The Seven-Minute Workout: Too Good to Be True?

First things first, so sorry to neglect you, dear blog. The end-of-the-year madness has finally started to calm down at work, so my brain no longer feels the need to shut itself down and run screaming from a computer at 7:30 each evening. I hope to never leave the blog so high-and-dry again. Please forgive me, WordPress. I promise our honeymoon phase is not over yet.

With my Mondays & Wednesdays spent at the yoga studio, I usually go to the gym on Tuesdays & Thursdays. Atlanta had some seriously gorgeous weather yesterday, and I just couldn’t bring myself to stay inside, running on a treadmill like a hamster. When I got home from work, I laced up my shoes and took the dogs for a quick 2-mile walk, wondering what else I could do to make myself feel less guilty about missing a workout. While walking back home, I remembered a New York Times tweet I had seen about a new, super effective seven-minute endurance workout that had appeared in a recent issue of the American College of Sports Medicine’s Health & Fitness Journal. My interest was piqued.

Hey, thanks, New York Times!

With 12 basic exercises that use only  body weight, a chair and a wall, scientists claim the routine routine fulfills the latest mandates for high-intensity effort – a combination of a long run and strength training – in about seven minutes of steady discomfort. The payoff? The benefits of prolonged endurance training in much less time.

Truth be told, this routine actually took me about 8:30 – my transitions were not the speediest (nor most graceful), I kept having to reset my timer, and I held side-plank on each side for :30. One thing is for sure: my heart rate was up and the sweat was a’flowing. I felt like I was just getting warmed up though, so I completed an ab routine from this month’s Glamour (surprisingly grueling) and then stretched it out in some down-dogs and pigeon poses for good measure. When I woke up this morning, I was surprised to find myself kind of sore, especially in my glutes and shoulders – I guess squats and push-ups will do that to a gal.

So, you are probably thinking what I was thinking: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is, right? While the “only-seven-minutes-to-blast-fat-because-SCIENCE” headline definitely commands attention, the original article from the ACSM states very clearly:

“Because most individuals may not be able to execute the program at an intensity significantly greater than 100% of their V˙O2max, following the established ACSM guidelines for high-intensity exercise of at least 20 minutes is recommended.”

Basically, unless you have spent 95% of your life sitting down, one run-through of this  routine just won’t be enough to achieve results in the long run. Cue sad trombone. As much as I know I need to incorporate more HIIT into my workouts, I don’t think I will be substituting this one for any of my long runs or weight training sessions; I love the activity of running far too much to replace it with seven (or eight and a half) minutes of scrambling around my living room floor.  However, the anywhere, anytime, no equipment necessary nature of this workout means I will definitely be bookmarking it for times when I might not be able to make it to the gym but still want to work up a quick sweat and get my muscles moving – although I will probably end up repeating it two or three times.

So, what else is new? I received my first Conscious Box today, and I’ll be reviewing that once I work my way through all the fun goodies. On Friday, we are going to Old Crow Medicine Show and The Avett Brothers. Two of my favorite bands in one venue? I may die of happiness. To cap it all off, this weekend my mom and I will be in Asheville, one of my favorite cities, to run the Biltmore/Kiwanis Classic 15K and spend some quality girl time together. I can’t wait!

How do you like to interval train? Do you have a HIIT app that you like to use?


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