Does the 7 Minute Workout Work?

DOES THE 7 MINUTE WORKOUT WORK?

Does the 7 minute workout work? With this blasted pandemic wearing thin, it’s more vital than ever to find a way to exercise. You may not feel comfortable going back to the gym. Avoiding people on crowded paths is dodgy. (pun intended) The obvious answer is working out at home. What about the 7 minute workout to increase metabolism? 

FACT VERSUS FICTION : FOLLOW THE SCIENCE!

I admit to some initial skepticism. I wondered if such a short amount of time garnered any health benefits. So I researched this and –naturally– science has the answer! The short answer is…YES! Working out at home doing the 7 minute workout, works.

Skeptical Louie
SKEPTIC
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ANOTHER SKEPTIC

NOW YOU'RE GOING TO TELL ME THAT YOU DON'T HAVE ANY EQUIPMENT

Guess what????

YOU DON'T NEED ANY EQUIPMENT!

This guy went all the way to the gym and is sitting on his phone! He may as well stay home and work out.

Be honest. Who doesn't have 7 minutes to spare? No one!

WORKING OUT AT HOME WITHOUT EQUIPMENT

You need nothing except a little space and enough motivation to last 7 minutes.

Yes, motivation is the hardest part. I hope the evidence in this post will convince you that it’s worth it.

After all, you’ll have 1433 minutes left in your day to do other things!

40 seconds at a time
Phone timer will do fine.
The 7 Minute workout works interval timer
You could try a free interval timer, too.

Okay, technically you need your phone timer.  And we’ll break this down into even smaller increments. 

So how should we exercise to maximize the health benefits and raise our metabolism?

RAISING OUR METABOLISM: WHAT DOES THAT ACTUALLY MEAN?

A HIGHER METABOLISM MEANS THAT YOU'RE BETTER AT BURNING CALORIES!

Even while you're sitting there, reading my cool science blog!

DOUBLE PAYOFF!

One proven way to increase our metabolism is with the 7 minute workout! (Which is why I’m writing about it, obviously!)

WHY DOES THE 7 MINUTE WORKOUT INCREASE OUR METABOLISM?

Let’s get this calorie business out of the way right now. It makes sense that side by side, you will burn more calories with a longer, steady state cardio work out because well, you’re doing it for longer. (cardio workout, not walking the dog.) Check out the chart to the right. Or this link to calculate calories burned for different activities.

7 Minute WorkOut_Calories Burned
I don't know about you, but I don't want a bear to chase me, just to raise my heart rate!

But…and this is a big but (not big butt)… once you’re done with the steady state cardio workout, you’re done. The 7 minute workout keeps giving back!  WHY?

TWO REASONS: THE AFTERBURN EFFECT AND ANAEROBIC ENERGY PRODUCTION

You continue burning more calories for up to 48 hours after a high intensity workout than you do after your steady state cardio!
(I don't know about you, but since covid I'm not regularly even DOING steady state cardio in the first place)
TWO REASONS WHY THE 7 MINUTE WORK OUT INCREASES METABOLISM
1. AFTERBURN EFFECT
It takes more time and energy for your body to cool down after a higher intensity exercise than a moderate or lower intensity exercise!! Think of a car after a long trip. The engine stays hot for much longer than if you just drove to the neighborhood grocery store. Your body is the same!
This physiological effect is also called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, or EPOC.
THIS IS ONE OF THE BIG SECRETS TO BURNING CALORIES AT REST!
Read more here
2. THE SWITCH TO ANAEROBIC METABOLISM
Our bodies are efficient at producing energy through aerobic metabolism. Aerobic metabolism means making energy in the presence of oxygen.
Read more here
When we do the high intensity 7 minute workout, we quickly deplete our energy reserves, or ATP.
Our big clue that this is happening is that we get tired quickly and want to quit.
Since we’ve totally run out of ATP, our body needs to replenish
With the 7-minute workout, we’re huffing and puffing and out of breath for that last 10 seconds of each interval. OK, in my case, the last 30 seconds!
Out of breath means that our lungs cannot put enough oxygen into our bloodstream to keep up with the demand, right?
Right!
So our bodies need to switch to anaerobic metabolism to keep serving up glucose to our working muscles.
This is harder to do.
More here
Anaerobic metabolism doesn't produce as much ATP!
Only 3 molecules of energy/ATP are produced with anaerobic processes versus 39 with aerobic metabolism!
Our bodies want to take the easy way and use that 39 ATP-produced pathway.
But we can override this and push ourselves. Get out of breath!
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During anaerobic energy production, we are using more energy to create ATP that we need.

DOUBLE WIN!

And after the 7 minute workout, our bodies keep burning more calories long after the workout is complete.

DOUBLE WIN!

SO HOW MANY CALORIES ARE WE TALKING ABOUT HERE?

The amount of calories you burn at rest depends on factors such as your muscle mass. Muscle takes more energy to exist–meaning when we’re sitting around– then fat does. So if you HAVE more muscles, you naturally burn more calories, again sitting around.

Working out at home. Not everyone can get to a machine
A calorie burning machine...the guy, not the machine.

This is why doing some weight training, twice a week, will also increase your metabolism. (No, not the topic of this post, but I had to share the info.)

ONE LAST IMPORTANT POINT : HEART HEALTH

I know, this part gets annoying. But the sad fact is that you can go gluten-free, do a cleanse, intermittent fast, adapt a keto diet. Take supplements. Walk a few miles with your dog and/or friends! Practice yoga, to increase strength and flexibility and improve your mindset. Pilates! Endurance training. All this is great! Keep at it!

What is the 7 minute work out? Not riding these silly bikes.
Fun but not much for heart health

The only thing --and I mean the only thing-- you can do to increase your metabolism and improve heart health is to work your heart.

This also improves blood flow to your cells, meaning increases your cardiovascular efficiency!

The fact is that you must increase your heart rate, to the point that you can’t chat with your friends on the path.

High-intensity interval training is more effective than moderate-intensity continuous training in improving cardiorespiratory fitness.

ONE MORE BENEFIT OF HIGH INTENSITY TRAINING

I make a lot of jokes about sugar because I am a sugar addict. If you’re curious about why we like the foods we do, here’s an intriguing post about taste!

If you like eating, too, here’s yet another benefit of the 7 minute workout.

Science of Taste
SUGAR! (with healthy raspberries and pecans)
THIS INSULIN IS PRODUCED IN OUR PANCREAS
Without insulin, glucose remains in our bloodstream.
Excess glucose in our bloodstream causes a lot of bad side effects
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SCARY LIST OF EXCESS GLUCOSE SIDE EFFECTS

Diminished insulin sensitivity means that our bodies don’t efficiently feed our cells.

BUT THE 7 MINUTE WORK OUT WORKS BY IMPROVING OUR ABILITY TO GET GLUCOSE INTO OUR CELLS

HOW DO WE GARNER ALL THESE BENEFITS?

TARGET HEART RATE

We benefit when our heart rates are 77% above resting values. 

You know about this formula. Take your age and subtract from 220. Multiply by .77. This number is probably less than you thought! Not so bad!

Heart diagram
We only need to do this for 40 seconds at a time!
Diagraph of the heart labeled
And only for seven minutes total!

Take a 40-year old person. The estimate is 220-40 = 180. Multiply by .77 = 138 beats/minute. 

Bodybuilding dot com says that the Karvonnen formula is more advanced since it also takes into account your resting heart rate. This is your heart rate at complete rest. To determine this, take your pulse for 60 seconds just before you get out of bed… or take it for 30 seconds and multiply by 2.

Once you have this number, you can plug in your values here. 

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We're rooting for you. You can do this!
Healthy dessert
Then we can have a treat....dark chocolate of course!

THE DOWN AND DIRTY 7 MINUTE WORKOUT

How do we do this? With static exercises. What an oxymoron!

I asked a personal trainer, who devised this 7 minute workout for us. 

7 Minute Workout to increase metabolism
Really...just one time through! See below for pics of each exercise

Last but not least…..BURPEES! (My least favorite, so I saved it for the end)

WE'VE PROCRASTINATED ENOUGH HERE. WE KNOW THE ANSWER TO THE QUESTION : "DOES THE 7 MINUTE WORKOUT WORK?"

Make Sense of Science
Don't give me that face...we really have to try it now.

TIME TO DO THIS!

workout at home without equipment

So…..

1. FIND A SPOT IN YOUR HOUSE WITH A LITTLE SPACE. (My house looks nothing like that burpee guy’s, either. In fact, I bet that isn’t even his house. ha!)

2. SET YOUR TIMER FOR 40 SECONDS….GO!

3. TAKE A 20 SECOND BREAK WHILE PACING IN A TIGHT CIRCLE AND TRY NOT TO CURSE AT ME.

4. EXERCISE # 2.

5. YOU’LL BE DONE IN 7 MINUTES! BE PROUD.

working out at home
Lying on the bed is not vigorous activity

And if, by exercise # 4, your 20 seconds of rest has stretched to 30 seconds, don’t beat yourself up. 

It’s OK, we’re just starting out. You’ll improve. 

Only one guy is getting exercise
Only one guy is getting exercise here, everyone else is pretending!

ANOTHER GREAT FACT!

YOU ONLY NEED TO DO THIS 3 TIMES A WEEK TO GARNER BENEFITS!

REALLY! THREE TIMES A WEEK

That's only 21 minutes a week.

ONE LAST HIGH INTENSITY EXERCISE FACT

IF IF IF the 7 minute workout is going well...
And you don't hate me too much
YOU CAN SLOWLY INCREASE YOUR 7 MINUTES AND HAVE MORE BENEFITS
Such as....
SIGNIFICANT REDUCTION IN TOTAL BODY MASS
YAY!
REDUCTION IN TOTAL BODY FAT
Less fat? Hurrah!
LESS SUBCUTANEOUS LEG FAT AND ABDOMINAL FAT
That is appealing, you must admit!
STUDIES SHOW 20 MINUTES OF THIS WORKOUT IS MORE EFFECTIVE FOR FAT LOSS THAN 40 MINUTES OF JOGGING, BIKING, OR RUNNING
Skeptical? Read it here.
PLUS, HIGH INTENSITY WORKOUTS ALSO IMPROVE INSULIN UPTAKE
The last scary side effect of excess glucose in our bloodstream that I mentioned above.
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WORKING OUT AT HOME WITHOUT EQUIPMENT

I admit that the 7 Minute Workout isn’t fun, but I love having done it!  Don’t take my word for it — it doesn’t take long to try it out yourself. Only 7 minutes!

Truthfully, we could all squeeze a 7 minute activity into our day. Would I prefer to check out the boots online at Nordstroms for seven minutes?  Yes, I would. But I always show an amazing amount of restraint.

If you’re interested about whether or not social media affects your habits, I have a post here that you’ll like!

 

MAKE SENSE OF SCIENCE BLOG with flowers
Sue? Online shopping?

IS THERE AN APP FOR A 7 MINUTE WORKOUT?

Of course! There are apps which will walk you through this if you prefer. Complete with timers. This one has cute little robot helpers. It won an award in the Google Fit Developer challenge!

Whether you try the workout above or get this fun app, you’ll have all these good things happening to you, raised metabolism, efficient cardiovascular system, lowered risk of diabetes, to name a few.

Does the 7 minute workout work HIIT
Quarantine Gym, 7 Minute HIIT Home Workout Trainer

Which is your least favorite of these exercises? (You know the one I dislike.)

 Most favorite? I actually like planks. And yoga. But yoga isn’t helping me burn calories at rest.

All right, procrastinating time over. Get your 7 minutes knocked down, so you can do your fun stuff, too!

Handstand practice yoga
Time for the really fun stuff!

For example, subscribing to my blog is fun! 

DON'T MISS OUT!

SUBSCRIBE, SO YOU CAN BURN CALORIES WHILE READING MY POSTS!

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Marian Grudko
Marian Grudko
February 4, 2021 7:15 am

A very good article, educational AND funny!

Unwanted Life
February 4, 2021 7:21 am

I wish I was able to do high intensity workouts, even a short one like a 7 minute session, due to my low exercise tolerance caused by my reactive hypoglycaemia. Trying to fit in daily short sessions of yoga instead

Unwanted Life
Reply to  Susan Berk Koch
February 4, 2021 7:31 am

I just use an app as the notifications help me to remember

Amy Laundrie
February 4, 2021 7:42 am

Hi Sue,
Great article and a good reminder for me. I was doing a 7-min workout via an app. As you say, who doesn’t have 7 minutes. I’ve gotten away from it but on those days I don’t play pickleball, I could reestablish it. Thanks for sharing.

Mike
Mike
Reply to  Susan Berk Koch
February 4, 2021 11:56 am

Great job explaining the health benefits! My wife and I have been using the 7 Minute HIIT Home Workout Trainer you mentioned here. And with being stuck at home, and no access to a gym, it has really helped us stay fit and keep our health. Thanks for the article 🙂

Lisa's Notebook
February 4, 2021 8:18 am

Motivation is the thing that stops me doing regular (or let’s be honest here, ANY) proper exercise. I just hate it and no matter what I try or look at, I still hate it. We were doing Joe Wicks at the start of the first lockdown and that just about finished me off. 7 minutes though. May have to try this one, thank you, Sue!

nortoncharity
nortoncharity
February 4, 2021 8:56 am

Oh a 7 minute work out is something I could definitely handle! I will have to try it out. Thanks so much for sharing all about it!

Molly @ Transatlantic Notes
February 4, 2021 10:38 am

I’m doing some exercise everyday from a great video on YouTube (not high-intensity as I’m not there yet) and I see the benefits so I can see how this 7 minute workout will make some impact. Thanks for sharing!

Retirestyle Travel
Retirestyle Travel
February 4, 2021 1:05 pm

Great advice for people who hate to exercise or don’t have much time.

Luke Slater
February 4, 2021 1:12 pm

I couldn’t agree anymore with this article, exercise is essential to a healthy active lifestyle. My form of exercise is going out for walks and doing cycling, I’ll be glad to get back to the gym soon 😁

Carolyn Holton
Carolyn Holton
February 4, 2021 3:32 pm

Great post with a very happy conclusion ! I definitely have 7 minutes….. but I may skip the burpees 🙂

Fransic verso
February 4, 2021 3:44 pm

That’s great to know it works. I think it would be easy to build motivation for the 7 minute workout until everything gets back to normal. Thank you for sharing!

Anika May
February 4, 2021 3:45 pm

I love the idea of a quick and effective workout, makes it seem much more manageable, especially for beginners. Great post!

Anika | chaptersofmay.com

Kelly Diane
February 4, 2021 4:59 pm

This is such an interesting post. I personally love shorter workouts. I can slot them into my day so easily and find that I stick to them.

eileen
eileen
February 4, 2021 6:36 pm

I am inspired to try this! Thanks for the great research. I wouldn’t have believed seven minutes could be so productive!

agirlwithaview1
agirlwithaview1
February 5, 2021 3:51 am

Such a useful post. I’m glad that 7 minute are effective ways of working out as they are some of my favourite things to do as I know I don’t have to commit to hours. I try and do 2-3 in a row targeting different areas and it’s still only 20 mins of exercise!

Tash – A Girl with a View

emilyadventuring
February 5, 2021 6:47 am

This is such a helpful post! 7 minutes is perfect because it easily fits into your day and is so short I might be able to motivate myself for all of it! x

Miragail
Miragail
February 5, 2021 8:44 am

This is a very informative post. With the current quarantine situation it is very easy to fall into our easy lazy ways, and the idea of sparing 7 minutes a day to improve our health is really amazing.

Tom
Tom
February 5, 2021 4:26 pm

Motivation is definitely my biggest problem – I intermittently go through phrases of training more intensely, but I just don’t enjoy home work outs. I typically run at least once every other day (but I get knee problems), which is something, and used to be able to swim. I need gyms to re-open because that forces me to get up and go really… knowing it’s really just seven minutes should encourage me to keep going though, thanks for sharing!

Nancy
Nancy
February 5, 2021 8:44 pm

It is great that you can still do a workout within 7 minutes. It is still better than no workout at all! Love the different workouts you can do in 7 mins. I used to do HIIT a lot, and they’re great for getting your heart pumping!

Nancy ✨ mdrnminimalists.com

Jaya Avendel
February 6, 2021 3:07 pm

Oo, I love a good workout and this one incorporates many exercises I am familiar with along with some I am not so I look forward to trying this out. It is important to exercise; not only does it improve overall health it also helps build my confidence. 🙂

Jaya Avendel
Reply to  Susan Berk Koch
February 6, 2021 3:45 pm

You bet! Thank YOU for sharing this in-depth piece of writing. 🙂

JoJo Hall
February 6, 2021 3:29 pm

Great post with a lot of information and research! I love doing shorter workouts where I kick my own butt with HIIT and strength training combined than longer ones.

Melissa Kacar
Melissa Kacar
February 7, 2021 12:05 am

I absolutely loved reading this! You’re so right, who doesn’t have 7 minutes to spare! I’ll definitely have to challenge myself to do this workout this week. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

Raji (@journeyintofantasy)
February 7, 2021 12:33 pm

Great post! I should really try this workout, 7 minutes is so easy to fit in at any time of the day.

Charley
Charley
February 8, 2021 4:27 pm

You’ve definitely inspired me to give this a go! I’ve done 7 minute work outs in the past and then lacked the motivation to stick with it! Thanks for sharing!

Mike
Mike
February 9, 2021 10:45 am

Excellent post with very practical information on the home workout. I will give it a try and let you know. Thanks again for all the time and work you put in. Mike

janehessh
February 9, 2021 9:30 pm

Burpees, ugh! Also my least favorite! But intervals are totally the way to go…since I started doing them I can really tell the difference. I’ve exercised for years, doing nice long slow runs or other aerobic stuff but never getting too uncomfortable. I HATED intervals when I started. But they get more tolerable…

Baby Boomer Super Saver
February 12, 2021 3:15 pm

Great post, very inspiring! My husband & I have been incorporating some of these exercises already and have just been trying to increase the number and duration of exercises we can do. We are just starting out so the 7 minute workout would be a wonderful routine to incorporate! We also got a pull-up bar that fits in a doorway & folds away when not in use. Our other primary exercise is walking and hiking. I also love yoga, but some days I do nothing. Now I can add the 7 minute workout on those days to feel better!

Top 10s Only
February 13, 2021 4:55 am

Hi
That’s a good 7 mins workout plan but for a starter some of those the burpees especially even looks difficult! Can you post something for starters too Plz. Tht would be great. I enjoyed the humour in the content. Cheers
Ramya
Top 10s Only

Sandra Ans
March 19, 2021 3:48 pm

I need to start moving my lazy ass as soon as possible 😀
I mean, every person CAN find 7 minutes in a day… or every second day and if we are talking about our health, than 7 minutes can’t be a big problem. The only problem is motivation, BUT with that we can all work! Thanks for this post! Very interesting!

DSP
DSP
February 21, 2022 8:15 am

Thank you for sharing such helpful and interesting content, Susan!

Susan Berk Koch author

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