Think being pressed for time will hold back your weight loss? Think again, says a surprising study by researchers out of the University of Copenhagen. Participants in a 13 week trial who burned 300 calories per gym session lost 40% more weight than those who exercised for 60 minutes a day.
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The study followed three groups of young, sedentary men who were overweight. One group started hardcore hour long workouts where they burned 600 calories in each session, while keeping their diets exactly the same. At the end of the 13 week study these participants lost 5 pounds on average. The participants who exercised for 30 minutes a day, burning 300 calories, lost an average of 7 pounds. It doesn’t seem to make mathematical sense, but neither do your hunger habits.
Researchers found that participants in the 600-calorie category were eating more in each meal and snack. Researchers also speculated that those in the 600-calorie group were more fatigued and so were less likely to be active during the times they were not working out. The 300-calorie group experienced an increase in energy and was more likely to take the stairs, go on walks and errands, and get off the couch on their downtime.
This is great news for those of us who are already pressed for time. The trick to a successful short workout lies in HIIT, high intensity interval training, where you make the most out of your exercise time by working within your target heart rate. To calculate your target heart rate beginners can use the simple equation “220 – your age =maximum heart rate” and then aim to work within 60-80% of that number. All you need for HIIT is a heart rate monitor that will track your heart rate and count your number of calories burned. I’m a fan of Polar heart rate monitors, since they’re easy to wear on your wrist all day, so you can track all the calories you burn during daily activities, such as taking the stairs or parking far away from your building. Those activities will really add up.
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To get you started, here’s an intense 15 minute HIIT workout that is sure to get you sweating, energized, and burning calories!
Jog in place, driving your knees as high as you can.
:20-:30: Rest in place.
:30:-:50: Mountain Climbers.
Get in a pushup position, on your toes with your back flat. Bring your left knee up to your chest then back to the original position. Repeat with the right knee, and alternate as fast as you can for 20 seconds.
1:00-2:00: Repeat high-knees and mountain climbers with rests.
2:00-2:20: Skater Drills.
Stand with your feet hip width apart. Bring one foot back diagonally behind the other , bending your front knee slightly for balance. Alternate legs as fast as you. Ramp up this move be swinging your arms.
2:30-2:50: Leapfrog Plank.
Get on the ground in a push-up position, keeping your abs engaged and your spine straight. Leapfrog your legs forward so your knees tuck in under your arms. Then return to plank position, holding for 5 seconds while keeping your core tight. This is great from your arms, shoulders, abs, legs.
3:00-4:00: Repeat skater drills and leapfrog planks, with rests.
4:00-4:20: Jump Squats.
Stand with your feet a little wider than hip width apart, and weight on your heels, get into a regular squat position. Jump with as much energy as possible, raising your hands to the ceiling. Come back down into a squat position and repeat. If you’re just beginning a workout regimen you can eliminate the jump and do regular squats as fast as you can.
4:30-4:50: Push up.
Your basic push-up, propped up on your hands and feet. Make sure to keep your back straight and your abs engaged as you go up and down.
5:00-7:00: Repeat jumps squats and push-ups, with rests.
Get in a push-up position, leapfrog your legs forward then jump up raising your arms towards the ceiling and repeat.
7:30-8:00: Repeat the burpee set with rest.
8:00-16:00 Repeat the entire series.
Start by performing the series once a day and work your way up to doing the series twice a day. The most encouraging news in this entire study is that the control group that changed nothing about their diet or sedentary lifestyle lost no weight. Anything you do is better than nothing, and every day you’re doing something is adding to your good habits. This week make it a point to get moving towards a better you every day.
The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.