I had never heard of a tabata until I started working with my personal trainer. Within the 2nd session together, he had already introduced me to it and boy he had no mercy. I have a love-hate relationship with tabatas. They are extremely effective but make you feel as if you are going to die any second.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with a tabata, it is a form of high intensity interval training (HIIT) and high intensity is the perfect name for it. When I am doing a tabata, I feel as if I’m going to puke, faint, and die all at the same time and maybe everyone doesn’t feel this way. It may just be my personal trainer that pushes me to my max because he knows I can do it….dang you Phil. Despite the agonizing pain during the workouts, a tabata has amazing benefits for your physical health.
I’m going to go a little more in detail about how a tabata works. It is a series of different exercises that you do as hard as possible for a certain amount of time – I usually do it for 30-45 seconds, then you get about a 7-10 second break and you go onto the next exercise and you mash that one out as hard as you can. This process keeps going with typically three or more different exercises for about 3-8 rounds each. Tabatas can last from anywhere between 5-20 minutes or however long your body can take it.
The great thing about a tabata is that your body can burn fat for up to 24 hours after the workout. When I began doing tabatas 3 -4 times a week, I started seeing results fast. Now I was also eating a high protein and low sugar diet but I have never been so fit in my life! My cardio improved and since my trainer was also incorporating weight into my tabatas, my muscles toned fast. I became stronger, much stronger than I have ever been before, and other workouts seemed so easy in comparison.
My relationship with a tabata is purely love—hate. I love the results but hate it while I’m in the process. You may think that the more you do it they easier it will get and well that is just not true. Yes, it will be easier if you do the same exercises for the same amount of time every time you workout. But if you are doing it right, the tabata is there to challenge you and to help you see how far you can push your body.
I have been doing tabatas for over a year now and I consistently do them about 3 times a week. Warning: if you have never tried a tabata before and you want to give it a go, you will feel like you are sweating your face off but it is totally worth it!