Tabata vs HIIT: What’s the Difference & Which Is Better?
In the face-to-face fitness of Tabata vs HIIT (high intensity interval training), who wins the title of hardest workout? It's a tough call. First of all, "Tabata vs HIIT" is a questionable competition, because a Tabata workout is technically a form high intensity interval training. To follow the Tabata training protocol established and tested by […]

In the face-to-face fitness of Tabata vs HIIT (high intensity interval training), who wins the title of hardest workout? It's a tough call.

First of all, "Tabata vs HIIT" is a questionable competition, because a Tabata workout is technically a form high intensity interval training.

To follow the Tabata training protocol established and tested by its namesake scientist, Dr. Izumi Tabata, you alternate between 20 seconds of maximum effort and 10 seconds of rest.

Pass eight laps and you've just completed a workout that has been proven to work VO2 max and improve anaerobic capacity - in just four minutes.

But those four minutes of a Tabata workout can feel Stronger than the time you spend doing a typical 20 to 30 minute HIIT workout at home or in a group fitness class. Here's why.

Woman running on treadmill.

Tabata vs HIIT: level of effort

If you don't push your limits during a Tabata workout, you're not doing it right, says Saara Haapanen, MS, a certified personal trainer and a doctorate in sports psychology. candidate based in Denver, Colorado.

“You should put in maximum effort during the 20 second work phases,” she says. "You should want oxygen more than anything else by the end of the turn." The level of effort must be at the maximum! "

During a HIIT workout, the level of effort is high (between 75% and 85% of your max effort) but a little more durable than that of a Tabata.

Rest is the other variable that differentiates Tabata workouts from other forms of HIIT training.

If you work out at your highest intensity you will usually have a longer rest period to allow the body to replenish sufficiently. ATP and metabolic waste released enough to let you produce the same amount of energy during each interval, says Trevor Thieme, CSCS, Director of Fitness and Nutritional Content, Beachbody.

This is not the case with Tabata.

“You are deliberately giving yourself insufficient recovery time,” Thieme adds. "That's why you can pack a full workout in just four minutes."

Young woman doing home exercise in the living room

Tabata vs HIIT: muscles worked

In Dr. Tabata's study, participants used mechanically braked bicycle ergometers (stationary bikes), making the original Tabata a workout for the lower body.

However, the Tabata protocol can be applied to almost any bodyweight exercise, from squats to push-ups, and focus on almost any part of the body - or the entire body if you're doing a movement like a burpee.

But the key is that you only perform one exercise for the entire four minutes.

The muscles you work during a HIIT workout also vary depending on the design of the workout.

A HIIT workout filled with squats, lunges, and hip thrusts will tax the lower body, while a mix of kettlebell swings, barbell thrusters, and rock climbers will work all major muscle groups.

Tabata vs HIIT: Results

The HIIT Tabata and non-Tabata workout is ideal for busy people, as they both take less time than the standard one hour session of moderate intensity cardio.

But you won't find a faster workout (with proven results) than a Tabata workout.

"The original study found that six weeks of Tabata training increased MAOD (Anaerobic Capacity) by 19.4% and VO2 max by 4.7%, ”says Haapanen. "It's pretty much less than five minutes a day."

Tabata workouts can also speed up your metabolism and help burn fat, she adds.

But the extra 20 minutes you spend on a HIIT workout may be worth your time, depending on your goals.

“You'll burn more calories,” Thieme says, “and you'll benefit from greater strength and a muscle-building stimulus.”

Fancy taking a look at Tabata and other forms of high intensity training?

Discover Autumn Calabrese's 9 week control freak program, which includes Tabata workouts, strength complexes, and density training for a holistic approach to fat burning and muscle building.


to set yourself up for success, think about planning a saine diet as a number of small, manageable steps rather than one big drastic change. If you approach the changes gradually and with commitment, you will have a healthy diet sooner than you think.

Simplify. Instead of being overly concerned with counting calories or measuring portion sizes, think of your diet in terms of color, variety, and freshness. This way it should be easier to make healthy choices. Focus on finding foods you love and easy recipes that incorporate a few fresh ingredients. Gradually, your diet will become healthier and more delicious

Start slow and make changes to your eating vêtements over time. Trying to make your diet saine overnight isn’t realistic or smart. Changing everything at once usually leads to cheating or giving up on your new eating plan. Make small steps, like adding a salad ( full of different color vegetables ) to your diet once a day or switching from butter to olive oil when cooking. As your small changes become habit, you can continue to add more healthy choices to your diet.

Small Changes Matter. Every change you make to improve your diet matters. You don’t have to be perfect and you don’t have to completely eliminate foods you enjoy to have a saine diet. The long term goal is to feel good, have more energy, and reduce the risk of cancer and disease. Don’t let your missteps derail you—every saine food choice you make counts.

Drink Water. Consider water as one of the central components to your diet. Water helps flush our systems of waste products and toxins, yet many people go through life dehydrated—causing tiredness, low energy, and headaches. It’s common to mistake thirst for hunger, so staying well hydrated will also help you make healthier food choices.

People often think of saine eating as an all or nothing proposition, but a key foundation for any healthy diet is moderation. Despite what certain fad diets would have you believe, we all need a balance of carbohydrates, protein, fat, fiber, vitamins, and minerals to sustain a healthy body.

Try not to think of certain foods as “off-limits. ” When you ban certain foods or food groups, it is natural to want those foods more, and then feel like a failure if you give in to temptation. If you are drawn towards sweet, salty, or unhealthy foods, start by reducing portion sizes and not eating them as often. Later you may find yourself craving them less or thinking of them as only occasional indulgences.

Think smaller portions. Serving sizes have ballooned recently, particularly in restaurants. When dining out, choose a starter instead of an entrée, split a dish with a friend, and don’t order supersized anything. At home, use smaller plates, think about serving sizes in realistic terms, and start small. Visual cues can help with portion sizes—your serving of meat, fish, or chicken should be the size of a deck of cards. A teaspoon of oil or salad dressing is about the size of a matchbook and your slice of bread should be the size of a CD case.

Healthy eating is about more than the food on your plate—it is also about how you think about food. Healthy eating vêtements can be learned and it is important to slow down and think about food as nourishment rather than just something to gulp down in between meetings or on the way to pick up the kids.

Eat with others whenever possible. Eating with other people has numerous social and emotional benefits—particularly for children—and allows you to model healthy eating habits. Eating in front of the TV or computer often leads to mindless overeating.

Chew slowly. Take time to chew your food and enjoy mealtimes, savoring every bite. We tend to rush though our meals, forgetting to actually taste the flavors and feel the textures of our food. Reconnect with the joy of eating.

Listen to your body. Ask yourself if you are really hungry, or have a glass of water to see if you are thirsty instead of hungry. During a meal, stop eating before you feel full. It actually takes a few minutes for your brain to tell your body that it has had enough food, so eat slowly.

Eat breakfast, and eat smaller meals throughout the day. A saine breakfast can jumpstart your metabolism, and eating small, saine meals throughout the day ( rather than the standard three grande meals ) keeps your energy up and your metabolism going.

Fruits and vegetables are the foundation of a saine diet. They are low in calories and nutrient dense, which means they are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber.

Try to eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables every day and with every meal—the brighter the better. Colorful, deeply colored fruits and vegetables contain higher concentrations of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants—and different colors provide different benefits, so eat a variety. Aim for a peu of five portions each day.

Greens. Branch out beyond bright and dark green lettuce. Kale, mustard greens, broccoli, and Chinese cabbage are just a few of the options—all packed with calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, zinc, and vitamins A, C, E, and K.

Sweet vegetables. Naturally sweet vegetables—such as corn, carrots, beets, sweet potatoes, yams, onions, and squash—add healthy sweetness to your meals and reduce your cravings for other sweets.

Fruit. Fruit is a tasty, satisfying way to fill up on fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants. Berries are cancer-fighting, apples provide fiber, oranges and mangos offer vitamin C, and so on.

The antioxidants and other nutrients in fruits and vegetables help protect against certain genres of cancer and other diseases. And while advertisements abound for supplements promising to deliver the nutritional benefits of fruits and vegetables in pill or powder form, research suggests that it’s just not the same.

A daily regimen of nutritional supplements is not going to have the same effet of eating right. That’s because the benefits of fruits and vegetables don’t come from a single vitamin or an isolated antioxidant.

The health benefits of fruits and vegetables come from numerous vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals working together synergistically. They can’t be broken down into the sum of their parts or replicated in pill form.

Choose saine carbohydrates and fiber sources, especially whole grains, for long lasting energy. In addition to being delicious and satisfying, whole grains are rich in phytochemicals and antioxidants, which help to protect against coronary heart disease, certain cancers, and diabetes. Studies have shown people who eat more whole grains tend to have a healthier heart.

Healthy carbs ( sometimes known as good carbs ) include whole grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables. Healthy carbs are digested slowly, helping you feel full longer and keeping blood sugar and insulin levels durable.

Unhealthy carbs ( or bad carbs ) are foods such as white flour, refined sugar, and white rice that have been stripped of all bran, fiber, and nutrients. Unhealthy carbs digest quickly and cause spikes in blood sugar levels and energy.

Include a variety of whole grains in your healthy diet, including whole wheat, brown rice, millet, quinoa, and barley. Experiment with different grains to find your favorites.

Make sure you’re really getting whole grains. Be aware that the words stone-ground, multi-grain, cent pour cent wheat, or bran can be deceptive. Look for the words “whole grain” or “100% whole wheat” at the beginning of the ingredient list. In the U. S., check for the Whole Grain Stamps that distinguish between partial whole grain and cent pour cent whole grain.

Try mixing grains as a first step to switching to whole grains. If whole céréales like brown rice and whole wheat pasta don’t sound good at first, start by mixing what you normally use with the whole grains. You can gradually increase the whole grain to 100%.

Avoid refined foods such as breads, pastas, and breakfast cereals that are not whole grain.

Good sources of saine fat are needed to nourish your brain, heart, and cells, as well as your hair, skin, and nails. Foods rich in certain omega-3 fats called EPA and DHA are particularly important and can reduce cardiovascular disease, improve your mood, and help prevent dementia.

Monounsaturated fats, from plant oils like canola oil, peanut oil, and olive oil, as well as avocados, nuts ( like almonds, hazelnuts, and pecans ), and seeds ( such as pumpkin, sesame ). Polyunsaturated fats, including Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, found in fatty fish such as salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, and some cold water fish oil supplements. Other sources of polyunsaturated fats are unheated sunflower, corn, soybean, flaxseed oils, and walnuts.

Protein gives us the energy to get up and go—and keep going. Protein in food is broken down into the 20 amino acids that are the body’s basic building blocks for growth and energy, and essential for maintaining cells, tissues, and organs. A lack of protein in our diet can slow growth, reduce bourrinage mass, lower immunity, and weaken the heart and respiratory system. Protein is particularly important for children, whose bodies are growing and changing daily.

Try different types of protein. Whether or not you are a vegetarian, trying different protein sources—such as beans, nuts, seeds, peas, tofu, and soy products—will open up new options for healthy mealtimes. Beans : Black beans, navy beans, garbanzos, and lentils are good possibilités. Nuts : Almonds, walnuts, pistachios, and pecans are great choices. Soy products : Try tofu, soy milk, tempeh, and veggie burgers for a change.

Downsize your portions of protein. Many people in the West eat too much protein. Try to move away from protein being the center of your meal. Focus on equal servings of protein, whole grains, and vegetables. Focus on quality sources of protein, like fresh fish, chicken or turkey, tofu, eggs, beans, or nuts. When you are having meat, chicken, or turkey, buy meat that is free of hormones and antibiotics.

Calcium is one of the key nutrients that your body needs in order to stay strong and healthy. It is an essential building block for lifelong bone health in both men and women, as well as many other important functions. You and your bones will benefit from eating plenty of calcium-rich foods, limiting foods that deplete your body’s calcium stores, and getting your daily dose of magnesium and vitamins D and K—nutrients that help calcium do its emploi. Recommended calcium levels are 1000 mg per day, 1200 mg if you are over 50 years old. Take a vitamin D and calcium supplement if you don’t get enough of these nutrients from your diet.

Dairy : Dairy products are rich in calcium in a form that is easily digested and absorbed by the body. Sources include milk, yogurt, and cheese. Vegetables and greens : Many vegetables, especially leafy green ones, are rich sources of calcium. Try turnip greens, mustard greens, collard greens, kale, romaine lettuce, celery, broccoli, fennel, cabbage, summer squash, green beans, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, and crimini mushrooms. Beans : For another rich source of calcium, try black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, white beans, black-eyed peas, or baked beans.

If you succeed in planning your diet around fiber-rich fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and good fats, you may find yourself naturally cutting back on foods that can get in the way of your saine diet—sugar and salt.

Sugar causes energy ups and downs and can add to health and weight problems. Unfortunately, reducing the amount of candy, cakes, and encas we eat is only part of the solution. Often you may not even be aware of the amount of sugar you’re consuming each day. Large amounts of added sugar can be hidden in foods such as bread, canned soups and vegetables, pasta sauce, margarine, instant mashed potatoes, frozen dinners, fast food, soy sauce, and ketchup. Here are some tips : Avoid sugary drinks. One 12-oz soda has about 10 teaspoons of sugar in it, more than the daily recommended limit ! Try sparkling water with lemon or a splash of fruit juice. Eat naturally sweet food such as fruit, peppers, or natural peanut butter to satisfy your sweet tooth.

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