Tabata Training 101 & Workout Plan for Fat Loss

Monday, June 13 2022 2:59 PM
By Ellen Healy

How Do I Burn a Pound of Fat?

ropes cardio tabata train

The Facts:

To burn a pound of fat, you must burn 3,500 calories. In essence, an individual with more than 50lbs to lose must burn 500 calories per exercise 6x a week to lose one pound of fat.

Maximize Your Fat Loss!

With this fact taken into account, we must set the participant on the road to burning this amount at every workout. With a proper combination of strength training and cardio, you can maximize your fat loss by simultaneously adding muscle to boost resting metabolism and burning large amounts of calories with cardio.

What quick workouts are best for maximum fat loss? Tabata Training and other HIIT workouts.

Tabata Training 101

Tabata Training is a form of High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) that aims to grant the most benefits in the shortest amount of time. Want to brush up on HIIT benefits, or need a refresher on how HIIT differs from Cardio? Read the articles below for more information on High-Intensity Interval Training and caloric afterburn, a key component of HIIT results and success.

What's Caloric Afterburn? Everything You Need to Know

How does Tabata training work?

During Tabata training, you alternate between maximum work sets and complete rest sets. During a four-minute Tabata workout, it would be standard to alternate between 20 seconds of maximum effort work sets and 10 seconds of complete rest sets for a total of eight rounds. During those 20 seconds of maximum effort, you should feel tired and out of breath raising your heart rate. During the rest periods, you allow your heart rate to slow, allowing yourself to catch your breath and prepare for the following work set. This alternation between max-effort and complete rest sets ignites your metabolism, allowing for caloric afterburn and fat loss.

Tabata training is excellent for those looking for results in shorter workout times. Although Tabata training is efficient and effective, it can feel uncomfortable, making it difficult to be consistent. That being said, if you're feeling confident and ready to Tabata train, if you want to lose that pound of weight each week, we have a Tabata training and workout plan below, designed by one of our personal trainers, Ethan Townsend. Happy training!

Tabata Training | Speed, Cardio, & Weights

Frequency: 6x a week. (Monday-Saturday with Sunday being your rest day.)

Breakdown: Alternate Speed, Cardio, and Callisthenic (weigh training) workouts.

Week 1 =

  • Monday: Cardio Training
  • Tuesday: Speed Training
  • Wednesday: Callisthenic Training
  • Thursday: Cardio Training
  • Friday: Speed Training
  • Saturday: Callisthenic Training
  • Sunday: Rest

Weight Lifting a.k.a. Callisthenic Training

Use weight lifting in conjunction with cardio and speed to gain muscle endurance and strength.

woman weight lifting in gym

Frequency: 2x a week

Rounds: 8 per lift = 4 min per lift

Reps: Burnout

Lifts: 20 seconds on and 10 seconds off = 1 round

Rest: 2-3 days in between doing the same workout

Change exercises that you are doing every six weeks to prevent a plateau.

Cardio Training

Use cardio in between lifting days and speed training days.

woman jogging in park

Frequency: 2x a week

Breakdown: 60–90 min sustained

Intensity: Start where you can comfortably exercise for 30 minutes and gradually increase the intensity.

Heart Rate Range = 50-60% max heart rate

Total Cardio Workout = 500-1000 calories burned

Speed Training

Use speed training on days after cardio to prevent a plateau in cardio training.

man on track about to run

Frequency: 2x a week


  • Sprint for 1 minute sustained
  • Cooldown (walk) for 2 min
  • Repeat this cycle 5 times

Total speed workout = 20 min


Basic Tabata Workout Plan | Lose Fat & Improve Endurance

Basic Lifting - 20 seconds on (at max effort), 10 seconds off (at total rest) for 8 rounds. 

Wednesday Saturday
Pushups (20/10*8) Exploding Pushups (20/10*8)
Body Weight Squats (20/10*8) Squat Jumps (20/10*8)
Pull-ups (20/10*8) Chin-Ups (20/10*8)
Knee ups (20/10*8) Crunches (20/10*8)

Basic Cardio - Progress to burning 1,000 calories in an hour. To begin, follow the chart below. Each day you perform cardio, increase by 5 minutes until you reach 60 minutes total.

Monday Thursday
Run at 6.0 mph Run at 6.0 mph
30 minutes 35 minutes

Basic Speed - Max 5 cycles in 20 minutes. Repeat cycle 5 times.

Tuesday Friday
Suicides = 1 minute 200-meter sprint
Rest = 3 minutes Rest = 3 minutes
Repeat cycle 5 times Repeat cycle 5 times

Special Notes about this Tabata Workout Plan:

Use this as a template and focus on doing what you can when you begin your program. It is best to keep the same layout but change exercises every six weeks. Tabata is all about burnout and then a little rest, so try to fatigue in every round. This workout plan is INTENSE, so don't try to do everything the first time. Work up to it. 

For the individual trying to lose 50lbs or more, it is best to start without the speed section and sub it with additional cardio due to the intense physical demands of speed training. However, as the ability level progresses, try to incorporate it more and more to increase cardiovascular capacity.

If you stick to the above workout plan, you will lose significant weight in about 2-6 months, but you also have to eat right to fuel your body with the right foods. Don't refuel on junk or low-protein, high-fat foods. For some pre-workout and post-workout meal and snack ideas, see here, or to learn more about proper nutrition, see our nutrition section of the Genesis blog. Remember, your body is a temple, and in trying to make these changes, you should treat it as such and give it all it needs to succeed. You can do it!


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