Is there difference between Tabata and HIIT?

The short answer is YES.

If there was a contest between Tabata and HIIT, who would win in terms of being the toughest workout?


That’s a tough question if you ask me. Not only because “Tabata vs HIIT” is a questionable contest, as a Tabata workout is technically a form of high-intensity interval training. But also because it depends on your level of effort!

You can make any workout as easy or as tough as YOU want! - Marcela

Let’s take a look at these two popular workout methods.

What is Tabata?

Did you know this exercise method is named after a Japanese researcher Dr. Izumi Tabata?

During his work with the Japanese skating team, Dr. Tabata was assigned with a task to analyze the effectiveness of the team’s training routine. This training method was originally developed by the team's head coach - Irisawa Koichi.

Dr. Tabata and his team concluded that the 20/10 protocol (20 seconds on/10 seconds off) produced the best balance between the endurance advantages of low-intensity exercise and the muscle-building benefits of high-intensity training.

Tabata training allows you to keep switching between multiple exercises that target larger muscle groups. Think in terms of burpees, push-ups, jump squats, kettlebell swings, and more.

To follow Dr. Tabata’s workout protocol, you alternate between 20 seconds of maximum-effort work and 10 seconds of rest.

Repeat this for a total of 8 rounds - and you’ve just completed a workout proven to boost VO2 max and improve anaerobic capacity — in just 4 minutes.

During a Tabata workout, you are working to increase cardiovascular capacity (VO2 max), as well as stimulating muscle growth.

Just a side note - VO2 max refers to the maximum amount of oxygen you can utilize during exercise. In layman terms, it means - how well your body consumes oxygen.

Ok, let’s move on to HIIT.

What is HIIT training?

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) also involves short, intense workouts with longer rest periods in between.

When researchers talk about HIIT, they’re referring to workouts that alternate high-intensity intervals, during which a person’s heart rate reaches at least 80 percent of its maximum capacity.

I know it's hard to know when you are at 80% of your maximum capacity, that's where iWatch or Fitbit or other sports watches come in handy.

You can also use this very simple formula to calculate your maximum heart rate.

Subtract your age from 220. Let’s take me as an example. I’m 41 years young.

220 - 41= 179 bpm (beats per minute)

So my 80 percent maximum capacity should be 143 bpm.

If you want a HIIT workout routine that has been lab-tested, take a look at 4 - by- 4 from Norway.

This method involves a warm-up, 4x4 minute intervals (heart rate at or past 80% of its maximum capacity), each with 3 minute recovery period, and cool-down.

I prefer HIIT workouts. Why? First, because I love ShaunT. Yeah, that’s about it.

Well, that and because of EPOC - excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. It simply means that your body keeps burning calories even after you stopped exercising.

Tabata vs HIIT - who is the winner?

I let you decide. We at M-Unity, love any form of exercise. We make it fun for ourselves, as well as for our clients.

As with any workout, if you’re not pushing your limits, if it’s not challenging you, you’re not doing it correctly. Your results depend on your effort.

Many of our clients are scared of these high-intensity workouts. We understand that.

It can look intimidating when you see ShaunT leaping across the room during Insanity workouts.

Who wouldn’t be scared of that?
Who wouldn’t think “I can’t do that…”

Yes, you can!

For every move there is a modified move.
And for every modified move, there is a modified-of-the-modified move. -Marcela

We show our clients that any levels of personal fitness can do Tabata or HIIT workouts. Or any workout for that matter.

We show our clients that they don’t have to get fit first before they can join our programs.

I would like to tell you the same thing we tell all of our clients.

“It's not your ‘job’ to meet us at our level. It is OUR job to MEET YOU at your level and guide you from there.”

Bottom Line:
I know I look ‘scary’ to some. I know that the amazing M-Unity team can look intimidating.

Please go ahead, check their profiles, schedule your free call, or video call with them. You’ll see how passionate they are about helping and serving you on your journey to a better, fitter, and happier YOU.

Yes, we can be tough. Yes, we can kick your butt in a ring or on a field.

But we can, and we will, also passionately guide you on your way to your body and mind transformation.

  • We will help you to stop being scared of “what if..”.
  • We will help you to take the first step towards the best version of you.
  • We will help you find your true WHY that will keep you motivated on those hard days.
  • We will let you borrow our confidence in you whenever needed.
  • We will support you all the way and beyond.

The hardest and scariest part is to put on your training shoes. The rest is pretty easy.

So, put on your shoes now and let our “gentle beast”, Sav Rana, take you through his HIIT routine. This is a sample of what Sav does with our clients.

Don't forget - always exercise within your own limits and with proper posture to prevent injuries.


  • 8 moves in total
  • do each move for 30s, no breaks in between moves
  • after the last move, take a 90 seconds break
  • repeat 4 times
  1. Plank Shoulder Tap
  2. Skaters Touch The Floor
  3. Sprawls
  4. Leg Lift Clap Under
  5. High Plank To Bear
  6. Sprint Lateral Hop
  7. Plank Cross Knee
  8. Parkour

Let us know if you want more!

And remember …….. you can make any workout as hard or as easy as you want!

Start working on the best version of yourself today.

I know YOU CAN! Do you?

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M Unity M Unity
16-11-2020 6 mins read
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