Yes, we are telling you to shorten the time you spend at the gym. But before you get too excited — you’re also going to need to majorly up the intensity of your workout.
Studies have shown that one minute of all-out exercise can have the same benefits as 45-minutes of moderate exercise. So it’s time to trade in that leisurely treadmill jog (during which you watch two episodes of Friends and read a magazine) for a high-intensity workout where you go all out for 20 minutes.
Interval training is a smart way to begin upping the intensity of your workouts. Research shows that alternating between eight seconds of high-intensity exercise and 12 seconds of lower intensity exercise for a 20 minute period, three times a week led to more weight loss than working out at a steady peace for twice as long. This type of interval training is also more effective at decreasing abdominal fat and body weight, while maintaining muscle mass. So say goodbye to the hour-long gym sessions. Get in, push yourself as hard as you can, and get on with your day (after you catch your breath).
The study concludes: “Regular HIIE [high-intensity intermittent exercise] produces significant increases in aerobic and anaerobic fitness and brings about significant skeletal muscle adaptations that are oxidative and glycolytic in nature. HIIE appears to have a dramatic acute and chronic effect on insulin sensitivity. The effects of HIIE on subcutaneous and abdominal fat loss are promising but more studies using overweight individuals need to be carried out. Given that the major reason given for not exercising is time, it is likely that the brevity of HIIE protocols should be appealing to most individuals interested in fat reduction. The optimal intensity and length of the sprint and rest periods together with examination of the benefits of other HIIE modalities need to be established.”