We all want to have maximum results with our time, especially if our time is spent doing cardio! We are super busy and so we need to train super smart and for me, that means HIIT and Tabata Training.
If you’ve never heard of it, let me fill you in on the secret! If want to get your workout done in a hurry, or burning fat is your focus, this is the sort of cardio you are going to want to do. So get off the treadmill and listen up! Those long slow workouts aren’t where it’s at when it comes to leaning out.
To really lean out and change the shape of our bodies, we need to do two things:
- Build muscle with weight-bearing exercise and
- Burn fat with HIIT training
Okay, so what is HIIT and Tabata training?
HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) and Tabata training are interval training methods designed to have you push really hard for a short duration, followed up by a recovery period where you can catch your breath. The idea is to really push hard during the ‘work’ phase of the workout, even though you are going to feel like you want to stop!
The reason this works so well is based on the EPOC effect. EPOC stands for Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption and all that means is that your body continues to burn calories long after the workout is over (post-exercise). This means if you can push yourself hard for a short time period, you can experience benefits long after you are done.
HIIT training and Tabata training are very similar with only high work duration differences.
Let’s compare the two and give you some options so you can get started on a HIIT training program too!
HIIT: This is intervals of High and Low periods. A HIIT training session starts with a warm up of a few minutes, then goes into a cycle of high and medium periods of work, and finishes out with a cool down. An Example of a HIIT workout would be a 2 minute warm up, with 6 sessions of 30 seconds of work, 15 seconds of rest, and then a 2 minute cool down.
You should be pushing as hard as you can during the high ‘work’ phase. It will feel uncomfortable and you will probably want to stop, but the idea is to keep going, and then during the ‘rest’ phase, you are still working, but are only going about 50% of your capacity to give your body time to recover.
You can do HIIT with anything that is going to keep you moving. You can sprint, jump rope, do burpees, anything that is going to get your heart rate up and that you can push hard for that work phase.
Tabata Training is a little bit different but still is considered HIIT training. Tabata training was initially designed to help train Olympic speed skaters. Tabata consists of 20 seconds of work/ 10 seconds of rest for four full minutes – which is 8 cycles of 20/10. That’s right…. a four-minute workout which studies found gave great results. Many times, people do one ‘set’ of tabata of one exercise, rest and move on to another set of something else. It’s a fun way to mix it up and push hard.
Both of these workouts you can do at home, and I do them regularly with a jump rope alternating single and double-unders (two rotations of the rope per jump).
I found a great app to help you time your intervals AND some fun songs to help me with my training! I use ‘Interval Timer’ app on my iPhone. There is a free version, and if you find you are liking this and want to save other training cycles, there is a paid version that has more bells and whistles.
The other fun thing I found was an album of Tabata songs (if you are on Spotify, you can find them there) that will guide you along the Tabata timing, so all you have to do is turn up the music and listen in! I especially like this because it will count down, letting you know how much time is left of your cycle, and when you are going hard, it’s a wonderful thing to hear that you only have 4 seconds left!
Is this workout for you? Heck Yes!! If you want to get the most effective workout in the least amount of time then it sure is! So pump up the music, grab your timer and get ready to sweat because this workouts for you!
Want some HIIT Workouts to get started?
(And be sure to check with a doctor to be sure exercise is okay for you! I’m not giving you medical advice, just providing some ideas to help your fitness journey!)