May 17, 2020

Get fit in four minutes with Tabata workouts

Tabata training
four minutes
high intensity trai
3 min
Tabata workouts take just four minutes
For most people, one of the most off-putting aspects of exercising is the amount of time it takes. For a busy executives and professionals, sometimes t...

For most people, one of the most off-putting aspects of exercising is the amount of time it takes. For a busy executives and professionals, sometimes there just isn’t enough time to squeeze in an hour-long gym session in between meetings.

That is why two particular exercise methods are currently experiencing a huge surge in popularity; high intensity training (HIT) and high intensity interval training (HIIT). HIT workouts are brief, infrequent and of course, intense. HIIT workouts are similar, but they consist of alternating short bursts of intense anaerobic exercise with brief periods of recovery.

Tabata training is a combination of both HIT and HIIT workouts, and its selling point is that it can be completed in just four minutes. It came about after a Japanese scientist, Izumi Tabata, conducted a study comparing the effects of moderate intensity training and HIIT workouts. After six weeks, those exercising moderately were showing great improvements in their aerobic system, but those following a HIIT programme improved both their aerobic and anaerobic systems.

The result? Tabata training was born; a four-minute long workout session consisting of eight rounds in total. Each round is the same; 20 seconds of intense exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest. Usually, four sets of exercises are repeated twice during eight rounds and more often than not consist of things like on-the-spot sprinting, squats, lunges, push-ups and crunches.

Although Tabata training is probably the shortest cardio workout around, it is the most effective when it comes to burning fat and increasing strength and stability. One of its most attractive features is that it also boosts metabolism, meaning that even after the session you will still be burning calories and fat.

Each four minute session is said to be excruciating and they only get harder as you continue with the Tabata programme. However, if you persevere, ignore the pain and overcome the temptation to quit, the method has a huge psychological benefit as it helps to build mental strength. 

Because of the intensity of the workouts, there are warnings about who can partake in Tabata training. Those with a history of heart attacks or strokes are advised to consult their GP beforehand, as are those with high blood pressure.

There are also warnings about using weights during a Tabata workout, but this is more of a safety precaution. For example, if you are lifting a weight bar rapidly you should be careful not to lose your grip, but there are professional Tabata programmes that incorporate weights.

All in all, Tabata workouts are ideal for those who cannot spare the time to go to the gym. And although the length of the workout has been cut down to a manageable four minutes, just make sure you leave time for a shower afterwards.

A home-based Tabata workout:

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Apr 30, 2021

The challenges to vaccine distribution affecting everyone

Jonathan Colehower
5 min
The challenges to vaccine distribution affecting everyone
Jonathan Colehower, CEO at CargoChain, describes the COVID-19 vaccine distribution challenges impacting every country, organisation and individual...

While it is comforting to know that vaccines against COVID-19 are showing remarkable efficacy, the world still faces intractable challenges with vaccine distribution. Specifically, the sheer number of vaccines required and the complexity of global supply chains are sure to present problems we have neither experienced nor even imagined. 

Current projections estimate that we could need 12-15 billion doses of vaccine, but the largest vaccine manufacturers produce less than half this volume in a year. To understand the scale of the problem, imagine stacking one billion pennies – you would have a stack that is 950 miles high. Now, think of that times ten. This is a massive problem that one nation can’t solve alone.  

Production capacity 

Even if we have a vaccine – can we make enough? Based on current projections, Pfizer expects to produce up to 1.3 billion doses this year. Moderna is working to expand its capacity to one billion units this year. Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine producer, is likely to produce 60% of the 3 billion doses committed by AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and Sanofi. This leaves us about 7 billion doses short. 

Expanding vaccine production for most regions in the world is complicated and time-consuming. Unlike many traditional manufacturing operations that can expand relatively quickly and with limited regulation, pharmaceutical production must meet current good manufacturing practice (CGMP) guidelines. So, not only does it take time to transition from R&D to commercial manufacturing, but it could also take an additional six months to achieve CGMP certification. 

The problem becomes even more complex when considering the co-products required. Glass vials and syringes are just two of the most essential co-products needed to produce a vaccine. Last year, before COVID-19, global demand for glass vials was 12 billion. Even if it is safe to dispense ten doses per vial, there is certain to be significant pressure on world supply of the materials needed to package and distribute a vaccine.

It is imperative drug manufacturers and their raw material suppliers have clear visibility of production plans and raw material availability if there is any hope of optimizing scarce resources and maximising production yield.

Distribution requirements

It is widely known by now that temperature is a critical factor for the COVID-19 vaccine. Even the regions with the most developed logistics infrastructures and resources needed to support a cold-chain network are sure to struggle with distribution.

For the United States alone, State and local health agencies have determined distribution costs will exceed $8.4 billion, including $3 billion for workforce recruitment and training; $1.2 billion for cold-chain, $1 billion vaccination sites and $0.5 billion IT upgrades.  

The complexity of the problem increases further when considering countries such as India that do not have cold-chain logistics networks that meet vaccine requirements. Despite India’s network of 28,000 cold-chain units, none are capable of transporting vaccines below -25°Celsius. While India’s Serum Institute has licensed to manufacture AstraZeneca’s vaccine, which can reportedly be stored in standard refrigerated environments, even a regular vaccine cold chain poses major challenges.

Furthermore, security will undoubtedly become a significant concern that global authorities must address with a coordinated solution. According to the Pharmaceutical Security Institute, theft and counterfeiting of pharmaceutical products rose nearly 70% over the past five years. As with any valuable and scarce product, counterfeits will emerge. Suppliers and producers are actively working on innovative approaches to limit black-market interference. Corning, for example, is equipping vials with black-light verification to curb counterfeiting.

Clearly, this is a global problem that will require an unprecedented level of collaboration and coordination.

Disconnected information systems 

While it is unreasonable to expect every country around the world will suddenly adopt a standard technology that would provide immediate, accurate and available information for everyone, it is not unreasonable to think that we can align on a standard taxonomy that can serve as a Rosetta Stone for collaboration. 

A shared view of the situation (inventory, raw materials, delivery, defects) will provide every nation with the necessary information to make life-saving decisions, such as resource pooling, stock allocations and population coverage.

By allowing one central authority, such as the World Health Organization, to organize and align global leaders to a single collaboration standard, such as GS1, and a standard sharing protocol, such as DSCSA, then every supply chain participant will have the ability to predict, plan and execute in a way that maximises global health.

Political influence and social equality 

As if we don’t have enough stress and churn in today’s geopolitical environment, we must now include the challenge of “vaccine nationalism.” While this might not appear to be a supply chain problem, per se, it is a critical challenge that will hinge on supply chain capabilities.

In response to the critical supply issues the world experienced with SARS-CoV-2, the World Health Organization, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) formed Covax: a coalition dedicated to equitable distribution of 2 billion doses of approved vaccines to its 172 member countries. Covax is currently facilitating a purchasing pool and has made commitments to buy massive quantities of approved vaccines when they become available.  

However, several political powerhouse countries, such as the United States and Russia, are not participating. Instead, they are striking bilateral deals with drug manufacturers – essentially, competing with the rest of the world to secure a national supply. Allocating scarce resources is never easy, but when availability could mean the difference between life and death, it becomes almost impossible.

Global production, distribution and social equality present dependent yet conflicting realities that will demand global supply chains provide complete transparency and an immutable chain of custody imperative to vaccine distribution. 

The technology is available today – we just need to use it. We have the ability to track every batch, pallet, box, vile and dose along the supply chain. We have the ability to know with absolute certainty that the vaccine is approved, where and when it was manufactured, how it was handled and whether it was compromised at any point in the supply chain. Modern blockchain technologies should be applied so that every nation, institution, regulator, doctor and patient can have confidence in knowing that they are making an impact in eradicating COVID-19.

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