I want to personally thank everyone that came out Monday night for LWBF’s inaugural Boot Camp at the new Klyde Warren Park in downtown Dallas! It was a huge success! For those of you who weren’t able to make it—not to worry—we will be there every Monday at 5:30pm!

For those of you who did make it, how are you feeling today? Are you sore at all? During yesterday’s class, we did about half interval training and half stability/core work. In the upcoming weeks, this will shift more towards interval training as we increase the intensity of class. If you found yesterday’s class intense enough, don’t worry! As you saw, there are modifications for every exercise allowing people of all ages and fitness levels to participate. And for the elite athletes out there, we’ll also ensure class is tough enough for you!

If you received one of LWBF’s gifts for being one of the first 20 to RSVP, let me know how you like your deodorant! I made the switch during the hottest part of the summer and never looked back. It works better than commercial, toxic products, and doesn’t contain harmful chemicals! Check out all the Tips and Tricks for the All-Natural Deodorant. I can’t wait to hear how it works for you! And if you’d like to purchase more (they make great stocking stuffers…) you can buy them online via Etsy.

Lastly, don’t forget your homework for the week. One minute of push-ups, everyday.You’ve got your little notecard, so jot down your number, hold yourself accountable for your results. Next week, we will have different exercises and of course, different homework!

LWBF Boot Camp Klyde Warren Park 2

So bring yourself, bring some friends, bring some strangers, bring everyone to Live Whole Be Free’s Boot Camp in the Park! Mondays, 5:30pm. Be there!

Peace, love and FREE Fitness,

Melissa Villamizar, CPT

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for class updates and fitness/nutritional tips!


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,


By now you’ve probably either heard of, or been to one of the coolest Group Exercise classes I’ve ever had the pleasure of teaching or taking, Nike Training Club (NTC). This class was developed by Nike with the help of seven world-class athletes including Allyson Felix, Hope Solo, Li Na, Laura Enever, Sofia Boutella, Maria Sharapova and Perri Shakes-Drayton.

The NTC GroupX class contains a mixture of strength and cardiovascular exercises, with the use of minimal to no equipment. The exercises were developed by Nike and I can honestly say that they have really helped me break through barriers I didn’t even know existed. I recently even found some new muscles in my legs! Your heart rate is raised in true high-intensity interval training (HIIT) fashion, and the use of minimal equipment makes it easy to do anywhere outside of the gym. There is also a FREE app available to help guide you through the workouts! It includes videos of the exercises and it even offers rewards when specific goals are accomplished. Nike really has it all figured out!

The intervals in NTC are anywhere from 30 seconds – 2 minutes in length, and there is pretty much zero rest in between intervals and the next exercise. The “rest” that you do get is in the form of active recovery, so while the instructor is explaining the next exercise, the participant will need to keep their body moving, in a step-tap or shuffle motion. This keeps the body in “ready mode.” Keeping yourself warm and active while you catch your breath is important for many health and performance-related reasons, it’s not because we are mean and cruel instructors that don’t want to give you a break. Okay, maybe that’s part of it… but still, there are medical benefits involved!


Dallas/Ft. Worth was lucky enough to be elected as a test market for Nike Training Club! It started in February 2011, and at that time we were the only city in the U.S. to offer this class. I believe it is now offered in a few select places in New York and California, but we are still the only city within thousands of miles to have this amazing format. So have you heard enough? Ready to check it out? Good!

I teach NTC every Wednesday at 24 Hour Fitness’ Valley Ranch location, 7:30–8:30pm and at the Nike store at NorthPark Mall every Saturday from 9-10am. If for some crazy reason you can’t make it to class, you can use the app to guide you through the workout. It’s amazing, please do check it out!

This class and these exercises are challenging, yes, but that’s what makes it worth it, and that is what gets you the results. If you left class thinking it was easy, what would be the point? You wouldn’t break through any barriers, overcome any plateaus, see new muscles or feel that incredible sense of accomplishment. So when you’re completely out of breath and feel like your legs may indeed fall off of your body, remember that nothing worth working for comes easy, and keep going. It’s easy to work out when you’re full of energy. It’s when you’re tired that you start to enter the results zone. When you start to get tired, you can give up, or push on. I urge you to make that decision before you get tired. Don’t let your mind take over, it’s very controlling and extremely stubborn.

“The good Lord gave you a body that can stand most anything. It’s your mind you have to convince.” – Vincent Lombardi

Peace, love and NTC!



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!