Science Correspondent Tackles the 7 Minute Challenge and Likes the Results

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It is that time of year again. The best intentions of thousands of Americans have been put to the test. Diets are easy enough, but exercise is real work. So what if there was an effective way to build muscle and shed pounds that didn’t require all of the time at the gym, or the miles (and miles) of pavement pounding? One expert says there is.

Erin Brodwin, a science correspondent for Business Insider, took on the 7 Minute Challenge and write about her experience.

For those who haven’t heard of it, the “Johnson & Johnson Official 7 Minute Workout” is just what it sounds like.  The routine was designed by exercise physiologist Chris Jordan and is meant to use tools readily at hand to increase cardio fitness and build muscle.And it has an app that allows users to follow along in real time.

And it only takes 7 minutes. That’s the best part. Most people use interval training programs like this as a supplement to other, longer exercise programs, but more people are now using them in isolation.

“The program consists of 72 exercises like jumping jacks, sit-ups, and push-ups,” Brodwin writes. “Ten require nothing but your body, and for others, you just need a chair that can support your weight. The latest version of the app lets you do each exercise along with Jordan.”

“The first four exercises I did — 30 seconds each of jumping jacks, wall sits, push-ups, and crunches, with 10 seconds of rest in between — were easy.”

“But by the time I got to planks, I was starting to feel a bit winded. At this point, I’d also done step-ups onto a chair, squats, and tricep dips. Four more exercises to go.”

“Next came running in place while lifting my knees as high as I could, lunges, alternating push-ups and rotations (raising one arm in the air while balancing on the other), and side planks (aligning your body sideways and balancing on one hand and the side of one foot).”

The basic concept of interval training pairs moments of intense activity with short rest periods. The periods of activity are not long enough to exhaust your body, and the rest breaks rejuvenate you without allowing your heart rate to fall back to its resting rate.

“High-intensity interval training can provide similar or greater benefits in less time than traditional longer, moderate-intensity workouts,” Jordan told BI.

7 minutes, every day. That’s not long enough to be monotonous, and it would be hard to find an excuse related to a lack-of-time. Brodwin, though, looks to have been in really good shape before she started. How well will it work for the rest of us?