Thanksgiving Tabatas and Your Remarkable Body

Hey all,

It’s Thanksgiving Eve and I want to impart a thought and a tool to you. It’s possible that in the next day you will consume 3000-4000+ calories–as much as double what you take in on a normal day. And more than 225 grams of fat.

I love love love Thanksgiving. It’s good, deep down. So I’m not, at all, suggesting that you not eat and thoroughly enjoy.

As I have studied physiology, I’ve gotten a new view into energy balance–what we consume in calories and how we use it (or don’t) for fuel. That glorious incoming tide of energy deserves to be met with an equally glorious gust of activity, so I offer you this: when you foresee a big bunch of food coming your way, spend even just 20 minutes putting your big muscles into a vigorous state.

This morning at Unstill Life Boot Camp, we did Tabatas, a pattern that involves doing a full-bodied exercise all out for 20 seconds followed by 10 seconds rest, repeated eight times (4 minutes total). We did 4-minute cycles of burpees, speed-skaters, push-ups and dynamic lunges. Even four sets of 4-minute Tabatas (right, that’s 16 minutes total) will shift your metabolism to burn hotter for several hours. You have to go really hard, but since it’s just for 20 seconds- psych yourself up and go for it. Keep count of how many (push-ups or whatever) you do in your first 20 seconds and try to hold that number for the next seven rounds.

I suggested to the class today that they can do Tabatas on their own, and I was met with eye-rolling. “Rachel! If we could do this on our own, we wouldn’t need to come to class.” This may be true for you, but I want you to have Tabatas in your tool box. You may know in your heart that you’re not going to use it. You might just prefer to go for a walk or a slow and even run. It may not have the same “burn” value, but I can’t knock it.

Calories and heart rate aside, I hope you do something on this day to celebrate your living, breathing, sensing, incredibly nuanced body. It is a remarkable creation.


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