Short Intense Workouts

Fitness made strides in 2013, showing us how exercise affects our brains, joints, abs, and even feet. The New York times has taken note of a new fitness study that highlights what we’ve been saying for a long time: you don’t need to slave away at the gym for hours a day to get fit. In other words, short, high-intensity workouts are extremely effective for weight loss, fat loss, and muscle growth.

The science behind this theory comes from an article in the May-June issue of the American College of Sports Medicine’s Health & Fitness Journal that details the benefits of high-intensity circuit training (HICT). Combining aerobic and resistance training with limited rest periods over a short duration, HCIT was created for clients who want to be physically fit but simply don’t have much time to spare for workouts.

And the gains can be huge. As the study says, “When resistance training exercises using multiple large muscles are used with very little rest between sets, they can elicit aerobic and metabolic benefits. Research has found that these metabolic benefits can be present for up to 72 hours after a high-intensity exercise bout has been completed.” Meaning the higher the intensity of the workout, the bigger the boost to your metabolism.

A study from 2010 showed the same results when examining strenuous 10 minute intervals versus a moderate 90 minute bike ride. Both led to the same changes in muscle growth. “There’s very good evidence” that HCIT 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.

Wouldn’t you want to achieve your fitness goals in a shorter amount of time? Think of all the hours you could save for your friends, family, and personal pursuits from not slaving away at the gym. Try this workout below. Get sweating and amp up the intensity!

Additional resources:
The Scientific 7 Minute Workout
The 4 Minute Workout