While relaxing on our friends deck last night, enjoying the warm weather and sipping our summery drinks, I glanced down to see my midsection protruding most undandy-like from my slim-fitting linen shirt. “This has gone on long enough…” I said to myself. I have to start working out again. The problem is, with a newborn and how fast paced out life is during the Summer, it is now near impossible to reinstate my P90X workout routine that did wonders for me last year. I hate to make excuses, but taking an hour and half to work out after work just isn’t possible right now, and there is no way being sleep deprived that I’m getting up 2 hours early before having to be at work. I did it once, it was awful. Thankfully, the NY Times has just released this article showcasing a scientifically proven, 7-minute workout which I am officially starting today.
Via NY Times:
An article in the May-June issue of the American College of Sports Medicine’s Health & Fitness Journal does just that. In 12 exercises deploying only body weight, a chair and a wall, it fulfills the latest mandates for high-intensity effort, which essentially combines a long run and a visit to the weight room into about seven minutes of steady discomfort — all of it based on science.
“There’s very good evidence” that high-intensity interval training provides “many of the fitness benefits of prolonged endurance training but in much less time,” says Chris Jordan, the director of exercise physiology at the Human Performance Institute in Orlando, Fla., and co-author of the new article.
Work by scientists at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, and other institutions shows, for instance, that even a few minutes of training at an intensity approaching your maximum capacity produces molecular changes within muscles comparable to those of several hours of running or bike riding.
Interval training, though, requires intervals; the extremely intense activity must be intermingled with brief periods of recovery. In the program outlined by Mr. Jordan and his colleagues, this recovery is provided in part by a 10-second rest between exercises. But even more, he says, it’s accomplished by alternating an exercise that emphasizes the large muscles in the upper body with those in the lower body. During the intermezzo, the unexercised muscles have a moment to, metaphorically, catch their breath, which makes the order of the exercises important.
The exercises should be performed in rapid succession, allowing 30 seconds for each, while, throughout, the intensity hovers at about an 8 on a discomfort scale of 1 to 10, Mr. Jordan says. Those seven minutes should be, in a word, unpleasant. The upside is, after seven minutes, you’re done.
Will this exercise routine provide the same rapid body transformation as P90X? Unlinkely. But it’s a start and a better alternative than just doing nothing. I’ll keep you posted on the results.