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From Runner’s World.
Why I Love Shortcuts … And Why They Don’t Work
I can’t handle a 7-minute workout. Please, someone, let’s get it down to 60 seconds.
Let me confess one of my guilty sins: I love articles that explain shortcuts to anything, even running. All my life I’ve been wanting to write an article titled “Run Twice As Fast With Half The Training.” I just can’t figure out how to do it. (I could probably manage “Run Faster On Half The Training,” but not right now.)
I also adore lists. Let’s see, what would be a good one? How about “10 Ways To Cut 10 Minutes From Your Marathon Time”? Yeah, I would read that article. I’d also be skeptical about the claims.
I’m even more skeptical about last Sunday’s New York Times Magazine article, “The Scientific 7-Minute Workout,” which basically summarizes an article from the Health & Fitness Journal of the American College of Sports Medicine. Besides, why would I want to do seven-minute workouts when I can get away with just four minutes on the Rom360 machine?
The goal of shortcuts, after all, is to make things shorter, quicker, easier. Let’s get with the program, people. Can no one give me a complete 60-second workout?
Now, the guys who wrote the Fitness Journal article are no doubt way smarter than I. And they recite a list of “can be’s” and “may be’s” that could possibly, who knows, in an alternate universe, support their program.
Nope. Sorry. Not going to happen.
Here’s why: You can’t get 60 minutes worth of calorie burn from seven or four minutes worth of exercise.
The math doesn’t even come close. Any runners who exchange their four-times-weekly six-mile runs for four seven-minute workouts are going to burn at least 1000 fewer calories per week. Which will lead to a weight-gain of 12+ pounds in a year. Minimum. In one year. Try multiplying that by a couple of years.
And if you gain 12+ pounds a year, there’s no way your endurance fitness or health is going to be better than it is today. No way. So what exactly have you gained by following a “scientific 7-minute program”? Beats me, though I think you’ll probably have stronger quads, if that turns you on.
Sure, you could consume fewer calories. That would keep your weight-gain in check. But that approach is much harder than it sounds.
A better way: Keep doing those relaxed 60-minute runs. Or maybe switch to 55-minute runs followed by five minutes of pushups, crunches, and planks.
Sorry I couldn’t get things down to 60 seconds.