Tabata Training: The 4 Minute Miracle

woman sprinting training on a track

If you’re thinking you’re legs are about to fall off, and sucking wind like crazy, signs are you’re doing a Tabata workout correctly. You may be wondering why anyone would intentionally do that to themselves, but there is a reason that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a go-to workout. 

This Japanese exercise import is super effective and super hard! Tabata is the name of the Japanese researcher who discovered a way to increase both anaerobic and aerobic pathways at the same time. It’s an excellent training program. It fits across all training disciplines, for athletes and beginners looking to increase their VO2max and lose fat quickly. To read the whole study, check out this article published by the National Center for Biotechnology.

How to do a HIIT Workout

It’s simple! After warming up, choose a maximum intensity exercise and perform it in the following manner:

  1. For 20 seconds, do as many reps as possible of your maximum intensity exercise. Or run/bike as hard as you can–with 110% output.
  2. Rest for 10 seconds.
  3. Repeat seven more times for a total of 4 minutes.
  4. Cool down and stretch.

Yes, it’s short, but you have to go ALL OUT to get the big benefits.

Getting Started with Tabata/HIIT

Choose the Right Exercise or Movement

Tabata can be done with any exercise, but the best exercise options are those that use a large number of muscles. Examples include bicycle sprints, squats, jumping rope, mountain climbers, push-ups, row machine, or running on a mini-tramp or treadmill. Start with the one you’re comfortable with.

Watch the Clock

Get a timer. Many apps are available for your iPhone, iPod or a gymboss works great.

Be Your Own Cheerleader

Get the right mental attitude; a positive mantra that will get you through it!

Increase your weight or intensity if you are able to complete each round without reaching MMF (momentary muscular failure). 

A ten-second break is a ten-second break! Ten seconds is not watching a video, talking to the cute girl on the bike, talking to a friend, then doing the next set. If you cheat, you’re only cheating yourself out of reaping the rewards of this intense workout.

What is Mountain Trek?

Mountain Trek is the health reset you’ve been looking for. Our award-winning retreat, immersed in the lush nature of British Columbia, will help you unplug, recharge, and roll back years of stress and unhealthy habits. To learn more about the retreat, and how we can help you reset your health, please email us at or reach out below:

Cross Training 101

Cross Training 101You may consider yourself to be in better than average shape (after all you are a Mountain Trek Veteran). Now at home as part of your integration plan you’ve been hiking 3 times a week in close by local parks. Some friends come into town for the holidays and you decide to go biking. No problem, you’re in great shape, right? Wrong. After a day on the bike you feel like you’ve been run over by Santa’s sleigh and all his reindeer. What’s going on?

You may be in great shape, for the sort of exercise you do routinely, in this case hiking. But if that’s all you do, day after day, you may be setting yourself up for injury or mental burnout and that is not a good way to stay fit. What can help prevent injury and burnout? Cross training.

Cross training is a great way to condition different muscle groups, develop a new set of skills, and reduce boredom that creeps in after months of the same exercise routines. Cross training also allows you the ability to vary the stress placed on specific muscles or even your cardiovascular system. After months of the same movements your body becomes extremely efficient performing those movements and it limits the amount of overall fitness you possess and reduces the actual conditioning you get while training; rather than continuing to improve, you simply maintain a certain level of fitness. Cross training is also necessary to reduce the risk of injury from repetitive strain or overuse.

One of my favorite ways to cross train is cycling.  I choose this for several reasons:

1.  It’s fun!

2.  Can be done outdoors or indoors (so if the weather is inclement; I have NO EXCUSE!)

3.  Benefits cardio system and I get a fat flush if I go hard enough (40 minutes, 6.5 – 8.5 perceived rate of exertion, can’t talk easily!!)

4.  Reduces exercise boredom.

5.  Reduces the risk of injury.

What exercises would you like to make up your cross training routine?

Cardiovascular Exercise:

  • Hiking
  • Running
  • Swimming
  • Cycling
  • Dancing
  • Zumba
  • Aerobox
  • Rowing
  • Stair Climbing
  • Rope jumping
  • Skating (inline or ice)
  • snowshoeing
  • Skiing/snowboarding (downhill, cross country)
  • tennis / basketball / other court sports

Strength Training:

  • Calisthenics (push ups and crunches and pull ups)
  • Free Weights
  • Machines
  • Tubing and Bands
  • Flexibility(stretching, yoga)
  • Speed, agility, and balance drills
  • Circuit training, sprinting, plyometrics and other forms of skill conditioning

With cross training, you can do one form of exercise each day, or more than one in a day. If you do both on the same day, you can change the order in which you do them.

Exercise can strengthen the cardiovascular system, bones, muscles, joints, reduce body fat and improve flexibility, balance and coordination. But if you want to see all of these benefits, you’ll need to start cross training. What better time to start than now? I hear your friends have taken up skiing!!!!

Cathy, Mountain Trek Fitness Director

The Royal Wave

With all the fanfare of recent days with the Queen of England’s visit to Canada, I watched with interest as she greeted the Canada Day crowds with her Queen’s wave; elbow, elbow, wrist, wrist….which made me giggle as “the wave” here at Mountain Trek  in beautiful British Columbia  has quite the different movement!

One of the key components of  core training is strengthening the pelvic floor. In Mountain Trek terms it’s the wave, in yoga (Sanskrit) Mula Bandha, and in the medical community they are known as Kegels.

What is the pelvic floor?  The pelvic floor has been described as a group of muscles that form a sling from the pubic bone to the coccyx bone.  The pelvic floor muscles support and surround part of the rectum, vagina, uterus, urethra, bladder and the prostrate.

Strengthening the pelvic floor has many benefits.  It can help prevent incontinence as well as stabilize the spine and improve balance and posture which ultimately improves athletic performance.

What can you do to strengthen the pelvic floor?  Do the WAVE; using your breath as the trigger, exhale with a “tuu” sound then contract the pelvic floor muscles by imagining you’re stopping the flow of urine.  Start at the posterior of the anatomy and work towards the anterior (rectal, vaginal. urerthral), hence the WAVE action.  Hold for 5 seconds, then relax for 5 seconds.  Repeat 5 times.  Eventually build up to 5 sets, holding the contraction for 10 seconds each time.   The beauty of this exercise is it can be done anywhere…brushing your teeth, doing the dishes, standing in queue, sitting at your computer……

Elbow, elbow, wrist, wrist….

Cathy, MT fitness director