Let’s face it, so many of us lead crazy busy lives, which can make getting to the gym downright hard. Many of us think that unless we have an hour to work out, it’s not worth it. But here’s some real talk for you. When it comes to exercise, it’s not how long you exercise, but what you do in that time that counts the most. In some cases, working out for a shorter period of time may actually be more beneficial than cranking out an hour-long workout every single day.
PULL FACT: The 7-minute workout alternates exercising large muscles in the upper body with moves focusing on large muscles in the lower body, allowing muscle groups to rest in between exercises.
Not too long ago, the belief was that longer workouts were optimal for getting in shape and losing weight. A typical workout might add up to 45-60 minutes of cardio followed by another 45-60 minutes of strength training. While there’s nothing wrong with that, that’s a mighty long time to exercise. And frankly, doing that much doesn’t guarantee greater results unless fatigue is your goal.
Today, scientists are flipping the script and telling those in pursuit of fitness to think purpose and intensity instead of length of time. Research shows workouts that are 30 minutes or less can be extremely effective, as long as you are doing the right exercises and are pushing yourself to the max.
PULL FACT: A few minutes of high-intensity training intermingled with brief periods of recovery where you approach your maximum heart rate produces molecular changes comparable to those of several hours of running or bike riding. — McMaster University Research
You might wonder how a workout that takes half the time can be effective. Wouldn’t working out longer burn more calories, make you stronger, get you into better shape? Not necessarily. Here are a few benefits you might not expect from cutting your workout time in half:
The answer is simple. If both of these options below burn the same number of calories, which one would you choose?
A: 45 minutes of jogging
B: 10 minutes of interval training
Unless you’re a really big fan of jogging, I’m guessing you’d choose the shorter workout. The truth is, shorter bursts of high-intensity exercise can burn more calories than your traditional long, moderately-intense cardio sessions. It’s ideal for losing weight and getting lean, and it offers cardiovascular benefits equal to that of longer, steady-state exercise. Keep in mind, choosing the quick option comes at a cost. The price is intensity, which requires willpower and mental strength.
Recently, what’s called the 7-minute workout has grabbed headlines. The workout is composed of 12 exercises done in 30-second blocks with 10 seconds of rest in between. Finish one move, take your 10 seconds of recovery and move right on to the next exercise. The idea is to press through each move as hard as you can. On a discomfort scale of 1 to 10, your intensity should be at least an 8.
The goal is to choose moves that will give you the most bang for your buck while hitting the major muscle groups. Here’s what I would suggest:
Step up onto a Stair
Around the World Lunges
When you only have a short amount of time, make it count. Research shows that working out in short, sharp bursts has the same, if not greater, benefits than working out over a long period of time. The result is an effective way to get in a workout that helps you burn fat and build strength in a matter of minutes, not hours.