Impress Your Dates & Mates: Tabata Training

Running Outside Tim & Annette

Only you can decide how you impress them: By doing it, or just talking about it?

Forget the 4-Hour Body. Tabata Training is a four-minute high-intensity interval workout, which betters aerobic and anaerobic fitness levels. (In case you've forgotten, anaerobic fitness is basically muscle building.)

A Japanese scientist (named Tabata) figured this out by studying male college athletes. Over a period of six weeks, one group rode a stationary bike for 60 minutes five times a week (at 70% intensity), and the other group did what is now known as the Tabata protocol (at 170% intensity). It involves warming up, and then exercising as fast and hard as you can for 20 seconds, resting for 10, and repeating for a total of four minutes.

The result was that the stationary bike group improved their aerobic fitness level by 10%, with no change to their anaerobic fitness levels. The Tabata group increased their aerobic level by 14%, and their anaerobic level by a whopping 28%.

The drawback? Aside from a heart attack, the four-minute workout doesn't burn an exceptionally high number of calories, so if you're looking to lose or maintain your weight, you'll still need to do longer durations of cardio. However, it will help you build muscle and burn fat faster, and if you only have five minutes for a work-out, this is better than nothing.

Some trainers suggest ending a 'regular' cardio workout with one Tabata session. Others are suggesting variety in Tabata workouts, so you don't fatigue one set of muscles by doing the same thing repeatedly (like running in place). Instead, they'll suggest running in place (20 seconds), resting (10 seconds), jumping jacks (20 seconds), resting (10 seconds), and repeating for four minutes.

And still more are turning entire workouts into Tabata programs, putting together a series working out the entire body over a 30-minute period with a one-minute rest in between each four-minute program.

That, friends, should get you through at least your appetizer.

If you need more, click on one of these links:

Fat-Blasting, Full-Body Tabata Workout

The Unbelievable 4-Minute Cardio Workout

Home Tabata Workout