by David Greenwalt
What’s the most common excuse given for anyone not engaging in exercise? “I don’t have the time to work out.”
I can safely say it’s now been elevated to FACT that you don’t have to spend two hours a day doing low-intensity steady-state (LISS) cardio to get the health and fat-loss benefits you desire.
If results matter more than anything else AND you are really short on time then you need to know that even 10 minutes of HARD work can benefit you as much or more than workouts lasting 3-5 times as long.
You need to know about high-intensity interval training (HIIT) (1)(2)(3).
HOW you spend your time exercising matters if you want maximum results in the shortest time possible.
Another study, this one published in PLOS ONE, suggests short and intense bursts of exercise benefits your muscles and body just as well as the longer workouts.
“We investigated whether a training protocol that involved 3 min of intense intermittent exercise per week — within a total training time commitment of 30 min including warm up and cool down — could increase skeletal muscle oxidative capacity and markers of health status,” researchers said. Oxidative capacity simply means the amount of oxygen available to the working muscle.
Fourteen healthy but overweight or obese men and women took three training sessions per week on a stationary bicycle for six weeks. Each session began with a two-minute warm-up at 50 Watts (a way to measure a rider’s power) followed by an all-out effort (450-500 W) interspersed with two minutes of recovery (50 W) before ending with a three-minute cool down. So, total training time lasted 10 minutes and involved only a minute of hard exercise. Wash, rinse, and repeat for a little over a month.
Researchers found this short HIIT was a “potent stimulus” for physiological adaptations associated with greater health in overweight and obese adults. Oxidative capacity improved, as well as cardio-metabolic health, a strong predicator of all-cause morbidity and mortality. Short-term interval training also improved insulin sensitivity.
“The protocol employed in the present study involved a training time commitment that was considerably lower than in previous … short HIIT studies and provides further evidence of the potential for very brief, intense bursts of exercise to elicit physiological adaptations that are associated with improved health status in a time-efficient manner,” researchers concluded.
This study is additive to the FACT that it’s possible to get an effective workout in a short amount of time. One key factor, however, if you want the results in such a short workout, is working hard enough for your 1-3 minutes of the 10-minutes. After a warm-up and short build up, if you’re going to replicate what the people in this study had to do then you are going to be truly going nearly all out for your 1-3 minutes of HARD effort. The HARD part of a 10-minute workout like those in this study is “brutal” and most just don’t want to work that hard even if it’s for 1-3 minutes. Also, if you are completely out of shape this type of workout is not advised unless you have been cleared by your doctor to do so.
Gillen J, Percival M, Skelly L, Martin B, Tan R, et al. Three Minutes of All-Out Intermittent Exercise per Week Increases Skeletal Muscle Oxidative Capacity and Improves Cardiometabolic Health. PLOS ONE. 2014.