How Many Calories Do You Burn Doing Four Minutes of Tabata?


With demanding work schedules and busy home lives, Americans often feel like there are not enough minutes in the day to accomplish their growing to-do lists. Even the widely adopted, minimal recommendation of 30 minutes of exercise per day is often neglected because of a lack of time. With a little planning but a willingness to exercise intensely, you can burn as many calories in four minutes as you typically burn walking 2 miles.

Tabata Basics

  • Tabata is a type of intense interval training that you can complete in only four minutes. It is named after a Japanese professor, Dr. Izumi Tabata, who compared the effects of high-intensity, shorter-duration exercise to moderate-intensity, longer-term exercise sessions. Tabata found that while both types of training improved participants' aerobic systems, only the four-minute Tabata workout improved participants' anaerobic systems as well.

Calorie-Burning Benefits

  • This high-intensity training burns calories not only while you are exercising but for hours after you have wrapped up your rigorous training session. Researchers from Colorado State University concluded that a minimum of 200 extra calories are burned during days when people incorporate interval exercise training, like Tabata. When you add an improved anaerobic system to the calorie-burning equation, you are actually burning more than 200 calories during any given day you successfully complete the Tabata feat.

Tabata Training

  • A Tabata training session is comprised of eight intervals of 20-second spurts of intense exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest. A simple way to begin a Tabata interval is by choosing an exercise that you really enjoy and performing it with all of the energy you can muster for each 20-second burst. Try jumping rope, high-knee runs, burpees or squat jacks. Use your 10-second rest periods to recover and catch your breath so that you are prepared to approach each 20-second interval with full intensity.


  • After you complete a Tabata interval training session, rehydrate by drinking plenty of water. You may also want to refuel with a protein-rich bar. Be aware of the calories. Tabata can certainly help you burn some extra calories, but you need to consume fewer calories than you burn to lose weight.

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