During the Holiday season, we could all use a fast, effective workout to help us maintain weight & burn off stress. The Tabata Protocol is the perfect fast, “do anywhere” workout! It is a type of High Intensity Interval Training that has been around the athletic world for almost 20 years.

This style was developed by Dr. Izumi Tabata, a professor at the Faculty of Sport and Health Science at Ritsumeikan University in Japan, along with the head coach of the Japanese speed skating team, while they were trying to develop programming that would improve their skaters’ performance.

Not only has the Tabata Protocol been proven to target both the aerobic & anaerobic systems with fitness AND weight-loss benefits, it also takes just a few minutes out of your day for a complete workout!


Tabata training can be modified to any fitness level by regulating the speed & intensity of movements performed, but each participant should be giving a 100% effort for each interval, & trying to maintain the same number of reps per cycle. Be aware: an all-out effort & short recovery period add up to major oxygen debt, so this 4-minute workout may feel like the longest 4 minutes of your life!

The tabata protocol follows this format:

– 20 seconds of a very high intensity exercise
– 10 seconds of rest
– Repeat 8 times for a total of 4 minutes (per exercise chosen)

A complete Tabata Workout consists of 4 separate exercises, for a total of 16 minutes. You can get creative & choose just about ANY exercise to put into your Tabata workout!

For Day 16 of your Christmas challenge, try this tabata sequence

1. Sit ups

2. Push ups

christmas countdown2

3. Squats

4. Jumping jacks

Here is a list of other exercises to choose from for you next tabata workout:

– Mountain climbers
– Burpees
– Pull ups
– Sprints
– Tuck Jumps
– Step Ups
– Jump Rope
– Lunges

Other tips:

– Make sure you are thoroughly warmed up (for at least 10 minutes) before trying this workout.

– It is normal to feel some soreness during Tabata training. However, your body will adjust and you will only feel slight to moderate soreness after the beginning.

– If you’re new to this type of training, start with 5-6 cycles of each exercise and increase the rest to 20-30 seconds. As you get a feel for the workout and build stamina, gradually shorten the rest periods and increase the number of cycles to add more intensity.

– If you choose to do more than one Tabata set (as many workouts do), rest between each set (about 60 seconds).

– Intensity accumulates as you go through each cycle, peaking as you reach the end of the workout when muscles are fatigued. Focus on your form & don’t get sloppy!

– Do this workout no more than 2 times a week, with rest in between to avoid injury.

Intrigued? Check out some other exercise challenges from our Christmas Countdown like these Killer legs exercises to look hot for the Christmas dress up and this Fat burning workout to annihilate party drinks carbs

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Pollyanna Hale Health and Lifestyle coaches
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