Looking for fast weight loss results? High-intensity interval workouts like Tabata are great calorie burners and can be performed in just a few minutes at a time, making them popular with celebs like Kyra Sedgwick and Vanessa Minnilo Lachey.
Tabata, named after a Japanese researcher who published a study on the effects of high-intensity training for athletes, is a 4-minute interval workout that repeats 20 seconds of all-out intensity followed by 10 seconds of rest. “The intensity should be the highest that can be maintained for 20 seconds without compromising form or range of motion,” says Eve Fleck, MS, an exercise physiologist and owner of Gym Without Walls in Los Angeles. “You should barely be able to complete it.”
Perform Tabata with any activity as long as you give it your all. Up the resistance or speed on a stationary bike or rowing machine; or try repetitive pushups and squats. “Tabata-style workouts give great results,” says Fleck. “Increased metabolism following a high-intensity workout has been shown to last up to 48 hours post-workout, so you burn extra calories long after the workout is over.”
Repeat Tabata intervals several times for a short workout or add one to the end of any fitness activity to give it a boost. “It’s really important to do a good warm-up and cool-down like walking on the treadmill or jumping jacks,” says Sal Marinello, a certified strength and conditioning specialist in Millburn, New Jersey. “When warming up, try to do something that makes you bend, reach, and rotate.” He recommends that you warm up for 5 to 10 minutes, and cool down for 4 minutes. If you want to give yourself an extra challenge, try wearing a weighted vest during the Tabata, he says.
Find a certified personal trainer in your area and get an assessment, so you can learn the proper form for Tabata, and prevent injuries.