Tabata Training: a “4 minute miracle” you’ll love to hate

“It’s sucky!!” That’s what I always say when introducing it to clients. Any eye makeup you may have been wearing will make its way to your towel by the end. Don’t even bother. Get ready for sweaty.

Tabata is an intense fat-burning workout that is basically the grandaddy of high-intensity interval training (HIIT). I truly hate it (makes me want to hurl). BUT recent research shows it can burn a whopping 13.5 calories a minute — and double a person’s metabolic rate for 30 minutes post workout. Ok, now we’re back to love.
It started in the 1990s by Japanese professor Izumi Tabata who used the training method to get speed skaters in shape for the Olympics. Tabata protocol consists of short, four-minute rounds of explosive moves done for 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off. That works out to eight 20 second segments of exercise within a 4 minute time frame.

Tabata is an extremely effective way to boost metabolism fast. To put it into context, it would take five times the amount of typical cardio exercise, like a 20-minute brisk walk, to shed the same number of calories that result from a 4-minute Tabata.

The trick to getting all these benefits is the level of intensity. Just pick an activity such as jump squats, burpees, pushups, jumping rope, or even running and biking and go HARD. And when I say “as hard as you can go,” I mean 100-percent maximal intensity. By the end of the 4 minutes you should feel like you’re going to collapse into a pile of mush and proclaim “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!”

The beauty is, it’s low-tech, low-cost and convenient. You really only need a timer to mark your eight rounds (each with 20-seconds of intense effort plus 10-seconds rest). Search for “Tabata Timer Apps” and you’ll get tons of options available for a free download.

So if you decide to do Tabata, make sure you have epsom salts at home for that muscle soak in the tub you’ll be needing after!

Here are some tabata ideas:
Jump Squats
Frog Jumps ( like playing leap frog)
Push Ups
Box Jumps (like jumping up onto a high park bench or street curb)
Skiiers (split jumps in a lunge alternating feet forward and backward)
Jumping Jacks
Running Hills

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