Published: Mar 05, 2014 11:19 PM EST
Updated: Mar 06, 2014 5:14 AM EST

Your heart is pounding, you’re breathing hard, maybe you’re even feeling nauseous... this is how you know you're doing a Tabata workout correctly! At first you may wonder why anyone would intentionally do this to themselves, but this type of high-intensity interval training is loved by fitness pros for its unparalleled fat-torching abilities and simplicity. Wink News Fitness Expert Mike Drumm says Tabata workouts offer more health benefits than traditional cardio; they are short, efficient, and can fit in almost any fitness program. If you haven’t done so yet, you have gotta try a Tabata!


What is Tabata Training?

Tabata is a form of high intensity interval training (HIIT) that is becoming very popular in fitness centers across America, but surprisingly, it’s not new. It was developed in the 70’s for Japanese Olympians by Dr. Tabata as a way for his athletes to improve both their aerobic systems as well as their anaerobic systems (their muscles).


How does Tabata Training Work?

Super Easy.  Well, just the formula is easy. Tabata’s are designed so that they last 4 minutes long, however within those 4 minutes you have to go through 8 intervals of 20 seconds work at a very high intensity, followed by a 10 second rest period. And when I say high intensity I mean as hard as you can go, 100-percent maximal intensity. By the end of the 4 minutes you should feel like you're going to die.  It is a very intense interval workout and that is why it only last four minutes. So remember the simplicity: 20 seconds of high-intensity training then 10 seconds of rest and you do it 8 times for a total of 4 minutes.


Before You Start

Like many other exercises and forms of workouts; you must be committed to put forth all your energy in the exercise. Make sure you warm up and cool down before you dive into it.  I don’t recommend this for beginners, you should only introduce Tabata Training when you are used to getting your heart rate up. Even for the seasoned exerciser I recommend starting very slow at first and maybe not doing all 8 sets.  As always, check with your doctor before exercising.


Benefits of Tabata Training

  • TIME:  Get more done in less time.
  • AEROBIC AND ANAEROBIC: the 20/10 ratio has been shown to work both aerobic and anaerobic metabolic pathways harder and more effectively than longer bouts of exercise. Plus, if you are in a fitness rut, this might be just what you need to switch up.
  • REV UP METABOLISM: Your metabolism will stay high, not only during but after the workout as well.
  • On average you burn about 50 calories in just one 4 minute circuit!


Designing your Tabata

No fitness equipment is needed! The only thing you need is a timer, and a list of 8 exercises. I strongly recommend a Tabata Timer app for your cell phone because it is convenient. If you are exercising near your computer or laptop you can always use Be sure you have a water bottle and towel with you to refresh between rounds. You will definitely need it.



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!