Archive for the tag - high intensity interval training

Does Tabata Work?

six pack absYou may have heard some chatter about Tabata workouts. But what are they? Do they work? And how can you use them?

Back in the mid-1990s, Tabata workouts were created by coaches of the Japanese speed skating team. Based on research around high intensity interval training, Tabata workouts consist of eight, 20-second high intensity rounds followed by 10 seconds of rest. In total, the workout is just four minutes long.

Here’s what an example Tabata workout could look like:

  • 20 seconds push-ups
  • 10 seconds rest
  • 20 seconds squat-jumps
  • 10 seconds rest
  • 20 seconds plank
  • 10 seconds rest
  • 20 seconds burpees
  • 10 seconds rest
  • Repeat x2

Short but intense, these four-minute, ultra-efficient workouts have become increasingly popular and widespread – especially in CrossFit and group exercise classes.

But does Tabata actually work?

The American Council on Exercise studied Tabata-style workouts and concluded that they meet or exceed established guidelines for improving cardiovascular fitness and modifying body composition. In terms of calorie burn, Tabata met guidelines for calorie expenditure for improving health and facilitating weight loss. In other words, Tabata workouts can provide some great benefits – especially for individuals with tight schedules.

So how can you use Tabata workouts?

If you don’t have a lot of time, doing a 4-minute Tabata workout is certainly better than nothing. Keep in mind, the idea is to crank up the intensity and power through the 20-second intervals. Even with just 4 minutes, you should feel significantly challenged.

If you want something more, many people perform 4 Tabata workouts in a row, with 1 minute of rest in between. In all, the workout will take just 20 minutes. And you’ll certainly feel it.

Personally, I like to use Tabata workouts as a finisher. In other words, I like putting a 4-minute Tabata workout at the end of my cardio and strength training program. If I worked my leg muscles, I might end the workout with a 4-minute Tabata workout that focuses on my lower body. It really can give your workout that extra oomph.

So, give it a spin. Try the above Tabata workout or put together your own routine.

P.S. Crunched for time and want to try a high intensity interval workout? Download Davey Wavey’s Bootcamp Workout and get started right now.

Should You Jog In Place At A Red Light?

dont-walk-signI’m sure you’ve seen it before. You’re driving along and someone is running on the sidewalk. They hit a busy intersection and the light is red; to avoid cooling down, the exerciser jogs in place. And you have a chuckle because they look ridiculous.

Most trainers will note that jogging while jogging in place burns more calories than sitting on the couch, the red light dance that most joggers perform doesn’t accomplish much. In fact, there are a few other strategies to try that are far more effective.

If your goal is to have a long, steady-pace run (for example, if you’re training for a 5k or marathon), then you shouldn’t stop running at all. Instead, turn right or left and go down a different block. Zig-zag along your running route and cross when you’re able. Double back if you need to – but don’t break your stride.

On the other hand, if you’re looking to incinerate some calories and body fat, opt for some high intensity interval training. As I’ve said before, it’s the type of cardio that burns fat without muscle – and it’s what I often use in my own workout. It creates some serious results. To make your run into a high intensity interval workout, sprint as fast as you can until you reach a red light. Catch your breath. Then, sprint to the next red light. It’ll kick your ass, but they don’t call it high intensity for nothing.

Another option is using red lights to strength train. When you reach a red light, drop and do push-ups until it turns green. Or, for a real challenge, perform burpees.

Alternatively, you can use red lights to perform dynamic stretches – especially if stretching is something that you usually skip. Dynamic stretches are stretches that you perform while moving, like swinging your leg out or lunging forward and lifting your heel repeatedly.

Or you can just keep doing the red light dance to the delight of passersby. ๐Ÿ™‚

Does Crossfit Work?

rich-froning-shirtless-crossfit-1Founded back in 2000, CrossFit is a exercise technique that combine gymnastics with strength, circuit and endurance training. It’s definitely no joke and it’s extremely grueling – but there are no shortage of CrossFit fans called CrossFitters. In just 13 years, CrossFit now has 7,000 gyms and more than 10 million participants.

So how effective is the technique? Is it just another fitness fad and marketing gimmick? Or does it live up to the hype? A recent study commissioned by the American Council on Exercise enlisted the help of researchers from the University of Wisconsin, LaCrosse to answer those questions.

For the study, 16 healthy male and female individuals ages 20 – 47 were recruited. Baseline fitness levels for established for each participant – and then each participant went through two separate CrossFit workouts. Throughout and/or after the workout, researchers recorded the participants’ heart rate, Vo2, ratings of perceived exertion and blood lactate concentration.

Though it took participants varying amounts of time to complete the workouts, times averaged roughly between 6 and 9 minutes. In that amount of time, participants burned between 64 and 117 calories. Heart rates were elevated to 90% of maximum heart rate – the higher end of industry recommendations. Similarly, VO2 levels were at the higher end of guidelines at 80% of VO2max. Blood lactate levels were 3 – 4x normal threshold levels.

So what’s the bottom line?

Researchers concluded, “CrossFit works.” It’s a great exercise, especially for its short duration. And like any high intensity interval training workout – like Davey Wavey’s Get Ripped Workout – you’ll see much greater increases in aerobic capacity versus traditional training.

Of course, this doesn’t mean CrossFit is for everyone. Beginners, older populations or individuals with medical complications may not be well-suited for CrossFit. Moreover, as many CrossFitters can attest, the injury risk is very high.

But for the healthy and brave, CrossFit can be a great option to kick their workout into high gear.


Is Pole Dancing a Good Workout?

Haley Star and Davey Wavey pole dancing!

Is pole dancing a good workout? Just ask my thighs. Or my arms. Or my abs. All of which are incredibly sore after my first pole dancing class.

Yesterday, Haley Star and I filmed a video at a local pole dancing studio for my main YouTube channel that I’ll be posting in early January. While filming the video was a lot of fun, I didn’t anticipate how much of a workout that I’d get from climbing up and spinning around the pole.

Truth be told, pole dancing works a full range of muscles – and even provides a great cardio workout that incorporates elements of high intensity interval training. In pole dancing, some of the poses involve isotonic contractions wherein opposing muscles (such as the biceps and triceps) contract to produce a controlled movement. For other poses, isometric contractions are incorporated by holding a static position without joint movement (as in the photo).

From what I can tell, one of the great benefits of pole dancing is that you can accomplish something each class. There are many different moves to learn at so many different ability levels. It’s very rewarding to accomplish a move – and the sweet taste of victory may even make you want to exercise.

Beyond being addicting, pole dancing is also a lot of fun. People often tell me that exercise is boring. In my humble opinion, only boring people have boring workouts. Spinning around a pole to your favorite beat is exhilarating… and even a bit liberating. You may find yourself awakening the sexy vixen or stud within – and unleashing your new-found confidence on the world around you.

At any rate, I’m definitely hungry for more.

Have you ever tried a pole dancing class? What did you think about it? Let me know in the comments below.


Why You Should Exercise Less.

Never thought you’d hear a trainer suggest that you should actually exercise less? Well hell must have frozen over because today is that day. Of course, there’s a catch.

A blog buddy recently linked me to a study by researchers at the University of Copenhagen. They sought to compare weight loss in overweight, sedentary young men by dividing them into three groups. The first group stuck to their typical routine. The second group exercised for 30 minutes per day. And the third group exercised for an hour each day. The exercises included running, rowing and cycling. Diets were held constant among the three groups.

While both exercise groups lost weight, the 30-minute group had better results and lost 8 pounds (compared to an average of 6 pounds in the 60-minute group). The control group didn’t experience weight loss.

So why did exercising less mean losing more weight? There are a few theories.

Each participant wore a motion sensor, and researchers discovered that the 60-minute exercise group moved less during non-exercise activities. It’s possible that the hour of exercise exhausted these individuals, thereby causing them to be particularly sedentary for the remainder of the day. Or it could be that those who worked out longer were more complacent, whereas the 30-minute group sought to be more active for enhanced results.

Cortisol could also be a factor. Cortisol is an anabolic hormone that is released as a response to bodily stress. It reduces protein synthesis, converts protein to glucose and stops tissue growth. Chronic high levels of cortisol have even been shown to increase abdominal fat. Cortisol levels rise as a response to your body’s stress, so strength training sessions and cardio sessions should be kept to 45 – 60 minutes and 30 – 45 minutes respectively. Because the participants in this study experienced 60 minutes of cardiovascular exercise, it’s possible that cortisol hampered their results.

Moreover, numerous studies have demonstrated the benefits of short but intense workout sessions – like high intensity interval training. These very short workouts have huge results – and they’re much more effective than typical cardio.

The takeaway is clear: Exercise helps facilitate weight loss. But less is sometimes more.



Burning 200 Calories in 2.5 Minutes.

How would you like to burn 200 calories in just 2.5 minutes of exercise? Researchers from Colorado State University and University of Colorado Anschultz Medical Campus found that interval training can do just that.

In recent years, high intensity interval training has become increasingly popular due to its fat burning benefits. Though the training is intense, it’s quick – and thus, it fits nicely into even the busiest of schedules. It’s an extremely efficient form of exercise, and there has been an increasingly large body of evidence and research to support the claims.

In this new study, researchers recruited healthy male volunteers between the ages of 25 and 31. For three days, the volunteers were locked into individually sealed rooms with the air intake and exhaust regulated. Specialized equipment measured oxygen, carbon dioxide and water content to determine how many calories each volunteer burned per day.

Though the first two days of the stay were largely sedentary, volunteers engaged in high intensity interval training on the third day. Using a stationary bike, the volunteers sprinted against high levels of resistance for 30 seconds. Coached over an intercom, the volunteers were told to give 100% effort. After the sprint, volunteers were given a four minute period of recovery – and then, another sprint. This continued until five, 30-second sprint intervals were completed.

In total, the workout amounted to 2.5 minutes of hard exercise. After analyzing the results from the room’s calorimeter system, researchers concluded that an extra 200 calories were burned during the high intensity interval training day. The increased calorie burn occurred not just during the exercise, but for several hours thereafter.

200 calories is a huge return for such a small investment of time. When completed a few times per week, it’s easy to see how these calories could add up – and result in big changes and sustainable weight loss over time.

To try interval training for yourself, download Davey Wavey’s Get Ripped Workout.

Sprinting Vs. Jogging for Weight Loss.

Spriting: It's not easy... but it is effective!

Are you looking to lose some extra weight or burn off some excess fat? A good and balanced workout routine contains a combination of cardiovascular exercise and strength training. But when it comes to cardio, many well-intentioned exercisers opt for long periods of jogging rather than short, intense sprints.

In the last few years, we’ve been learning a lot about the benefits of quick but intense exercises like sprint intervals. Over the weekend, I was delighted to come across a recent study published in the International Journal Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism and featured in TIME.

For the study, researchers compared results from eight male students. The students, divided into two groups, performed either 30 minutes of endurance cardio (i.e., jogging) or two minutes of extremely intense sprint intervals. The exercise was repeated three times per week for a six week period. During the exercise, and then again after 24 hours, researchers measured the students’ oxygen consumption.

Though oxygen consumption was 150% higher during the endurance cardio versus the sprinting, researchers discovered something very interesting: After 24 hours, total oxygen consumption was nearly identical between the two groups. In other words, this study suggest that intense sprint intervals can boost your metabolism over the next day just as much a longer jog.

And that’s just with two minutes of sprinting.

Though the study was conducted on a small group of male-only students, it does support what we’ve come to know (and love) about short bursts of intense exercise. Not only does intense exercise require less of your time, it results in a longer metabolic boost. It’s the whole idea behind high intensity interval training (called HIIT for short) – and it’s the guiding philosophy for my Get Ripped Workout videos.

The bottom line is this: If you’re really serious about losing weight or incinerating some extra fat, it’s not the amount of time you need to increase in your workout so much as the level of intensity. Of course, you need to push yourself when engaged in high intensity interval training. It’s not easy, but it is worth it – and it’s great news for all of us not looking to spend half the day in the gym.

What is High Intensity Interval Training?

Ho, ho, ho – the holidays are here!

For most people, the holidays have a negative impact on their efforts to live a healthy lifestyle. For one, it means lots and lots of unhealthy foods, buffets and alcohol. Secondly, it means that all of us have a little less time in our already busy schedules to hit the gym. As a result, many of us tend to gain weight during the holidays.

But here’s a quick fix that not only prevent holiday weight gain – but actually cause you to lose weight. Yes, lose weight during the holidays. It’s called high intensity interval training – and it will absolutely rock your world.

Consider this: A recent study led by Jason Talanian in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that subjects who completed just seven sessions of high intensity interval training over the course of two weeks boosted their aerobic capacity by 13 percent and increased fat burning capacity by 36 percent. In a separate study that followed participants for 15 weeks, researchers discovered that the high intensity interval training group experienced 9 times as much fat loss as those performing regular cardio.

While regular cardio burns calories during the exercise, high intensity interval training actually boosts your metabolism and causes more calories to be burned all day long. Even while you’re watching TV. Or standing in line at the buffet.

I bet I have your attention now!

With a typical cardio program, participants run at a set speed and intensity for the duration of their workout. We’ve all seen people spending 30 minutes (or even more!) walking endlessly on the treadmill or peddling on the bike. While it’s better than sitting on the couch, the benefits for this type of cardio training (called endurance training) are fairly limited – especially when compared to high intensity interval training.

High intensity interval training sessions are much shorter. In essence, it involves alternating very intense exercise with moderate intensity exercise or active rest. While it can come in a variety of forms, I prefer performing my intervals on the treadmill. I sprint as fast as I can for 60 seconds, and then jog for 90 seconds. I do this for 15 minutes, and it absolutely kicks my butt. You can do it on the bike, elliptical – or even at home without any equipment. Try doing some vigorous bodyweight exercises like burpees or push-ups for 30 seconds followed by 15 seconds of rest. Keep repeating this for 10 or 15 minutes.

So why isn’t high intensity interval training more popular than it is? Well, it’s because most people don’t understand how effective it is. It’s got to be the best kept fitness secret ever. Moreover, it’s challenging. It’s easy to walk on a treadmill for 45 minutes; the same can’t be said for 15 minutes of high intensity interval training. It’s hard work! But it’s totally worth it.

High intensity interval training is great for the holidays because it’s such a fast workout. Though we’re all strapped for time during the holidays, all of us can set aside 10 minutes for a good, quick and effective workout. Give it a try – and let me know what you think!