It’s Not Tabata

Today I’m going to rock your world.

Tabata intervals is a method you’ve probably heard about recently. It’s a specific form of high intensity interval training based on the 1996 study by Dr. Izumi Tabata and his colleagues. I’ve posted about this several times, and even gave a few workouts based on the training. The protocol we all heard about has you doing 20 seconds of all out intensity with 10 seconds of rest between for 8 rounds total. But guess what?

That’s not the true “Tabata” protocol?

According to this article, we’re doing it wrong. If this is true, I will be one of the first to stand up and admit that I stand corrected. I’m definitely guilty of throwing around the “Tabata” name while designing workouts based on the 20/10 HIIT method. And while the 20/10 method is part of the protocol, the way it’s being used in the mainstream fitness arena is not true to the study.

Applying the 20/10 method to your workout is hard, it’s high intensity, it’s interval training, it’s a great way to train, there’s nothing wrong with it. However, according to Mark Young  it’s more than likely that the way you’re applying it is not the “Tabata protocol.” He even claims that it hasn’t been tested for fat loss! It was created to improve athletic performance.

In order to do the true Tabata protocol, you need would need to perform at  your 170% VO2Max on a mechanically braked cycle ergometer steadily for 20 seconds, resting for 10 seconds for 7-8 rounds. Mark explains that, for this method, if you were to reach 100% VO2Max you would most likely puke and/or become exhausted. To be true to the Tabata method you would go beyond the puking and/or passing out and push to an intensity of 170% of your VO2Max for 20 seconds with 10 seconds rest for 7-8 rounds. You could not perform the true time needed for this protocol while doing squats, lunges, jumps, etc.


So the “Tabata-style HIIT” bootcamp I’ve been running isn’t true Tabata.

It is awesome though.

I have a new “wanna-be Tabata” workout for you but it’s getting late, and I want to put it on a board for you, so you’ll get it sometime soon.

Here’s my bootcamp playlist. I hope you can see the humor in some of my song choices:


Thanks for all the suggestions on facebook by the way. Keep them coming!

In other news I picked up a tub of the new and improved Vega last week!

VegaOneVanilla Chai

It’s so delicious! I as excited to get it on sale, then on top of that I had a $3.00 off coupon! Score! It’s more delicious and nutritious than ever!

I love my Vega Chia pudding:


This is basically 1 scoop Vega vanilla chai, 2 Tablespoons chia seeds, 1 Tablespoon hemp seeds, 3/4 cup almond milk and lots of cinnamon. Nothing new; it’s pretty much posted on the back of chia seed packages it’s so easy. You just place all the ingredients in a bowl and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. Great afternoon snack! I sometimes blend my protein and milk with a banana {and maybe some avocado, or greens} then pour it on the seeds with cinnamon. It’s great.

How is everyone doing with making changes for the 100 Days Til’ Summer Challenge?

I hope the previous posts on balance and the info on coconut were helpful to some of you! My goal is to re- introduce healthy things with simple ways to use them so that it becomes easier to make small changes over time!

Protein powders, all the seeds, and sugar are on my food topics to post about. In my on life I hope to cover my struggles with hoarding organization, and how I’m working on improving my business– hopefully we can all continue to help one another and cheer each other on!

What are your thoughts on the Tabata myth?

I’d love to hear from my science loving friends!

Until next time,

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  • Reply Heidi

    Your “wanna-be tabata”comment made me smile. I knew that it was originally created for athletic performance, but I’ve always used it for strength training. How does the new Vega compare? Is there much difference in the taste/texture? I stocked up a couple of months ago because I found it on sale, so I have enough to last me for probably the rest of the year! It will be a while before I try the new and improved.

    March 26, 2012 at 7:07 am
    • Reply laury

      I think it’s delicious! I don’t notice much of a difference in taste…still my favorite protein flavor! You;re so lucky you’re stocked up for the year! I have about a weeks worth! Gets expensive

      March 26, 2012 at 3:07 pm
  • Reply the delicate place

    that’s very interesting about the tabata. i may need some coconut water this morning (too much malbec + bourbon last night lol). maybe i should try not to hit the adult bevvies so hard on the weekend in prep for summer! stick to 1-2 units a weekend instead of 4-5.

    March 26, 2012 at 9:57 am
    • Reply laury

      Hahaha…you crack me up! I could never keep up with those drinks I am a major light weight! I would be hungover for a week!

      March 26, 2012 at 3:07 pm
  • Reply Heather @ Get Healthy with Heather

    Very interesting! I am excited for your wanna be tabata workout. Love the 20 on, 10 off even if it doesn’t turn out to be ‘real’. Still a great workout!

    March 26, 2012 at 12:42 pm
    • Reply laury

      It’s great, right!?

      March 26, 2012 at 3:08 pm
  • Reply Lisa

    That’s funny about the tabata….it’s one of those funny things that happens over time….like the telephone game kids play. haha.

    I can’t imagine going to 170% of VO2max.. I wanna barf just thinking about that. I did a treadmill vo2max test a couple times….that was enough at 100%. ugh.

    I think wannabe tabata is a perfect sub-in title. Who cares what it’s called—it’s a great workout!!

    March 26, 2012 at 2:27 pm
    • Reply laury

      Yup! So true!! Ha!

      And, yes, I could not even imagine 170% VO2Max! Insane! You have to be a crazy hard core athlete to be able to stand that. I would puke and pass out at the same time.

      March 26, 2012 at 3:10 pm
  • Reply Stefanie @TheNewHealthy

    That’s so interesting about the true tabata protocol! And I agree with Lisa. ^ I’m less concerned about the name and more concerned about the fact that wanna-be-tabata/HIIT workouts kick my butt! 🙂

    March 26, 2012 at 3:47 pm
    • Reply laury

      yes they do!

      March 26, 2012 at 10:25 pm
  • Reply Kat

    sooo first you tell me Ive been doing tabata wrong this entire time then you tell me you have a workout for me but dont give it to me?! what the heck lady!! just kidding 🙂 I look forward to checking it out whenever you put it up! And Ive been looking for some new protein powder!! I typically stick with life basics plant protein, but that one sounds amazing! Love the flavor!

    March 26, 2012 at 5:47 pm
  • Reply Lisa

    I had no idea that that was not the actual tabata protocol! Very interesting! I too then have not being doing tabata the “proper” way. I really enjoy the way I am doing it now though. So I’ll stick with it 😉 And honestly I’ve noticed some pretty great changes from it so I think even if it’s not proper it is still an awesome workout! And I’ve heard great things about the new vega powder, I need to pick some up next time I’m at the store!!

    March 26, 2012 at 6:29 pm
    • Reply laury

      I completely agree! I’ve never felt better getting these short burst workouts in! Awesome!

      March 26, 2012 at 10:25 pm
  • Reply Lisa@Healthydiaries

    I really didn’t know too much about tabata so nothing was shocking to me! 🙂 I really want to get into your version of tabata style work outs when I get back in shape after baby. I miss HIIT running on the treadmill. Walking HIIT can get boring! lol

    March 26, 2012 at 8:50 pm
    • Reply laury

      You will definitely benefit from this style post baby, when you have no time to yourself 😉

      March 26, 2012 at 10:26 pm
  • Reply Pure2raw twins

    thanks for sharing about the myth of tabata, we had no idea! though we totally agree with you doing what you post for workouts for HIIT is still awesome 🙂 we love them!
    and we definitely do not push ourselves to puke when we do our HIIT so guess we are doing them wrong too 😉 haha
    and we still need to try Vega new stuff, as we have just been eating their protein performance blend.

    March 27, 2012 at 10:12 pm
    • Reply laury

      Yea, well at 170% of your VO2Max, it would not even be recommended to get up that high! Insanity!!!!

      You girls would love the new Vega!!!! I don’t think I can have the performance blend while nursing 🙁

      March 27, 2012 at 10:19 pm
  • Reply Lindsay @ Fuel My Family

    Its doesnt seem like the real tabata is too realistic for most people then. I have just started doing HIIT workouts and they seem to be really time effective especially since with 2 kids, time is a rarity!

    March 27, 2012 at 10:22 pm
    • Reply laury

      Nope, not at all. It originally was meant as a study to improve athletic performance. Mainstream uses the 20/10 protocol, but it’s not “true” Tabata. 20/10 is, however, very effective and very practical when applied to your workout to fit your fitness level. Amazing for moms! I would know! Definite time saver!!!!

      March 28, 2012 at 12:10 am
  • Reply Stud Workout ~ Pay It Forward

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    March 27, 2012 at 10:58 pm
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