30 Jun Tabata Training, Fat Loss, and the Intensity Effect (Guest Post)
The biggest problem with Tabatas is that people took a great concept (higher intensity, less rest) and destroyed the execution.
While different fitness enthusiasts have their preferred method of burning calories (and rightfully so — a world without different opinions would be pretty boring and limit innovation), the reality is that many things work in fitness.
The same reason people get frustrated looking for “the answer” in nutrition applies in fitness, too. There is no one answer, and there are many types of exercises that burn calories.
While any type of activity can help you burn fat, certain methods — like weight training — are more efficient than others. And while it’d be easy to tell every person to just lift some damn weights (I do it quite frequently on my blog and on Twitter), there’s one small problem: Some people don’t like lifting weights. In fact, they hate it.
No matter what they do they can’t fall in love with the iron and the challenge of pushing themselves to lift more weight, perform more reps, or do it all in less time. These people are oftentimes written off. They’re told their approach to fitness won’t work, and generally ignored and left as fitness loners.
I hate that. You see, any type of exercise can be turned into a fat burning experience.Fitness shouldn’t be a place just for those who conform. It’s a platform for those with desire to make improvement. And who am I (or anyone else) to insist that fitness must occur on my playground?
While my preference always focuses on resistance training and trying to lift heavy objects, I care much more about helping everyone become active as opposed to convincing people to do things my way. (Dear fitness industry: Please read that sentence again. And then spread the word.)
So for those of you looking for a different approach to fat loss (whether with weights or not) it’s time to take a well-known recipe for fat loss, and apply a modified version to your activity of choice.
The Tabata Method: What We Know
Some of you might have heard of Tabata Protocol. Many view this method as the holy grail of fat loss, and here’s why.
In the mid-1990s Dr. Tabata designed a study where one group of people performed “steady state” cardio for 60 minutes. This is what most people have historically considered fat loss exercise: slug away for 60 minutes at a constant pace, let the elliptical tell you that you burned a ton of calories, and then call it a day.
The other group? They just pedaled on a bike for a pathetic four minutes. (Or as long as it takes you to karaoke to “Living on a Prayer.”)
But it wasn’t any regular four minutes; the participants biked as fast as they could for 20 seconds (max effort), rested for 10 seconds, and then repeated this pattern for eight rounds until time was up.
Sure, 60 minutes of exercise versus four minutes of exercise doesn’t seem like a fair trial. And it wasn’t: The four minutes was superior to the 60 minutes in terms of overall conditioning and fat loss.
And thus began the evolution of high-intensity training and intervals. Push yourself really hard and rest less, and you can burn more fat. The concept is simple, but the execution is one that has still been hard to apply correctly. Until now.