Sunday, October 11, 2009

Time to Talk Tabata

Inspired by South Beach Steve and Lori at Finding Radiance, two weight-loss bloggers who somehow make exercise sound like a fun adventure, I took a stab at a new (to me) workout known as Tabata.

But first! Let's have a look at some more pictures from my recent upstate weekend, shall we?

The shots below are from an art installation known as Opus 40.

Just to give you a quick summary of the place, Opus 40 came about when American sculptor Harvey Fite bought an old, bluestone quarry in upstate NY in 1938. He ended up turning the old stone and carved-out areas into a major, sweeping sculpture. He died in his 70s, before his work was technically complete, after a fall on some of the stones. He called it Opus 40 because he thought it would take him 40 years to "finish" the work -- although he never really defined what he meant by finishing it. It's something that seemingly could go on forever.

I don't want to relate everything in my life to my weight-loss/control efforts, but I did find this work incredibly soothing. Readers of my blog will note my tendency to get anxious over my ups and downs -- I frequently want to hurry up and "finish" losing weight (even though I know management is a forever thing). I put a lot of pressure on myself to perform perfectly all the time.

Fite's work offered me a great visual lesson on the importance of consistency. Out of small steps come great things.

I imagine there were days when Harvey Fite looked out over that big, bluestone mass in his backyard and thought, "I'll never get there." Or maybe sometimes he even thought, "Where am I going with all this?" It's possible he even had a few dark moments when the words, "I can't do it -- I just can't," ran through his head.

Ahh..but he did. Slowly, shifting and building everything by hand, for decades. I hope it won't take me that long to lose all my weight, but .... as I said, this installation is a lovely reminder that great works take time.

Right, enough chatter -- here are the pics! Click on them to see blown up versions.

This is the view as you pull in and walk past the old quarry building, which Fite converted into a house for his family. If you look closely at the picture, you can see two tombstones embedded in the foreground, right as the stone path starts to go up, just under that big bush on the right. That's where Harvey and his wife Barbara are buried.

Another angle as we walked through the installation.

Here's a large view from the back. I found those pools -- the green thing in the middle -- fascinating. The green is pollen from the trees. The water underneath is dark and primordial -- and unfathomably deep, I think. I suppose that's where the quarryworkers used to dip large slabs of stone as they pulled them out of the rock formations. Fite left them intact and worked around them, it appears.

Just wandering around, taking it in from all sides.

Found my way down to the insides!

For a sense of scale, I grabbed some shots with people in them. These are regular sized people, not Lilliputians! But they look tiny in there, don't they?

Then it was on to Kaaterskill Falls for a hike. I already posted a pic of our final destination, but I'll post it again since it looks so cool!

So, going up turned out to be the easy part. The down trek was precipitous and perilous -- so easy to turn one of my dickey ankles. I picked my way veerrrryyy carefully through the rocks and jagged tree trunks. Check out the pics below and you'll see what I'm talking about:

I got down safely and burned up some of my breakfast calories doing it, so that was a good thing. Was a lovely hike -- I hope to do some more with the BF upstate before the real winter chill sets in. I'll have to arm twist him a bit, but I think I can drag him along for a few.

So....the Tabata. For those of you who don't know what it is, South Beach Steve did a neat summary here. I refer to it now as TT -- Tabata Torture.

I elected squats for my TT -- figured it would be the easiest on my dicey knee and work my..erm, problems areas: thighs, hips, et al.

Boy, did it ever. It took a few false starts with the BF to get the timing down. There is no way I could do the squats and keep time myself -- am not that mentally coordinated. We finally got into the groove and I huffed and puffed and strained my way through.

I won't put my score up yet for fear some of you will die laughing at me. But I'm working on it!

The pros to this workout are numerous:

1) it really doesn't last that long and when it's over you definitely feel like you've been sweating and burning some fat.

2) You can pick any kind of exercise you want to do, so it's portable, variable and infinitely interesting. Burnout should not be a factor.

3) You can incorporate weights and all sorts of things so you are getting some fat-burning and muscle-building movement in simultaneously.

4) I'm pretty sure this is going to increase my fitness fairly rapidly! And that would be cool.

I'm going to do my best to keep it up and do my TT at least 3 times a week. Will let you all know how it goes.


  1. The pictures look amazing. Looks like an interesting place to visit.

    Isn't there a word for someone who enjoys self-torture? Perhaps that describes me when it comes to Tabata. I sure do hate the four minutes, but I love doing Tabata. Glad to see you joined me. :-)

  2. Lovely pic - although I too have dodgy ankles (hyper-mobile, technically) and would have found that path tough.

    Thanks for your comment on my blog - v good advice there so thank you very much.