There are millions of different cardio routines and fat loss programs out there – just do a Google search for the term “fat loss” and check out the number of results you get. You’ll be stunned! The best part is, there are hundreds more new and “better” routines emerging weekly.
The irony of all this is that no matter how many hundreds of millions of gimmicky programs are created, the basic fat loss principles will always be the same. They’ll always consist of a proper diet, a solid workout routine, and consistent, smart cardio. That’s all there is to it – the basics that will never change!
Of course, each variable of the fat loss equation does allow for variation. My intent with this article, is to tell you of such variation of the cardio variable. It’s called the Tabata Protocol, and it’s one of the most effective type of cardio that you can do.
…and it doesn’t involve a treadmill!
I’m guessing that many of you are familiar with this form of high intensity interval training, and if you are, I would love to hear all about your specific Tabata routines in the comments section of this article. For those of you who may’ve heard of this protocol and would like to give it a shot but aren’t sure where to start, just read on. And if you’d like to lose fat but have never heard of Tabata at all, you’re in for a real treat!
Tabata is an incredibly potent fat burner due to its effects on the metabolism for hours and hours after its completion. It’ll only take about four minutes to complete an immensely effective workout that’ll keep incinerating fat off your body for up to 24 hours after it’s done. Yes, that’s right – only four minutes.
Due to the fact that this protocol results in a release of lactic acid (something no other cardio routine can claim), it actually prompts a favorable release of anabolic hormones rather than just spiking your cortisol levels the way your usual cardio would do.
Besides all this, there’s the obvious fact of convenience. A Tabata routine can be performed in just minutes, as mentioned above – and you don’t need any cardio equipment at all to do it! It’s the perfect routine for trips, or on days when you just don’t feel like hitting the gym or the track for an effective workout.
Tabata consists of performing an exercise for 20 seconds, without stopping, then resting for 10 seconds before repeating the 20-second cycle again – done 8 times over. Just about any movement you feel completely comfortable doing will work here, which is what makes this routine so convenient!
Perfect movement for Tabatas; and you can mimic it with a water bottle!
Now, before you get too excited, understand that these 4 minutes – though short – will not be easy! You’ll be completely drained, dripping with sweat, and out of breath by the time you’re done with your last cycle.
The good news is, it’ll be done and over with before you know it; and not only will you be in fantastic aerobic shape by implementing Tabatas into your routine regularly, but you’ll be building muscular endurance, as well!
The exercise you choose may either be a body-weight movement (like push-ups, pull-ups, body-weight squats, or even sprints), or a weighted movement (dumbbell push-presses happen to be my favorite, but you can go with cleans, squats, kettlebell swings, and other similar movements that may be performed with speed).
The idea here is to choose any exercise you can perform comfortably, safely, and smoothly – without stopping – for a full 20 seconds, going all out. Once the time is up, you’ll take a 10-second break, and repeat the cycle seven more times. You’ll feel an immense burn in your active muscle groups, and your heart will be beating harder than it ever has before – but just focus on that stopwatch, and you’ll get through it!
I personally adore Tabatas for many reasons – not the least of which is how much fun you can have experimenting with different movements while putting your metabolism into overdrive! So whether you’ve heard of this protocol before and haven’t implemented it for whatever reason, or you’ve never even heard of it at all, I hope you’re feeling confident enough to give it a shot after reading this article.