Being in the fitness industry must be a tough gig. Just when you think you’ve hit the big time by releasing a game-changing workout that will get you fit in six minutes, someone else pops up and claims they can do it in five! But we have a feeling that the latest fitness promise is going to be hard to top.
Exercise physiologist researcher Martin Gibala has released a book called the One Minute Workout. He claims that micro-workouts (that is, short and intense bursts of exercise) are the most efficient type of exercise — in terms of both time and results. Of course, this sounds like nothing new. HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) in all its iterations has been taking the fitness world by storm for years. This was actually the starting point for Gibala, who started doing HIIT workouts as a way to fit exercise into his busy schedule. He found that the short workouts were really effective at keeping him fit, so he set out to answer the question “how low can you go?”
According to Gibala, the answer is “one minute per day, or three minutes per week.” It sounds amazing, right? While we can easily claim we don’t have an hour each day to work out, the truth of the matter is that everyone has one minute. But it also seems like it’s too good to be true. Can one minute of intense exercise per day really replace the traditional recommended amount of 150 minutes per week? The research looks promising.
While writing the book, Gibala and his team at McMasters University in Canada conducted one of the most rigorous studies ever on short, high intensity workouts. Study subjects were put in two groups. The first group followed the traditional workout guidelines by doing 50 minutes of moderate intensity exercise three times a week on a stationary bike. The second group also used the stationary bike, but had to peddle as fast as they could for 20 seconds, before resting for two minutes. They repeated this three times in total — so, just one minute of intense exercise, three times a week.
At the end of the 12-week study, the researchers discovered that the ‘short and snappy’ group enjoyed the same benefits as the ‘slow and steady’ group. That is, improved muscle and blood sugar control and a 20% improvement in cardiovascular endurance. Couple these findings with what we already know about HIIT workouts (they keep you burning fat well after you leave the gym) and it’s not so hard to believe that micro-workouts could replace our regular fitness regimes.
There is one caveat, though. You do need to go HARD during that one minute stretch. Like, ‘pretend you’re being chased by a lion or that Liam Hemsworth is waiting for you at the finish line’ level hard. But Gibala is quick to point out that you don’t need to be a professional athlete to do this — as long as you’re exercising as intensely as you can for your individual fitness levels, you’re going to see the benefits.
You can shop the One Minute Workout by Martin Gibala here.