High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and Tabata

This page is intended to provide background reading on the subject of Tabata training.

HIIT is a form of cardio exercise that has been proven to BURN 9 TIMES MORE FAT than regular cardio IN LESS TIME! HIIT improves performance and produces the quickest and most dramatic changes to your body and cardiovascular system.

HIIT can be applied to strength training, running, circuit training, martial arts and more. It basically means that you perform an exercise like running for example at a very hard intensity with very short rests in between. There are many protocols that you can use.

Dr Tabata from the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo, researched and developed what he found to be the most effective protocol. He developed an interval training cycle of 20 seconds of maximum intensity exercise, followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated without pause 8 times for a total of four minutes. The conclusion was that just four minutes of Tabata interval training could enhance aerobic and anaerobic capacity more than an hour of endurance exercise.

Now 2 things you might be thinking:
4 minutes of exercise can't be that good
Great 4 minutes of exercise is easy and I can't wait to lose all that weight without much effort

Unfortunately you will be wrong on both counts. 4 minutes can be highly effective if done correctly, and if you are fit enough you can try and do up to 5 sets in total. Also in order to gain the benefits of HIIT you must be exercising at maximal intensity from the word GO! That means 10/10 effort. It is lung busting and physically demanding.
You may not have a stopwatch to hand but it doesn't matter. Use your own body clock to time determine your work and rest periods. Try to work for a minimum of 20 seconds and rest either the same amount of time or up to half the amount of time. It will feel like you haven't had enough rest, but the aim is to keep your heart rate high throughout and not to let you recover too much.

 HIIT - studies on its effects:

One of the earliest studies, by researchers at Laval University (Ste-Foy, Quebec, Canada), kept it basic, using two groups in a months-long experiment. One group followed a 15-week program using HIIT while the other performed only steady-state cardio for 20 weeks. Proponents of steady-state training were pleased to hear that those subjects burned 15,000 calories more than their HIIT counterparts. Those who followed the HIIT program, however, lost significantly more body fat.

A 2001 study from East Tennessee State University (Johnson City) demonstrated similar findings with subjects who followed an eight-week HIIT program. Again, HIIT proved to be the better fat-burner--subjects dropped 2% body fat over the course of the experiment. Meanwhile, those who plodded through the eight weeks on a steady-state program lost no body fat.

The most recent study, out of Australia, reported that a group of females who followed a 20-minute HIIT program consisting of eight-second sprints followed by 12 seconds of rest lost an amazing six times more body fat than a group that followed a 40-minute cardio program performed at a constant intensity of 60% maximum heart rate.


So what is it about HIIT cardio training that sends bodyfat to the great beyond? There are actually several reasons, but the first and perhaps most important involves its effect on your metabolism.

A 1996 study from Baylor College of Medicine (Houston) reported that subjects who performed a HIIT workout on a stationary cycle burned significantly more calories during the 24 hours following the workout than those who cycled at a moderate, steady-state intensity due to a rise in resting metabolism. Why? Since HIIT is tougher on the body, it requires more energy (read: calories) to repair itself afterward.

The previously mentioned 2001 East Tennessee State study found that test subjects in the HIIT program also burned nearly 100 more calories per day during the 24 hours after exercise.

More recently, a study presented by Florida State University (Tallahassee) researchers at the 2007 Annual Meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) reported that subjects who performed HIIT cardio burned almost 10% more calories during the 24 hours following exercise than a steady-state group, despite the fact that the total calories burned during each workout were the same.

Research also confirms that HIIT enhances the metabolic machinery in muscle cells that promotes fat-burning and blunts fat production. The Laval University study discovered that the HIIT subjects' muscle fibers had significantly higher markers for fat oxidation (fat-burning) than those in the steady-state exercise group.

And a study published in a 2007 issue of the Journal of Applied Physiology reported that young females who performed seven HIIT workouts over a two-week period experienced a 30% increase in both fat oxidation and levels of muscle enzymes that enhance fat oxidation.

Please contact us at info@7futures.com if you feel you need more help or advice on designing your own tabata routine.

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Mark Davies