Time for Tabata

Time for Tabata

This past week marks the first time I have worked out since July 2013.  I have an excuse; at least for the first 9 months of my 17 month sabbatical.  I was pregnant with my son, and for numerous reasons, was advised not to exercise.  However, for the remaining 8 months each day was accompanied by a new excuse. “The baby was up 3 times last night,” “I ran out of coffee and I can only work out when I drink caffeine” (never mind the 24 pack of Diet Coke in the fridge), or my go-to, “I need to clean the house.” (Because, that takes at least 5 hours.) Well, sometimes it does but that’s not the point.  The point is that everyone knows the best clothes of the year come out in the spring, which means I’ve got roughly 4 months and 20lbs standing between me and a pair of seafoam dyed skinny jeans.

So, I’m stopping with the excuses and starting a game plan.

One night after putting the kids to bed, rather than surfing Pinterest, I searched the endless list of classes offered at Elite that piqued my interest.  My biggest pitfall when it comes to working out is boredom.  I get distracted.  And quite frankly, if I don’t see results in a few weeks, I’m ready to throw in the towel.  I continued scrolling through a number of classes that sounded vaguely familiar, when I came across “Tabata”.  The Small Group Training class description reads as follows:

“Tabata is 20 seconds of high intensity intervals with 10 seconds of rest repeated for 4 minutes. This cycle is repeated for multiple sessions to obtain the most effective calorie burn in the shortest amount of time.”

After further research, I come to find that Tabata intervals are designed to boost metabolism, and should be done no more than 3x per week to maximize results.


I show up at 7:15pm.  Class begins at 7:30, but I’m pumped, and maybe a little nervous.  “Will I be able to keep up?”  “Am I wearing the right gear?” Because let’s be real; we all worry a little about what we look like at the gym (I’ll address that at a later time).  I am greeted by Marie, a personal trainer at the Mequon location and instructor.  She’s outgoing, friendly and immediately puts my mind at ease by answering all of my questions.  She also tells me it’s 80s Night for this class. Fabulous!  After all, aerobic exhaustion is a bit more tolerable when Madonna and Michael Jackson are your musical cheerleaders.  The class is small, only 3 people, but everyone goes out of their way to make me feel like I’ve been a part of the group for months.

We begin with stretches and lunges.  Is it bad that I’m already out of breath? We haven’t even begun intervals.  Marie assures me that I’ll be able to get through the class.  “Anyone can do anything for four minutes, right?” she asks.  I’m not so sure. But I smile and nod.  I guess I’m about to find out.

Our 4-minute intervals consist of sprints, sit-ups, planks, push-ups and bear crawls, which I find to be surprisingly fun!  Yes, this workout is challenging. But it is tolerable, and I’m hardly bored.  Our class encourages each other, laughs with each other, and whines with each other briefly, but after a one-minute plank followed by a vigorous sprint, I argue that our moment of weakness is validated. Before I know it, our half-hour class is done.

In retrospect, the hardest part of the workout was walking out the door of my house.

I left class feeling tired, but accomplished.  Although Tabata is not usually recommended for beginners, I would say it’s fine for anyone who is modestly physically fit.  I’d suggest this class to anyone who needs a solid workout in a short amount of time, or anyone who is ready to jumpstart their fitness routine and get back into the game!  In truth, I was sore for a few days to follow, but nothing unbearable.  I’m already looking forward to the next class, and walking into that fitting room this April!


 SELF, (2013). The New Science Behind Tabata Training, the Four-Minute Wonder Workout – SELF. [online] Available at: //www.self.com/flash/fitness-blog/2013/05/fitness-tabata-burns-13-calories-per-minute/ [Accessed 11 Nov. 2014].