Have you thought much about your metabolism? Did you know that your metabolism is essentially the total amount of energy required by your body on a daily basis? If you want to increase your metabolism by eating less food than you need, any energy short-fall with have to be met by your body-fat stores, which results in weight loss. However, there is one amazing workout that you can perform to increase your metabolism.
The Tabata Protocol, named after Dr. Izumi Tabata who is a former researcher at Japan’s National Institute of Fitness and Sports, is an interval training method. It was developed by the head coach of the Japanese speed-skating team. It is called the Tabata “protocol” because Dr. Tabata and his team studied the speed-skating coach’s workout to quantify how effective it really was. The Tabata workout consists of six to seven 20-second full-speed sprints that are then interspersed with rest periods of 10 seconds.
If you are know anything about working out to lose weight you probably read that keeping your body at a steady aerobic state is the best way to go to burn off all your body fat. Basically, this means you either are working out for a minimum of 30 minutes on some stationary equipment such as the bike, or treadmill or stairclimber. The theory is that when your body is in an aerobic state, it is burning calories from fat, not carbs.
Research has shown that when Tabata intervals occur, the percentage of fuel from carbs is actually increased and the amount of fat utilized during the workout is even greater then the fat that is burned during low intensity exercise. The short-term and intense interval training is extremely effective for lowering the ratio of lean body mass to fat without wasting muscle.
What is even more impressive is that research found that Tabata burns fat tissue better then the lower-intensity workouts by as much as up to 50 percent. This means that Tabata will boost your metabolism while keeping your metabolism elevated for quite some time even after your workout is over. Simply put, if you want to burn a greater number of total calories which means even more fat loss, you should try the Tabata Protocol.
In only 8 minutes or so every 3 days, you can actually turn your body into a fat-burning machine.
When your body has reached an Oxygen Debt (you know this when your breathing is harder) this means your body has burned off all of its glycogen (otherwise know as blood sugar) it has available and it needs to replace all of that energy. It will do this by burning fat. However, you do not want to try and burn fat while you are exercising! What you want is to burn off all of the carbs as fuel while exercising.
Your body will always be in either in an Aerobic or Anaerobic state. The Aerobic system will use oxygen to burn fuel but the Anaerobic system does not and be aware that one does not replace the other. Your body will begin a workout using your Aerobic energy system to burn fuel. When your body gets to a point where there is simply too small of an amount to provide the Aerobic energy to your muscles, this is when your Anaerobic system takes over. It is basically working at the ultimate Aerobic zone.
It takes some time to get to this ultimate Aerobic zone. First you are looking to work out to the point that your are reaching your ‘Target Heart Rate Zone.’ This is a typical term used among those who work out. A Heart Rate Monitor should be used to measure your intensity while following this program.
It is important to gradually build up your endurance so do not plan on starting out doing the Tabata Protocol as is normally described.
While the original Tabata Protocol follows this set-up: 5 minutes of warm-up followed by 8 intervals of 20 seconds of a high intensity exercise, followed by 10 seconds of rests with a 2-minute cool-down, this is not the way to start off.
It is essential to slowly build up your endurance to this work out, which should only be performed strictly on cardio equipment. Weights are not permitted for this protocol.
You need to gradually build your heart and lung capacity over time.
Here’s what you need to do when starting out:
*** Medical Dislaimer ***
See your physician before starting any kind of exercise routine
The entire beginner workout starts out at 7 minutes long. It breaks down to 3 minutes of warmup, 2 intervals of 30 seconds each. (1 minute of exercise) followed by a 2 minute cool-down.
1) Use a Recumbent or Stationary Bike, Versaclimber, Rowing Machine, Elliptical Trainer or other piece of cardio equipment that allows for gradually increasing resistance, speed, etc. and utilizes the large muscles of your legs.
It is possible to use a Treadmill, however, you have to rest for 10 seconds between bouts of exercise, so the only option when on a treadmill is to step onto the sides and stop entirely, because the machine won’t respond quick enough to the required rapid changes in velocity during a Tabata Protocol interval.
2) Wear a Heart Rate Monitor. Record the Max. Heart Rate achieved during your entire workout, and your Recovery Heart Rate (see below)
3) Warm up for 3 minutes at a moderate pace. You can start out with a low resistance and low RPMs (like 60-65 RPMs on a bike) for the first minute, increase the tension on your equipment one notch for the second minute, then increase the RPMs to 70-75 RPMs and/or tension for the last minute, gradually raising your heart rate to a moderate level.
4) Start out by doing 2 intervals:
– First, increase the tension one notch above where your warmup ended at, or more if you find your feet are flying off the pedals
– Pedal (or go) FULL SPEED, as fast as you can, well above 85 RPMs (if on a bike) – even over 100 RPMs – for 20 seconds.
– Pedal slow for the next 10 seconds. If you did it right, you SHOULD see your Heart Rate go UP a little AFTER you stop pedaling so fast. This is because of the Oxygen Debt you created, and it signals your body to get more oxygen to your energy system. You will notice yourself panting – this is your body trying to get more oxygen to your lungs to fuel your energy system.
– Repeat 1 more time (20 seconds all out fast, 10 seconds slow). Notice your Heart Rate go up a little after you enter the slow part of the interval each time.
– After 2 intervals, decrease the tension to 0 (lowest setting) on your bike or other equipment and pedal slow for 2 minutes.
– After your 2 minute cool-down, stop pedaling COMPLETELY for 1 minute and just sit there.
– At the end of this 1 minute, check your Heart Rate. This is your Recovery Heart Rate – record it!
– Record the Maximum Heart Rate you achieved during your workout. This may have occurred during your 1st interval or your last (usually the last). It will PROBABLY be over the Max. Heart Rate calculated by 220 Minus Your Age. If it isn’t, that’s OK, especially when you are first starting out – don’t overdo it.
5) Do this workout 3 times per week – allow yourself at least one full day of recovery between workouts. Your body needs to heal itself, increase the strength of your heart and lungs, etc.
6) When you notice at the end of your next workout (or however many workouts it takes) that your Recovery Heart Rate went down, add another interval (bringing it to 3 intervals per workout).
7) The next time you notice your Recovery Heart Rate goes down after the workout from its previous number, increase the tension on your equipment to make it more intense.
8) Gradually build up your fitness level by first adding an interval, then increasing the tension, when you see your fitness level has improved from one workout to the next (by checking your Recovery Heart Rate).
Tabata is the best alternative to traditional cardio such as running, biking and the elliptical if you are looking to burn maximum calories and maximal fat while increasing your body’s metabolic rate. Definitely change up your workout routine and you will see a difference!