Spider-Man Mt Climber

“Tabata” is a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout protocol that has fantastic fitness and weight-loss benefits.  If the term is new to you, check out this post as a “Tabata 101”!

How does a workout so short burn so much fat?

Using any exercise that involves a large number of muscles, Tabata training will raise your metabolism and heart rate and give you a super-efficient fat burning workout. Please, don’t pick plain biceps curls – it’s a single-joint exercise that only involves a small amount of muscle! Think squats – lunges – burpees – jumping jacks – push ups – skipping…  or Muriel’s choice in the photo above – Spiderman Lunges!!  Since you are performing these exercises at a very high intensity, your body will have to work much harder to keep up that intensity.   To work at this level, your heart will pump faster and your metabolism will really rev, which you want and absolutely need if your goal is to burn fat. Your metabolism will stay revved up not only during the workout, but even 24 hours afterward depending on how intensely you’re able to work.

Short, but oh-so-sweet!

With about 5 minutes to warm up and about 5-8 minutes after the session to bring the heart rate down, you’ve got a workout that can improve your cardio fitness, core and muscle strength and one that burns a ton of calories.  20 seconds of work doesn’t sound like much though, does it?!  Those 20 second intervals may not seem very difficult, but the idea is to do 20 seconds of work at YOUR MAXIMUM capacity!  When you work for 20 seconds at HIGH intensity, take only a 10 second rest and then repeat for 8 rounds of 20:10, those 20 seconds can feel like the longest, hardest 20 seconds of your life!  The amount of fat that can be burned using Tabata training is what makes all that hard work 100% worth it!

But how long is the workout… really…

Yes, a Tabata interval is technically 4 minutes long (8 x 20 seconds on and 10 seconds off).  If it sounds to good to be true, it kind of is…  The original research with this “magic” 4-minute interval protocol pushed the subjects to absolute exhaustion.  They weren’t just feeling the burn, hitting muscular failure and not wanting to continue – they were truly pushed to absolute exhaustion in 4 minutes of 8 all-out bouts of 20 seconds.  We mere mortals can use the protocol for 4 minutes and 1-4 exercises and then repeat it with new exercises to give us an effective tool for us! Our Tabata workout might be 8, 12, 16 minutes or more depending on the intensity used.

What if I’m a beginner?

If you’re new to exercise, this type of training is not exactly for you… although Tabata interval timing can still be used – at a more moderate level of effort.  Minimize the risk of injury by working your way up to the intensity and duration mentioned above.  Also, make sure you completely warm up before you start into your Tabata routine.  When in doubt, ask your mcc trainers to design your Tabata workouts based on your current level of fitness.

Don’t miss out on the popular Tabata & Foam Rolling classes coming back for a second month this June at mcc!  Log in and book using your regular class credits – but hurry!  Spaces are limited!!