tabata - a review of the 4 minute workout

On Saturday I ran my first 5k after feeling pretty full of doubt and it made me want to be a little more open into different types of fitness and exercise.

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Then yesterday I got offered a spot in a new Tabata class, which promises a 4 minute workout (plus a 10 min warm up, and 6 min warm down = 20 mins in total) which delivers an effective aerobic and anaerobic workout.

If you've followed any of my before/after pictures you may know that I follow a very low cardio routine at the gym (part of the reason I was nervous of the 5k run!). I have found that using body weight, and weights have created the results I wanted for myself in the most effective way. However it also just suits me. I like working out alone, and doing my own thing. So I haven't done a class or group fitness activity for years.

 Classes make me nervous. People watching you be rubbish at something is pretty hard for me! Having to push my body further than I'm comfortable with is scary, despite being good for me. I just find my comfort zones very comforting!

So I nervously trotted off to Finsbury Park Station to push my boundaries with a Tabata class.

We met the man who helped to create the classes, which have already rolled out to some Fitness First gyms, and then we started.

The 6 minute warm up involved some targetted stretches and practises of the moves that will be used later in te 4 minute session of high intensity interval training. We couldn't quite master one of the moves so we were offered an alternative one, which required less coordination!

The actual 4 minutes is performed to music, but you don't need to keep time. The deal is you have to push yourself 100%. For all four minutes. No holding back.

I found the moves hard, and the weight-user in me wanted to get correct form. However the speed focus means that form goes out of the way, and I'm not sure how I felt about that. I guess over time, you'd perfect the moves, and develop better form, but that would take a few visits.  

It was hard. My legs were really shakey when it was all over. My arms didn't feel very worked, but perhaps this would improve if I managed to improve my coordination and the correct form for each move. It was a great aerobic workout, I was sweating, out of breathe and wobbly. 

I guess it comes down to what you want for your body, and from your workout. I think I'm still a solo exerciser, and still want to use weights and balances to create a stronger body. I can see the appeal though; a short, sharp burst of effective exercise definitely would work for some.

Do you like classes? Do you always try the new trends?