Tabata Training helps shed pounds

Exercisers push themselves to limit for 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, repeat for 4 minutes

MIAMI - In effort to lose those holiday pounds, people are turning to Tabata Training, which Ameena Haadad describes as torture.

Like many women, Haadad struggled with her weight after childbirth, and it started affecting her health.

"I was three points away from being diabetic and I have a little bit of cholesterol and diabetes is in my family. I said, 'I'm not ready to start taking medication,'"" said Haadad.

Haadad began working out and losing weight. She plateaued until she found Tabata Training.

"A Japanese scientist, Izumi Tabata, and what he did -- I guess he was curious about what's the shortest amount of time you can work out for the most benefit and he found the answer was four minutes," said Lori Hart, a fitness trainer at Memorial Healthcare.

In those four minutes, exercisers push themselves to the limit for 20 seconds, take 10 seconds of rest, and repeat the process for four minutes.

Haadad describes it as torture.

"I'm dropping F bombs by the fourth or fifth Tabata," she said.

"You might have noticed when I was teaching it that people are kind of making noises, grunting and groaning. It's not pleasant at all," said Hart. "You shouldn't be able to talk. You should be very, very, very uncomfortable."

If done correctly, the training raises the metabolism for 24 hours, increasing the body's ability to burn calories and lose weight.

"It's not easy. It doesn't come off overnight but you didn't put it on overnight. It's a lot of work but if you want it, you keep going," said Haadad.

Even avid exercisers benefit.

"It gives you a challenge to get faster and stronger and especially with running, I like to mix it up and I've seen that it has helped me achieve a faster time," said Christine Utter.

Tabata Training can be done at the end of nearly all aerobic workouts. But training say the number of sessions should be limited to three per week to allow the body time to recover.

Because of the intensity, anyone with a pre-existing heart condition should consult with their doctor before trying Tabata Training.

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