The old school thinking around exercise is that the longer you hit the gym, the more fit you’ll become.
Well guess what, folks? Times have changed.
Subjecting yourself to endless, grueling workouts will indeed yield results–sure. But scientists have discovered you can squish an entire 50-minute routine into sixty measly seconds and still get similar results. We know it sounds like the claim you’d hear in a protein powder commercial or something, but it’s actually more difficult than it sounds.
You see, if you want to reap the benefits of a sixty-second workout, you have to go all in. And we don’t mean you have to push yourself really hard, we mean you have to act like you’re running for your life. Or that you’re biking to save your own child from imminent death. These kinds of exercises should make the “Insanity” workout you’ve probably seen on TV look like a joke.
Now, before you hit the gym and start running as hard as you can, there are some other details to consider.
Researchers at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont. recruited 27 sedentary men and broke them into three groups. The first group was asked to pretty much keep doing what they were doing and maintain their current level of fitness. The second group was instructed to ride a stationary bike for 50 minutes at a moderate pace, three times a week.
The third group took part in 10 minute sprint interval training sessions three times a week.
The third group’s workout would begin with a two-minute warm up. Then, they were told to cycle as hard as they can for twenty seconds followed by another two minutes of moderate cycling. They repeated the sprint/recovery cycle two more times, totaling one full minute of intense exercise.
After 12 weeks of training, the fitness levels of the second and third groups were pretty much identical, despite the fact that the third group was exercising for about one-fifth the time.
“We know that the No. 1 cited reason for why people don’t exercise is lack of time so we’ve been interested in developing time-efficient protocols that still boost health and fitness,” the study’s lead author, Martin Gibala said. “Our study is a reminder of the potency of interval training.”
Of course, this method isn’t for everyone. Gibala cautions that people who live relatively inactive lives should consult their doctors before starting any kind of intense workout. But still, this is a great way for many to make their precious time in the gym a lot more efficient.
For more information on the study, check out the video above.