Part of the curiosity about the Milka Singh bio-pic, Baag Mikha Bhaag, was in getting footnotes about its lead actor, Farhan Akhtar’s brand new athletic body. It was later revealed that along with a strict fitness regime and diet, the actor had included a high intensity workout called Tabata. Our curiosity about this unusual workout regime was fuelled by actor Arjun Rampal’s admission to me that Tabata was his fitness secret. We did a little scouting around. It didn’t help that the next Bollywood actor with a hot bod whom I interviewed asked me if it was a quirky Japanese dish! Turns out, the word is synonymous with instant fitness. Tabata is a Japanese invention, created by researcher Dr Izumi Tabata and his colleagues at the National Institute of Fitness and Sports, Japan. It is a time-effective form of interval training that helps you push yourself to the limit, causing fat burn. A burst of raw aerobic activity is interspersed with an anaerobic one, to be precise. In fact, the trend is slowly catching up in the rest of the world. This month, gyms in the UK are launching premium Tabata classes, and back home, at leading gyms, it is being incorporated into fitness routines.
Man of the hour
In India, a select minority is already practising it. In Mumbai, celebrity trainer Sandeep Ghogare is said to be the go-to guy for the programme. “It was when a few clients wanted to make their workout more interesting that I added Tabata as a variation,”says the self-taught trainer whose clients include actors, businessmen and expats. It was the International ACSM (American Clege of Sports Medicine) online course that introduced him to Tabata five years ago. “I did lot of online research. For me, it was similar to boot camp, power yoga and circuit training. I have modified the workout to suit my clients’ needs, age, fitness levels etc,” says Sandeep.
Fast and furious
Just four minutes of this high-intensity interval training is supposed to feel like — and have the effectiveness of — almost 40 minutes! “You need a heart rate monitor to see if you are hitting the optimum fat-burning rate. Your weight is the only resistance you should be working with,” says Sandeep.
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— Neelima Menon