Exercise in the Time of COVID-19: Positively Strong H.A.B.I.T

This virus has reminded us of the importance of eating well and exercising in order to maintain a healthy immune system, but it’s definitely not easy to workout when the gyms are closed, the weather is cold, and the kiddos won’t give you a moment of peace.

We may be spending more time at home since we are also working from home, but that is not all that we’re doing. We’re all trying to cook three meals a day at home, homeschooling, making 433 snacks a day for the kiddos (who else knew that 3 year-olds eat like teenagers?), entertaining little ones, staying on top of the ever dwindling groceries, and still trying to stick to our old exercise routines and maintain healthy habits. No wonder feelings of anxiety are at an all time high.

Short Bursts of Training for Maximum Results

Pre-Covid quarantine, I would normally hit up my karate club to teach a class and also get in some martial arts training. Then, on alternate days I would drop my daughter off at daycare and go straight to my local gym for a strength training workout. Now that both the dojo and gym are inaccessible to me, I have had to pivot and create quick and effective Tabata home workouts (that combine my passion for Karate and strength training) to deliver maximum results in minimum time.

The Tabata Protocol

Tabata training or the Tabata Protocol is a type of interval training that was studied by Dr. Izumi Tabata, a professor at the Faculty of Sport and Health Science at Ritsumeikan University in Japan. In the study, athletes performed 20 seconds of a very high intensity exercise (e.g., squat jumps, burpees, mountain climbers, etc.), followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated for a total of 8 times. The athletes were able to improve their VO2 max (the body’s ability to use oxygen more effectively) and overall athletic performance, according to Dr. Tabata’s study published in the journal of Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise.

My workouts use a variation of the Tabata protocol to create a combined Karate and strength training workout. I call it the Positively STRONG Hit All Body Interval Training (HABIT). My dojo is Youtube. Each week I focus on different body parts and techniques to deliver workouts that hit the lower body, upper body, and total body. I teach Karate techniques and drills for the interesting and dynamic cardio training, and use basic Olympic weight lifting and accessory exercises for the strength training portion.

H.A.B.I.T Tips

Before you follow along with my youtube videos, please be sure to do the following:

  • Get thoroughly warmed up. You should spend about 5-10 minutes jogging on the spot, skipping, or doing dynamic warm-up exercises prior to starting the video.
  • If you decide to repeat the video in order to do more than one set, be sure to rest about 60 or more seconds in between sets.
  • Monitor your intensity. These workouts can feel super easy if you do not push yourself to go fast during the karate cardio cycles. Once you know the drill, try to execute the technique as fast as possible. On the same note, the strength training movements should not be performed quickly, but instead the aim should be to go as heavy as safely possible.
  • Remember that intensity is accumulative. As you go through each cycle, the level of intensity peaks as you reach the end of the workout—when muscles are fatigued— which is the time that your form usually gets sloppy, making you more prone to injury. Constantly monitor your form.
  • Depending on your fitness level and number of sets performed, these Tabata style workouts can be done 1-3 times per week, with rest days in between in order to avoid overtraining and injury.
  • Don’t be afraid to extend your recovery time or take longer breaks between rounds.

Overall, I find that the workout just flies by. I love that the intervals are so short, yet you burn tons of calories and can really feel the burn towards the end of each set.

Stay tuned and subscribe to my Youtube channel for new fitness videos as I release new workouts week after week.

To building Positively Strong habits,

Sunny

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