Extreme Fat Loss: The Tabata Method

Part 1 of this series looked at some of the basics of what you should be doing to drop fat quickly. Today, we’re going to be looking at a little known method called The Tabata Method. This method is named after a Japanese researcher by the same name, who stumbled on a way to effectively work both the aerobic and anaerobic systems at the same time. The beauty of this system is its ability to blitz body fat fast and it only takes 4 minutes to complete. What the catch? Well, it might quite possibly be the most hellish 4 minutes of training, ever!


I have a confession to make. Before today, I’d never done the Tabata method. Sure, I’d read about it a few years ago and filed it away as something to try, but never really got around to it. I really don’t like to promote something that I’ve never tried and after promising yesterday to write about it, I felt kind of committed. So, today at the end of my workout, I tried it and barely managed to drag my body out of the door. That’s after collapsing in a heap on the floor in front of the squat rack for about 5 minutes too. So you’ve been warned, this is definitely not for the faint hearted.

What exactly is the Tabata Method?

On paper, it’s really simple.

  • Pick a compound, multi-joint exercise that uses as many muscles as possible.
  • Perform as many reps as you can for 20 seconds. (Shoot for 8-10).
  • Rest for 10 seconds.
  • Repeat 7 times for a total of eight sets.

Your total training time for this is only 4 minutes and should only be done for one exercise in a training session. Do it at the end of your regular workout, because I guarantee that you won’t be able to do anything else afterwards. You also want to pick a weight that you are going to be able to finish with. I used around 30% of my maximum, so shoot for around that mark. Also, try to pick an exercise that you are familiar with and that doesn’t require a lot of setup. I used the Front Squat because it’s a really taxing exercise to begin with and because the weight can be easily racked and unracked within your 10 seconds rest. You don’t have to choose a weighted exercise though; you could choose to do sprinting or any other exercise, so long as the intensity is high. Due to The Tabata Methods extreme nature, I wouldn’t recommend doing it more than once a week.

That’s it, a simple but highly effective fat loss strategy that’s guaranteed to have you crying for your mommy. I dare you to try it! Next up in the extreme fat loss strategy, I’ll be tackling how you should tweak your exercise program for optimal fat loss.

Read the rest of this series here:
Part 1 – Extreme Fat Loss: The Basics

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2 Responses to “Extreme Fat Loss: The Tabata Method”

  1. Hey, When you say 8 sets, should it be the same for sprinting? Like I do the sprint and rest 7 times, rest, then do it over again 8 times?

  2. Hey Sara,

    Sorry for the late reply - I’ve been holidaying in the mountains with no electricity and not even any mobile phone reception.

    For sprinting, you’ll do it the same as with any other exercise. So you will sprint non-stop for 20sec then rest for 10sec; that equates to 1 set. Repeats 7 more times. This will only take you 4 minutes total, but it will be pretty brutal.

    Good luck!

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