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Get in Fantastic Shape with this 4 Minute Workout

Posted by on Apr 17, 2015 in Fitness | 0 comments

Tabata Interval Training Image courtesy of the author

Tabata Interval Training
Image courtesy of the author

Are you spending a lot of time at the gym but not seeing the results you want? Maybe you want to get in better shape but can’t find time to go to the gym? What if you could get in fantastic shape exercising only 4 minutes each day, 4-5 days week? What if you could do all the exercises at home without buying any equipment? You can. This article will teach you how.

Tabata interval training is a highly effective training protocol designed to produce exceptional results in a very short period of time. In 4 short minutes, you get a complete workout that will improve your fitness performance, build muscle, and burn fat.

Tabata interval training is very simple. Perform 20 seconds of maximum intensity exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest. Repeat 8 times without pause for a total of 4 minutes. The 4 minutes are challenging and very intense, but yield better results than 60 minutes of aerobic exercise. 

The Science
In his ground breaking study, Dr. Tabata had two different groups of athletes perform two different exercise regimes, and then he compared the results. The first group exercised for 60 minutes, 5 days/week at an intermediate intensity. The second group exercised using short but very intense intervals (20 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds of rest for 8 rounds, for a total of 4 minutes). After 6 weeks, Dr. Tabata found:

     * Group 1 improved their aerobic capacity by 9.5% but got no improvement in anaerobic capacity
* Group 2 (the interval trained group) improved their aerobic capacity by 14% and their anaerobic capacity by 28%

Later, a 2007 study in the Journal of Applied Physiology found high intensity interval training (HIIT) increased fat burning capacity in women after only 7 sessions over a 2 week period.

In 2009, a study found that men performing HIIT doubled their metabolic rate and increased glucose and fatty acid oxidation (burned fat) for three hours after exercising.

In 2013, Dr. Olson found that a 4-minute Tabata routine of jump squats burned 13.5 calories per minute, (5 times the calories burned in the average cardio workout) and doubled the subjects’ metabolic rate for 30 minutes after the workout ended.

What Exercises Can Be Performed in Tabata Interval Training?
A variety of exercises can be performed, but they must be compound movements that activate a lot of muscle mass. So think squats, not calf raises. Bodyweight exercises like squats, sit-ups, and push-ups can be done as well as full body movements like burpees, sprints, or jumping jacks. You can also use weighted movements like deadlifts or power cleans. You can mix and match exercises depending on your fitness goals.

How to Perform a Tabata Interval Workout, Step by Step
Step 1: Plan the Exercises
Determine the exercises you will perform. No equipment or gym membership? No problem. Bodyweight exercises are perfect for Tabata interval training. Go to for a periodic table of bodyweight exercises complete with instructional videos on how to correctly perform each exercise. They are arranged by difficulty, so you can pick exercises that fit your fitness level. Don’t have time to plan the exercises? You can use Strength Stack 52 bodyweight exercise cards. Simply shuffle the deck and deal yourself 8 cards.

 Step 2: Warm up
Start with some dynamic stretching and then perform full body movements (jogging, rowing, etc.) that increase your body temperature until you achieve a light sweat. As you warm up, get fired up and mentally prepare for an intense 4 minutes. Remember, a 4 minute workout is more fun than a 60 minute workout, and it’s more effective too!

Step 3: Get a Clock
Get a clock or stop watch handy. Better yet, if you have smartphone or computer go to for a Tabata timer with voice commands that tell you when to start, stop, and rest between intervals. 

Step 4: Workout
Set the timer, get in position for the first exercise, and wait for the beginning bell to ring. Without sacrificing technique, get as many reps as possible for each exercise in 20 seconds. So if you’re doing squats, try to get as many squats as possible using good technique before the 20 second timer is up. When the timer rings, stop the exercise, breathe deeply, and get in position for the next exercise. Repeat this for all 8 intervals at the highest intensity you can manage.

Step 5: Cool down
Yes, you just finished an awesome workout, and it only took 4 minutes! You will be thoroughly exhausted. Breathe deeply and walk briskly until your heart rate and breathing returns to normal. Finish by lightly stretching your muscles. 

The Stack 52 4-Minute Workout
Want to get started right away? Try the Stack 52 4-Minute Tabata Workout. First watch the video of each exercise and practice a few reps to make sure you know how to perform the exercise. This will help you warm up to a light sweat. Then get your Tabata timer ready and go for it!

Round 1: 20 Seconds of bodyweight Squats

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10 Seconds of Rest

Round 2: 20 Seconds of Push-Ups

10 Seconds of Rest

Round 3: 20 Seconds of Mason Twists

10 Seconds of Rest

Round 4: 20 Seconds of Burpees

10 Seconds of Rest

Round 5: 20 Seconds of Diamond Push-Ups

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10 Seconds of Rest

Round 6: 20 Seconds Vertical Crunches

10 Seconds of Rest

Round 7: 20 Seconds of Clock Lunges

10 Seconds of Rest

Round 8: 20 Seconds of Mountain Climbers

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10 Seconds of Rest


Not only can you get a great workout in only 4 minutes, you will get results faster than anyone doing 60 minutes of cardio at the gym. Tabata interval training is wonderfully challenging and extremely effective. After a few weeks, you will notice your overall fitness has dramatically increased, and you have burned a lot of fat. I worked out for 10 years at gyms, and I never had 6-pack abs until I started doing Tabata interval training. If you play sports, you will notice that you can play with much more intensity for longer periods without getting winded. You will run circles around your friends who will think you’re some kind of freak who doesn’t get tired.

You can become extremely fit and love the way you look working out for just 4 minutes a day, 5 days a week. That’s only 20 minutes a week! You can do this, and if you use bodyweight exercises, you can do it anywhere without equipment!

If you have preexisting health problems or are not used to performing exercise at a high intensity, be sure to check with your doctor before attempting Tabata interval training. Remember to start at your own pace and increase the intensity as you are able.

This article was written by Kurt Boyd, fitness fanatic, and director of Strength Stack 52, a unique way to transform bodyweight exercises into fun, competitive workouts that can be performed anywhere.

Tabata I. et. al.  Effects of moderate-intensity endurance and high-intensity intermittent training on anaerobic capacity and VO2max.  Med Sci Sports Exerc. (1996) 28(10):1327-30.

Talanian J. et. al. Two weeks of high-intensity aerobic interval training increases the capacity for fat oxidation during exercise in women. Journal of Applied Physiology Apr 2007, 102 (4) 1439-1447

Gibala M. et. al. Brief intense interval exercise activates AMPK and p38 MAPK signaling and increases the expression of PGC-1α in human skeletal muscle. Journal of Applied Physiology Mar 2009, 106 (3) 929-934

Olsen, M. O. Tabata Interval Exercise: Energy Expenditure and Post-Exercise Responses

Scharff-Olson Kinesiology Lab, Auburn University Montgomery, Montgomery, AL

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Essential Guide To Men’s Caps

Posted by on Apr 15, 2015 in Menswear | 0 comments

Caps are an essential part of every man’s wardrobe, but it is something that many of them get wrong. A bad cap can ruin a fine outfit if it is the wrong style or fit, so make sure you run through this guide to keep on top of your man’s look. Let’s take a look at some of your options.

My hubby in Santa Fe.

My hubby wearing his cowboy hat in Santa Fe.

My hubby enjoys wearing many different styles of hats and caps. In the photo above, he is wearing one of his favorite styles, a cowboy hat. Whatever style of cap that you decide for the man in your life, you want to make it a style that he enjoys wearing and that it looks good on him. If he doesn’t like the style, it doesn’t matter how good the cap looks, he won’t enjoy it.

The snapback cap is an American classic. It’s a slang term for the baseball cap, which are a huge seller all over the world. They are cheaper than more traditional caps and have seen a resurgence with modern youth in recent years. They are made by a huge range of manufacturers. Clothing labels such as Carhartt, Nike and Vans are popular brands, and there are also specialists cap makers like New Era. You can get custom New Era hats made for your man or go with the popular designs that include baseball team logos. The key to wearing a good baseball cap is to break it in. It takes a little while before it takes on the shape of the head – a combination of heat and moisture will gradually make it happen over time.

The Flat Cap
Flat caps are very adaptable and can be worn with a wide range of outfits, from suits and dress shirts to casual. It has its origins as a working man’s hat and when made of thick wool or tweed, is often identified as countryside style. However, corduroy, felt or linen versions work well in warmer climates and can be worn anywhere, including the city. Make sure you buy the correct size for your man’s head. It doesn’t just have to fit right, it has to look right, too. Large peaks are better for big heads, for example, but can overwhelm a smaller face.

The Newsboy
The newsboy cap is also referred to as the driver’s cap or a Gatsby. It is a more casual cap then the flat cap, and can be worn with a wide range of outfits, including a good suit. A simple pair of jeans and t-shirt can be jazzed up amazingly with a newsboy. Throw on a light scarf as well, and it is a simple and effective way of turning a plain outfit into something more dapper entirely. Again, your guy’s head size and shape will have a big effect on whether they can pull of a newsboy. It can have a mushroom effect on people with thin facial structures, or emphasize a big skull. Bring someone with you when trying it on and make sure you get a second – and third – opinion before buying a newsboy for your man.

With my hubby in San Francisco at Fishermen's Wharf.

JT with my hubby wearing his newsboy’s cap while at Fishermen’s Wharf in San Francisco.

The Military Cap
Military caps are based on the designs used by the military forces. They are very popular, but should be worn with more casual clothes. It is inadvisable to wear one alongside camouflage or military-inspired clothing unless somebody wants the full-on look. Military caps are adaptable, and will look good on the majority of heads. They are a great option for when people don’t have time to spend searching for an outfit, or need some sun protection while they go out on a run or a walk with the dog. However, they should be avoided for any formal occasions.

I hope this article can give some great ideas for buying a new hat for the man in your life. The key to all of it is getting the fit right. And don’t forget that every cap will look better as it starts to take the shape of the head.

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Growing Your Hair Longer With These Steps

Posted by on Apr 13, 2015 in Haircare | 0 comments



Some people are fortunate enough to have long luscious hair. But, if you want to ensure that your hair is thick and full of life, there are some easy ways that you can do this. Of course, having a great head of hair is not everything. But, ladies, let’s be honest here, we are all guilty of wanting fabulous hair. I regularly post about my hair and what styles I am trying out. When it comes to growing our hair though, that can be something different altogether!

There are some steps that you can take to ensure that you have beautifully long hair. It may take a couple of months, but it will certainly be worth it.

Here are five of my tips for long hair success.

Ditch Silicone Based Shampoos
Many of the cheaper brands of shampoo are loaded with chemicals. Namely, silicone. Silicone is what gives your hair that super shiny look. But, if you want to grow your hair and have a luscious head of curls, you need to ditch the shampoos that contain this ingredient. As silicone is a chemical, it does not promote growth. Rather, it leaves your hair weakened and more susceptible to frizz and damage. Sadly, all silicone does is put a mirror-like shine on your hair. It’s not good for growth, and it certainly doesn’t make for healthy hair. Ditch it and replace it with natural shampoos. Once your hair stops breaking, it will grow quicker and longer.

Try not to Cleanse your Hair Everyday
For some hair textures cleansing hair everyday can dry it out.  I wash my hair once a week. My hair is naturally curly, so moisture has to  stay in and it would be completely dried out. If your hair retains moisture and you need to wash your hair everyday, try cleansing conditioners that will not take all the oil out of your hair. In the picture above my hair color last so long because I do not use shampoo except for clarifying once a month.

Use Oils and Lotions to Promote Healthy Hair Growth
According to Hair Growth Helper, there are a number of ways that you can make your hair grow. It’s all about using the right treatments on your hair. Coconut oil is a firm favourite. But, it can be messy to apply. Sephren-based products are perfect for ladies that are prone to thin or fine hair. By applying this kind of lotion to your scalp, on a weekly basis you will give your hair the boost that it needs. It can help repair a damaged scalp that is all that you need to promote healthy growth.

Scalp Massages
This is a bonus on nights of a long day at work. Scalp massages with your favorite oil relaxes you, but it also simulates your scalp.

Eat a Protein-Rich Diet
There is no replacement for a proper diet. You need to make sure that you are eating a balanced diet to see maximum results in the hair department. But, I’ll let you in on a little secret: protein. Protein is essential for all kinds of things. Especially, if you are the kind of person that likes to exercise and work out. Protein is the ultimate natural remedy for your hair. Your hair is made up of protein. So, if you want to give your hair a new lease of life, make it stronger, healthy and more vital, it’s time to up your protein intake. Eggs, chicken and fish, are all tasty, healthy, and jam packed with awesome proteins that make your hair look fabulous.
If you have allergies to eggs, nuts, chicken or fish,  an alternative you could try are avocados to eat or use them with your favorite oil as a great deep conditioner



The Final Word…
Growing your hair doesn’t have to be an ordeal. Use this handy five-step guide to amazingly thick and luscious locks in no time at all!
Be patient with your hair because this is a journey that will reap rewards over time. You have to find what works best for you because what works for someone else may not gel with your hair regime.  Do your research.

Do you have any hair care secrets or tips? I’d love to hear from you!

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