“Lose belly fat with this weird old trick.”
“Shed 40 lbs in two weeks!”
“Work out for 7 minutes and keep burning fat for up to 72 hours!”
Yeah, right! How many times have we heard that before? Most of us are pretty sceptical when we’re presented with too-good-to-be-true quick fixes, so it came as a huge surprise when an article appeared in the New York Times citing scientific research behind just that: a workout that takes 7 minutes to complete and continues to burn fat for up to 72 hours afterwards. It didn’t take long for the 7-Minute Workout to become the hottest new craze in exercise.
So what’s the deal? And can 7 minutes of exercise really make a difference? Here’s our overview of the 7-Minute Workout.
The workout is based on high-intensity circuit training (HICT) that combines 12 specific aerobic and resistance moves considered to be the most efficient at increasing metabolic rate.
Each exercise is performed for 30 seconds with just 10 seconds’ rest in between before you move on to the next one. It’s an efficient way of burning fat because you’re working multiple muscles around the body with very little rest in between. This ensures your heart rate is kept elevated throughout the session, even when you’re not moving much.
Nope. As long as you have a chair and a wall to lean against you’re sorted. You use your own bodyweight as resistance, so no need for weights or specialist equipment.
No catch, as such, but as with all next-big-thing workouts, there’s some fine print that means it’s not as straightforward as it sounds.
To explain: the workout is designed to be performed at what’s known as VO₂ max. That might sound like a shampoo, but in layman’s terms, it means operating at your peak exercise intensity – or the absolute optimum rate at which your lungs absorb oxygen. That’s basically going flat out to the point where your oxygen intake can’t get any higher. For the avoidance of doubt, that’s pretty intense.
For those of us unlikely to be able to complete the circuit at that kind of intensity – or for that matter, even know if we’ve reached VO₂ max – it’s advisable to repeat the circuit 2 or 3 times to get the desired effect.
That means – for most of us – the 7-Minute Workout is really the 21-Minute Workout.
If you’re talking about the 7-minute version: some would say that any amount of exercise is better than nothing, even if you’re not hitting VO₂ max. It’s still working your major muscle groups and getting your heart pumping.
The 21-minute version isn’t a huge amount of time to set aside in the day, either. The workout still burns fat efficiently and ticks all the boxes for the time-poor and those who can’t afford to join expensive gyms or exercise classes.
In fact, the only problem I’ve found is that repeating the exercises gets a bit dull after the second set so it’s essential to have some good tunes playing to keep you motivated.
So, is it worth it? I say yes – anything that burns fat in such a short amount of time is fine by me. And if you want to do this workout to lose weight, just make sure you’re tracking your weight, body fat, photos and measurements so you can gage how effective the workout is over time.
Read the original report from the Human Performance Institute, Orlando, FL.
Download one of the many 7-Minute Workout apps available. I use the 7-Minute Workout Challenge on iOS. This Android version looks good too.
Learn how to track your weight loss progress accurately – whatever healthy eating or fitness plan you decide to do, you need to be able to gage if it’s working.
Many thanks to Christine and Drew Gilbert from Almost Fearless who created the workout illustration featured above.
So, that’s our overview of the 7-Minute Workout. Have you tried it? What’s your go-to form of exercise?
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