Is 60 minutes a week really all you need?

Conventional “wisdom” has taught us several things:

  • To lose weight, cut out carbs.
  • All calories are created equal.
  • Calories in Vs. calories out are a simple equation for weight loss.
  • It takes one hour of exercise a day to loose weight.
  • You don’t start burning fat until after 20 to 30 minutes of exercise.

Convention, by definition, is one size fits all, and therefore its wisdom is inherently inaccurate when it comes to catering to different body types, genetic makeups, blood types and individual health problems.

The key is being willing to experiment, with dedica-tion, to a few different methods until you find some-thing that works for you. “With dedication,” by my definition, means at least 6 weeks.

Most plans and regimes out there are don’t take YOU as an individual into consideration. But luckily there are tons of ways to eat and workout that have proven results and they don’t all involve eating salads every meal and a huge amount of time.

If the thought of working out 1 hour a day (or more) already has you sweating, you may be in luck. Many studies and trainers would argue that when it comes to exercise duration “less may be more.”

In the last 10 years, there have been several well publicized studies that tout 20 minutes is all you need to reap the cardiovascular, strength, performance and weight loss benefits of exercise.

The one catch is that it must be HIGH intensity. Meaning 100% of your maximum effort. If the needle on the record player just came to a screeching halt, stay with me....you do get small breaks in between.

The umbrella term is H.I.I.T, standing for High Inten-sity Interval Training. Here is the definition: H.I.I.T is an enhanced form of interval training an exercise strategy alternating periods of short intense anaero-bic exercise with less-intense recovery periods. Usual H.I.I.T sessions may vary from 9–20 minutes.

Two significant studies published in the Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise journal published by the American College of Sports Medicine point to sig-nificant benefits for the training module over “steady state training” or endurance training. An example of “endurance” would be a 10k run at a moderate pace where you are working at 60% of your maximum heart rate. These H.I.I.T workouts proved to provide improved athletic capacity and speed, glucose metabo-lism, and fat burning.

Here are results based on a 10 to 20 minute high in-tensity workout just 3 times a week (compared to a 5x weekly endurance workout).

  1. Improved insulin activity. Essential in controlling the storage of fat and proper usage of energy.
  2. Reduction of cardiovascular disease markers
  3. Improved metabolic function and fat loss
  4. Improved VO2Max over duration workouts at lower intensity. VO2Max is a standard of measure for fitness and cardiovascular health in medicine. (VO2Max is the maximum volume of oxygen that can be utilized during one minute of exercise at your maximum exertion or heart rate)

If you are convinced, here are my favorite H.I.I.T workouts to try yourself. 3x per week 10 to 20 minutes each time (remember try for at least 4 weeks, 6 ideally):

Treadmill: Sprint uphill at an incline of 5 to 13 for one minute followed by 60 to 75 seconds of rest. Do 8-12 intervals

Spin Bike (stationary bike a secondchoice): “ jump sprints” sprint standing up for 8 seconds, then seated sprint for 8 seconds. Repeat for one minute followed by a 60 to 75 seconds of rest. Do 8-12 intervals

Outside:Any field, street, open space (I use my drive way at home) sprint 1 minute (add high knees for an extra challenge and variation) followed by a 60 to 75 second rest. Do 8-12 intervals

Garage: In any small space your able to perform a Prison cell Burpie (Google Prison Cell Burpie). Repeat for one minute and rest as prescribed above. This is by far my favorite because you get excellent full body strength training with it.