Whether you’ve chosen to lose weight as a proactive life choice, in preparation for a figure competition, or simply to improve your overall health, it’s often difficult to find the time to exercise.
While reducing calories and choosing the right nutrition certainly plays a major role, you won’t be experiencing anywhere near the results you could be if you added in some cardiovascular exercise.
But we’re not about to recommend spending hours on a treadmill or signing up for the next range of personal trainer sessions at your local gym.
Identifying Your Training Location
If you’re at all self conscious about your weight, it’s often an easier decision to stay at home or find any other way to spend your time, just so you don’t have to workout in front of other people.
The best possible way around this is by setting up your own home gym.
This doesn’t mean you have to spend thousands of dollars on the latest setup, but there may be certain limitations when it comes to your choice of equipment, based on weight capacities and budget restrictions.
Before we start talking too much about the pros and cons of various fitness equipment, we wanted to bring our trail of thought back to the title of this article.
The whole aim is to be able to lose weight with 30 minutes of exercise per week. Although you may already be a member of a gym or taking part in a fitness routine that has you staring at the ‘calories burned’ feedback on a treadmill console, there is another way.
Using HIIT For Weight Loss
If you’re not already familiar with High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), this can be an excellent way to increase the effectiveness of your training, even when you don’t have much time to workout.
Many modern day treadmills actually come already pre-programmed with interval workout programs as an option, allowing you to setup your workout in just a few seconds.
These workouts tend to be 20 to 30 minutes in length, but not much longer. This is because for true HIIT, you should be training at your maximum intensity for between 25% and 50% of your workout.
That’s the equivalent to 30 seconds of high intensity running, followed by 90 seconds of lower intensity recovery, performed 10 to 15 times to reach either the 20 or 30 minute mark.
So that’s certainly a viable option if we had 30 minutes per day, but what about 30 minutes per week?
The Tabata Protocol
This is essentially a twist on the traditional interval workout, but to a much higher level of intensity.
Instead of the rest period having the longest duration, you actually flip this on its head, maintaining the high level of workout intensity for the longest period of time.
You also don’t have quite the same freedom in choosing the number of cycles or length of segments, with 20 seconds of maximum intensity, followed by 10 seconds of rest being the recommended guideline.
This makes up one of the 30 second rounds, of which 8 are required to create a full cycle.
Why such a specific grouping and ratio of rest to work periods? Because this is what was used in a study published in the journal ‘Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, by Dr. Izumi Tabata.
During this study, Dr. Tabata carried out a 6 week test using what has become known as the Tabata Sequence, where he noticed a 28% increase in anaerobic capacity.
This then led to the conclusion that this short 4 minute workout routine could do more to boost anaerobic capacity than an hour of your standard endurance exercise, such as cycling or walking.
In fact, these training sessions are usually so taxing that it’s recommended that they are only performed a few times each week.
Tabata workouts that are longer than 4 minutes in duration are allowed, and you should generally base the duration more on your own physical ability than a set number of circuits.
That being said, 3 is a recommended limit, with 2 circuits advised for anyone that’s new to fitness training or the Tabata Protocol.
So our 30 minutes each week would look something like this:
That equates to 6 Tabata workout circuits per week, and when you combine the rest time between these circuits with the duration of the circuit itself, you get our desired total duration of 30 minutes.
What Equipment Do I Need?
Although the study was based around participants using a mechanically braked exercise cycle, this same principal can be applied to treadmill workouts, elliptical trainer workouts, and even stepper machines.
If you’re looking for more examples of this type of workout in action, many of the videos on YouTube will tend to show people using an Airdyne bike.
Produced by leading fitness equipment company Schwinn, the Airdyne AD6 is a particularly good example of a bike that can be used in Tabata.
With any piece of fitness equipment you choose, you need to be sure that the highest speed, incline, or step settings provide a challenging enough workout. That’s the beauty of the Airdyne.
With the Airdyne the resistance is infinite due to the patented fan system. You can also choose to workout your lower or upper body specifically, or both at the same time using the combination of foot pedals and moveable arms.
The Tabata Protocol is just one of the intense cardio programs currently available, and can be performed from the comfort of your own home with less than 30 minutes of your time each week.
There are many more out there but none that make such efficient use of time, and few that can equal the results in terms of calories burned and its effect on weight loss.
Have you already tried the Tabata Protocol? Did it yield the results you were expecting or have you had greater success with another HIIT variation? We’d love to hear your feedback in the comments section below.