As you may know, Strength, toning, and endurance is what X Gym is all about. We accomplish all this in 21 minutes, twice a week, in a safe, effective and efficient way, based on the latest research in Xercise science.
Our members get cardio results from this workout too – plenty of it – certainly enough to keep up with friends and family doing active stuff and sports.
Some members want a little Xtra though, so we have our own version of “cardio” at the X Gym, called “Xardio,” also invented based on research and our own Xperimentation like everything else we do.
Our system uses high intensity interval training (HIIT), which is proven to give the best results for cardio improvement, as well as an Xtra augmentation in strength results, which makes it Xtremely superior to traditional cardio.
The interval segments we use are 14:7, meaning a 14 second sprint segment to a 7 second rest segment, for 7 cycles. Many other people use the “Tabata” protocol named after Dr. Tabata, who came up with the 20:10 timing for 8 segments.
Recently, a member asked why we do 14:7 instead of 20:10, so it gave me the opportunity to Xplain, which also made me think I should write a post on it so other people can know why. Here was my answer to his email inquiry:
The reason we go with 14:7 is because the 20:10 Tabata protocol was actually designed for professional cyclists and they can’t even do it – which was on purpose – because Dr. Tabata was trying to create a formula they couldn’t do, in order to force changes in their highly developed, elite level muscle cells.
Then the media got a hold of it and started talking about it, so because of its intensity, it became popular in CrossFit and traditional gyms, even though no one could come close to doing it correctly because they weren’t the same elite level athletes it was designed for.
Most people do great with the first segment, and then “good” with the second, and then half-ass the third and then just basically give up by the fourth segment and pace themselves on the remaining segments in order to be able to finish all eight, which completely defeats the purpose.
Highly trained professional athletes can usually make it through the sixth or maybe the seventh at full speed, but then tank out on the last one or two segments, which was the design purpose and the reason for 8 segments. No one could do it!
When “normal” people tank out on the third or fourth and then pace out the rest, the effectiveness ends up being less than half the intended purpose (or worse for most people).
14:7 however, is doable for “normal” people. What I usually see is people start crapping out after about 12 seconds anyway during the sprint segments and slow down as they anticipate the start of the rest segment, so the rest segment really begins a second or two early (no matter what coaching they receive because they really don’t feel like they are slowing down). Most people also wait for a second or two after the “go” signal or start slower than they could, so the “sprint” interval ends up working out to about 10 seconds and the rest interval also to about 10 seconds, as far as the heart and lungs are concerned.
A 10:10 true work ratio is actually awesome for “normal” people and it’s quite doable, so they are able to keep up the intensity, which gives them the results we are after. But if I told people to do 10:10, it would turn out to be 8 work and 12 rest because of the segment anticipation and resulting unconscious speed adjustments, so 14:7 ends up being 10:10, which is actually what I want them to do.
The most advanced members do a true 14:7 though because they really want to go after it, so it also automatically adjusts to people’s intensity ability and fitness level. Plus, 14:7 is way more doable as a mental concept, so people end up coming back for more classes, instead of becoming discouraged because they feel so far off from being able to actually do it.
Also, since we are doing five sets of 7 rounds, 14:7 makes that more doable too. No one would have a snowball’s chance if we were doing five sets of 20:10. Not even if pro athletes were there.
So there you have it. 14:7 isn’t just because I have an obsession with the number 7 and all multiples of it. There’s actually science behind it and purposeful intention to design the program for optimum results for the biggest segment of our population – the 99% of us who aren’t professional athletes. We are “normal” people who have jobs and careers that don’t involve working out all day every day, but we certainly want to get in shape as fast as possible, with minimum time required.