Between working, eating, sleeping and hanging out with friends and family, it is a miracle anyone has time to workout. With such little energy to dedicate to fitness, it is crucial to maximize workouts. Tabata, a form of high intensity interval training (HIIT), does just that.
After doing extensive research into different HIIT protocols, Autumn Skeel decided to create her own tabata workout. And after taking Skeel’s class and witnessing how members loved the workout, Vicki Moen, a group fitness coordinator at The SeattleGYM in Seattle, Washington, decided to partner with Skeel to form their own trademarked company, Total Body Tabata.
“Tabata kept coming up in our research as being most effective in creating better aerobic and anaerobic fitness, burning fat, building lean muscle and creating that after burn,” explained Moen.
Bruce Sherman, a member at The SeattleGYM, has been taking Total Body Tabata since it was first launched over three years ago. Prior to starting it and other group exercise classes, Sherman focused his workouts on weightlifting. But as a ski instructor and competitive sailor, his bulky figure was a hindrance.
“I decided that all the bulk I was carrying didn’t get me around sail boats very quickly and it didn’t help my skiing,” said Sherman. “I needed to be leaner, so I stopped lifting heavy weights and I started doing group exercise classes. But the tabata classes really are the core of my exercise regimen.”
A traditional tabata workout can burn 13 to 15 calories per minute and the calories continue to burn long after the workout ends due to EPOC (excess post oxygen consumption). “You have used up so much oxygen in this anaerobic protocol that your body burns more calories to recover, for long after the workout — five times more than a regular steady-state workout,” explained Moen.
Torching calories is only one of the reasons members at the SeattleGYM love the class. “They get leaner and fitter to do other activities that they like to do, such as hiking, running and other sports,” said Moen. “They don’t get bored; the protocol keeps people focused. So many different fitness levels can take the class.”
According to Sherman, both the social aspect and the energy of the class keep him coming back for more. “I don’t think I could workout as hard as I do in the Total Body Tabata class or other group exercise classes because with the group experience you feed off each other’s energy,” he said. “A lot of the same people go to the classes at the same time, so you get to know them.”
Thanks to Sherman’s new workout regime he has dropped 45 pounds, which has helped tremendously with his skiing and sailing. “People tend to think sailing is a sedentary sport, but when the wind is blowing it can be a very physical sport and moving quickly, with agility, is important,” he said. “The exercise workouts I have been doing for the past three years have really improved both my agility and balance. Skiing is all about balance, so many of the exercises we do not only build strength and endurance, but they help with balancing too.”
By Emily Harbourne