The 7-Minute Workout: That’s Not All Folks
A study has recently come out that could change the way many people think about exercise. It was done by scientists at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. It’s being called the “The Scientific 7-Minute Workout”. Basically, the premise of it is that a few minutes of high intensity interval training produces molecular changes within muscles comparable to those of several hours of running or bike riding.
To put it plainly, if you are the type of person who jogs, bikes, or goes on any of those cardio machines at the gym, in an attempt to get fit – you could be getting the same benefits for your body by doing rapid succession (and in essence, more challenging) strength training moves over a shorter period of time.
First, think about your goals. If you happen to LIKE riding your bike, or jogging outside, then I say you should still do it. If however, you are only doing it because you are trying to lose weight or get fit or change your body composition, then yeah, maybe it’s time you made a change, or at least, incorporated this recommended type of training into your routine.
High intensity interval training has some great benefits. Because you are doing strength training movements – pushups, squats, wall sits, step ups, etc. – you are building lean muscle mass, which in turn, increases your metabolism, which helps your body to burn calories even when you are NOT exercising. Also, because you are doing these moves in rapid succession, you are getting the benefits of a cardiovascular workout as well.
This is what the workout looks like. Do each movement for 30 seconds and give yourself a ten second rest in between. You should be working at about 80% of your max during the active phase. It will be hard. Expect it.
One other word of caution: just because the 7 minutes is equal to an extended period of steady-state cardiovascular training, that does not mean it’s all you need to do. People are not made to just sit. People are made to move. So go out there and do stuff. Do this stuff. Do other stuff. Just be active.
There is the common misconception that fitness is about trying to fit the most amount of activity – or get the most bang for your buck – into the least amount of time. It is if you don’t HAVE the time, but I’d say that people also need to change their priorities. Fitness is about moving one’s body often, and in lots of different ways.
I will tell you this: people who are very fit – who look fit, and who are capable of doing great physical things – exercise for way longer than seven minutes a day, it doesn’t matter what they do. This is like a bare minimum. In fact, it should be considered a comparison rather than a recommendation.
I guess the bottom line for me is, if you haven’t tried this type of workout yet, you should. If you are attempting to make changes to your body, and up until now, the things you’ve been doing haven’t been working – AND you haven’t tried this – then do it. What have you got to lose? Nothing but some fat. Once you can do the seven minutes, go for longer. Do it again. Add more intervals. Just keep going. Don’t start by limiting yourself.
My recommendation: put on some of your favourite music while you are at it. It helps. For me, music is what makes it fun. Good luck, and let me know how it goes.