Let’s see…. I started attending classes at the kids MMA school a couple weeks prior to Spring Break.   The first two classes were great (although they kicked my butt because I was so out of shape).  The third class really kicked my butt so badly that I couldn’t go to the next class a couple days later.   Then I got sick, and didn’t hit a class for nearly 3 weeks.

I got back into it a few weeks ago and I am taking it seriously.  I want results!

The Fitness classes typically look like this:

5-10 minutes of Warmup:  running in place, side to sides, high knees, arm circles, ankle circles, jumping jacks, etc.

40 minutes of Cardio & Circuit: kicking off with cardio moves like jump rope, high knees, toe touches (standing), squats, punches, kicks, etc.  Generally these are done in 45-second to 1-minute increments with a 5-10 second break in between, each move repeated 2-3 times.   After about 20 minutes of that, we move to a circuit course- movements that integrate medicine balls, kettle bells, a rope, or sometimes a partner!  Strength and cardio combined.  Abs, arms, legs, glutes, etc.  Generally we repeat the circuit twice, doing each station/exercise for 1-2 minutes each, depending.  This is where all the hard work really takes place.

10 minutes of Cool-down:  ab work, then stretching and breathing

It’s a fun class and I really enjoy it.  I’m starting to see the results- I’m stronger, I have more endurance, I can actually make it through the full set of jumping jacks now, whereas when we first started I had to stop half way through each set and just do high knees.

Last week the instructor switched things up.  She applied the “Tabata” principle…..it’s 20-second all-out bursts of energy followed by 10-seconds of rest, repeated EIGHT times.

Excerpt from Shape Magazine: Doing Tabata (4 minutes) can increase your aerobic capacity, anaerobic capacity, VO2 max, resting metabolic rate, and can help you burn more fat (and make you look 200-percent leaner) than a traditional 60-minute aerobic workout. That’s right—4 minutes of Tabata can get you better fitness gains than an entire hour of running on the treadmill.

Exercises that seem normally “simple” were suddenly harder:

Like “Curtsy Lunges”:

curtsy lunge

Or “Knees to Standing” (or Knees to Squats for a harder workout):

wrestler squat

Normally we do them for 45-60 seconds, get a 10-second break, then repeat two more times.  Yes, that third set is always harder, but it’s OK.

For some reason, though, doing the Tabata is so much harder.  SO MUCH HARDER.  And you are doing the exercises for LESS time.

The math on this…..

Regular: 3 minutes & 20 seconds total.  That’s 3 minutes of exercise…..20 seconds of breaks.

Tabata:  3 minutes and 50 seconds total.  That’s 2 minutes and 40 seconds of exercise….. 70 seconds of breaks.

It was mostly all strength/cardio mix with moves that incorporates large muscle groups – abs, core, glutes, quads, arms.  Planking, Squats, Punches, Kicks, Push-ups (but not just any push-up, we did scissor push-ups).

We were actually begging to do sit-ups because that would at least get us on the floor- and feel like a break- lol!  Seriously, there was literal laughing out loud at that- “please please please can we do ab work so we can lay on the floor?”

I was drenched with sweat after class.  My legs were wobbly (and I’m careful not to over-do it.  I didn’t go all-out like we were supposed to, or like most of the other class participants.  I push myself just a little, sometimes I pull back and don’t go as hard as I probably could, but I think I’m going at a decent pace/effort and certainly don’t want to over-do it.)

Anyway- it was a fun way to mix up the routine that we’ve all become accustomed to, and it sure did make a difference!  I hope she continues with this Tabata thing.  And if she doesn’t, it wouldn’t be difficult to duplicate this at home.  After all, it’s only 4-minutes!