Conditioning and Tabata

Don’t let yourself go this holiday break, instead try a Conditioning or Tabata workout if you’re strapped for time or gym access.

Conditioning is fun and challenging. It’s not your traditional cardio, or even high intensity interval training for that matter. Conditioning can be done mostly anywhere!

When I’m feeling bored with my high intensity interval training, I change it up to a conditioning routine. For example, I’ve done Kettlebell Conditioning in which for 20-30 seconds I do as many kettlebell swings as I can, then take a few breaths and repeat until my 10 minute timer goes off. You wouldn’t believe the workout you get! And just like that I’ve competed a ‘cardio’ session!

T-Nation said it best in this Body Conditioning article. The article explains how conditioning work can be done with ropes, sprinting (all variations), jump roping, medicine ball throws and sled work. Or in my case, you can always use a kettlebell to get that conditioning workout in.

Something similar to Conditioning is doing Tabata. If you’re really strapped for time, doing Tabata will be your best friend.  Tabata is about 4 minutes total workout time–so no excuse here! You perform 20 seconds of intense training, 10 seconds of rest for 8 sets totaling 4 minutes. I suggest downloading a Tabata timer app for your smartphone for easy timekeeping. My fitness idol, Erin Stern, has this great video demonstrating Tabata workout.

Don’t get discouraged by the intensity. You have it in you to do this workout and so much more!

This type of ‘cardio’ will melt that body fat right off! Don’t waste your time on that treadmill, instead chose a conditioning program that you’ll enjoy! You will de-stress while battling those ropes or pushing that sled, or as in the wise words of TNation Predator Conditioning on Heavy Bag work, “Beat it like it’s wearing an Affliction T-shirt.”

Outdoor Exercising

Now that the weather is getting cooler, consider it as a great opportunity for some outdoor exercising.

This past Saturday, the day was so beautiful that I decided to go for a run. WHAT?? Yes, Mirla, went for a run. Although, I am not one to normally run (you’d understand if you read my last post on Sprinting), but once in a while I get a feeling that I just have to run. It’s as if I need to get rid of toxins or release some frustration or something-I don’t know, that my body just craves it. So I decided to go for a run around a neighborhood near my gym. I headed out with no headphones,  just a goal in mind. I was to run around the neighborhood 1 time and go back to the gym (I’m think it was about little over 2 miles or so). Didn’t matter how long I would take, I just knew that I needed to complete it. So I head out and in 24 minutes I was done! Mission accomplished 🙂

Aside from running, there’s something so special about exercising in the outdoors. The fresh air, the openness, the soft breeze that cools off you off, the cars and people that pass by, the self-awareness…I can’t fully describe it, but it’s great option for exercising. And the best part of it all is that no gym membership required. The wonderful thing about it all is that you can do it at any time and practically anywhere. This is a great option for new moms or folks that just don’t have much time to spare. Outdoor exercising will definitely help you build up some exercising confidence while you lose some fat and get stronger!

Not only ‘cardio’ can be done outside. High Intensity Interval types of training such as circuit training or Tabata are especially fun to do in the outdoors and even more so when done with a partner! Basically the trainee goes through a list of timed exercises in sequence with little to no rest between exercises, and then rests for 2 minutes or so and repeats for several sets. The focus here is on intensity, not the amount of reps that are performed.

Here’s an example:

Start with some dynamic stretching for 5-10 minutes. You really want to warm-up completely before starting.

30 sec of Speed Squats

10 sec rest

30 sec of Burpees

10 sec rest

30 sec of Jump Lunges

10 sec rest

30sec of pushups (or modified pushups-knees on floor)

10 sec rest

30 sec Mountain Climbers, neutral spine

Rest 2 minutes and repeat 3-4 more times.

And just like that, you’ve completed a great workout! Just as any strength training program, you may want to start with doing this routine 2 times a week and work yourself up to 3-4 times/week.

So whether you like to run, sprint or strength train, doing it in the outdoors can create a nice change up to your normal routine. So stay active, enjoy the wonderful weather and remember…