Tabatas and Fat Loss


Image by sanchom via Flickr

You may be asking yourself, “What is Tabatas and how can it help me lose weight”?  Tabatas is a protocol that was first implemented by Izumi Tabata at the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo Japan.  Dr. Tabata performed intense, short bursts of exercise on a group of physically fit athletes for 6 weeks.  He noted at the end of the study, a 28%  increase in anaerobic capacity and a 14% increase in VO2 max.

The way a Tabata style workout is set up is as follows.  Perform an exercise with all out intensity for 20 seconds.  At the end of the 20 seconds you immediately rest for 10 seconds and then do the same exercise for 20 seconds.  Follow this same protocol 8 times for a total of 4 minutes.  If you are new to exercise and you are interested in trying Tabatas, I strongly recommend you begin slowly.  Choose an exercise such as sprints on a treadmill or stationary cycle.  Monitor your heart rate during exercise and immediately following as well. The best way to do this is to wear a heart rate monitor.  Watch to see how long it takes for your heart rate to recover after the exercise session is complete.  A good sign that you are ready to increase the difficulty is how fast your heart rate recovers.

Here is a typical Tabatas style workout that I give to my clients.

Begin with a 10 minute warm up on a treadmill, elliptical or rowing machine followed by dynamic stretching to loosen up.

  • Rapid steps
  • Mountain climbers
  • Med ball slams
  • Weighted toe touches

Cooldown and stretching for 10 minutes.

Perform each exercise 8 times for a total of 20 seconds work and 10 seconds rest.  When you have completed one exercise take 30 seconds to a minute rest and then go ahead to the next exercise until all 4 have been completed.  The total time for this workout is approx. 16 minutes, not including warm up and cooldown.  To keep up its effectiveness, please make sure you get adequate rest between workouts.  I suggest doing this style of workout no more than 3 times a week with a day’s rest in between.  Your body will thank you for it.

One of the benefits of Tabatas style workouts  is its effect on fat loss.  This style of workout raises the body’s metabolic rate even after the session is complete creating an after burn effect.  Recent studies have shown that the after burn effect of interval training is far more effective at fat loss than low intensity steady state cardio.  So you are able to leave the gym knowing you will continue to burn fat even after your workout is complete.


About Lisa

Lisa is a Certified Personal Trainer who is passionate about fitness and living an active lifestyle. She has a strong background in nutrition, having been a Chef for almost 15 years and applies this knowledge to helping her clients achieve their goals.
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One Response to Tabatas and Fat Loss

  1. Pingback: Tabata This

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