4 Minute Fitness with the Tabata Method

Would you believe it if someone told you that in just four minutes you would not only improve your fitness level, you would also burn more calories per minute than running ten miles an hour, plus increase your metabolism 30 minutes post workout? According to researcher Dr. Michele Olson, aka, the Exercise Doctor, it’s true! It’s been backed up by numerous research studies, and it’s called the Tabata Training Method.

“This particular style of interval training has profound effects even on short-term, post-exercise metabolism,” has explained Olson. “It would take five times the amount of typical cardio exercise, like a twenty-minute brisk walk, to shed the same number of calories that result from a four-minute Tabata.”


Tabata is an interval training workout designed to push you to your anaerobic threshold for 20 seconds, with a 10 second recovery break, for a total of four minutes. Designed by Izumi Tabata, a Japanese trainer of athletes, the Tabata method seems to be a major breakthrough in fitness training programs. However, it should be practiced with caution.

Those who do Tabata training must be relatively fit, or injury may ensue. The method requires one to go all out in short bursts of time, sometimes with weights or other types of resistance equipment. Although 20 seconds of intense exercise may not seem like a lot, it can be very stressful on those who are weak or out of shape.

It is recommended that participants also be mentally strong, as to keep up with the intense interval phase. Journaling is also beneficial to keep track of progress and to take note of the intervals when energy levels wane. Those who do not work with a trainer will have to set a timer to alarm the end of the 20-second interval, and keep track of the rest periods within the four-minute time frame. For those taking Tabata on the road or out of doors, the method is available as an app or an MP3.

Adding Tabata to the exercise routine has proven to be highly effective at increasing calorie burn, aerobic and anaerobic fitness, and metabolic rate post-exercise. The key is to be consistent and not just rely on one four-minute interval per day, but, for best results, be sure and include other and more sustainable forms of exercise.

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