Has it been very long since you hit the gym?
Have you no time for yourself or to exercise for a few hours every day in your busy routine?
How long has it been since you went out for a walk or a jog early in the morning?
How long has it been since you stretched your muscles enough and realized the need for exercise in your day-to-day activities?
If you can’t recollect when was the last time you engaged in physical activity, this article is for you!
A majority of us don’t get any exercise every day mostly due to the time constraints in our busy, modern lives.
We wake up in the morning hurriedly to the sound of our alarms, have a quick shower, and eat a quick breakfast unmindful of the need to eat peacefully for the body to digest any food.
We rush to college or our work places, again in a hurry, and spend our day in highly-stressful environments.
We get back late from work, sit in front of the television watching soaps or movies till it is time for bed. We become lazy, lethargic, couch-potatoes who don’t have time for exercise.
We do not realize that exercise is a highly needed activity for our existence.
What if we told you that there is an exercise regime that is only four-minutes long that can make you feel like you have had a proper, long-drawn workout?
You lose the same amount of calories, and your body gets the same amount of exercise, but all in the quickest possible time of only four minutes.
Most of us can spare five minutes in a day for the sake of having healthy bodies.
Here’s the new Fitness Mantra – Tabata. Tabata is a high-intensity training workout regime that was initially developed for the training of the Japanese Olympians in the 1980s.
It was founded by Professor Izumi Tabata, based on whose name the fitness routine is called. One bout of exercise which spans four minutes is called ‘one Tabata’.
Touted as one of the hardest exercises ever discovered in the world,
Tabata involves picking up any activity that you are comfortable doing – be it running, skipping rope, jumping, jogging or any other form of intensive activity.
Once you pick up one particular activity, all you have to do is do the activity with all the intensity possible for twenty seconds.
After twenty seconds, give your body a rest of ten seconds to regain energy. Once this is done, start again. The starting, pausing and resting routine should continue for seven times respectively for you to finish a four minute long Tabata routine.
When we say go at maximum intensity, we mean that you should put your body and soul into it during the twenty-second long routine. At the end of one Tabata round, you should feel nauseous, short of breath and transported into some other world.
Many people who have taken the Tabata exercise feel that they are almost going to die after finishing one Tabata round.
That’s when you know you are doing Tabata right.
For the very small amount of time it requires, and the immense benefits it gives your body, Tabata is often also called as The Four-Minute Miracle.
Many people would think that one must be insane to put your body through so much exertion and intense activity, but you will realize sooner or later that it is one of the best and the least time-consuming ways to achieve good health and activity.
It is becoming so popular that, in contemporary times not only are athletes employing Tabata in their fitness regime, even ordinary people who are conscious of their exercise routines try their hand at Tabata.
Studies have shown that one round of Tabata can increase your aerobic capacity, anaerobic capacity rests your rate of metabolism and can thus help you burn much more fat than a normal, conventional hour-long aerobic workout can.
One four-minute session of Tabata is equal to an hour of jogging, an hour of moderate cycling, two hours of walking, an hour of Zumba or two hours of Yoga. How exciting does this now sound?
The goal in a Tabata exercise is that you should increase your heart rate to its maximum capacity during the routine. It is almost synonymous to four minutes of pain if you do as mentioned.
The concept of high-intensity training is not a novel one. It has been around for years now but has been highly limited to the field of athletics.
In recent years, Professor Tabata has marketed and advertised it enough around the world and the exercise has gained a lot of popularity among health-freaks.
Packaged in a way that no person can deny its benefits, it is also, strangely so, being promoted by the film company Universal Studios.
How Much to do Tabata?
Many people often wonder about how much Tabata can one person include in his or her daily exercise routine.
Since the level of intensity is too high, most people worry about its inclusion. The changes that you will notice in your body after a regular
Tabata routine is what will make you do Tabata again. Experts suggest that adding two rounds of Tabata every week to your normal exercise routine is the best and most effective amount of Tabata you can get.
Though initially extremely fatiguing, continuing it for over a substantial period, you can get over your fears about Tabata.
Not only does it keep your body fit, but just two rounds of Tabata in a week are sufficient to also help you in your weight loss programme. Your body can turn into a fat-burning engine.
When you create an oxygen debt which is characterized by heavy panting, your body instantly burns off all the blood sugar it has.
Due to this, your body needs something instantly to replace that loss of energy. The body does this and compensates for it by burning all the fat in your body.
Here are a few tips that will help you in your Tabata routine:
1. Choose a simple exercise
While doing a Tabata round, be careful about your choice of exercise. Do not choose any exercise that you have not done substantially before.
You need to choose some form of activity that you are highly comfortable doing.
If you don’t, you will end up ruining the regime as you will take a longer time to get accustomed to the new activity.
Many people often pick up sprinting on a treadmill, as it is both simple and easy-to-follow.
2. Get a good timer
Another simple requirement that you need to keep in mind is that you need a good quality timer to time yourself on your routine.
Since the routine is really of a short span of time, your measurements must be highly accurate and precise.
Set the timer up for all the seven rounds of Tabata, instead of trying to readjust it during the ten seconds interval.
3. Accompany it with a catchy tune
Come up with a line from any of your favourite song or use an ad jingle or anything catchy to accompany your Tabata routine.
Having a piece of music and humming it along also takes away your attention from the fatigue. It keeps you grounded and motivated.
4. Brace yourself mentally
To be able to do a Tabata routine completely, you have to be mentally prepared.
You have to tell yourself time and again that you have it in you to complete the round. There should be lots of energy and the air must resound with all good vibes.
5. Be careful
A Tabata routine is very demanding and is of high intensity. Some people are known to suffer from strokes during the sessions.
As a precaution, ensure that you think about your endurance and performance levels before you commit yourself to a Tabata routine.
In case you have a history of high blood pressure or cardiovascular problems, ensure that you consult a doctor before getting into the routine.
Pregnant women must also fix an appointment with their gynaecologists before adopting this exercise.
On the other hand, if you have always had a history of good health and can take this amount of activity, then there is no reason why you shouldn’t do Tabata.
6. Tabata at any age!
People of all ages can get into a Tabata routine. Age is no bar. Young adults to old men and women, everybody, can shake a leg at Tabata.
7. Warm up before
Before you begin the highly-demanding Tabata routine, make sure that you stretch body using performing warm-up exercises for at least ten minutes before you do the actual routine.
It loosens the muscles in your body and gets you into the groove for performing Tabata.
8. Always have a coach
Never get into a Tabata routine, or any exercise routine, for that matter, without expert guidance.
You might be doing things wrongly, without realizing and hence harming your body, instead of benefitting from it.
A good coach will guide you through your mistakes and will ease you into the routine, clarify any doubts that you might have and rectify things that you might have been doing wrongly.
9. Go slow
Since Tabata routines are high-intensity ones, you need to ease yourself into the process, instead of rushing into it. Just because it is beneficial, you cannot do it day in and day out.
Consider the possibility of how many times a week you might be able to do it based on your individual requirements and measurements.
Start it by doing once a week and gradually increase the number of times you do it in a week.
Even when you are in the routine, increase your speed gradually, instead of doing all at once and confusing your body. Also, give yourself time to recover between two rounds.
At least, provide your body with one day of rest between two rounds once you start increasing the frequency of the rounds. Your body does need time to recuperate.
Some experts feel that one must consider the pros and cons of a Tabata routine before getting completely involved in it.
They opine that one must not engage in a Tabata routine unless one is fit enough. It is not that you should do a Tabata round to get fit, but you must do it ONLY if you are fit.
Many also espouse that the effects of the Tabata routine are short-lived. All the benefits that one gets using doing Tabata last only for two-to-three weeks after you get into the regime.
There has been no proof to show that they last any longer. Some also feel that instead of being beneficial to your body, the very demanding Tabata routine can work the other way round and end up injuring your body.
Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness
Many fitness experts consider the possibility of a Tabata routine leading to the development of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, often called DOMS.
Many people can barely walk after a straining episode of Tabata. They also experience immense pain, which increases as and when days pass.
Every muscle in the body becomes stiff and hampers bodily movement. Once this happen, you might get sick and not be able to follow your routine normally.
So, take into consideration all the possible side-effects before getting into the routine.
Given all the immense positive and negative aspects that a Tabata routine in your life can bring, it is you who have to weigh them all and take a decision.
Choose any exercise, but do it with proper care and under correct guidance to ensure that you are not performing it wrongly.
If you decide to go ahead with a Tabata routine, follow the golden rule
– Ten minutes of warm up
– Eight bouts of twenty seconds exercise
– Add seven intervals of rest in between of ten seconds each
– Two minutes of cooling down.
– Do no more than 3 HIIT in a week