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Stay fit this summer with my “do anywhere” time efficient yet effective workouts! - Tabata

Summer is here in full force — yay! Don't use the pull of relaxing on a dock, traveling, or drinking on a patio as an excuse to become a sloth!

Trust me — it is possible enjoy summer AND maintain your fitness! The key is to have a few workouts in your back pocket that you can literally do anywhere — in a hotel room, in your living room, or even on the dock at the cottage.

Over the next few blogs I will share a few of my go-to "do anywhere" workouts! With these convenient yet effective workouts you will have NO excuse to be inactive :-)

Go-to workout # 1: Tabata intervals

Tabata intervals are an awesome — and very convenient — workout. Tabata is a method of interval training. "Interval training" simply means you alternate between periods of intense work and periods of recovery. Many of my clients dread most styles of interval training, but most have a particular aversion to Tabata workouts. I interpret their dislike as an endorsement; they would not hate Tabata workouts if they were not challenging.

One cycle of Tabata takes four minutes. The four minutes is made up of eight sets of 20 seconds of intense work followed by 10 seconds of complete rest. After one four minute Tabata set, rest for one minute and move on to your next exercise.

The wonderful thing about Tabata is that literally any exercise can be made into an interval. Cardio or intense strength exercises work best. First, pick your exercises. I suggest picking between four and six exercises. Those plus a warm-up and cool-down provide an excellent yet time efficient workout.

Then, get started. Warm-up with 5 minutes of light cardio (speed walking, jogging, or high knees). Then for each exercise alternate 20 seconds of intense work with 10 seconds of rest for a total of four minutes.

Some cardio Tabata options

Jumping jacks: Start standing with your legs together and arms by your side. Jump your legs out as you arc your arms over your head. Reverse the motion and repeat.

Burpees: Start standing. Bend over and place your hands on the ground in front of you. Walk or jump your feet back into a plank. Engage your core so your lower back doesn't arch. Then jump your feet back towards your hands and stand up. Repeat. For an added challenge, jump towards the ceiling as you stand up.

Mountain runs: Start in a plank position. Engage your core so you are not rounding or arching your lower back. Alternate "running" one knee towards your chest at a time.

Other cardio options: Run up and down the stairs in your house or condo. Or do high knees, bum kicks, or lateral leaps side to side.

Some strength Tabata options

Squat thrusts: Stand holding a free weight in each hand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend through your knees and hips to squat down. As you squat, do a biceps curl. Push through your legs and engage your core to stand up while simultaneously pushing the weights up over your head. Stay standing and bring the weights back to their starting position. Repeat for 20 seconds.

Plank and rows: Start in a plank position on your hands and toes with a free weight on the floor under your chest. Keep your hips stable, hands under shoulders, and back neutral as you pick the weight up and row it towards the ceiling. Alternate arms for 20 seconds.

Other strength options: Squat jumps, lunge jumps, push-ups, and modified or full pull-ups.

Two things to keep in mind

If you are exercising with the intent of losing weight keep in mind that Tabata, like any form of exercise, is not a magic solution for weight loss. Losing weight depends on a number of interconnected factors including genetics, stress management, sleep patterns, exercise, and most important, nutrition. Tabata workouts will help you burn a relatively large amount of calories in a short amount of time, but no workout will allow you to lose weight if you are not eating properly. Concentrate on consuming a nutritionally dense diet: limit processed foods and instead load up on lean proteins, healthy fats, whole grains, and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Make sure Tabata workouts are appropriate for your fitness level. If you are just starting to work out, or you have a health concern such as high blood pressure or diabetes, I would suggest taking a more moderate approach to exercise. Try walking or light weights. Talk with your doctor to come up with an appropriate program.