Tabata: how to shed body fat in four minutes

There’s a lot of talk of miracles at this time of year. Virgin births? I went to a Catholic convent school, we had one of those every other week. Here’s a real miracle, I have lost almost half my body fat in five months, just by doing four minutes of exercise, five times a week.

Got your attention? Thought so. My body fat had been at 29% for years, no amount of gym work, careful eating, crying or  blaming my husband would reduce it (30% is when you become a porker) so I asked celebrity personal trainer Dan Roberts, below, for some tips. He suggested Tabata intervals first thing in the morning, before eating, to speed up my metabolism.

Tabata training works like this: you do 20 seconds of intense activity, followed by 10 seconds of rest for a total of four minutes (ie eight rounds). You can do any form of exercise – skipping, running on the spot, squat jumps, split squats or eating cream cakes (one of these is a trick suggestion, see if you can spot which one. Oh well done). The important thing is that you have to work as hard as you can, not like all those people at my gym who could practically have a fag in their mouth they move on the cross trainer so slowly. Believe me, done properly, 20 seconds feels like an eternity. I’ve been religiously doing my round of Tabata, Monday to Friday since August. I knew I felt firmer, especially around the middle, but the hard proof arrived just in time for Christmas. I had a Tanita body fat reading at Verdura in Sicily, above. It is down to 17%. Now that’s what I call a miracle.

Verdura is a gorgeous resort with a great spa, by the way, which I will be reviewing in The Sunday Times shortly. Everything was wonderful… except for the very loud, very old, very naked German in the hammam. Did his crown jewels hang low? Ladies, you know when you’re separating the yolk from the egg white? Yep, you’ve got the idea. And they were swaying just inches from my face when he boomed hello at me. I’m still traumatised.

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