The Tabata Protocol is everywhere in the exercise world. Scientifically tested to show results in just four minutes a day, four times a week … everyone wants to hear about the latest workout designed to burn calories!



Are you tired of those 60 minute long runs that aren’t burning away the fat as they should?  Let alone those 90 minute work outs at the gym that nobody has time for.


As part of our commitment to a healthy lifestyle, here’s our time-saving fat-burning tip for you: Tabata!


Founded by Japanese genius, Izumi Tabata, this new training technique has taken the world by  storm. A form of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), Tabata  can be completed in just four minutes!!


Usual cardio burners, such as long distance running, biking or swimming, only target your aerobic system. One of the down sides to this type of cardio training is that it takes time. Not just time out of your busy schedule but time for your heart rate and metabolism to shoot up, which is essential for the fat burning process. Because it takes time, you’ll have to work longer and harder if you want to see results. This can also explain why you might be running long distances but never seeing the results you expect. You might be putting in the time but never truly exerting yourself and reaching an optimum heart-rate.


To target your anaerobic system you then need to do some strength training which could include weights or HIIT such as sprints. Before Tabata, this inevitably meant long hours pounding the pavement AND exercise hopping at the gym.


Tabata, however targets and improves aerobic systems as well as the anaerobic systems. Izumi Tabata performed a simple experiment to test his method. One group of moderately fit students performed one hour of steady cardiovascular exercise on a bike five times a week. The other study group did a ten minute warm up on the bike, followed by four minutes of Tabata intervals, four times a week – plus one 30 minute session of steady exercise with two minute intervals.


After six weeks of testing the results were astounding. The group following Tabata’s plan and only exercising for 88 minutes a week, had increased the anaerobic capacity by 28% and their VO2 max (a key indicator of cardio vascular health and maximal aerobic power) had increased by 15%. When you compare these results with the control group, who exercised five hours a week, the results of Tabata are impressive. The control group improved their VO2 max by only 10% and their anaerobic capacity was not affected.


Another significant finding, and one that will make us feel good about sitting at our desks all day (only after completing some Tabata), is that Tabata increases our metabolism and burns an extra 150 calories in the twelve hours after exercise, even if we are doing nothing! Hard to believe right?


How To Do Tabata?


Firstly, like any exercise, you need to be determined and committed to give 100% energy and effort to the Tabata Protocol.

Secondly, you need a Tabata timer; you can use this one or download a Tabata app.





Tabata has a simple outline: the whole Tabata session is four minutes long, this will seem like an eternity when you’ve finished! The training session is 20 seconds of intense training; here you give it your all, 120% and nothing less. If you’re not exhausted and collapsing by the end of eight rounds you’re not doing it right! This is followed by 10 seconds rest (after each 20 seconds). You repeat this for eight rounds.


For example:

20 seconds of jumping jacks

10 seconds rest

20 seconds of squat jumps

10 seconds rest

20 seconds of burpes

10 seconds rest

20 seconds of press-ups

10 seconds rest


(Repeat these four exercises or continue another four reps with other exercises you have chosen, but remember HIGH ITENSITY!)


Now, it is obvious why you need the timer. Equipment is not necessary; but you can use a bike, do sprints on a track, or work out in your home but always use the Tabata Protocol.


This method is proven to increase your heart rate quickly and intensely, so you can watch those calories melt away! With only three or four Tabatas a week you should see results, just give it time and all effort you can muster, plus a little more!





And when all that exercise leaves you hungry for something healthy and nutritious, Fields has plenty of options for a post workout meal:check out our "What to eat Pre, During and Post Workout" story here.