News: Taking fitness to Extreme 60
Story by Christine Cabalo
MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII, Hawaii - Gym users are exerting excellence in exercise for Extreme 60, one of the newest classes at Semper Fit Center.
Participants do quick bursts of activity in 20-second intervals, then take 10 seconds of rest before beginning another set. The center started the 60-minute classes in July and added more sessions due to increased demand.
“The class features a lot of functional movements,” said Karen Hubbard, the center’s instructor for Extreme 60 and native of Sunderland, Mass. “This is great for people in recovery or at any fitness level, building on everyday motions that are easy, like taking a cookie pan out of the oven or doing laundry.”
The format is similar to other training using short intervals of intense activity, mixing cardio and strength exercises. Hubbard said Extreme 60 follows the Tabata regimen, first analyzed by researcher Izumi Tabata. In the 1990s, Tabata was the Japanese Olympic speed skating team assistant training coach and tracked the team’s high intensity interval training with head coach Irisawa Koichi.
Some of the exercises Hubbard teaches in Extreme 60 mimic the speed skating that first inspired the method. However, Hubbard said she especially enjoys teaching Extreme 60 because it offers a wide variety of exercises. Since she started training with the method in October 2011, Hubbard has experienced a boost in athletic performance.
“I originally got into (Tabata regimen) to help with running, and I always look to make those 20 seconds hard on myself,” Hubbard said. “This is a very endurance-building class. This can definitely help you in running a 3-mile Physical Fitness Test or a marathon.”
In a session of Extreme 60, the group completes floor exercises, practices standing positions and uses a wide range of exercise equipment. Hubbard said many of the exercises in class are compound moves that work different muscle groups at the same time.
Ula Holland, who has regularly taken part in Hubbard’s sessions for several weeks, said she’s already seeing strong physical results.
“In just a few weeks, I’ve been able to increase hand weights from 8 pounds to 10 pounds,” Holland said. “I find it’s easier running a mile. The class has helped me have better upper body strength and more energy for cardio.”
Hubbard teaches other modifications for beginners to Extreme 60, although she prefers more intensity. She said the flexible method offers a full body workout at a comfortable fitness level.
“This is great because your brain is active while you do it, and you try to one-up yourself in class,” Hubbard said. “You can try to up your number of reps, work on strength training without beating yourself up.”
What makes Extreme 60 stand out for Julia Miller, a frequent attendee, is its a full body workout. She said Hubbard ensures participants keep proper form.
“You’re keeping your heart rate at a higher but still safe level,” Miller said. “You burn more calories, like you would in cardio, but you don’t give up resistance training.”
Whether gym users go to extremes or take a softer approach, the Extreme 60 class puts them to work at 100 percent.