How To Lose Weight and Get Fit in Just 4 Minutes a Day!
The simple exercise guide to getting skinny and fit—in less time than it takes to take a shower!
By Kevin DiDonato, MS, CES—Level 1 Precision Nutrition Specialist and Certified Personal Trainer
The years of spending endless hours in the gym to change your body are over! Now you can get fit…boost your energy…and strip away inches of stubborn belly fat—all in just 4 minutes each day!
4 minutes? Yes! If you have 4 minutes to spare, I am going to show you the latest (and probably the GREATEST) way to get in shape without spending extra money on a gym membership or even hiring a personal trainer.
Finally, the secret to getting high school skinny involves a relatively new exercise method.
It’s called Tabata, otherwise known as high intensity interval training (HIIT)!
So what exactly are Tabata Workouts?
When it comes to getting in shape, losing unsightly belly fat, boosting your energy, and transforming your life (from the outside in), you need to do some sort of exercise.
But most people can’t find even 30 seconds of free time in their day, let alone fit 30 minutes to exercise every day!
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So they become frustrated and upset by their lack of results! Well worry no more!
Tabata is very short…
And a very effective method of exercise that is taking the fitness industry by storm!
But what is it and how did it come to us?
Tabata exercise has been around for decades! In fact, a man named Dr. Imuzi Tabata was the first person to develop this type of exercise.
Dr. Tabata was hired by the head coach of the Japanese Speed Skating team to look at how efficient the team training programs were. The Japanese team was using this new method—short burst of all-out work, followed by a short rest period—repeated over and over.
Not only was it proven as an effective means for improving both aerobic and anaerobic strength…
…it also helped change the body composition of the athletes, making them leaner, stronger, and more efficient at their sport.
Although his original protocol was far more intense than what you know today, Tabata training may be one of the most effective ways of changing and re-shaping your body—in as little time as possible (who doesn’t have 4 minutes?!).
Tabata involves short periods of ALL-OUT work (lasting roughly 20 seconds) followed by a short rest period (around 10 seconds).
The time can be changed to elicit a greater response or to allow for more rest time during the rugged workout.
The 20-second on/10-second off cycle is performed 8 times for a grand total of 4 minutes of actual work!
Pretty easy, right?
Tabata is NOTHING Short of Intense and NOT Easy!
Even though Tabata training is short on time…
…trust me, it does NOT lack in intensity! And that intensity, work, and effort really goes a long way to strengthening both your aerobic and your anaerobic systems!
Editor’s Note: Click here if you want even more Exercises to include in your Tabata Training
Tabata training requires you to go ALL-OUT for at least 20 seconds (sometimes longer) and then rest for 10—repeating 8 times.
However, those who feel great after a series, probably didn’t push themselves hard enough. Most positive changes occur when you push yourself to the limit.
And that is exactly what Tabata training does—pushes you the limit and leaves you exhausted...sweaty…and spent!
So how does it work in such a short period of time? Besides pushing you to the limit, Tabata increases your “after burn” (otherwise known as post-exercise oxygen consumption) effect in your body.
All-out activity increases the amount of oxygen that needs to get to your working muscles. After the exercise is over, you need to “pay back” the oxygen you borrowed, which increases your rate of calorie burn!
Depending on how hard you pushed yourself—you could see elevated caloric (and fat burn) for as long as 24 to 48 hours after the workout ends!
Tabata Training Plans
Although there are a lot of exercise plans out there, Tabata plans may be the best ones going. Not only are they extremely short (4 minutes tops), they strengthen almost every system in your body.
Plus, the intensity of the workout spares your lean muscle mass and accelerates your use of fat for energy!
Below, we are going to outline some basic Tabata routines you can do. Nothing too fancy, but just enough to work up a sweat and get your body rolling.
Remember, like any exercise program(s), consult your doctor or physician to ensure you’re healthy enough for exercise and that your body can handle the intensity of HIIT training.
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Before you start the actual Tabata training, you need to adequately warm up. This could be a brisk walk, bike, or jog for anywhere between 5 to 10 minutes. This helps to get blood flowing to your muscles, which prevents injuries and improves flexibility. You could also do the exercise you will be performing during the Tabata periods (also called a dynamic warmup). Great warm up exercises include: squats, lunges, pushups, arm circles, hip circles, side bends, and chops.
Now, on to the Tabata…
Beginner’s Tabata Protocol—Workout 1
This is by far the simplest and most useful Tabata method for beginners. All you need is a bike, a trail or track, and plenty of water. For the purpose of this activity, we are going to do a brief walk/jog routine for you:
5 minute warm up (see above for ideas)
Walk/jog—after your warm up, your body should be ready for the increased activity. You are going to jog (run for more advanced exercisers) for 20 seconds followed by 10 seconds of brisk (or slow) walking. Repeat this sequence for 8 rounds or 4 minutes
Variations—if walk/jog is not your thing, you can easily transition this to a bike, a pool, or even an elliptical machine. Just substitute your favorite exercise and repeat the format from above (20 seconds all-out followed by 10 seconds rest or slower activity).
Intermediate Tabata Workout—Workout 2
This routine is slightly different and involves more bodyweight exercises. This routine will help you 1) build cardiovascular endurance and 2) build strength and endurance in your muscles.
5 to 10 minute warm up
High knees (in place): perform as many high knees in place as you can in 20 seconds. Rest 10 seconds. Repeat once more for a total of 2 sets.
Regular (shoulder width) pushups: Perform as many pushups as you can in 20 seconds. Rest for 10, then repeat for one more set.
Jumping Jacks: Perform as many jumping jacks as you can in 20 seconds. Rest 10. Repeat once more for a total of 2 sets.
Lunges: Perform as many alternating walking lunges as you can in 20 seconds. Rest for 10, then repeat for one more set.
TIP: If you want to extend this routine, you can always do 8 sets of each exercise for a 20 minute total workout.
Advanced Tabata Workout—Workout 3
This is the most advanced form of exercise and one that will tax every system in your body. In this routine you can incorporate weights, bands, and other types of resistance to give your body an even harder workout.
Warm up 5 to 10 minutes
Jumping Jacks: perform as many jumping jacks as you can in 20 seconds. Rest 10 seconds as you prepare for the next exercise.
Close-Grip pushups: Perform as many close-grip pushups as you can in 20 seconds. Rest 10 while you prepare for the following exercise
Burpees: Perform as many burpees as you can in 20 seconds. Rest 10 and prepare for the next exercise.
Mountain climbers: Perform as many alternating mountain climbers as you can in 20 seconds (increase the speed to make it harder). Rest 10 seconds and prepare for what’s up next
Step ups: Perform as many alternating step-ups in 20 seconds. Rest 10 while you prepare for what’s next
Overhead Squat Press: Perform as many squat presses as you can in 20 seconds. Rest 10 while preparing for what’s next (TIP: You can use dumbbells or bands for this exercise)
Seal jacks: perform as many seal jacks as you can in 20 seconds. Rest 10.
Plank: hold your body in a plank position for 20 seconds. Rest 10 seconds.
TIP: This is just one circuit of exercise. Repeat the whole routine 8 times for a more intense workout
As you can see, there are many different variations and ways you can do HIIT training or Tabata training. The best part of this type of exercise is you can choose any exercise you want and go with it. Adding in different exercises will expend more calories, plus target different muscle groups in your body. Combining routines, back-to-back, really gets your heart racing and your blood pumping. Here’s one of the routines I use for my clients when they are short on time:
20-Minute Tabata (HIIT) Workout
Warm up 5 to 10 minutes
Running (either in place or around a track): Run as fast as you can for 20 seconds followed by 10 seconds of rest. Repeat 8x.
Bodyweight Squats: Perform as many squats as you can in 20 seconds followed by 10 seconds rest. Repeat 8x.
Jump rope: Jump rope as fast as you can for 20 seconds followed by 10 seconds rest. Repeat 8x.
2-legged hops: Hop as fast (and far) as you can in 20 seconds followed by 10 seconds rest. Repeat 8x.
Pushups: Perform as many pushups as you can in 20 seconds followed by 10 seconds rest. Repeat 8x.
Even More Tabata Benefits
As you know, Tabata or HIIT training is great for developing both your aerobic and anaerobic energy systems. But that’s not all it does! Tabata or HIIT may also:
Improve your insulin sensitivity (reduce chronic disease risk)
Burn exercise calories and fat
Now that you know more about Tabata and HIIT training, you no longer have an excuse as to why you can’t exercise! This is by far the most effective way to getting in shape—without spending hours at the gym.
If you have 4 minutes in your day, then you have 4 minutes to get in shape…burn fat…and build metabolism-boosting lean muscle mass.
Go ahead, give it a try today!
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