A current fitness craze called Tabata is a fresh new option for exercising using the HIIT method (High Intensity Interval Training). Many of my clients have become obsessed with Tabata and I must confess, I am too, but is Tabata right for you?
It is if you seek a fast-paced and interesting way to burn calories, tone muscles, and improve your cardiovascular system while committing to a very small allotment of time. The concept is wonderfully simple, the time required is brief and the effects on your body composition can be quick and substantial – IF done correctly.
Tabata, created by Japanese Scientist Izumi Tabata, is structured in 4 minute blocks: eight 20-second reps of intense bursts of speed and/or strength, combined with eight 10-second rest periods. The real beauty of Tabata is in it’s inherent flexibility. You can perform five 4-minute sessions in a row and have a 20-minute work out that burns as much as 400 calories, OR you can do one or two 4-minute sessions spread out throughout your day to increase calorie burn and revive energy while committing a very small (and hence manageable) time space for exercise (essential when one’s time is severely limited).
Tabata can also be done almost anywhere with little to no equipment, or in a fully-loaded gym. Another perk is that you can vary every single 4-minute session to avoid boredom and body plateau.
As a trainer I enjoy the creativity that comes from designing these mini-workout clusters. I have designed several upper body, lower body, total body and cardio Tabata routines. For my clients who opt for the five session (20 minute) workouts, I include a variety of routines to keep those 20 minutes flying by! Workouts can also be customized to suit one’s fitness level and or limitations, while still achieving enhancement to their endurance, strength and weight loss.
For those of you seeking to play around with your own Tabata work-out creations, a fabulous and free tool is the iPhone app Simply Tabata or on Android you can use Runtastic Timer. A large sized timer screen pops up and once you hit start it counts down 20 seconds, informs you to rest while counting down 10 seconds, then tells you resume; both apps loop until all 8 sessions (4 minutes) are complete. They also works in conjunction with your music player so that your music continues uninterrupted (save for the voice over rest/counter).
So give Tabata a try and let me know what you think. I believe you’ll find it an enjoyable option for achieving or maintaining your fitness health.