Two of our favorite excuses for holding onto a few extra pounds and being out of shape: Too little time and too little money. Gym memberships and personal trainers can be very expensive, but they're not required for getting the body you want. Today I was introduced to Tabata training, also known as "the four-minute miracle fat burner." It takes very little time and you can easily do it in a small space (like a studio apartment in New York City).
RELATED: The At-Home Tabata Workout
There are a few different ways to structure a Tabata, but you typically pick one cardio activity (running, jumping rope, biking) or one exercise (burpees, squat jumps, mountain climbers) and perform it at your maximum intensity for 20 seconds, followed by 10 seconds of complete rest, and repeat seven more times. The instructor of my basic muscle toning class yesterday started us off with the following variation that sucked every last breath out of my body:
1 minute of burpees, followed by 10 seconds of rest
1 minute of squats, followed by 10 seconds of rest
1 minute of skipping, followed by 10 seconds of rest
1 minute of mountain climbers, followed by 10 seconds of rest
We repeated this series twice. It was brutal... brutally awesome.
In less than five minutes, my heart rate was soaring, sweat was pouring off my body, and I couldn't even speak. When I stopped seeing stars, I realized the high impact of high-intensity exercise and that anyone can do it! I'm sure a true fitness guru would have heckled my form and stamina, but if can log five minutes of CRAZY before my morning coffee, it will surely give my daily routine a push in the right direction.
Everyone can spare five minutes a day to go nuts, so the next time someone asks if you're into Tabata, don't confuse it for a Mediterranean dip. It's high-intensity interval training that will rock your world.
Just last week I professed that hardcore exercise wasn't for me, but if you're lucky enough to have the time to experiment, try anything. You never know what might be a workout winner!