Do you know Doctor Tabata?
I'm not asking if you know him personally, but if you know the one who created the Tabata method.
Indeed, he has developed a rather incredible HIIT training protocol. As a reminder, HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) means high-intensity interval training in French.
He first used it to coach Japan's speed skating team.
I will now answer these 3 burning questions:
- What is this method?
- Why is it so effective?
- How to make the most of it?
IMPORTANT NOTE: If your physical condition requires it, first make an appointment with your attending physician to determine with him what you can do.
This is all the more important since this interval training method requires intense effort over a short period. Do not take any unnecessary risks and do not jump straight into this protocol if you are not used to physical exercise.
Table of Contents
Define a session according to the Tabata method
Many people misunderstand what the Tabata protocol is all about. It is therefore important to know what we are talking about before going any further.
So what is it ?
In reality, it is simply a 3 to 4 minute session of extremely intensive training alternating between periods of 20 seconds of intense exercise and 10 seconds of recovery.
But when I say intense, I mean INTENSE. You have to go all out and give EVERYTHING you have in those 20 seconds.
When you can't take it anymore, you have to keep going anyway.
You should also note that the 10 seconds is not necessarily a pause, but rather a reduction in effort.
An example of a Tabata session
Let's say you decide to alternate push-ups and burpees during a HIIT Tabata session.
This is just one example, but these 2 exercises are a good choice because they work the whole body.
You will need to do the following:
20 seconds of push-ups
10 seconds to hop on the spot
20 second burpees
10 seconds to hop on the spot
REPEAT 3 TIMES
So you will have done 4 minutes in total.
Now you will discover the impressive benefits of the protocol…
What are the 4 benefits of the Tabata method?
1. You burn your fat by speeding up your metabolism
Intense exercise multiplies your basal metabolic rate by 15!
Your basal metabolism (BMR) corresponds to the energy needs of your body to ensure its functioning. That's what it consumes even when you're sprawled in front of the TV.
The Tabata protocol explodes this energy demand.
No doubt you will retort, because you are not badgers:
“Yes, but Stéphane, you told us that this program only takes 4 minutes. So, it's fine to increase my MB by 1500 % for 4 minutes, but in the end, it's just like I was burning an hour of calories with my basal metabolic rate.”
And you're right. You are smart 😉
Indeed, these 4 minutes of madness ultimately only represent 4.16 % of additional calories consumed during your day.
Is it enough to lose weight? Not sure. And yet...
The reality is elsewhere.
Because the Tabata protocol does not only work during your training. If you follow it regularly, your body will increase your MB to cope with this new demand. As your MB corresponds to what your body burns while it is at rest, any increase in this rate has significant repercussions on your fat burning.
In other words, you continue to destock your fat reserve when you no longer train.
It's fabulous, isn't it?
A bit like the fate of the famous Amélie Poulain. What culture! I am amazed. Besides, I have long believed that bodybuilding consisted of reading as many books as possible… 😀
Pay attention to your diet though.
Of course, I remind you as always, that sport is not enough to lose weight. You definitely need to work on your diet.
You will find excellent advice in the Nutrition section of this blog.
If you need to lose pounds, I recommend the Incredible Sport at home weight loss program. Not only will it teach you how to get rid of your fat naturally, but also how to stop being overweight:
2. You maintain or increase your muscle mass
In general, losing fat is accompanied by losing muscle. This is one reason most diets fail.
Indeed, the muscles are the first consumers of calories. So if you're losing muscle, it's even harder to burn fat.
How does the Tabata method make the difference?
Well, it increases the ratio of lean muscle to your fat stores. In other words, you are in a win/win strategy.
Instead of losing muscle volume along with fat, Tabata training stresses your muscles, signaling to your body that it needs to build more muscle tissue.
The result ?
The muscle mass rate increases at the expense of the fat rate. So not only do you not lose muscle volume, but you can even gain some. Which is almost impossible in general, unless you are obese at the start of the diet.
3. You improve your anaerobic and aerobic capacity
The aerobic capacity of your body is expressed in maximum oxygen consumption (VO2Max). It is the maximum amount of oxygen that the body consumes during intense effort.
Your anaerobic capacity is the maximum energy your body can produce when it lacks oxygen. However, this energy is produced by burning carbohydrates when there is insufficient oxygen in the blood.
Doctor Tabata demonstrated that by using his method 5 times a week for a month and a half, you increase your aerobic capacity by 14 % and your anaerobic capacity by 28 %.
It therefore has a considerable effect on your stamina and energy.
4. You save time
Time is a scarce commodity for many of you.
Between secular work, travel, shopping, children and other family obligations… There are often only crumbs left for sport.
Even young people are often short of time. This weekend, a new subscriber wrote to me:
After high school, I go home around 6:40 p.m., I have to do my homework or revise. I come from time to time stall a session, but it is quite complicated.
So I despair...
What to do ?
A Tabata session is probably the best answer. Indeed, it will require very little time for maximum results.
The speed of such a session increases the motivation of many people. Indeed, it is difficult to find the excuse of time for less than 10 minutes of fitness per day.
Note that I did not say 4 minutes of fitness. Why ?
Simply because you're not going to do those 4 minutes all the way without warm-up exercises. You don't have to be a suicide bomber...
This is why my next article will be devoted to a typical example of a session where the official protocol of our friend Izumi Tabata will be respected.
I take this opportunity now to answer a question posed by one of my readers:
What is the difference between HIIT and Tabata?
That's a very good question ! And it is true that it is not too easy to navigate like that.
In short, Tabata is HIIT, but not all HIIT training is Tabata 😉
In fact, there is above all a phase in the Tabata protocol which is very specific in terms of its intensity and its time limit. This 4-minute phase is found in module 3 of this article. It is this phase which must not be repeated and which corresponds to the foundation of the whole method created by Dr. Tabata.
The rest of the protocol corresponds to a fairly classic training, while the Tabata phase is a quite appalling intensity 😂
I hope you followed me.
What can your session contain?
You should know that almost all exercises are compatible with the Tabata protocol. And that goes for most sports.
It is quite possible to do it with dumbbells, weights, and elastic bands, of the TRX strapsbut also on a elliptical, running or cycling on the road, etc. In short, any activity that engages large muscle groups does the trick.
The most important thing, I remind you, is to alternate 20 intense seconds with 10 seconds of recovery.
If you are on a bike for example (elliptical or not), you can pedal hard for 20 seconds, slow down the pace for 10 seconds… And so on for 4 minutes. Even if you continue your walk afterwards, you will have followed a Tabata protocol, and that is enough.
Truly, the Tabata method has many advantages. This is especially true for those who have little time.
You will be amazed at the results that can be achieved with this training system. You will burn your fat, gain muscle, drastically improve your aerobic capacity while consuming very little time.
Do not miss the rest of this article which explains how to establish a program respecting the Tabata method. You will discover the best way to use this formidable weapon in your sessions.
And you what do you think ? Have you ever tried this type of intense session? Give your opinion in the comment area below. Thank you 😉