Tabata Protocol for Skiing Endurance

freeheelI’m going skiing the second week of February and I’m feeling a little soft around the midsection and really out of shape. I’ve decided to use the Tabata Protocol adopted by the Japanese speed skating team to increase my anaerobic capacity and aerobic fitness.

I wrote an article a while back that outlined everything you need to know. The basic premise is all out sprinting for 20 seconds with a 10 second recovery phase and repeat for 8 sets or 4 minutes.

Seems simple but its not. A Men’s Health article on Tabata says, “So why isn’t everyone doing Tabata workouts? Well, most people would vomit—or come close to it—if they actually tried the routine that was used in the study. That’s not good.”


What is HIIT (High Intesity Interval Training)

HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training. Now, this is where the “more for less” concept comes in, but don’t be fooled, you will be making up for that lost time with much higher-you guessed it-intensity!

The question is do you have what it takes to go all out for a short amount of time, rather than mindlessly wander through your current ineffective cardio routine? Consider this:

In an Australian study, people who cranked out 20 minutes of High Intensity Interval Training 3 days a week dropped 10 percent of their body fat, while those who exercised longer but at a lower intensity didn’t lose any!

How Do I Do It?

There are many different variations of HIIT, and you can apply them to nearly all of the common methods of cardio training. Let’s say you normally go to the gym and ride an exercise bike for an hour at a steady pace. To incorporate HIIT into your workout, here are your options:

6/9: This is the method used in the Australian study referenced above, and this is what I personally recommend. The numbers stand for seconds, and in this case, “6/9” means you would sprint all out for 6 seconds, then slow to about 50-60% for 9 seconds. Of course, you would continue repeating this cycle for as long as you can (you didn’t think you’d be done in 15 seconds did you?!).

For example, hop on the exercise bike and warm up for 2-3 minutes at about 40-50% of your maximum effort. Once you hit the end of your warmup session, BAM!, launch into a full out sprint for 6 seconds. Then, slow to about 50-60% for 9 seconds, and BAM!, full out sprint for another 6 seconds. So, each full 6/9 interval lasts 15 seconds, or 4 intervals per minute. Keep repeating this cycle for as long as you can, but be sure that you are going as hard as possible for each 6 second sprint interval. It’s OK if you can only last a few minutes the first few times. Your endurance will build, as your waist shrinks.

30/30: The “half and half” method was one of the first accepted ways of doing HIIT. Since then, we’ve learned that shorter bursts produce greater results. Reason being, you can’t really go absolutely all out for a full 30 seconds. Some practice even higher intervals of 60/60 or more. If you can last for that long, then you aren’t really giving your maximum effort the entire time.

That’s why short 6 second bursts are better, because you only have to sustain that maximum intensity for a short time. However, longer intervals such as 30/30 and even 30/60 can be useful for beginners. You may want to start here if you’re not used to very high intensity in your current cardio training, then you can work your way up to the more efficient 6/9 or 8/12 intervals.

Why Does It Work?

When you are giving your all out maximum effort, your body produces more of a chemical called catecholamine. Can you guess what catecholamine does? That’s right: it triggers your body to start burning fat. Even better, the higher your intensity and the more catecholamine your body produces, the longer the fat-burning process will last. This means you will be reaping the benefits of your HIIT session for up to 36 hours after you’re done!

Now, get out there, and get on the HIIT wagon! Remember, the first two letters are the most important. HIGH INTENSITY!

Vitamin C and Heart Disease – Reduces Levels of C-Reactive Protein (CRP)

Vitamin C supplements can reduce levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation and chronic disease risk in humans, according to a new study led by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley.

Participants who took approximately 500 milligrams of vitamin C supplements daily saw a 24 percent drop in plasma C-reactive protein (CRP) levels after two months. The study, published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, is the first time vitamin C has been shown to decrease levels of CRP, a biomarker for heart disease and stroke. Continue reading “Vitamin C and Heart Disease – Reduces Levels of C-Reactive Protein (CRP)”


Laura and I arrived at Forest Park early Saturday morning, layered up and ready to run.  I was a little nervous to take part in my first organized run but figured that if a fifth grader could do it so could I.  We met Cathi and James and set out through a sea of girls to find our running buddies.  After finding the girls we approached the starting line, did a little stretching, and took off.

After awhile of running, my buddy informed me that we only had one mile left.  I knew that this could not be true.  It didn’t seem like we had been running very long or gotten very far.  I didn’t have my nike+ to check our stats but was quite certain that my little friend was confused.  We kept our pace going and a little later heard officials cheering us on and saying, “you’re almost there!”  I was still slightly confused.  Running had never been this enjoyable/painless for me.  Sure enough as we rounded the corner the finish line became visible.

It was an awesome feeling to cross that line, knowing that I had accomplished something I never thought I would and realizing that I helped a young girl do the same.

Treadmills vs. Elliptical Trainers

By guest author Ray Hudson of Elliptical Trainers Review

Treadmills and elliptical trainers are two of the most popular exercise equipment. Both are excellent tools for getting an aerobic workout indoors. When you compare treadmills vs elliptical trainers, you will quickly realize that ellipticals have only come to the party fairly recently, whereas treadmills have been around much longer. Consequently, treadmills are wider known and more commonplace. However, before you go and buy that treadmill, you may want to give elliptical trainers a second glance. Continue reading “Treadmills vs. Elliptical Trainers”