NAMED after Dr Izumi Tabata, a Japanese sports scientist, this is a four-minute training method that is great for improving your fitness.

Falling under the heading of HIIT (High intensity Interval Training), it involves eight sets of maximum-effort intervals, with 10 seconds of rest in between.

Dr Tabata found it brought about tremendous increases in anaerobic (energy created without oxygen) and aerobic (with oxygen) fitness. It also torches calories for hours afterwards as it sends your metabolism into overdrive as it uses large amounts of oxygen to restore your body to normal levels.

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You could do a Tabata as your exercise routine of the day if short of time - or add it to the start or finish of a workout or a run. You need to use an exercise that is intense and simple to stop and start.

Sprinting, mountain climbers, squat jumps, jump lunges, kettlebell swings, tuck jumps (see below), burpees or clap press-ups would be perfect. You need an programmable timer that bleeps to tell you when to start and stop without you having to look.

A quick search for a ‘Tabata’ or ‘Interval’ app will sort you out. Then, off you go - just make sure you work as hard as you can for the 20-second intervals.


It may look like a dull acronym but EPOC is one the most exciting aspects of fitness training.

Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption is, in simple terms, the amount of oxygen required to restore your body to its normal level after a workout.

Why is this exciting?

Because this work by the body burns calories, lots of them, and keeps burning them for hours, maybe even for a couple of days.

It is generally accepted that the best way to maximise this effect is to do intervals of highly intensive work followed by periods rest.

Circuit training and HIIT (high-intensity interval training) classes have this principle at their heart. 

A simple way to do it yourself could be with sprinting (say, run flat-out for 20 seconds and then have 30 seconds rest; repeat) or skipping (One-minute skipping followed by 20 seconds rest; repeat).

Roger Love