What is Tabata?!?!?

You are signing up for what? What in the world is a Tabata Bootcamp™?

The Tabata method is based on the findings of Japanese scientist Dr. Izumi Tabata and a team of researchers from the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo. In 1996, the team was charged with improving the performance of a group of Olympic speed skaters. Their discovery has transformed the way we look at exercise. Only 4 minutes of intensive work – short bursts of intensive activity followed by an even shorter rest period – can give you more than one hour of steady cycling or as much calorie burn of an hour of jogging. The formula, perhaps the earliest form of high intensity interval training (HIIT), is 20 seconds of work, 10 seconds of rest for six rounds (only four minutes).

More recently, in 2013, researchers from Auburn University in Montgomery, Alabama, looked at Tabata training to determine its effectiveness. Their results, based on a small group, showed that participants burned 13.5 calories per minute. In addition, at the 30-minute mark, each individual’s metabolic rate was double what it had been before the workout.

Unlike steady state training, when you for example jog at a steady rate for an extended period of time, Tabata puts your body in a state for recovery and repair after you have completed your workout. Your body’s metabolism remains elevated for hours, using more oxygen and calories. Yes, that’s right! You are burning calories even when you are not exercising.

Tabata Benefits in Summary
According to the American College of Sports Medicine, HIIT training, like Tabata, can improve:
• aerobic and anaerobic fitness
• blood pressure
• cardiovascular health
• insulin sensitivity (which helps the exercising muscles more readily use glucose for fuel to make energy)
• cholesterol profiles
• abdominal fat and body weight while maintaining muscle mass.

What Are the Risks?
If you have been living a sedentary lifestyle or have been physically inactive for some time, you should consult your physician. In addition, you should establish a foundational level of fitness before starting this kind of training. To get ready, start a consistent aerobic training 3-5 times a week for 20-60 minutes.

The key to any exercise regiment is modification. Engage in an intensity that is challenging but safe for you. You are the best predictor of the outcome!

What Is the Recommended Frequency of Tabata/HIIT Workout?
As the name says, this is high intensity! You need a longer period of recovery than a steady state workout. Experts recommend that you alternate with lower intensity activities on days following your HIIT training.

Portions of this blog are reprinted with permission of the American College of Sports Medicine. Copyright © 2014.

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