For a long time, I toyed with getting into the fabled-on-the-internet 7-minute workout until I discovered that it was, in fact, a complete misnomer and apparently for it to be effective, you must do the 7-minute workout THREE times.
“Hold up,” I thought. I’m being sold a pup here. I may not be able to do a plank but I can do some basic maths and a 7-minute workout by three is actually a 21-minute workout. And that’s not even allowing time for me to keel over and cry from all the exertion. No dice internet.
Then I came across the far more doable sounding 4-minute workout called Tabata and my curiosity was piqued.
According to Shape.com, you will feel and see greater results from four minutes of Tabata intervals than 1 hour spent running on the treadmill (or dreadmill as I call it).
Pick a cardio activity such as squat jumps or skipping and go as hard as you can at it for 20 seconds.
Take a little rest for 10 seconds. Then repeat seven more times.
Apparently, you know you’re doing it right if you feel close to death afterward, though sometimes I feel like I may pass away after a particularly grueling flight of stairs so perhaps this is not my best gauge.
In taking the plunge into this version of high-intensity training, that originated among Japanese Olympians, I first downloaded an app to help time my bursts of activity and rest so that I could better focus on not giving up.
The advantage of Tabata is that it is a realistic addition to your fitness life, I do it in the morning before my shower and it’s very energising once you become accustomed to the initial near-death feeling. It would also be a good lunchtime option if you’re that way inclined.
The trick is to change up the exercises so that you are working different muscle groups. Burpees, lunges, high knees, push-ups, planks, crunches and stairs are all good moves to incorporate into the workout.
Ever try high-intensity workouts? Share your tips in the comments.