If life gets in the way of your workout, take heart! It’s possible to get through a full workout that challenges you cardiovascularly, gives your metabolism a kick and has been demonstrated to increase your body’s fitness in about 6 minutes.
The original workout:
1. Go outside (you will get better results)
2. Warm up with a slow jog for two minutes
3. 20 seconds: Sprint as hard as you possibly can
4. 10 seconds: walk
5. Repeat steps 3 and 4, eight to twelve times
The workout protocol was designed by Japanese Scientist Izumi Tabata and his results were shocking. His experiment compared high and low intensity cardio and was done over a 6 week period. Two groups of people were assigned either one hour of light jogging for five days a week and the other was assigned 4 minutes of the above protocol for five days a week. At the end, the group that spent 5 hours a week exercising improved their aerobic (oxygen-using, long-distance endurance) fitness by 5 ml/kg/min and their anaerobic (sugar-using, power) fitness was about the same. On the other hand, the group that spent 20 minutes a week improved their aerobic fitness by 7 ml/kg/min and their anaerobic by 28%!
Takeaway: With high intensity interval training, it’s possible to increase your aerobic fitness 29% more, anerobic fitness 28% more and spend 93% less time working out.
My workout revision:
While this protocol will surely hold true for a period of time, your body will need other sources of stimuli to stay trained. I shifted Dr. Tabata’s original protocol to include other body parts. This workout takes just a couple minutes Moore and will be far more effective in overall fitness. If y’re crunched for time, whip this one out and stay fit!
My modified workout:
Go outside and jog for 2 minutes
Tabata Sprints (20 seconds on, 10 seconds off)
Push-ups (20 seconds on, 10 seconds off)
Tabata Chin-ups -or lat pull-downs (20 seconds on, 10 seconds off)
Do each exercise for 8 sets before moving to the next
Tabata I., Nishimura K., et al. Effects of moderate-intensity endurance and high-intensity intermittent training on anaerobic capacity and VO2max. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1996 Oct;28(10):1327-30.