It’s no surprise that the most common excuse for not exercising is a lack of time. But we’re here to take away your excuses because researchers at McMaster University found that a single minute of very intense exercise produces health benefits similar to longer, traditional endurance training.
Let’s Study the Study
The training protocol for this specific study compared the health benefits of sprint interval training and moderate-intensity continuous training. Researchers examined cardiorespiratory fitness and insulin sensitivity (a measure for blood sugar regulation).
The sprint interval workout—consisting of a two minute warm-up, three 20-second “all-out” sprints with two minutes of cycle recovery in between each sprint, and a three minute cool down—took only 10 minutes on a stationary bike. The moderate intensity group rode a stationary bike for 45 minutes five days a week.
The conclusion of the study found that even though the moderate intensity continuous training group spent five times more time exercising, the increase in VO2 peak, muscle mitochondrial content, and insulin sensitivity was just as significant in the interval training group.
It’s Not About Having Time. It’s About Making Time.
It may be hard to make it to the gym for a long workout each day, but if you’ve got just a few spare minutes, you don’t have an excuse anymore.
What’s that? You don’t have access to a stationary bike? Luckily for you, there is another workout published in the 2014 American College of Sports Medicine Health and Fitness Journal called the 7-Minute Workout. This workout utilizes the same principles of high-intensity interval training and can be completed in a short, seven-minute timeframe. (We were serious about the “no excuses” thing.)
Another advantage to this workout is that it can be done pretty much anywhere. The only equipment you need is a chair, a wall, and your “all-out” effort. The exercises should be performed in rapid succession, allowing 30 seconds for each movement with 10 seconds of time to transition between each exercise. The intensity should hover throughout the entire workout at about an eight on a discomfort scale of one to 10.
The Recommended Exercises
- Jumping jacks (total body)
- Wall sit (lower body)
- Push-up (upper body)
- Abdominal crunch (core)
- Step-up onto chair (total body)
- Squat (lower body)
- Triceps dip on chair (upper body)
- Plank (core)
- High knees/running in place (total body)
- Lunge (lower body)
- Push-up and rotation (upper body)
- Side plank (core)
This training style is not for the faint of heart. It requires a very high level of motivation and is clearly not suited for everyone. But for those who are interested in starting an exercise routine without investing tons of time or money into a gym, this may be for you. And don’t forget, it’s always a good idea to consult with your doctor before starting a new exercise routine.
Gillen, J. B., Martin, B. J., MacInnis, M. J., Skelly, L. E., Tarnopolsky, M. A., Gibala, M. J., (2016). Twelve Weeks of Sprint Interval Training Improves Indices of Cardiometabolic Health Similar to Traditional Endurance Training despite a Five-Fold Lower Exercise Volume and Time Commitment. PLOS ONE, 11(4). doi:e0154075 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0154075
Klika, B., Jordan, C. (2014). High-Intensity Circuit Training Using Body Weight: Maximum Results with Minimal Investment. ACSM’S Health & Fitness Journal, 17(3), 8–13, doi: 10.1249/FIT.0b013e31828cb1e
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