ergometer. First, the effect of 6 wk of moderate-intensity endurance training (intensity: 70% of maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max), 60 min.d-1, 5 d.wk-1) on the anaerobic capacity (the maximal accumulated oxygen deficit) and VO2max was evaluated. After the training, the anaerobic capacity did not increase significantly (P > 0.10), while VO2max increased from 53 +/- 5 min-1 to 58 +/- 3 (P < 0.01) (mean +/- SD). Second, to quantify the effect of high-intensity intermittent training on energy release, seven subjects performed an intermittent training exercise 5 d.wk-1 for 6 wk. The exhaustive intermittent training consisted of seven to eight sets of 20-s exercise at an intensity of about 170% of VO2max with a 10-s rest between each bout. After the training period, VO2max increased by 7, while the anaerobic capacity increased by 28%. In conclusion, this study showed that moderate-intensity aerobic training that improves the maximal aerobic power does not change anaerobic capacity and that adequate high-intensity intermittent training may improve both anaerobic and aerobic energy supplying systems significantly, probably through imposing intensive stimuli on both systems.

To sum it up it is 20 seconds of maximum effort on a given exercize, followed by 10 seconds of rest.  this is done for 8 cycles for a total of 4 minutes for the full cycle.  If these are done properly, as in you don't hold back(max effort means just that) the Tabata will provide one hell of an intense workout.

What I like about them is how versatile they are.  My personal favorites are doing kettlebell snatches and swings, but the options  are limitless.  You can do them running sprints, jumping rope, bicycling, with burpees, with a sledgehammer, a heavy bag, etc., etc., etc.  Get creative with them.  Put several Tabatas together with a brief rest between and do something different for each one.

I use my little Gymboss timer to keep track of the intervals, but there are also some free Mp3 downloads out there also.  There is one at that is good.

Now get out there and have fun with them.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Welcome to My Primal Adventure.  This Blog is dedicated to getting back to our true nature, both physically and mentally.  We as humans have forgotten who we really are.  To quote Erwan Le Corre of MovNat, we have become "Zoo Humans".  It is time for us to break this cycle, and get back to our true nature by getting back to nature.  To get back to where we should be physically it will take eating and moving the way we were designed to.

Eating:  Whether you call it Primal, Paleo, Ancestral, Evolutionary, or any of the other titles given to it, it is about eliminating the foods that are harmful to us(even when Conventional Wisdom tells us they are good for us) and embracing the foods our bodies were built to use as fuel(even when Conventional Wisdom tells us they will kill us).

Moving:  We need to learn to develop functional fitness.  Our bodies are amazing machines that have been developing for millions of years through evolution.  The traditional models for exercise will lead you to believe that isolation movements while lifting weights or long, tedious hours, grinding out mile after mile of chronic cardio are the only ways to be healthy.  The truth, however, is this will only set you further back from making real progress.

Mentally:  Humans have become detached from our environments, detached from nature, detached from our food, and detached from ourselves.  It may seem strange that I'm sitting here at a computer and writting this on a blog on the internet, but we need to turn off the computer, get out from in front of the TV, and get away from technology.  We need to get back into nature.

Now don't get the wrong impression.  No one is saying to put on a loin cloth and run around grunting.  We are not pretending to be cavemen.  We are simply acknowledging that we evolved in a certain way and to embrace that in order to maximize our overall health and happiness.

The transition may be scary at first, but it is completely possible and easy to do.  Once you embrace this lifestyle you will be amazed at where it will take you both physically and mentally.  I hope through this blog I can help by sharing what I have learned and by sharing my own experiences