An ever-growing emphasis on health consciousness, along with marketing strategies that prioritize maximizing profits over providing good health information and products, means that many of us are left wondering what, if any, strategy can help us improve our health and fitness. Still, the most common question that I get is this classic: “What’s the best way to lose body fat?” While I am glad that more people are beginning to realize the importance of health, I have found that many have become a bit overwhelmed with the plethora of information that’s out there on the topic of fat loss and don’t know where to begin on their quest to lose body fat. There are many great programs and techniques that work very well and produce great results, and I want to describe a training strategy that is extremely effective, as well as being very time efficient (4 minutes). It’s called Tabata training.
What is Tabata, and how can it help me?
Tabata training is essentially high intensity interval training with specific work and rest times. Basically, you perform 20 seconds of intense training, then you rest 10 seconds, and repeat. You complete a total of 8 bouts of intense training, or 8 rounds. This totals 4 minutes for the workout. Yup, just 4 minutes total. Now I know many people feel that they need to do cardio for and much longer period of time (20 – 60 minutes) to feel like they are getting a good workout, but the truth is you don’t have to spend such a long period working out at a constant, steady pace to burn body fat. A growing body of research suggests that higher intensity training, which elevates your heart rate substantially for short periods, is most effective for losing body fat. Some of the great benefits of performing high intensity interval training are: You will continue to burn calories after the completion of the workout at a higher rate than a steady workout that lasts longer, it is more time efficient (eliminating the excuse that you may not have time to work out), and it is more fun (versus staring at the dusty treadmill in front of you, or watching TV to make the time go by quicker).
In our new world of technology, there’s an app for everything. I came across this Tabata App, which times your work (20 seconds) and rest (10 seconds), and keeps track of how many sets, or rounds, you have completed (8 in total). It makes it easy to track the workout, and easy to time your work and rest periods.
Implementing Tabata Training
You can use a large variety of exercises with Tabata training, as long as you use the proper work to rest ratio. Some of my favorite exercise choices are: Mountain climbers, treadmill or stair sprints, burpees, and jump rope variations. You can implement Tabata training in a variety of ways. Below are a few different options on how to incorporate it into your current training program:
You can perform training:
– At the end of a strength training workout 2-3 days a week.
– At the beginning, or end of another form of cardio training workout 2-3 days a week.
– At a local park, at home, or in a hotel room, when you have no equipment.
Give Tabata training a shot, to help you burn body fat, bust through a plateau, or even just to put some new variety in your workout, to spice up your routine a little bit. Enjoy!
– Anthony Bland