As an athlete I always find a smart way to push myself to the next level. This is why I am a big fan of High Intensity Training and my clients will be the first to tell you this to be very true as well. Today however I want to talk about a different style of High-Intensity Training known as Tabata Training. I know what you are thinking, Tah-what-ah? It is Tabata Training and you’re gonna’ love it. If you haven’t heard of Tabata--perfect. I will break it down for you. Tabata is named after the researcher Izumi Tabata of the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Kanoya, Japan. Today Tabata is popping up all over America in gyms, classes, boot camps, etc. I first discovered Tabata about seven years ago in a workshop I attended. Oh man was it thrilling, extremely hard, rewarding and went by so fast all in one!

How Does It Work?

Super easy.  Well, actually not really easy at all, just the formula is easy.  Allow me to explain. The Tabata Training Method is an advanced form of exercise and requires you to be fit, as well as mentally strong. (You will see what I mean once you get started!). The method is designed to last four minutes, however, within those four minutes you have to go through eight intervals. Each interval lasts 20 seconds at a very high intensity. You train as hard as you possible can in those 20 second intervals. It is a very intense interval workout and that is why it only last four minutes. So remember:  20 seconds of high-intensity training + 10 seconds of rest and you do it 8 times for a total of 4 minutes.  I must emphasize to make sure you warm up and cool down before you dive  into it.  Also, beginners should not try this.  Only introduce Tabata to your training when you are used to getting your heart rate up high.  Do not go over your max heart rate.  I recommend starting very slow at first and maybe not doing all sets of eight.  Disclaimer:  I also would recommend that you check with your doctor before trying Tabata out, just to play it safe.

To Get Started:

You will need a counter or stop watch, unless you have someone counting for you. It’s very hard to mentally push yourself AND count at the same time, so make sure you are covered with a timer or someone else to count for you. Now, maybe my clients will realize how lucky they are that I count for them! This is not a daily workout.  If you can do this every day you are doing it wrong. Some people try it once a week but most end up doing Tabata a few times a month.  Nonetheless, it produces remarkable results for those brave enough to use it.  You got this! The easiest way, and with no fancy equipment needed,  is to start with just using your legs! For example:  You can sprint for 20 seconds; stop or walk for 10 seconds; sprint for 20 seconds; stop or walk for 10 seconds. Do this eight times and you are all done! You’ll never look at four minutes the same way again! My favorite way to do this style of high intensity interval training is in a spin class or running stairs.  It is so hard during one of these activities but such a great reward after and you feel like a super star when you are done. Recently, a client and I started running stairs together incorporating Tabata and she just loves it!  Talk about hard work and I am right there running with her, coaching and counting her as we go. Pheeew! You can also do Tabata with a jump rope, biking, treadmill, elliptical, circuit workouts, kettle-bells, TRX, sliders, etc.  You get the picture.
Plank Workouts are great to work the entire body. Also, try it with TABABTA!

Plank Workouts are great to work the entire body. Also, try it with TABABTA!

My Three Top Tips on why you should use it:

TIME:  Get more done in less time. This will also keep you from over training and overuse injuries. AEROBIC AND ANAEROBIC CONDITIONING: You will improve both--not just Aerobic.  It’s all about getting fitter, faster  and stronger. Plus, if you are in a fitness rut, this might be just what you need to switch up your workout routine and confuse your body. REV UP METABOLISM: Your metabolism will stay high, not only during but after the workout as well. Bonus! Same as above, you want to keep your body guessing.

Some facts about Tabata:

  • 14% of Athletes increased in v02 max (the oxygen you can use during a workout, which is a marker of aerobic fitness) after six weeks of Tabata training. That is pretty impressive if you ask me.
  • On average 53 calories you can burn in just one four minute circuit! That is a super deal.
Give it a go on your next workout.  Start off small, be smart, work hard, and most importantly have fun.

I would love to hear from you. Have you tried Tabata?

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See you on your next workout, Moni xx
Love Monica Nelson

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Disclaimer: Please keep in mind that I am not a Registered Dietitian. While my advice relies on my own personal experience and research, what has been successful for myself and others may be not best for you. You should always consult your doctor when making changes to your diet. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to email me at

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