How The Tabata Technique Changed My Life

Learning about Tabata is what changed my life. Reminding me that life is short. And the solution to get the best out of life is prioritising our and the health of the people we love. For me and many others, it started with Tabata. Some of you might have heard of it, or if you’re like me living under a rock, probably not. It’s an exercise technique created by a Japanese scientist, Izumi Tabata.

A woman in plank position on a yoga mat, which also be mixed into a Tabata routine.
A woman in a plank position, one of the many workouts that could be incorporated in a Tabata routine.
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

So What Exactly Is Tabata Anyway?

Its more famous sibling is the HIIT (high-intensity interval training). Consisting of low-intensity anaerobic workouts done in short intervals with longer recovery periods. The duration can be as quick as 10 to 30 minutes. However, Tabata consists of higher-intensity anaerobic exercises with a 20-second interval workout, 10 seconds of rest, and repeated eight times. Accounting for a total of four minutes. Both are just effective, increasing one’s metabolic rates and endurance.

When I was introduced to Tabata, I had never heard of it. It was after I’ve gotten to know about a husband and wife team, Dallas Wong and Melina Tan’s transformation that I took an interest in Tabata. They both are Tabata enthusiasts turned coaches, whose life changed primarily due to a change in their diets, and workout regime. Their unhealthy past habits are eerily similar to mine. Eating all the fast food I wanted and peppered with sudden bursts of mood swings. I tried all the diets and YouTube workouts but I didn’t persevere long enough to see results. I never did anything to change this.

A woman stretching on a yoga mat.
Working out, like this woman doing stretching on the mat, is the language your body loves most.
Photo by Thirdman from Pexels

How Tabata Turned My Curiosity To Reality

I’m already in my twenties, ready to join the working class in a couple of years and I’m ready to dive right in to a healthy lifestyle, and never to turn back. Trying Tabata out of curiosity inspired me to finally maintain it. At the time of writing this, I have currently finished a whole week of working out together with my family. I love the experience, but one downside I realised when I do workouts without professional guidance was the exclusion of personalised meal plans and exercise routine. I fear that I’ll lose traction and give up before I see my desired results. Hence, I reckon I could do with some professional help based on my needs. And who’s better to coach me other than Dallas and Melina? Their life-changing experiences are evident: once novice in the fitness world, to becoming role-model fitness coaches.

Meet The Role Models Who Use Tabata In Some Of Their Workouts

Who are Dallas and Melina? They are just average people like us, who were recommended to a fit community by a friend. What makes them different is that they took that opportunity to actually make a difference with themselves. And took it one step further by becoming full-time wellness experts to share the benefits of exercises, joining a group of coaches with the same intentions. They are successful independent lifestyle coaches based at Subang Jaya, Selangor in Malaysia teaching various exercise routines together including HIIT programmes such as Tabata and True HIIT, with Dallas teaching Animal Flow. They work seamlessly, and accept anyone from any part of the world who is interested to make a lifestyle change. Their online presence ranges from Facebook to Instagram bringing in many online clients.

Dallas and Melina, Tabata experts posing after a Zoom workout session.
Dallas Wong and his wife, Melina Tan during one of their Zoom sessions back in March 2020 when the Malaysian Movement Control Order (MCO) had already started.
Source: Dallas Wong

A New Beginning For Melina’s Fitness Journey

From wanting to be healthy to being healthy themselves, their story is inspiring and relatable. Melina actually used to work in the fashion and retail industry, but she didn’t pay much attention to her health. She finally took notice when she accepted a new job at a company with a culture that saw health as an obvious aspect of your life. Admitting to having a pot belly, she drank up to four cups of coffee per day, and ate anything she wanted. She went to the gym three times a week for six months. Noticing that no results were forthcoming, she heard about her friend’s transformation story. Seeing her friend’s before and after pictures motivated Melina to follow the Ten Days Lean and Tone Programme transforming her body and lifestyle completely.

Many people working out to Tabata together outside at the basketball court.
Happiness comes in different forms and this was Melina’s. This was one of their group’s first Fit Club at TWC in Damansara Uptown, before they expanded to other various groups held both indoors in fit clubs and outdoors all across Malaysia.
Source: Dallas Wong

The Day That Changed Dallas’s Life

Imagine, you, a person who never took a second look at your health, started running with a group of people trying to make a change in your life. You’re running but you feel like you’re only going slower each second. You realised how you’ve let yourself become like this, so unfit. This was how Dallas’s story began. Dallas had been accompanying Melina to her workouts only to give her moral support. He observed her positive progress for a month and was convinced that he should be fit and healthy too. Once he decided to give the Fit Club a try, he visited the place where the classes were held.

The first thing he noticed was the before-and-after transformation photos hanging on the wall. He had the opportunity to actually meet and interact with the real people behind those photos. This spurred him to be more resolved in getting fit and healthy himself.

A before and after photo of Dallas's transformation with Tabata
An amazing transformation with lifestyle change, resulting in Dallas having six-pack abs, and a new regime on how to lead a healthy lifestyle.
Source: Dallas Wong

A Sustainable Transformation Triumph By The Wongs

Dallas heard about the obstacles they faced, the happiness they gained, and advice from their own experiences. Everything was leading him to join. With no set goals, he just wanted to start and see where it would take him. Well, let’s just say he got more than what he bargained for. After about eight months, he had lost up to 11 kilogrammes with an added bonus of reducing his snoring. He became more invested and took a leap to become an ACE certified personal trainer and has also recently been certified as an L1 instructor for Animal Flow. Believing in the potential of a proper exercise and nutrition regime, he took one more big step together with Melina, quitting their jobs to work as full-time fitness instructors. Who wouldn’t want coaches who believe in their programmes so much, risking their careers for the opportunity to believe in you as well?

A gym full of people exercising together with Tabata.
Dallas, in a maroon sleeveless t-shirt, straddling backwards further back in the middle, teaching a class before mandatory social distancing was imposed on 18 March 2020.
Source: Dallas Wong

Tabata And Right Nutrition Offer A Higher Quality Of Life

We can work out all we can, but we still won’t see a difference if we don’t control what we put into our bodies. Nutrition comes first, then exercise follows. We do not have to go straight into cutting out all the unhealthy foods we’re eating because that would be unsustainable. This can lead to binge eating, stopping a diet altogether, and other consequences of improper nutrition.

Small plates of various cut vegetables and someone cutting broccoli on a cutting board.
The bad stuff always escalates faster than the good stuff. Dallas and Melina’s counteract these methods, allowing three full healthy meals every single day in their meal plans.
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

80% Nutrition, 20% Exercise

According to Dallas, there are many clients who are only seeking to gain healthy eating habits. Exercising isn’t their thing. They want to have individualised meal plans, not only to lose or increase weight but also to combat diseases and other health issues. The coach’s role is to actively engage them to meet their health goals. They also encourage their zealous clients to take a step further by becoming coaches, nutritionists, and role models to inspire others. Yes, even with something as simple as a meal plan. However, this is what Dallas has to say for the best results:

“80% nutrition, 20% workout, and 100% mindset.”

– Dallas Wong, WellnessXperts LIfestyle Coach
A person taking a photo of a bowl of food.
The Fit Club community keeps each other in check by regularly posting what they eat online from Instagram to Facebook by using #fitkl, #wxs, #healthy, and many more. Motivating each other and finding solace on a collaborated journey.
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Helping Hands From The Fit Club Community

We don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that seeing other people’s improvements triggers our weird minds to see it as something to beat. But a little friendly competition doesn’t hurt anyone. Dallas and Melina actually emphasised how inspiring and motivational the physical and online community has helped them on their journey. If we suffer together, we come together. Due to COVID-19, their classes and programmes have all gone online together. Exercising from home with guidance from experienced coaches of various backgrounds has proven to work.

A zoom workout session screenshot hosted by Dallas on the upper left corner.
Dallas, at the top left, hosting one of their recent workout groups on Zoom and is still going on today.
Source: Dallas Wong

I actually had the opportunity to participate in one of the online Zoom sessions and believed that the environment would have been no different from a physical class. It even attracts way more people to engage in the session and keep them on their programmes more effectively. Implementing what they’ve learnt effectively, practising them in their daily life. Some work well in a professional setting whereas others find meaning and purpose in interacting with spontaneous members of a community with the same common theme: trust.

“We don’t have to bring people to the gym, we bring the gym to their homes.”

– DALLAS Wong AND MELINA tan, WellnessXperts Lifestyle Coaches

Binding Family Ties And Gaining A New Perspective

I won’t lie to you, exercising and cutting out unhealthy foods are exhausting and a pain. But anyone can do it, regardless of age. Tabata is flexible allowing the ability to design your own sets of exercises for individual preference and necessity. For example, people who are older in age might have a difficult time performing certain exercises. We can easily switch it with one where they may find it easier but just as effective. This is a perfect way to have your family and friends join in on the fun, gaining happiness from people and satisfaction of checking off your exercise for the day.

Dallas, Melina and their two children posing while showing their Body Transformation Challenge photos with the help of Tabata.
Dallas (right) and Melina (left) showcasing their Body Transformation Challenge (BTC) alongside their 12-year-old twin daughters, Charlotte (second left) and Olivia (second right) who are their biggest supporters.
Source: Dallas Wong

When I interviewed the Wongs, they reminded me of my parents as they are around the same age. There are so many funny similarities, I was surprised. I believe that Tabata could help my family also. I constantly talk to my parents about how beneficial Tabata is. Through proper nutrition and exercise regimes like Tabata, it led Melina (age 40) to have a current body age of an 18-year-old, and Dallas (42), a body age of 30-year-old. At the same time, juggling the responsibilities as parents to their two beautiful twin daughters. I still have a hard time convincing my dad to work out with me. Real effort takes time.

Don’t Wait For That One Day To Come, Make Today Your Day One

Time is finite for each person. Start before it’s too late, even if it’s already late. The first step is to choose your day one to start a new lifestyle, that is to start working out and changing the way you eat. Mentally prepare your mind and especially your body, as it’s going to be tough for the first couple of days. It takes two weeks to build a habit so give your 100%. But if you need that extra boost to get you going, seek help from people who will enable you to trust the process. Why not visit coaches Dallas and Melina’s social media pages for your next steps to a healthier lifestyle? Take control of your life again and make today your day one. What are you waiting for? If it’s a sign, here it is.

Dina GHAZALI

About Dina GHAZALI

Raised abroad almost her entire life, Dina is well exposed to the multi-cultural world around her. Penned her innermost thoughts on paper as a child, and eventually fell in love with writing. Aims to be a successful writer one day.

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