I had the opportunity to chat with Kathy G, personal trainer and creator of Tread Tabata, an ass-whooping workout. For a total of eight round on the treadmill, you go all out for 20 seconds with a 10-second rest in between (jumping to the side of the treadmill). You’re on the treadmill for a total of four minutes. After the one-minute recovery, you switch to the floor for full body exercises.Tell me a little bit about yourself.
KG: I’m a personal trainer, fitness instructor, and creator of Kathy G’s Tread Tabata. I also own my own personal training studio and am a mother of a five-year-old.
How and why did you first get involved in the fitness industry?
KG: During college, I took tons of exercise science classes. I’ve always had a passion for working out and nutrition. After graduating, I worked for a nutrition company for seven years while instructing spin and muscle conditioning classes on the side. After leaving the nutrition company, I began working as a manager at gyms and studios which inspired me to eventually open my own studio, Marblehead, in Massachusetts. It’s been amazing, and teaching has become my favorite part.
So, your workout has been scientifically proven. How did you first learn or come across these findings to help design the workout?
KG: I always stayed up-to-date on the latest fitness trends. A Japanese sports scientist named Dr. Izumi Tabata conducted research on the effects of moderate and high intensity interval training. As a runner, I thought, combining running for 20 seconds with full body exercises would be the ultimate workout. As I started using it with my clients, we both saw the amazing benefits. More and more of my clients kept requesting Tabata sessions, and my studio started accumulating treadmills.
How long did it take you to perfect the workout?
KG: Officially, it took about a year. My biggest challenge was getting the program approved by ACE. This was a huge accomplishment because it really validated my hard work. I am always playing around with different ideas and exercises to incorporate in the workout. Making each class different while hitting every muscle is important to me. I want my clients to walk out of a class sweating with a big smile on their faces.
What was the first physical change you noticed when you started doing Tabata workouts?
KG: My endurance improved significantly. My cardio fitness had improved so much, and I was toned and defined from the combination of HIIT and lifting weights.
How many times a week do you recommend doing Tabata?
KG: The average is three times a week with a day off in between.
What do you tell your clients during those 20 seconds of high intensity?
KG: It doesn’t matter if you’re a runner or not, you can do anything for 20 seconds. Pushing yourself is the only way you’re going to improve.
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What advice would you give to people who say they don’t have enough time to work out?
KG: I hear it all the time. You need to treat working out like scheduling a doctor’s appointment. Without your health, what do you have? If you can’t fit in a four-minute HIIT workout, walk during your lunch break, walk to the subway, or take the stairs.
Who gives you the most inspiration?
KG: I work with a lot of overweight clients who do Tread three to four times a week. Going to a class with a bunch of fit people can be very intimidating, but they continue to work hard.
Favorite junk food?
KG: I’m a candy junkie, I love Swedish Fish.
What was the most challenging fitness goal you had, and how did you overcome it?
KG: Training for a marathon during the winter was a challenge. Also, going on three-hour runs is very time-consuming. If you ever want to do a marathon, make sure your family is on board. My first marathon was the Boston Marathon. It was the year of the bombing, so it was a horrific experience. The following year, I returned determined to finish. Running the second time around had become more of a mental than physical challenge.
Can you talk a little bit about the app you’ve created?
KG: I wanted to be able to focus on the people doing exercises on the floor. So, I created the app for those on the treadmill to follow. They know the halfway point, and when to stop and go. You can adjust interval times, number of sets, and pair your music.