It sounds impossible, but it's been proven in research. A four-minute high intensity routine can offer more benefits than a 60-minute jog. Read on to learn more about Tabata.
- by Lionel Haynes, Jr.
Tabata is named after Japanese coach and researcher, Dr. Izumi Tabata, now dean of the Sports and Health Science graduate program at Ritsumeikan University. In a-first-of-its-kind study, Dr. Tabata pitted high intensity interval training (H.I.I.T) against 60-minute “steady-state” aerobic exercises.
Researchers were surprised to discover that the high intensity regimen – exercising vigorously for twenty seconds on and ten seconds off during a four-minute session (for eight rounds total) - produced results that far outpaced traditional routines.
In fact, Tabata’s short intense sessions are equal to a sixty-minute jog, burning an average of ten to fifteen calories a minute and working around the clock to burn even more.
Still in disbelief?
Take it from local fitness guru Helene Loiacano of Fit First.
“Lots of my clients are into Tabata now,” Helene says. “It’s especially popular with really busy business people.”
Helene says that part of Tabata’s appeal is that it can be done in different ways, incorporating anything from strength training, to running, to weight exercises. To get the best results, any exercise should be done at maximum effort for twenty seconds, alternating with ten seconds of rest, for a total of eight “rounds” over four minutes.
“In that four-minute session, you can do a single exercise or eight different exercises," says Loiacano. “You can mix lower and upper body exercises too.”
Tabata doesn't discriminate either, according to Helene. It's for everybody, from exercise novices determined to carry out a New Year's resolution to the extreme cross-fit expert.
Helene explains. “The beauty of Tabata is that it’s right for everybody, even someone who's so deconditioned that they can barely walk to their mailbox.”
Helene gives a few examples of beginning exercises: throwing and catching a moderate-sized medicine ball against a wall; jogging on a treadmill (moving your feet to the side using the safety bars to get that ten-second break); and leaping on/off jumping blocks.
Mixing routines up also helps ward off boredom. And it’s not so much how you get there as arriving at your ultimate goal. Helene quotes her fitness professional father, J.E. Loiacano, who “taught me everything.”
“He always says that workouts have to be fun. If you want to go to California, it doesn’t matter if you drive a Volkswagen or take a 747 - as long as you enjoy the trip."
For instance, if you walk five days a week, you can still meet your fitness goal, it just takes longer, says Helene. “Tabata’s more like taking the 747,” she says, smiling.
Helene advises people to check with their physician before diving into Tabata (or any new fitness routine), even if you were once a star athlete in your school days. Over time, our bodies gradually change.
“But I want people to understand that anyone can do Tabata,” she says. “It’s not complicated. And it only takes 14 minutes a day, including the ten-minute warm-up. It’s simple and it’s fun.”
If Tabata-style sounds like a good fit to achieve your New Year’s resolution, go for it. You may start seeing noticeable results after two weeks.
Four weeks after that, you could be coasting past that resolution. With Tabata’s natural boosts to the human growth hormones (HGH) production, all that uninvited fat should be blasted off your body long before bikini and speedo season.
Find Helene on Facebook under "Fit First - Helene Loiacano Johnson"
There are lots of beginning or low-impact Tabata routines on Youtube. Try them out until you find one that seems to fit your style. Below are two that we enjoyed:
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