03/26/2013 12:59 pm ET Updated May 26, 2013

The Tabata Workout Program: Harder, Faster, Fitter, Quicker?

Fit in four minutes. It sounds like a hyperbolic headline from a buffed-up health magazine; an unattainable promise uttered through Hollywood teeth on late-night satellite TV. Then you attempt Dr Izumi Tabata's training protocol - 20 seconds of all-out effort, 10 seconds of rest, repeat eight times - and between sounding like Darth Vader as you desperately suck in oxygen and collapsing in a messy bundle of sweat and defeat, you realise just how wrong you were.

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