What if you didn’t have to spend hours at the gym to get in shape?
What if it only took a couple of minutes?
That is exactly what a new 12-week study out of McMaster University shows.
We’re busy people, and spending an hour at the gym is a large commitment. This could be one of many reasons why society is less active, and more overweight than ever before. Instead of just telling people they need to spend an hour a day being active, researchers sought to find how to maximize physical exertion into as small of a time frame as possible.
This new study compared traditional moderate-intensity continuous training against a sprint interval training approach.
The first group of participants completed 50 minutes of traditional moderate-intensity continuous training (45-minute workout with 5-minute buffer for warm up and cool down time before and after the workout) three times a week.
The second group did three 20-second sprint intervals with 2-minute breaks between bursts, a 2-minutes warm up, and a 3-minute cool down for a total of a 10-minute commitment three times weekly.
The results were strikingly similar. Though the sprint interval training saw slightly less weight loss, it matched the moderate-intensity training in body-fat loss, peak oxygen intake, insulin sensitivity index, and skeletal muscle mitochondrial content.
That means that though one group spent a fraction of the time exercising, by optimizing their intensity and recovery time, they were able to see the same health benefits from as the group performing a more traditional workout.
This is great news for anyone who previously said they were too busy to go to the gym. What might have been almost an hour commitment is now shaved down to a mere 10 minutes.
However, there are things to keep in mind before you start skipping the gym for a few 20-second sprints. Shorter doesn’t mean easier. These were highly intense sprints that can be challenging for many people to push through, even for 20-seconds. This still requires a high amount of dedication, and strength training. Also, make sure you properly stretch and warm up before any workout.