The Tabata Workout-Is It an Effective Program When Trying to Losing Weight?

by Leo Cartland
fit woman planking in the field tabata

For those of us who don’t exercise, there is always an excuse as to why we can’t do. I don’t feel well, I have to pick up my kids from school, I have work to catch up on etc. Whatever the excuse may be, more often than not it has to do with not having enough time to exercise.

This is why there have been so many new exercise programs that have popped up lately, mainly revolving around exerting yourself as much as possible in the shortest amount of time to where you still see results. Many of these programs claim that they can offer the same fitness benefits in a fraction of the time compared to other programs, but how effective are they really?

One of these programs is called the Tabata program, named after the sport science doctor who developed the program. This program is a variation of high intensity interval training, or HIIT.

This program revolves around the concept of 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off referring to the periods of exercise followed by rest. This is done for a total of 8 times, or sets. So can the Tabata exercise method be an effective way to lose weight? Yes it can be, but of course like any other program you have to be following it accordingly.

What Is the Difference Between A Regular HIIT Program and Tabata?

The difference between the two training programs lies within the intensity in which you are performing the exercise, and a difference in between rest and active periods as well. Tabata is done in only 4 minutes when compared to the average HIIT program, so you are supposed to give more effort throughout the entire routine to burn off those calories.

The difference in work and rest periods between HIIT and Tabata helps to encourage more fat loss as well. While performing Tabata, you only get 10 seconds of rest in between sets, where you would get at least 30, sometimes up to 120 seconds of rest in your typical HIIT  program.

What Benefits Can Tabata Provide to Me?

Contributes to Fat Loss

One of the biggest misconceptions that we have been told over the course of our fitness lives is that endurance cardiovascular exercise is the only way to effectively lose weight. Not too many people are going to argue that endurance exercise like long distance running won’t help to lose some fat, however there are other viable options out there.

Short bursts of high intensity exercise has shown to be even more effective in burning fat, and this fat loss can be accomplished in a short period of time. This is excellent news for people who hate monotonous exercises as we no longer have to suffer through them to lose weight.

Maintains Muscle Mass

woman doing plank with leg lifts tabata

If there is one huge negative to endurance exercise, it is that it does break down muscle tissue throughout the exercise and you do lose some mass over time when doing these type of exercises. Tabata on the other hand has shown to preserve muscle mass because it increases levels of free testosterone in the body.

Maintaining muscle mass is important when it comes to weight loss as the more muscle mass you have, the more calories you are going to burn. Skeletal muscle tissue consumes a lot of energy just being at rest, which can really help you knock off those few extra pounds.

Reduces Your Risk of Metabolic Syndrome

group exercise stretching on the beach

Metabolic syndrome isn’t exactly what is sounds like, and is a much more serious problem then just having a slow metabolism. Metabolic syndrome is a condition where a person suffers from a combination of high blood sugar, high triglycerides, or high blood pressure.

These are all potentially life threatening conditions that puts the individual at high risk for diabetes, strokes and heart attacks.

Tabata can help reduce your chances of developing these conditions as high intensity exercise has shown to reduce the risk of developing these diseases.

What Exercises Should I Use for My Program?

There are plenty of guides out there, and if you are new to Tabata you should definitely check some of them out before trying to make your own program.

If you want to just go ahead and do so yourself, the exercises you are going to want toinclude in your workout should be ones that work multiple muscle groups. Burpees, pushups, squats, lunges and other exercise that are compound will give you the best workout.

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