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Condensing an hour’s worth of cardio training into a quick four minute workout seems like winning a lottery ticket, but we were quick to find that this high-intensity training class is not for the faint hearted.


The Four Minute Tabata workout is the latest exercise craze sweeping through Hollywood and the celebrity circuit.  If you have ever used the line “I don’t have time to go to the gym”, this four-minute blitz means you will have to come up with something new.


One Tabata session can burn more fat than a traditional 60-minute aerobic workout.  Yes, that is correct – it’s said that four minutes of Tabata can actually replace an hour sweating on the treadmill!


Professor Izumi Tabata, also known as Prof T, initially created the workout for Japanese Olympians.  His villain-like nickname is no coincidence, as once you have done your first Tabata; you will definitely think he is pure evil.


So how does it work?  The aim is to go as hard as you possibly can for four minutes to reap the benefits of this high level of intensity.  There are four different exercises each performed for 40 seconds with a 10 second break between.  At the end of the four minutes you should feel like you can no longer function- and chances are, you’ll be cursing yourself for ever stepping foot in the class.


The benefits of Tabata are second to none and by just including two Tabata sessions in your weekly exercise plan you will start to see some benefits.


Beginners should start off easy and try their own Tabata session before joining one with a professional trainer.  To start, choose an exercise that you are comfortable with, for example, sprinting on a treadmill.  Sprint as hard and fast as you can for 40 seconds then take a 10 second break.  Repeat this until the four minutes is up.  When you have experimented a few times, you can try the routine with other exercises.  You also need to be fit for a Tabata class, so prepare yourself with a couple of months of training before you amp up the level of intensity.


Another great tip is always having a good timer when you are training yourself.  When you are working out at that level of intensity, it’s unlikely that your brain will be able to function to count seconds, so use technology to assist.


Finally, think happy thoughts and go hard!


If you’re feeling game, Tabata classes are available at Fernwood Fitness clubs around Australia:


And at selected Genesis fitness clubs:


Image credit: Pilot Athletic


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