New studies show when comes to workout length, shorter is better if you’re doing it right.
Common sense tells us that if 30 minutes of working out is good, then an hour, all other things equal, must be twice as beneficial, right?
Well, no. Because all other things aren’t equal when it comes to how you work out. New studies have emerged from McMasters University, The University of Copenhagen, and Japanese researcher Izumi Tabata that show an hour is actually TOO long a time period for the most effective forms of exercise – interval training.
Interval training is predicated on shifting the level of intensity of your workouts from arduous to easy(ish). The shifts in effort require your body to utilize both short bursts of energy along with longer-term endurance the combination of which serves as something great than the sum of its parts.
Speaking to Time, Richard Cotton, the National Director of Certification at the American College of Sports Medicine, says that there’s newly found value in achieving your “total maximum capability,” which is tantamount to working as hard as you can, even if it’s just for a few minutes at a time.
He discusses the logic behind it thusly, and explains why an hour of working out at a static effort level just won’t get you there, stating, “Almost everyone can do something continuously at 50% of their maximum ability. But, you if you can take it to a higher intensity in short bouts, your body gets stimulated in ways it wouldn’t otherwise.”
As with many other workout techniques the early adopters of this approach were high-level and Olympic athletes, but thanks to the proliferation of more general programs, like CrossFit, there are now interval programs for everyone these days.
Martin Gabala at McMasters University says, “Interval training can be scaled to any starting level of fitness. If you have a high level of fitness, the speed on the treadmill will be different from someone less conditioned”
So if you’re looking to weasel out of a gym appointment because you’re 15 minutes later than you thought, don’t bail on your workout. Instead, try adopting an interval program that could actually do more for your body in less time.