Before we get to why you searched for this blog, I think it’s important to explain Tabata and how it originated. The whole Tabata movement stems from the research of Professor Izumi Tabata — a Japanese scientist who was commissioned to get Japanese Olympic speed skaters in the best shape of their lives.
His job was to scientifically study all forms of training and figure out what got Elite athletes in tip top condition. He looked at HIIT Training (and its different forms), Steady State training, and Interval Training. Long story short, this is how the Tabata system was developed.
What the good professor found was that there was a zero percent increase in overall fitness when he trained these Elite athletes using Steady State aerobic conditioning (basically sustaining your heart rate at a steady, consistent, maybe 50% of maximum heart rate).
However, he noted incredible increase in their overall fitness — both aerobically and anaerobically — when they trained at high intervals (i.e., at max capacity).
He, then, started playing with different intervals curious about what would possibly bring the best results?
Maybe training for 3 minutes on and one minute off?
Or, perhaps, train one minute hard and 3 minutes off?
And, so on.
Eventually, he discovered that the absolute best results were when he had these athletes performing at 20 seconds at max capacity.
May I be honest? Most people don’t know what max actually feels like. Truth.
I shouldn’t get on my soapbox, but there’s a difference between going hard and praying to Jesus to make it all end already. Ya feel me? That’s max, people!
So, let’s be clear, Tabata isn’t about what’s trendy. It’s about what works.
But should we be doing it every single day?
If you’re doing a Tabata truly as a Tabata, you’re putting all of your systems under maximum stress. Because, in the end, that’s what exercise is: a stressor.
Lifting weights, for example, is about breaking down muscle fiber in the hopes and effort that it will get stronger.
Exercise is a stress and it’s a healthy stress when accompanied by proper rest.
So in order to tax the body as much as you truly need to to get a legitimate Tabata workout, you need adequate rest. And, as we know, adequate rest is anywhere from 24 to 48 hours.
So how often should you be doing Tabata?
Ideally, for you to get optimal results, you should not be doing Tabata more than two, maybe three times a week. Again, as long as you have a sufficient rest period in between.
Could somebody do a Tabata every other day?
Yes, if your body fully recovered (and you’re smart enough to know the difference).
Do I think you should only do Tabata as exercise (aside from weight lifting)? Are there benefits to Steady State cardio? What’s the difference between HIIT training and Tabata? What happens to your body right after your Tabata? For all these questions answered and so much more, listen to The Chalene Show podcast below!
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