Dr. Michael Mosely of Great Britain gained public attention with a diet book that advocated fasting for two days a week and eating whatever you want for the other five.

Now he’s back in the spotlight advocating an exercise regimen of working flat-out-hard for 20 seconds, taking a 10 minute rest, another 20 seconds, a 10 second break, and another 20 seconds.  So basically in a minute and a half you can get all your daily requirements for exercise in.  He claims his blood sugar level is lower, as is his cholesterol and blood pressure.

Sound too good to be true? 

What Dr. Mosley apparently stumbled in to is his own variation of Tabata exercise, which was developed by a Japanese physician who was studying speed skaters in 1995.  The Tabata method, taught in fitness centers around Houston, involves 20 seconds of 100% intense workout, a ten second break.  “20 seconds on going super hard core, and then ten seconds rest, says Trisha Jackson, owner of Cross-Fit Memorial Houston.   Repeat that pattern eight times.  Four minutes in total.

Danelle Parson with Orange Shoe Personal Fitness says they do a lot of functional training with free weights, stability balls, medicine balls, and ropes to teach people how to activate their core.

A growing coterie of fans swears by it.

“There’s actually an app called a Tabata timer,” says Trisha Jackson.  “It beeps for you so you don’t have to be looking at your phone and can go hard for 20 seconds and rest for 10 seconds afterwards.”

“The 20-second interval is the best little interval you can do.  You can give it 100%, it really boots your metabolism, it gets your heart rate up, it overloads the muscles, and you get tremendous results just from doing a  few 20 second intervals each day.  My goal is get people to do about 4 minutes or 8-20second intervals, says Spenser Larson, co-creator of “20-Second Fitness.”

Always check with your physician before you begin an exercise regime, and then check around to find a fitness center you’re comfortable with that offers a variation of Tabata.