If you’ve done any of my classes at Digme, you’ll know I often like to incorporate ‘Tabata’ sections. Done properly, Tabata has incredible benefits for fitness and weight-loss, and it’s popular because it takes a very short time.

The name comes from a Japanese researcher, Dr Imuzi Tabata, who conducted a study on athletes to see if they benefited from interval training where they worked at maximum effort for 20 seconds, then rested for 10 seconds. This was repeated eight times, so four minutes in total.

The results speak for themselves with improvements to both anaerobic capacity, by 28 percent, and VO2 max, a key indicator of cardiovascular health and maximal aerobic power, by 15 percent. 

I like to introduce a round of Tabata about halfway through my rides to offer something a bit different. We’ll select a higher gear and reach a leg speed of around 80-100 RPM during the 20 seconds of maximal power output, then rest for 10, then go again. It’s brilliant because your legs and lungs are burning, but you know that a quick break is always just around the corner.

Whether you’re on one of our bikes, out running or doing strength training, Tabata will raise your heart rate and metabolism immediately. It improves endurance and teaches your body to tolerate lactic acid within a high-intensity training zone.

One of the best things is that it keeps your metabolism sky high, meaning your body keeps burning calories for 24 hours afterwards (known as ‘excess post-oxygen consumption’ or EPOC). This is exactly what you want if your goal is to lose body fat.

It’s tough, but the benefits are fantastic, and if you have to squeeze your exercise into a busy life, it’s an ideal solution. 

Dan Little
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