Tabata Workout Number 2 – Lighter Already

Yesterday I did my 2nd Tabata Workout. My Max. HR got up to 176 BPM (from a high of 174 on my first workout), and my recovery HR was 113 (not improved from 109 last time).

Therefore, I will NOT be adding another interval tomorrow when I do my next workout.

Of particular note, and I should have posted about this before: My heart rate definitely goes up a few ticks when I enter the rest interval. This is desirable and Dr. Sears says this phenomena is an indication that one has created an oxygen deficit. In other words, after the 20 seconds of hard-and-heavy, as soon as one starts pedaling slower during the rest interval, one’s heart rate is supposed to go up a few beats per minute. This is the body compensating for an oxygen deficit whereby the heart pumps faster to get more oxygen to the muscles.

Even though the PACE workout is supposed to cause this elevated HR too, I never saw it happen. I thought it was because my heart rate was already very high and had no where to go. I am pleased to report that with Tabata, every single time I went from the exercise interval to the rest interval I saw my heart rate go up a few notches.

I did my weekly weigh-in today and I am down 1.2 pounds from last week. Hopefully, that is fat and not muscle (I feel thinner and my pants feel a little looser, so when I do my Accumeasure fat caliper pinch tonight we will see if I lost mostly or all fat, or if the weight drop is some muscle). I suspect it is all fat loss, because I can actually FEEL this Tabata workout doing exactly what it is supposed to do – melt away the fat!

My First Tabata Protocol Workout

Today I did my first Tabata Protocol Workout.  I started with 4 intervals (as recommended by Shawn Bennett).  I did a 3 min. warmup (gradually increasing the tension on my Linex recumbant bike from 3 to 5), then I started my intervals of 20 seconds exercise, 10 seconds rest pedaling as fast I could go at a setting of 8 on the bike.

My warmup RPMs on the bike were about 70 RPMs, and for each exercise bout I was up over 100 (my first interval I took note of 114 RPMs, but I’m sure I got a little slower over the next 3 intervals).  Bottom line is I pedaled as fast as I could without my feet flying off the things!

My Max. Heart Rate achieved during exercise got up to 174 BPM (well above the normal ‘cardio zone’ that aerobics training specifies).   The universal guideline for aerobics is 220 minus one’s age as the Max. BPM and 60% to 80% of that number is the recommended ‘aerobic/cardio target Heart Rate zone’.  For me, that would mean a traditional range of 108-144 BPM (220-40 yrs old = 180 Max, and 60%=108, 80%=144).  Like PACE, the idea is to get into what Dr. Sears calls the ‘supra-aerobic zone’ where you start panting from lack of enough oxygen to get fuel to your muscles, thereby creating an oxygen deficit that triggers the anaerobic energy system on top of the aerobic energy system.

You can see that Tabata is much more intense and my Heart Rate got well above the ‘upper limit’ recommended for aerobics training.

A word of caution:  As I mentioned in my previous post, I had been doing the PACE program for the past 5 weeks, which is why I knew 174 BPM wasn’t going to be a problem.  I had achieved a Max. HR of 174 during my recent PACE workouts (and didn’t collapse) so I knew I would be OK.  One should NEVER attempt this workout without first conditioning oneself gradually over time to be able to handle these elevated heart rates.

My recovery Heart Rate (taken exactly 1 minute after my cool-down period) was 109 BPM.  My best recovery on PACE after 5 weeks (also achieving a Max. Heart Rate of 174 BPM) was 112 BPM.  So, I attribute this better recovery rate to the shorter duration of exercise and perhaps my being in even better shape since my last PACE workout about 1 week ago (4 intervals is only 4 minutes of actual exercise, not including the warm-up and cool-down stages).

I caught a cold a few days back due to the weather changing here in Florida (like I do this time every year) so I didn’t workout out at all for the past week.

My observations so far:

– The shorter workout duration makes it more enjoyable than even the PACE workout which is only 12 minutes long.  This Tabata workout was only 7 minutes long (INCLUDING warm-up and cool-down).

– I didn’t sweat much at all.  Compared to PACE, which isn’t exactly a drenched-in-sweat workout, this was probably do-able without even changing into workout clothes.  Maybe I didn’t pedal fast enough? (I couldn’t really pedal faster anyway if I tried – maybe the bike setting was too low…but my last PACE workout was at a 9 setting, and the bike only goes to 12, which is why I chose to start my Tabata workout at 8 to leave plenty of room for growth)

– The 10 seconds of rest between intervals is almost like not resting at all, but it is definitely welcome after going all out for 20 seconds.  By the 4th interval, that 20 seconds seemed like a LONG time!

That’s it for now – I plan on doing the workout at my current settings 3x per week until my Recovery Heart Rate improves, at which time I will first add another interval (bringing it up to 5 intervals) and then increasing the bike tension one notch.  This staggered progression is what Shawn Bennett recommended to me so I can continue to make progress.

Life after PACE

I’ve been on Dr. Al Sear’s PACE program for 5 weeks now.

Even though my recovery heart rate has improved, I have not seen the fat loss come. Having been on Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle program now for quite some time, I have become frustrated with the plateau I have been stuck on (around 16% body fat, down from a starting point of 23%).

I heard about the Tabata Protocol from Shawn Bennet, who pioneered Measured Intensity Training first with the Explosive Fitness equipment and then with the latest 1-Rep Gym. The results I’ve achieved using his strength-training protocol with my EF7000 machine have been phenomenal.

But I’ve since become focused on fat-loss, trying to get to the ‘six-pack abs’ look that has eluded me for all of my adult life. I just turned 40 years old, and have to say I’m in better shape now than I was 20 years ago, but I still have a gut to bust and I haven’t been able to get to lower body fat numbers than where I am at now.

Eating 5 times per day as recommended by the Burn The Fat program got me to where I am, but I’ve stalled out and now it’s time to try this latest technological breakthrough Tabata Protocol. Shawn tells me he clients have seen unbelievable fat loss results using his modified version of Tabata, which I just got off the phone with him getting the details of.

I will start with a 4-interval cycle since I’ve been doing PACE for the past 5 weeks and have gotten my exercise heart rate up to 174 BPM lately (and a recovery rate down to 113 BPM after 1 min. from stopping). I’ll post here how it goes after a couple weeks – we’ll see if the Accumeasure Fat Calipers budge this way!

Welcome to the Tabata Protocol Blog

This blog is all about the Tabata Protocol…what it is, why it works, how to do it, and results achieved by those using it. A software application for tracking your measurements while on the Tabata Protocol will be available soon. You will be able to enter your exercise interval durations, intensity measurements (settings/RPMs on your equipment), heart rate during, immediately after, and recovery rates.

Keep checking back for all of the latest!