Bigger Than Biceps: Tabata: A quicker workout to burn more fat


Lately I've been thinking a lot about the concept of time and how it relates to various aspects of life. Often, time goes too slow during the moments we want to fast forward, and too fast during the situations we want to slow down. For those who complain about not having enough time to workout, and that they're gaining weight, or even feeling like they're not healthy enough, time is a major factor.

One way to make time for fitness is to decrease the time needed to exercise. I've touched on busy lifestyles before and easier ways to make working out fit into your schedule. One way is through "Tabata" exercises.

Tabata was founded by Japanese scientist Dr. Izumi Tabata and a team of researchers from the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo during the 1990's, according to The effectiveness of the technique was shown in an experiment between two groups of athletes. One worked out five days per week for an hour while the other worked out four days per week for four minutes and 20 seconds. Each for six weeks. The first group increased cardiovascular levels, but didn't advance their muscles. The second group increased cardiovascular levels and muscles mass by 28 percent.

A Tabata program involves practicing an exercise at high-intensity for 20 seconds and recovering for 10 seconds before repeating the exercise again. That happens eight times. Before moving on to the next movement, you have 60 seconds to rest, and then four more sets ensue. You don't necessarily have to do eight rounds. I switch it up sometimes and do one move for four rounds and another for the last four rounds. But, the real burn comes from a continual eight rounds of one exercise.

Even though it sounds like torture, it has many benefits. As you read before, you'll boost your anaerobic and aerobic systems, as well as decrease the amount of time you'll need to workout (in the gym or not), and burn more calories in a small amount of time due to the intensity level. It's also a great switch up to a routine for someone who's tired of banking hours in the gym and seeing no progress. I used to eat a brownie and later spend an hour on the stair master, but that's not how it has to be. I learned to shop around for programs and educate myself on the fitness industry and proper nutrition.

The best part about Tabata is that you can tailor it to your needs in so many ways. It's adaptable for your office during lunch or out in the backyard while the children nap. Most exercises can be done without any equipment, but I've found by adding weights the workout becomes more challenging, and I'm always looking for more challenges. Even if you don't want to make Tabata your entire workout, lift weights and finish off with a challenging plyometrics combination. What I mean by that is, do two eight sets, so eight minutes, because each eight set of the 20 sec on, 10 sec off amounts to four minutes. Do four sets of box jumping, then four sets of jumping jacks. Rest for 60 seconds and then do burpees for four sets and jump squats for the last four. For an all out Tabata exercise day, shoot for 16 minutes, so four eight minute sets, or four exercises.

I've been using the ActiveX app more during Tabata workouts. It has a pause button if you take time to switch to another exercise and it's actual people counting down and telling you the next exercise rather than a computer. Each program has a breakdown of what exercises are included and gives demonstrations to how each one should be performed. It also has a section called 'Feed' where articles, tips and positive quotes are posted. It's an entire sector of the fitness world under one app. Set up your next week of workouts with the app to stay on track and plan ahead for what you can do at what time.

With the ever revolutionizing world we live in today, I don't want to hear that your health isn't a priority and that you don't have time to exercise. If you want to better yourself, you better make time to do so.

—Makayla-Courtney McGeeney can be reached at (802)-447-7567, ext. 118.


If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.

Powered by Creative Circle Media Solutions