About one-third of Americans say they only exercise once a week or less because they are simply too busy to exercise more often.[i] But this excuse is going to quickly fall by the wayside, as a growing body of research suggests you can get more exercise benefits by working out only a fraction of the time.
The secret lies in a type of exercise known as high-intensity interval training, which combines short bursts of very high-intensity activity with periods of rest.
According to research presented last year at a joint meeting of the American Physiological Society, the American College of Sports Medicine, and the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology, in less than 25 minutes men were able to burn up to 220 calories by riding an exercise bike. But here’s the kicker: only 2.5 minutes of that time was vigorous exercise … the rest was recovery![ii]
More specifically, the study participants warmed up for a couple of minutes, then pedaled as fast and as hard as they could for 30 seconds. This was followed by a four-minute recovery period. The combo was then repeated five more times.
Because the intensity of the exercise is so vigorous, even if for a very short period, it allows you to burn more calories than you would by exercising moderately for a longer period, and it offers other health benefits, too.
Burn More Fat in Less Time and Fight Diabetes
It’s becoming clear that exercising for longer periods is not necessarily better … new research from Denmark revealed that people who exercised for 30 minutes daily for 13 weeks lost more weight than those who exercised for an hour daily![iii] It’s thought that the hour-a-day exercisers may have been eating more each day due to their extra activity, and they were also more likely to spend their non-exercising hours being sedentary, presumably because they were so tired from their long workouts.
The shorter exercise group actually became more active for the rest of their days, suggesting the shorter burst of exercise was just the right amount to give them an extra boost of energy. This is good news if you’re short on time or used to spending an hour or more in the gym. Thirty minutes … or less … may give you equal, if not better, benefits!
While this study looked at simply aerobic exercise, not necessarily high-intensity interval training, there’s good reason to incorporate interval training into your workouts, too, as aside from weight loss and fat burning it may also help you ward off diabetes. Research shows that high-intensity interval training may improve insulin sensitivity and blood sugar regulation, thereby lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes.[iv]
If you have 20-30 minutes several times a week, you can fit in a workout regime that can give you body-wide benefits. You may want to enlist the help of a personal trainer, or at least a heart rate monitor, to start, as it’s important to get your heart rate up to the appropriate “high-intensity” level (which should generally be between 90-100 percent of your maximum during the vigorous portion of your workout). If you still don’t think you have enough time to exercise … do you have four minutes?
That’s right … four minutes.
We know you do, and that’s why we’d like to introduce you to The NO Excuse Workout. There’s no excuse not to do it, because every workout is exactly 4 minutes long, broken down into 8 specific sets. Each set lasts for 30 seconds – 20 seconds of intense exercise, and 10 seconds of rest. This DVD set (includes 2 DVDs each packed with 10 short, intense workouts) is your anywhere … anyplace … anytime trick to fit in your exercise, no matter what. It’s exercise for busy people, especially, but the workouts are so good, it’s an exercise routine that anyone who wants a leaner, stronger, healthier body — in not a lot of time — should do.
Written By: Updated: January 22,2013