What is Tabata?

If asked, what your top reasons were for not exercising, I’d have a hunch that not having enough time would easily make the top 3 on most lists. Ok, maybe top 4 because I get it … Netflix. In all seriousness though, there are alot of things that are competing for your attention & time these days – kids, work, puppies, caring for elderly parent(s), you name it. But we also know that our health and fitness are vital in allowing us to continue to fulfill & thrive in those roles.

So we wanted to share with you a form of Interval Training that checks off a lot of the excuse boxes. Something that the newbie to exercise may have heard of and never done. Something that the seasoned athlete/fitness fanatic knows all too well. More importantly, this is something we truly believe that all high performing individuals like you should know about so that you can be the best version of you. That form of interval training is called Tabata.

What is Tabata?

Tabata is an interval training program that consists of 8 rounds of exercise where you move at a high level for 20 seconds, immediately followed by a 10 second rest. When this is done at the intended intensity level, aside from leaving the fittest of the fit begging for mercy before the 4 minutes of exercise is up, it also dramatically improves your fitness level no matter what kind of shape you’re currently in.

Although the Tabata Protocol was originally tested & performed on a stationary bike and designed to last 4-minutes, it has evolved over the last 3 decades to include exercises and movements like push-ups, sit ups, lunges, burpees across different time domains.

But let’s get to the why about Tabata. The reasons why everyone should have some form of exposure to high intensity exercises is all the benefits that it provides.

1. Improves Aerobic Capacity

Tabata improves your aerobic capacity. Working at a very high level, even for 20 seconds, will get you to naturally breathe harder than normal at baseline. So if you have found that baseline activities have left you more winded than they have in the past, this is a good way to start building up your aerobic capacity in a short period of time.. 

2. Improves Stamina

Short bursts of high intensity exercise elevates your body’s threshold to the limiting factors of high effort repetitions, which is how well your muscles respond to lactic acid & fatigue. Raise your threshold to these 2 responses and you’ll increase your capacity to do more and burn more calories.

3. Alleviates Boredom

If this is one of your biggest reasons, being able to improvise by mixing and matching elements such as the order of exercise selection, type of exercise, length of session, prevents boredom and the mundane-ness of routines which can quickly turn stale. For those of you that follow a series of exercises that you love routinely, just changing the order of how you do them can keep things fresh and elevate the level of difficulty. 

4. Trackable

Anything worth doing should be measurable, including your level of accountability & improvement. You can track these levels in real-time by keeping tabs on the level of consistency with each set of reps. Are the # of reps with each set staying consistent? Or is there a big drop off with each set? This can be used as feedback indicating your level of effort or changes/improvement in your fitness level.   

5. Builds Resiliency

Aside from the mental grit of pushing through short bouts of intense efforts and the  self-confidence that develops as a result, you develop a level of physical resiliency that is rewarding inside and out that continues to feed into a loop of empowerment.

6. No Gym? No Equipment? No Problem

Plenty can be done with bodyweight exercises. All you need is a little bit of space and an “I got this” mindset.



Keep in mind that if you are a rookie to exercise, knowing how to scale intensity level is a skill that is acquired over time. There’s a fine line between thrashing yourself into oblivion and pushing yourself enough so that you’re willing and able to keep coming back for more. One way to establish this is to use a Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) scale. 



For rookies to formal exercise, we recommend working between a 6/10 to 7/10 level.

For the “it’s been a while” group, work at a level 7/10 to 9/10.

And for the more seasoned and experienced, 9/10 to 10/10.


So now that you’re ready, here’s an example of a basic Tabata routine that you can try.


Our job and mission here at Evolve to Perform, is to help you find a deeper level of why and what you’re doing. There’s a lot more to our existence than just showing up. 

Not all excuses are created equal and we have the skill set to offer you the solution to nearly all of them. Then after those problems get solved, we’d be more than happy to binge with you at the next Schitt$ Creek watch party.

There’s a time and place for everything. Work first, binge watch later.