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I am so humbled and excited to announce this very exciting news. Biederman Redevelopment Ventures, the New York City consulting firm responsible for programming for the new Klyde Warren Park in Dallas, has asked me to teach boot camp classes at The Park coming this Fall!

This park is unlike any other in the city of Dallas. Spanning 5.2 acres in the heart of Dallas, Klyde Warren Park covers several city blocks between Pearl and St. Paul Streets over Woodall Rodgers Freeway. It includes a performance stage, restaurant (coming soon), shaded walking paths, dog park, children’s garden, great lawn (i.e. boot camp area), water features, an area for games and much more. I am so excited to have access to such a beautiful space bringing people together downtown! The Park’s programming is truly outstanding and includes music, fitness, education, games and art, with a constant stream of free daily activities open to the public, complemented by signature special events. There will be something for everyone at The Park, and I’m thrilled to be able to be a part of it!

The free grand opening of the Park will be held on Saturday and Sunday, October 27th and 28th, followed by Live Whole Be Free’s first FREE Boot Camp class on Monday, October 29th (and every Monday after that) at 5:30pm! As far as what you can expect from LWBF’s Boot Camp—you can expect to get 60 minutes of “you” time that you will not regret! Those of you that have taken my classes for years know that I offer a fun and challenging workout regardless of your fitness level.

I hope that you will join me every Monday at 5:30pm! This is an amazing opportunity to make a commitment to yourself and to your health/wellness without costing you a dime. It’s also a great way to support the City of Dallas and small businesses like myself. Although not required, participants are encouraged to bring a set of dumbbells in a weight appropriate for them as well as a small towel and some water. If you do not have dumbbells—not to worry—you can still participate in boot camp and you will still get a terrific workout! Read more about what you can expect at Boot Camp!

I can’t wait to see you all at Klyde Warren Park on Monday, October 29th! If you plan on attending, please RSVP to melissa [at] livewholebefree.com, as the first 20 people that RSVP (and show up on Monday, 10/29) will receive a free gift!*

* An RSVP for boot camp is not required but sure is helpful!

Peace, love, health and fitness,

Melissa

It’s week 8 of the Biggest Achiever Program, and for the most part the challenges so far have revolved around food, and what we do or don’t put into our bodies. Good nutrition is essential for a healthy body. Also necessary, however, is exercise. Unless you are involved in some sort of rigorous/two-a-day training program, it’s probably safe to say that you could use a little more exercise in your life. So this week’s challenge will be to take your exercise up a notch.*

*There are many different ways to “take your exercise up a notch.” I would say “increase the amount of exercise you currently do”, but some of you will be at your max for the days of week that you train. For some the increase will come by increasing the amount of days per week and for others, it will be the duration or intensity of the exercise itself. There are many other acute variables that can be adjusted as well, including volume, load, rest periods, etc. If you are currently solely doing cardiorespiratory training, adding strength training into your routine is another great way to shake things up.  Since this challenge is so individualized, feel free to email me with questions on how you should safely take this to the next level. 

This challenge will obviously vary based on your current exercise regimen. Below are a few quick examples of what you can do to switch up your routine. As a Group Fitness Instructor, I highly recommend you try a Group Fitness (Group Exercise/GroupX) class. They can be intimidating at first, I understand that. I was intimidated as well. But just remember that everyone has had their first class, everyone has felt those same feelings. Take a risk, you may find that you really enjoy it. Worst case scenario is that it’s not your thing. If so, no big deal. If we all liked the same things, the world would be a terrible place to live. So embrace it, and try something else.

SEDENTARY LIFESTYLE: So let’s say you are currently doing nothing for your body in terms of exercise and/or are currently under a doctor’s care. If this is the case, you will need to start VERY slowly. In fact, I recommend you get your doctor’s approval to engage in exercise. An easy way for someone living a sedentary lifestyle to start exercising is to simply go for a short walk. Any way you can move a little bit more during the day will go a long way for you.

Couple exercising outdoors

MODERATE EXERCISER: Let’s say your current workout regimen is a run or some sort of moderate exercise 2-3 times a week. I would encourage you to add strength training to that, twice a week, and possibly one more day of cardio. If you are a runner, try adding one day of exercise on the elliptical machine, which will provide you with some cardio exercise with less of a stress on your body. Maybe you don’t want to strength train. I could go on and on about the benefits of strength training, regardless if you want to change your muscles/body or not, but I’ll save that for another post. If you prefer not to lift weights, I would recommend you try some body weight exercises, like planks, push ups, bridges, etc. As a moderate exerciser, you are shooting for 4-5 days of exercise, up from 2-3.

WORKOUT-A-HOLIC: Maybe you work out quite a bit, say… 4-6 times a week. I would encourage you to switch up what you are doing for the week. Try interval training for example? Tabata is a great way to torch calories fast, lose weight, retain lean muscle mass, and rev up that metabolism! Or if you always do interval training, try to go for a long walk or a run. Get some strength training in and try some new exercises. Or maybe you always work out in the evenings, try morning workouts this week. This is for the person who is in their groove as far as their workouts go. You never want to get too comfortable. Also, ensure you take at least one day off a week to rest and let your body recover. Hard workouts tear the body down, and you will need to let it recuperate, otherwise your body will being breaking down muscle, which of course is no good.

One week is not nearly enough time to see a difference in switching up your workout routine, but it will be good to introduce yourself to new things. It takes 21 days to make/break a habit, so I highly recommend trying to switch it up for the next 21 days. You’ll truly be amazed at what comes out of it. Contact me for me current teaching schedule! If you are not a member at 24 Hour Fitness or Equinox, please let me know, and I will get you in on a guest pass!

What is Tabata Training?

In short, it’s one of the best ways to lose weight, gain muscle and increase your athletic performance. It is very simple but very intense. Tabata is named after a former researcher at Japan’s National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Kanoya, Japan, named Izumi Tabata.

How Does Tabata Work?

After about a 5 minute warm-up (or more if you feel it’s necessary), you will do one exercise at your maximum effort for 20 seconds. You actually should be working at 170% of your VO2 max. In layman’s terms, you should be working harder than you ever have before, basically working until muscle failure. After those 20 seconds, you will rest for 10 seconds. After your 10 second rest, you will move onto the second round of the Tabata (same exercise, for 20 seconds again). You will do 8 20-second sets, with 10 seconds of rest in between, for a total of 4 minutes. Four minutes may sound easy, but when you are working as hard as you possibly can, you will find those are the longest 20 seconds of your life! I’m not trying to scare you, just want to impose on you how important it is to work as hard as you can. That is the only way you will get the maximum benefits of Tabata Training. Also, you don’t want to spend the first few seconds “ramping up” to your full potential. With Tabata, you need to be at your MAX from the beginning, and you basically have to claw your way through the remaining 20 seconds.

You can use a regular stopwatch, or if you have an iPod Touch, iPhone, etc., you can download the Tabata Pro App from the iTunes store, it is the best app out there for keeping track of your timed intervals. (Shown to the right).

What Are The Benefits of Tabata Training?

There are a myriad of benefits to Tabata Training. For one, it is better for fat loss than steady-state training. When you do a cardio session at the same pace the whle time, your body will adjust itself to the speed you are going and tries to conserve energy (calories). By training in high-intensity intervals, you will be able to avoid this and burn more calories and fat. Another benefit is the afterburn you receive after interval training, also known as EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption). This type of training results in a higher EPOC, which means your body is burning more calories after your workout is over. You will increase your VO2 max (the maximum capacity of your body to transport and use oxygen during exercise, which reflects your physical fitness level). I also love being able to get a killer workout in a short amount of time. We’ll all tight on time these days, so if I can get a quality workout in, in half the time I would have spent in the gym, that sounds good to me! Also, the harder the workout is, the better you feel when it’s over. I feel so much more accomplished after a tough Tabata training than I do after doing comparable time on the elliptical machine at the gym. Boring!

How Often Should I Do Tabata?

It is important to note that you need to have a solid baseline of strength and endurance to attempt Tabata. If you are just starting an exercise program, make sure you give yourself enough time to gain the muscular strength and cardiovascular endurance to get through several rounds of these exercises before diving into a full Tabata workout. If you don’t feel you’re ready to take on some of the tougher Tabata exercises, you can apply the Tabata Training Method to other forms of exercise. So if you are on the elliptical machine, go hard for 20 seconds, then slow it down for 10. You can also apply High Intensity Interval Training methods to your workout (HIIT). This is similar to Tabata in the sense that you are working hard for a set amount of time, then recovering for a set amount of time. If you are a beginner in terms of fitness level, you can adjust the exercises and the amount of training time.

  • HIIT for beginners: I would try a 1 minute walk/1 minute jog. Do this for as long as you can, this time will vary by participant, 2-4 times/week.
  • Intermediate level HIIT: 1 min walk/1 min jog for at least 20 minutes, 3-5 times/week.
  • Advanced HIIT: All out sprints for as long as you can go followed by a 1 min jog, 5-20 minutes, 3-5 times/week.

Both Tabata and High Intensity Interval Training require rest, and should not be attempted on subsequent days.

What is an Example of a Tabata Workout?

For an example, please read my post No Gym? No Equipment? No Problem! There I give you an example of a recent Tabata Training my husband and I completed while out of town, without any access to a gym or training equipment. You can also visit Mindy Mylrea’s You Tube page, where she provides the public with a new Tabata exercise every week! I recently had the pleasure of taking a few of Mindy’s classes, they were phenomenal!

Can I Create My Own Tabata Workout?

Absolutely! There are a few things to keep in mind when developing your Tabata Workout. First, you’ll want to take your fitness level into consideration, please note the HIIT variations above. For a Tabata workout, the exercise needs to be something that you will fail at by the end of a 20 second bout. Any exercise that is intense and can ramp up extremely quickly will work just fine. You’ll want to make sure you’ve hit all major muscle groups with these exercises (arms, legs, core, etc.) and be sure to alternate strength and cardio exercises. Examples of good Tabata exercises are: sprints, jump roping and plyometric jumps. More specifically: Mountain Climbers, Plank with Push Ups, Squat Jumps, Burpees, Lunge variations, etc.

Happy Tabata Training!

Sounds like an infomercial, but it’s true! You actually don’t need any equipment at all to get a good strength and cardio workout. Here’s the Tabata workout we did this morning. High intensity intervals, a great workout in a relatively short amount of time. We got a full butt whooping in under an hour.

Tabata intervals consist of doing one exercise at your maximum effort level for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds. You’ll repeat this 8 times for a total of 4 minutes. The exercises should be completed at 170% of your VO2 max. In layman’s terms, you better work harder in those 20 seconds than you’ve ever worked in your life. You’ll then move onto the next exercise, doing the same thing… one exercise for a total of 8 rounds, on for 20, off for 10. I usually do anywhere from 7-10 exercises depending on what I want from my workout. For more on Tabata, click here.

Here’s what we did this morning:

Started with a 10 minute warm up, a slow 1/2 mile run, some plank walk-outs, squats, etc., then a fast 1/2 mile run, then straight into our Tabata intervals. It is important to note that these exercises should be done at your maximum effort level. You should to fail at some point during the Tabata set. If you’re not at muscle failure, you’re not working hard enough. When you get to the point that you can no longer do the exercise with correct form, you can modify the exercise so that you can do it correctly. Sloppy exercises won’t get you anywhere, so if you’re having trouble doing the exercise, do a version of it that you can be successful at. We rested approximately 60 seconds in between each new exercise set.

  1. Mountain Climbers — Modification: Walking Mt. Climbers or High Plank
  2. Reverse Lunge Alternated w/Curtsey Lunge — Do left leg for the first round, right leg for the second round, and repeat. Modification: Hold reverse lunge and do small pulses up and down.
  3. Knee-to-Elbow Push Ups — Modification: Knee-to-Elbow High Plank
  4. High Knee Run — Modification: High Knee March. Try to keep hands behind head, alternate right elbow to left knee, and vice versa. Do not lean forward, stay upright.
  5. Squat Jumps — Doesn’t have to be high, concentrate instead on keeping the knees soft to absorb the landing, deccelerate and keep the body moving as you go into the next jump. Use you arms as well. Modification: Remove the jump, stay grounded.
  6. Swinging Triceps Modification: Tricep Dips
  7. Brazilian Lunges — Often done w/gliding discs, but since we didn’t have equipment, start in a reverse lunge, left foot forward, right foot back. Keep your fingertips on the ground, stay down low, and move your right foot up so that it’s parallel with your left foot. Keep fingers on the ground, lean forward (back is flat, chest to left thigh), and move right foot backwards again, keeping left foot in place for the entire round. Alternate using right foot forward for the next round. Modification: Stand upright, leaning forward slightly. Left foot forward, right foot back, bring right knee up, keeping left foot flat on the ground, then return right foot back behind you. Repeat for the entire round.
As a cool down, we ended with 10-15 minutes of slow lunges, squats and core work, and of course, stretching. Enjoy!