Your schedule is jam-packed, and you've lost all hope of making it to the gym. But here's some good news: You can still fit in a serious workout even when you have almost zero time. Really!
Research suggests that a 10-minute sweat session with 1 minute of high-intensity exercise (think sprints, on foot or a stationary bike) can lead to the same benefits—including improved cardiovascular health, increased endurance, and fat percentage loss—as exercising at a moderate pace for 45 minutes.
If you're wondering how that could possibly be, it's all explained in the new book The One-Minute Workout: Science Shows a Way to Get Fit That's Smarter, Faster, Shorter ($27; amazon.com). Author Martin Gibala, PhD, is the chair of the kinesiology department at McMaster University and the pioneering researcher behind ultralow-volume exercise.
"We have this notion that it takes at least an hour to get in a good workout—more if you factor in the time required to get to and from the gym," he writes. "My studies show that idea is nonsense." Below, Gibala shares two routines from his book that deliver maximum results in minimal time.
The One-Minute Workout
"[T]his protocol can be used by almost anyone who wishes to improve or maintain cardiovascular fitness in the most time-efficient manner science has yet discovered," Gibala writes.
Peak Intensity: 10+
Duration: 10 minutes, with just 1 minute of hard exercise
1. Warm up with some light physical activity for 3 minutes at an easy pace.
2. Blast through a 20-second sprint at an all-out pace.
3. Rest with some light activity at intensity 1 for 2 minutes.
4. Blast through another 20-second sprint.
5. Repeat the cycle until you’ve completed 3 sprints.
6. End with a 2-minute cool-down for a total duration of 10 minutes.
Feel free to customize the sprint activity to any full-body movement that significantly elevates your heart rate.
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The Go-To Workout
"If I could only do one type of workout, it would be this one," Gibala says in his book. "It includes some of the best elements of the most time-efficient workouts in this book, including body-weight training for upper- and lower-body strength and active recovery periods that keep the heart rate elevated for cardiovascular training."
Peak Intensity • 10
Duration • 10 minutes
1. As a warm-up, perform 30 seconds of jumping jacks.
2. Alternate bodyweight resistance-training exercises with some type of cardiovascular exercise in repeating 30-second intervals. The bodyweight exercises should be performed hard, at an intensity of 10, such that you “fail” or are unable to perform any additional repetitions at the end of the 30-second period. Reduce the intensity somewhat during the cardio intervals in between, but the pace should remain vigorous, perhaps starting out at an exertion of 5 and progressing to an 8…