An 8-Minute Fat Loss Workout

09/03/2013 12:40 pm ET | Updated Nov 03, 2013

Most of us exercise more than we actually need to. Sure, if you want to finish an Ironman triathlon, do a marathon, or compete in some crazy competition such as the Crossfit Games, then you'll need either amazing genetics or a lot of time on your hands to exercise.

But if you just want to burn fat, get a better body, and target trouble spots on your body that you want to tone, you'd be surprised at how little you can actually exercise. It only really takes about 15 minutes a day, and I've written about this before in my blog "What's The Minimum Amount of Exercise You Should Do?" But today I'm going to take things to another level and actually give a workout that will allow you to get fast fat loss with just eight minutes of exercise.

It all begins with something called "Tabata training." If you want to learn how to lose fat fast with just eight minutes of exercises, then you'll definitely need to be familiar with this style of training.

Tabata sets are named after Dr. Izumi Tabata, and they involve four minutes of intense exercise performed as 20 seconds on followed by 10 seconds off. Here's a video of me demonstrating a Tabata set.

You can do a number of exercises with Tabata training, including jump squats, push ups, sprints, cycling, elliptical -- you name it! They key is to exercise as hard as you can possibly exercise during the 20 seconds on and then recover quite briefly for the 10 seconds off. As you can probably imagine, Tabata training is uncomfortable, but it is a great way get a better body fast and can also significantly boost your metabolism and improve both your aerobic and anaerobic (sprint-style) cardiovascular and muscular endurance.

In fact, in Dr. Tabata's 1996 study, published in the Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, subjects improved their fitness by 28 percent after just six weeks of using Tabata training -- in this case, with five days of four-minute Tabata sets each week. I've also written a blog about how even extreme athletes can benefit by including Tabata sets and high intensity interval training in their training routine.

Now, are you ready for a spin on the classic Tabata protocol and an eight-minute workout for fast fat loss? It involves a simple one-two step protocol:

Step 1.

Begin your workout with a single four-minute Tabata set that "warms up" your entire body and works as many muscle groups as possible at one time. This can be accomplished with exercises such as squat-thrust-jumps (aka burpees), squat to overhead press, or dumbbell walking lunges. The strategy with this first exercise is to burn as many calories and work as many muscles as possible in that short four-minute time frame.

Step 2.

After you've finished that first set, take a brief rest if you need it (and you probably will if this is your first experience with Tabata training!). You can recover for one to two minutes, and after that, your body should be ready to go again. As soon as you're not gasping for air and your muscles have stopped burning, then you're ready to do another Tabata set. This time, you're going to focus on the one trouble spot that you really want to work.

For example, for your second Tabata set, you could do:

- Narrow-grip push ups if you want to work the back of your arms (triceps).

- Overhead presses if you want better shoulders.

- Mountain climbers if you want a flat stomach.

- High step ups if you want to work your butt.

- Dumbbell incline chest press if you want to work your upper chest.

This list is by no means comprehensive, but you get the idea. This second Tabata set is your chance to target a specific area you want to change on your body. As I write in my spot-reducing post the key to toning a specific body part is to not work just that body part, but to also incorporate in the same workout some kind of movement that also burns maximum calories and involves lots of muscles. And that is why this potent one-two Tabata set works so well!

If you have questions or comments, or your own exercises and sets to add, then leave your thoughts below.

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