By the time you have finished work, made your way home, and sat down on your sofa, most of us have already worked out that there is only really 4 hours (give or take) left of the day. Once you have come to this realisation it can be difficult to get yourself motivated for the gym, where you could easily spend 1-2 hours of your precious 4 hour ‘me’ time. “Tabata” is a particular kind of cardiovascular-exercise that will not take you hours at all. In fact it can be completed in about 4 minutes.

Tabata is a high-intensity interval training regime that was put together by a Japanese scientist named Izumi Tabata. Together with his fellow scientists at a department of physiology in Japan, Tabata conducted a study to compare the benefits gained from moderate-intensity and high-intensity training. He found that high-intensity training improved aerobic (cardiovascular) and anaerobic (muscular) systems whereas medium-intensity only improved aerobic systems, and to a far lesser degree.
Having concluded that high-intensity interval training is more beneficial, Tabata drew-up the basic outline of his ideal cardio-training method:

• 4 minutes long (whole Tabata Session)
• 20 seconds of intense training
• 10 seconds of rest
• Total of 8 sessions or rounds

Tabata training is short, efficient, can fit in almost any fitness program and all you need to do it at home is a treadmill. One four-minute sessions is equal to an hour of jogging, an hour of moderate cycling, two hours of walking, an hour of Zumba or two hours of yoga.

It is recommended that Tabata should not be attempted if you have not been doing regular cardio for at least 3 months. Also if you have high blood pressure, a history of cardiovascular problems, or you’re pregnant, you should consult your doctor before starting Tabata.