I’m a personal trainer – here’s how a seven minute workout is better for you than an hour in the gym | The Sun

I’m a personal trainer – here’s how a seven minute workout is better for you than an hour in the gym | The Sun

01/22/2023

THINK you have to work out for a solid hour to see results

Always telling yourself you have no time to exercise?

Then listen up.

It turns out that people who “exercise snack” – fitting in bitesize workouts more frequently – are better able to stay motivated and fitter in the long term than those who do longer but fewer workouts.* 

According to The Human Performance Institute, working out at high intensity for just seven minutes significantly improves muscular strength and cardio fitness, which is great for your heart and lungs.

What’s more, it can do you more good than one epic gym sesh a week. 

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Cecilia Harris, celebrity personal trainer and founder of fitness app Results Wellness Lifestyle, says the biggest mistake people make is working out for too long.

Cecilia, who trains celebs including Frankie and Wayne Bridge, Lucy Mecklenburgh and Susanna Reid, explains: “Unfortunately, people have been led to believe they have to exercise for an hour or attend a 45-minute class for their exercise to be ‘worth it’, but this simply isn’t the case. 

In fact, as soon as people realise a seven-minute workout is enough to give them huge benefits to their mental and physical health, the better the results they get.” 

Why 7-Minute Workouts really Work

They eliminate the ‘I Don’t Have Time’ excuse

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A seven minute workout eliminates the ‘I Don’t Have Time’ excuseCredit: Getty

We all know that finding the motivation to exercise isn’t easy, and “I don’t have time” can often be a huge mental barrier.

Life coach Jeff Spires says when you are able to convince yourself that you do have time, it can be a game-changer.

“When you think you need to commit to an hour or even 30 minutes of your day to exercise, it can feel overwhelming,” he explains.

“But seven minutes? Your brain will accept that is reasonable because, let’s face it, we can all put aside seven minutes in a day.”

They increase motivation

You’ve crushed the “I don’t have time” excuse, but what about the “I’m tired” or “I can’t be bothered” excuses?

When we think we have to move for 60 minutes, it can be easy to convince ourselves we just don’t have the energy today.

But when we know it’s a fraction of that, we are much more likely to tell ourselves: “It’s only seven minutes, I can get through that.”

Jeff says: “Getting fit and seeing results is all about motivation.

"Your brain is wired to keep you safe and comfortable, and if you present it with the idea of stepping outside of your comfort zone for an hour, it’s likely it will not respond positively, but with stress and anxiety instead, convincing you not to do it.

"Presenting your brain with seven minutes of exercise doesn’t create the same fear response and therefore you find yourself willingly getting into your Lycra, rather than doing everything else but.”

They regulate appetite (helping weight loss)

When you work out for long periods of time, you are more likely to see a major increase in your appetite, as your body tells you you’re hungry to make up for all the energy you expended during your workout.

This appetite increase can result in the “I deserve this” mentality, which can leave you struggling to control portion sizes and reaching for foods high in calories in a bid to refuel.

In contrast, exercising for shorter bursts of time doesn’t result in the same extreme need to consume calories, allowing you to make smarter food choices and therefore better manage a healthy diet.

Research published in the National Library Of Medicine revealed that just two minutes of exercise can help to suppress your appetite, while long periods of cardio exercise (such as running on a treadmill) can make it spike.

They help to prevent injury

Over-training can be a massive problem for those who work out regularly.

One reason for this is that when we exercise for long periods of time, our bodies start to tire and good form can start to slip.

Cecilia says: “When our muscles become tired, we can fall into bad form, meaning we don’t perform exercises properly.

"This is what can lead to injury.

"Opting for shorter workouts, in which we can safely maintain good form throughout, helps us to prevent injury and work out safely, which means that we can exercise sustainably long-term.”

Begin Your 7-Minute Workout Journey Here

To get you started, try Cecilia’s ultimate seven-minute workout below.

Just make sure you have space to do it in and check with your GP if you are unsure whether you’re safe to exercise.

No equipment needed, just a watch to keep an eye on your timings… 

Minute 1 

Start with 60 seconds of marching on the spot.

Bring alternating knees directly up in front of you, aiming to get them to belly-button height. Do this as quickly as you can.

Minute 2 

Next, it’s 60 seconds of speed squats.

Squat down, sending your bum backwards and keeping your knees in line with each other.

Return to a standing position by pushing down through your heels. Do these as quickly as you can.

Minute 3 

Move on to 60 seconds of sit-ups. Lie on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat.

Clench your stomach muscles and lift your head and upper body until you are sitting up, then slowly lower back down to the floor.

Minute 4 

Now do 60 seconds of speed punches.

Standing tall with one foot in front of the other and hands squeezed into fists, throw the left hand forward in front of you then snap back to your face, then repeat with the right.

Keep doing this as fast as you can.

Minute 5 

Star jump for the next 60 seconds.

From a standing position, jump your feet out wide and lift both hands out to the side and up above your head at the same time. Then jump back to the start position. Repeat for the full minute. 

Minute 6

Burpees time! From standing, bring both hands to the floor. Jump both feet back into a plank position, then jump your feet back to the top, stand up and jump.

Repeat for 60 seconds. 

Minute 7 

Finish with 60 seconds of skipping.

From standing, hold a skipping rope (real or imaginary) in your hands.

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On your toes, shift your weight from side to side, as if skipping rhythmically. 

  • Source: *JAMA Internal Medicine

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