How long does it take to get in a great cardio workout?

Not as long as you might think.  That is, unless you’re thinking 4 minutes. What can you possibly accomplish in just 4 minutes? A lot, actually.  Seriously.

For example, ride as hard as you can.  Better yet, instead of riding as hard as you can for 4 straight minutes, ride at your true maximum power-output level in several short bursts, resting just long enough between bursts to avoid a steep decline in power output from one burst to the next.

The session I just described is known as the Tabata Protocol.  A system of short, high-intensity intervals developed by Japanese scientist,  Izumi Tabata, Ph.D., at Japan’s National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Kanoya to train Olympic speed skaters.  The basic formula is 20 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated 8 times. 

What will this hellishly challenging four-minute session accomplish?  The 20/10 ratio has been shown to simultaneously boost both aerobic and anaerobic pathways harder and more effectively than longer bouts of exercise, increase your fatigue tolerance and lead directly to improved performance.

The teeny-tiny intervals force the body to keep moving before it actually recovers from the previous set. So to get the full benefit, those 20 seconds need to be serious business – doing as many reps as possible is key.  Somewhere between rounds 6 and 8 the body reaches maximum oxygen intake, so prepare for trembling muscles and lungs gasping for air.  On the bright side, working the aerobic and anaerobic pathways fires up the “after burn effect,” so you’ll be burning calories long after your workout.

This strategy is more of a formula than a specific workout; the possibilities for Tabata are pretty darn flexible.  Love bodyweight exercises?  Do a set of push-ups.  Feeling a dip in the pool?  Put on a swim suit and do some freestyle intervals.   Remember, to burn as many calories as you might like, you need to regularly exercise longer than just 4 minutes. 

Good News:  Argyle Adventure Boot Camp has a way to solve that problem – while also making the Tabata method even more beneficial by incorporating it in our fitness program.  For example:  Instead of doing a single mode of exercise for each sprint, we alternate between two body-weight exercises that work your muscles and joints in different ways – which helps you build a stronger, more fit body.  And, this way fatigue doesn’t overtake you as quickly – you’re still working hard for each 20 second interval, but you’re spreading the challenge around.  I often end my fitness boot camps with a mini core Tabata – I call “finisher.”

While exercise is key to your fitness and performance, nutrition plays a larger role in your overall appearance and health.  These components go hand in hand and work in synergy.  What I love about Argyle Adventure Boot Camp is that it provides a solution for both total body conditioning using all of the components of fitness along with a nutritional cleansing & peak performance nutritional system that is proven to help you look and feel your best. 

At Argyle Adventure Boot Camp we will help you focus on key exercises that will bring results.  Our July camps are forming now at 5:30 a.m. & 8:30 a.m. and NEW Aqua Fitness Camps at 10:30 a.m. & 6:30 p.m. 

Norma Zitterkopf is a Certified Personal Trainer, Wellness Coach and owner of Argyle Adventure Boot Camp, a consultant with Isagenix International.  For more information visit Call (214) 729-0001.


Related Articles

Popular This Week