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Stuck for time? Try Tabata

Why Tabata could be the answer

There are periods in everyone’s lives when we are stuck for time. Work, family, friends – the demands on our time can sometimes leave us frazzled, stressed and frustrated. If you are a person who likes to get to the gym or do some form of exercise on a regular basis and then that intention is blocked by other things, that can create stress and anxiety.

When you are stuck for time in this way a different solution is needed. If you simply don’t have the time for an hour long session in the gym or a five mile run after work, then you need an alternative to give you that exercise-induced buzz.

Any workout is better than none

The saying goes that any work out is better than no workout. When you are stuck for time, sometimes you need a short, sharp workout that will see you physically and mentally satisfied.

This is where Tabata training comes in. This is a form of high intensity interval training (HITT), which focuses on short, sharp exercises. You work at maximum capacity for 20 seconds and then take a 10 second break before repeating eight times in total. The exercises can be adapted to any fitness level and Tabata training has been recognised as an effective way of improving aerobic fitness as well as building muscle and burning fat. 

HIIT or Tabata?

To those familiar with different types of fitness training this sounds just like a HIIT workout. The concept is the same: short, high intensity training followed by a rest period. The difference lies in the amount of time spent exercising. In most HIIT workouts, you will spend 2-3 minutes per interval and the session may last 30-40 minutes. A Tabata workout involves eight time 20 seconds on each exercise station with 10 seconds rest each time. The results is 20 minutes of high intensity work. 

Here is a traditional Tabata workout (courtesy of the website healthonline)

For each exercise, do eight rounds of 20 seconds of exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest.



Mountain climbers



Reverse lunges

Efficient exercise

The goal of Tabata is to spend minimal time getting maximum results. It is an efficient way of exercising, although done properly it can really hurt. A small study in 2013 found that people who did a 20-minute Tabata session composing bodyweight and plyometric exercises improved their cardio-respiratory endurance and burned more calories than at the usual rate during their regular exercise sessions. 

If you are new to exercise or if you have injuries or medical concerns, please speak to one of our trainers in the Outlooks Gym or Free Weights gym before starting an exercise programme, particularly one of this intensity.