Remember our bodies are great at adapting, so sometimes you have to dig deep to find new ways to reach your goals. Fitness fads come and go but some are good and worth trying.
Tabata — I know, it sounds like the name of a trendy new 14th Street restaurant — is a high intensity interval training program that’s catching on. Developed by a Japanese ice skating coach who found his athletes who worked harder for shorter periods had better results than those who worked longer at lower intensity levels, it’s catching on because it yields results for muscle endurance, cardiovascular strength and is great at burning fat.
Tabata training is a circuit training protocol of eight exercises with a two-to-one work/rest ratio. With Tabata you’ll use a straightforward 20 seconds “on” and 10 seconds “off” system with a one-minute break at the end. So in total we’re only talking four minutes of work, but at the highest intensity possible. This makes Tabata the perfect workout for us ultra busy Washingtonians, who complain of having no time to work out. Well now you only need four minutes to get your body right.
How do you know what exercises to do? It depends on your goals and fitness level. If your goal is to burn more fat, then you should do more cardio exercises and exercises that use as many muscles as possible. Try jumping jacks, burpees and mountain climbers. If your goal is more strength based, then you should be sure to include strength exercises for your target areas. I’m a lover of lunges, pull ups and push ups.
The most important rule to setting up a Tabata workout is that you have to setup your Tabata protocol in such a way that you can be successful. So don’t pick a bunch of exercises that you cannot do at maximum output for the entire 20 seconds. Tabata burn out is not cute. A way to avoid this is by alternating your exercises from cardio to something else when first starting out. This can help you to get a great workout, but also make sure you don’t overload yourself.
An example of a whole body Tabata workout could be body weight squats, burpees, pushups, mountain climbers, lunges, high knees, plank and tuck jumps. As your fitness level increases and to see maximum benefits, you’ll want to do multiple rounds. Give yourself one-minute break at the end of the last exercise before starting again.
Tabata training is a high intensity workout that you can use anywhere as long as you have a timer, water and a little will power. It’s always important to continue to change up your workout and to work at high intensities. Now that spring is finally here, keep your body guessing at the gym.