Extra weight, especially around the waist, is hazardous for your health. Belly fat, also known as visceral fat, elevates risk of heart disease, stroke, and an unsightly muffin top. Fortunately, there's a better way to drop weight than spending hours sweating over a treadmill or exercise bike. Tabata workouts are a type of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) that are quick, effective, and you can perform them in your living room. These four-minute workouts won't target belly fat specifically, but Tabata workouts do provide benefits as much as long exercise sessions in as little as four to eight minutes. Also, you can use pretty much any activity when doing Tabata workouts, so you don't need to stop doing your favorite cardio, only modify it.
A scientist in Japan named Izumi Tabata discovered the Tabata Protocal as a means for athletes to improve sports performance. What he didn't count on is Tabata workouts having a positive impact on both short and long endurance physical activities. Using the Tabata workouts gave athletes an improved ability to do activities ranging from sprinting to endurance running. Perhaps most exciting for you, Tabata workouts were also shown to increase fat burning, even non-athletes see real benefits.
Men in college who did sports were the participants in the initial study led by Tabata. Students were asked to use an exercise bike and follow the four-minute Tabata routine. The routine has since been used with equipment other than exercise bikes, and further adapted for other types of physical activity, such as kettlebell or body weight exercises. You can pick your favorite exercise, from treadmill running to squats, and just follow the Tabata Workout protocal.
Tabata Workout Instructions
Tabata workouts are one of the most challenging types of high-intensity interval training (HIIT). HIIT involves alternating between bursts of high intense exercise with low or moderate exercise. Tabata workouts are unique for their short recovery periods, the time that you spend on the low to moderate intensity periods. During Tabata workouts, you perform high-intensity exercise for 20 seconds, followed with 10 seconds of low to moderate intensity exercise. This could be sprinting for 20 seconds and then walking for 10 seconds. Another possibility is to do squats for 20 seconds and then march in place for 10 seconds. No matter what activity you do, you must make sure that the 20 seconds are very difficult and that during the 10 second interval you go easy but don't stop. One 20-second interval follower by a 10-second interval counts as one round in the Tabata routine. Tabata workouts consist of eight rounds, which equals four minutes.
However, before you do the eight rounds, warm up for five minutes with gentle activity, such as jogging in place or cycling slowly to ease into the workout. You should also do a slow cooldown after the eight rounds to gently bring down your heart rate.
Tabata Workouts and Belly Fat
A dangerous myth floating around the exercise world is that sit-ups and other abdominal exercises affect belly fat. Strength training exercises do nothing for body fat. Your body stores excess fat when you eat more than you burn, and where it stores it, such as the waist or thighs, is mainly genetic. Using the Tabata Protocal to increase fat burning lowers your body fat percentage, which helps to ditch the muffin top, thunder thighs, or beer belly. Adopting a low-calorie, healthier diet is important too. There is no way around eating right.
Tabata workouts and HIIT is not designed for people who are not already exercising. It's a smart idea to start a walking program, and then work up to moderate-intensity cardio and interval training, before trying Tabata.
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