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The Secret to Burning Fat Faster

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In-the-know gym rats know a secret: the fastest way to lose weight is to incorporate HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, into your workouts. HIIT, characterized by short bursts of intense exercise followed by a slower recovery period, burns more calories in the same amount of time than steady-state exercise. But if you really want to see results, opting for Tabata, a type of HIIT, is a smart choice. In fact, research shows that Tabata burns a whopping 13.5 calories per minute!

Tabata sessions work like this: 20 seconds of maximum-intensity training, followed by 10 seconds of recovery; this protocol is repeated eight times for a total of four minutes. Developed by Japanese scientist Izumi Tabata, the workout can be done with almost any type of moves—just be sure you really push yourself during those 20 seconds to really make it work for you. "During the 20 seconds you want to be at an 11 on an RPE (rate of perceived exertion) scale of one to 11," says PJ Stahl, Tabata program director and co-owner and head coach at Lock Box LA. "A typical scale is from one to 10, but in the Tabata program we added the number 11 with purpose. It is to explain the importance of pushing past your perceived max, which we call 'overdrive.' It's about pushing through your thresholds and doing one more rep when you think you can't, but you really can."

In Tabata, it seems, the secret is to max out your efforts, since you only have to hold this intensity for a relatively short amount of time. Other HIIT workouts, including the popular seven-minute workout (done with 30-second intervals), recommend exercising at an intensity of eight on a scale of 10, so remember Stahl's advice the next time you're pushing yourself during a Tabata workout. The intervals may be shorter, but that doesn't mean you aren't working your hardest. Learn more about the RPE scale here.

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