Strip Fat & Breathe Fire with 4 Minute Tabatas

Strip Fat and Breathe Fire

From regularly teaching Tabata workouts at the BaseFit Gym in East London, I have witnessed dramatic strength and cardiovascular improvements from all of the regulars in my classes over a 2 month period. A type of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), Tabata workouts will ramp up your metabolism and have you burning more body fat than a long, low-intensity cardio session, not to mention the cardiorespiratory burn you’ll feel too, as your lungs scream for oxygen! A few weeks of Tabata and your fitness levels will go through the roof!

So what is Tabata?

Tabata forces the body to work at a high intensity using intervals. Traditional Tabata uses a format of 20/10; 20 seconds work time to a 10 seconds rest time over 8 rounds or exercises. The work intervals can consist of a variety of different exercises or by using the same exercise repeated 8 times.

A performance pre-workout like ELEVATE™ can help to prepare you for the battle ahead. The inclusion of caffeine can assist in increasing focus, as well as being shown to reduce perceived exertion – making you feel like you have way more left in the tank. Beta Alanine and Citrulline Malate are the fatigue fighters. You will almost certainly feel the burn, but the formulation of these ingredients will encourage you to push on and dig deep.

What are the benefits of Tabata training?

 “…more training benefits in a shorter time frame.”

The short duration of the workout and fast paced structure of Tabata keeps you focused and motivated throughout, bringing a higher level of excitement and intensity than a regular cardio workout. Working using high intensity intervals in the Tabata style has shown to increase the efficiency of your aerobic and anaerobic systems.

Training at close to your maximum effort for short bursts, your body works anaerobically – this means ‘without oxygen’. After around 10 seconds your body will require oxygen as a fuel source and start to use the aerobic system, unable to keep going further using the anaerobic system. Because of the switch between the two systems your body will be forced to increase the efficiency of both with the added benefit of training the fast twitch and slow twitch muscle fibres simultaneously – essentially getting more training benefits in a shorter time frame.

After the session your metabolic rate will be increased. This means there is a higher demand for energy required to fuel your body in a resting state as you need more food to recover efficiently. Your body is now burning more calories at rest, ultimately leading to greater amounts of fat loss.

How to do a Tabata workout

Using the 20/10 approach, either pick one exercise for the 20 second work time and rest for 10 seconds or pick a mixture of 8 cardio/resistance exercises to focus on more muscle groups. You can repeat the 8 exercises after a rest time if you wish to lengthen the session.

Remember: Tabata aims to bring your heart rate as close to its maximum as possible so try to go ‘all-out’ for each of the 20 second work intervals. Only attempt Tabata if you are healthy and have no known medical conditions.

Using time to break up the work/rest time is a simple way of gauging the intensity. Heart rate can also be used to give a more specific measure.

Here are some Tabata workouts you can do at home:

  1. Cardio focused Tabata 20/10 – Total 14-19 min

Warm-up 5 mins jogging and dynamic stretching.

Perform each of these exercises for 20s, resting for 10s before moving to the next:

  • High Knees
  • Mountain climbers
  • Burpees
  • Tuck jump
  • High knees
  • Mountain climbers
  • Burpees
  • Tuck jump

(Rest for 1 min and repeat once more if desired)

Warm-down 5 mins easy jogging and static stretching.

  1. Bodyweight legs focused Tabata 20/10 – Total 14-19 min

Perform each of these exercises for 20s resting for 10s before moving to the next:

  • Alternate lunges
  • Squats
  • Ski-jumps
  • Close stance squat
  • Alternate lunges
  • Squats
  • Ski-jumps
  • Close stance squat

(Rest for 1 min and repeat once more if desired)

Warm-down 5 mins easy jogging and static stretching

Try some of these tabata workouts today and feel free to experiment, adding exercises of your own.


When undertaking any form of intense exercise, it’s really important you’re eating the right food and refueling quickly post-workout. So when you’re flat on your back, struggling to get up off the exercise mat or carpet, reach for a shake containing Complete Recovery™ or AFTERMATH™. Each contains the quality protein, carbohydrates and aminos you’ll need to feel a bit more human after your training.

About the Author

Dejan and Jonny are both fitness professionals stemming from a vast sporting background. Based in London they are the founders of ‘LetsTrain‘ – an online, forward-thinking, fitness and nutrition resource.

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