If getting lean and shedding fat is a goal of yours, your workouts must hit a certain level of intensity.
Research has shown that short bursts of high intensity exercises increases metabolism and burns more calories than steady continuous cardio (i.e. running on a treadmill). If that intensity is missing from your workouts then Tabata might be the right group fitness class for you. To answer some of our questions about Tabata, we reached out to Ingrid Knight-Cohee, our Group Fitness Director who loves incorporating Tabata into her own workouts.
What is Tabata and how is it different from other forms of training?
Tabata is a form of HIIT training (high intensity interval training), which means that rather than continuous or steady state cardio, it is characterized by short intense bouts of effort followed by recovery or rest periods. A true Tabata format is 20 seconds of hard work followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated 8 times for a total 4 minute cycle.
What’s an example of a quick Tabata style workout?
A typical Tabata workout should be limited to 30-45 minutes. (i.e. you should be working so hard that a longer workout is not possible!). After a 5 minute warm-up, choose 4 high intensity exercises such as jump squats, burpees, switch lunges, and mountain climbers. Perform each with the Tabata protocol making sure to take the 10 second rest breaks after each work set and rehydrate regularly. Finish the workout with a 5 minute cool down and stretch.
Who is this class good for?
Even though Tabata is described as very intense training, it can be appropriate for anyone since all exercises and intensity levels can be modified. But, it would be important to ease into this style of training by starting out with lower intensities and shorter workouts (e.g. 4 rather than 8 sets of each exercise).
Why should we try Tabata?
Research has proven that Tabata style training increases metabolism and fat burning capacity, and improves V02Max (one's volume of oxygen uptake) and anaerobic threshold (the point at which the body switches from oxygen to glycogen for energy), more than steady state training.
How often should we perform Tabata?
Tabata workouts should comprise a maximum of 20% of one’s workout week. (i.e. if you workout 5x/week, only do Tabata once – it should be that demanding!). Balance the rest of your workout week with a steady state of cardio, strength training x2, and a Yoga class, or flexibility training.
Who created Tabata?
Professor Izumi Tabata was a Japanese exercise scientist who first researched the benefits of his training protocol with highly trained endurance athletes in 1996. Tabata training should be "uncomfortably intense" in the work sets, getting to 90% of HRMax (maximum heart rate), with very restful recovery in-between sets. Expect to feel very fatigued towards the end of a true Tabata set. As with any physical exercise, stop immediately if you experience chest pain, nausea or dizziness.