The 4 Minute Workout – Tabata Intervals

Why is it hard to get in shape? Why is it even harder to stay in shape? Well, if you’re a family man like me your day begins with getting the kids ready for kindergarten and yourself ready for work. Exercise is pretty much out of the question in the morning, at least during the weekdays, simply because there is no time. Of course, I could get out of bed an hour earlier at 4:40 a.m. but I’m pretty sure that´s a habit I will eventually break.

The next opportunity for exercise occurs after having picked up the kids from kindergarten at about 5:30 p.m. There is of course the question of making dinner for the family but I guess my wife and me can alternate doing that so that at least one of us can get some exercise every other day. Then again, it´s not so easy looking after the kids and at the same time cooking dinner. It would be great if my wife could do that while I am cooking. Oh, right.

After dinner there is a window of about 45 minutes before it’s time to put the kids to bed. I believe this time is well spent playing with them. If it’s my wife’s turn to put them to bed I can do my exercise then. I’m done at roughly 9 p.m. That leaves about an hour of kid-free time with my wife to make the marriage blossom before it’s time to go to sleep. At this time we´re both pretty much exhausted and just want to wind down in front of the TV. Not ideal.

Under these circumstances it is actually quite hard both to form and to keep a good exercise habit. Is there a way around this? Yes! Let’s look at the solution:

The marriage saving exercise is called Tabata intervals. It can be done with pretty much any exercise or combination thereof but I will just show you what I do. After having done any warm-up you like for two minutes do the following:

  1. Do 20 seconds of maximum intensity high knee skips
  2. Rest for 10 seconds
  3. Do 20 seconds of maximum intensity burpees
  4. Rest for 10 seconds
  5. Do 20 seconds of maximum intensity mountain climbers
  6. Rest for 10 seconds
  7. Do 20 seconds of maximum intensity jumping lunges
  8. Rest for 10 seconds
  9. Repeat 1-8 one more time
  10. You’re done. Go take a shower. Then spend some time with your significant other

This 4 minute workout is actually quite challenging and will definitely get your heart pumping and sweat flowing. Don’t be fooled by the short amount of time you’re working!

There is a scientific study backing up the effects of the Tabata protocol. It was conducted in 1997 by Dr. Izumi Tabata and his research colleagues at the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo, Japan. I’ll skip the details of the study and head straight for the conclusion:

Four minutes of Tabata intervals can do more for boosting aerobic and anaerobic capacity than one hour of endurance training!

The tabata regime can be incorporated to your day no matter how busy you are. So what are you waiting for? Try it! Best of luck!

Remember to consult a doctor before starting any exercise or diet program.