Lose baby weight with A What Workout? Tabata. Named after a Japanese scientist called… you guessed it, Dr. Tabata. A Tabata workout is a 4 minute, high intensity, fat burning, interval training workout. That’s FOUR minutes. Now do I have your attention Busy Mamas?
I’ve said a thousand time before that if you want to lose baby weight fast then interval training at higher intensities is more effective for fat-loss than long, slow and steady. This applies to everyone, so don’t think you’re excluded from the theory if you’re not in great condition!
Slogging away, long slow and steady on cardio machines or jogging for long periods of time is outdated thinking (it used to be believed that this was the most efficient way to burn calories – it’s not).
WHY do intensive intervals work to lose baby weight? OK, brief science bit: when you work aerobically (steady, moderate pace) you are using a constant amount of energy (calories). When you stop, so does the fuel consumption. When you work anaerobically, you are working so hard that your body is using energy faster than it can access or replace it. This creates a kind of energy deficit in your body, and so for HOURS afterwards, your metabolic rate remains raised, clocking up the fat loss! 🙂
In a nutshell, if you fit more work into the same amount of time, you are burning calories for hours after you’ve finished exercising. No Brainer. Why wouldn’t you?!?
So Dr Tabata took this theory and made it really intensive and proved (with *proper experiments* and everything) that you will be burning fat like no-body’s business for hours. This is how it works:
- Work as hard as you can for 20 seconds
- Rest for 10 seconds
- Repeat 7 more times for a total of 8 sets.
= 4 minutes of workout time = lose your baby weight in less time than it takes for the pasta water to boil for the kids’ tea
There’s lots of ways of varying this
- The standard format is to take one exercise, say running, and just do that. So sprint like hell for 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds and so on
- You can use most types of exercise: it could be a cardio activity like cycling, or swimming, a body-weight exercise like squats or press ups, or you could be using dumb bells or other equipment. The constant is that you work as hard as you can, or do as many reps as you can, for the 20 second sections
- You don’t have to do the same exercise throughout – you could alternate 2 exercises, or do 4 twice, or do 8 different things
- Try to do as many of each exercise as you can within the 20 seconds. Try to beat it next time!
- Want to make it harder?! Instead of totally resting for each 10 seconds, do a lower impact or easier version (see the ‘hard’ version video)
And here’s a harder one…!!
How to incorporate Tabata into your routine
You don’t want to replace every workout with a Tabata one – probably a good place to start is to throw this into the mix once a week.
A few guidelines and warnings…
The principle of interval training applies to everyone regardless of your fitness levels.
However… Tabata training is an advanced form of training. It is INTENSIVE. It is DEFINITELY NOT for new mums (anything under 6 months postnatal) and indeed after that until you have progressed your exercises intensity gradually. Don’t do it if you are out of condition, have high blood pressure or are pregnant (do I even have to say, DO NOT do this if you’re pregnant…?). Keep it low impact if you have pelvic floor weakness or any joint problems. STOP if you feel dizzy or faint, SLOW DOWN if you need to. Just do 2 minutes at first. OK, are we covered? Right.
Remember that provided you are fit and able to do this type of workout (see above) for Tabata to be effective you must work at maximum intensity. Just doing any old exercise at leisure for 20 seconds does not a Tabata workout make… you need big exercises, high energy (not necessarily high impact) and high intensity.
Have fun with it and let us know what variations you come up with! And if you want to get the fabulous pumping music with the timed intervals all done for you, go to Global Bootcamp to download a completely free 8 minute track!