Twenty seconds doesn’t seem that long, right? Well, you might be tempted to say ‘Wrong!’ after a few sessions of Tabata.
Named after Dr. Izumi Tabata, the Tabata workout is a high-intensity interval training with a total duration of four minutes. “Tabata training breaks a workout down into clearly-defined intervals, it challenges your body with bursts of heart-pounding exertion separated by short breaks — it is a workout programme that crams maximum muscle-burning into a minimal timeframe,” says Zaineb Ali, certified Pilates instructor. It is a higher intensity version of HIIT, with shorter and more rigidly defined workouts.
“Tabata builds cardiorespiratory endurance in a short time, increasing aerobic and anaerobic capacity, resting heart rate and VO2 max (the most accurate measure of cardio-respiratory fitness),” says Zaineb, adding, “It improves athletic performance and glucose metabolism and acts as an excellent catalyst for fat burning — more than a traditional 60-minute aerobic workout.”
It’s an ideal workout while traveling, given that it’s quick and can be done with no equipment. “The Tabata protocol can be used for core strength as well as weight training. It teaches your body to tolerate lactic acid. When you train in a high-intensity zone, your threshold becomes higher. It also keeps your metabolism high. With proper training and planning, Tabata workouts are safe, and can definitely improve your ability to use oxygen efficiently during a workout,” says Zaineb.
Tabata is gruelling. “You need to be fit to meet the physical demands without getting injured; your posture and your form need to be right,” says Zaineb. “It’s not meant for beginners,” she warns. Make sure you warm up and cool down well. Your nutrition and sleep patterns must also be designed to make the most of this workout....