'1 Minute Workout' promises to get you fit in 60-second bursts
McMaster researcher Martin Gibala just released a new book, all about high intensity interval training
With his new book, researcher Martin Gibala says he has removed the all time greatest excuse to blow off exercising: I don't have time.
Gibala is a professor of kinesiology at McMaster University and the author of the new book, The One-Minute Workout.
While a workout that brief might seem too good to be true, Gibala says it's all about high-intensity interval training — which essentially means short bursts of super high-intensity exertion.
"When you talk to people, the No. 1 cited barrier to exercise is lack of time," Gibala said. "What intervals offer is a strategy to work exercise into your day and your life, rather than structuring your life around exercise."
There's some hard science behind this — Gibala has published several studies on the subject, including his latest, in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.
There's no free lunch though. If people want this kind of workout, they have to go hard.- Martin Gibala, researcher
In the book, he talks about how his research shows that intensity trumps duration when it comes to a workout. In his latest study, the book says, Gibala found that sedentary people got the fitness benefits of 150 minutes of traditional endurance training by using an interval protocol that involved 80 per cent less time.
"There's no free lunch though," he said. "If people want this kind of workout, they have to go hard."
But "going hard" is relative, he says, and beginners don't have to be scared off by the thoughts of a workout that will leave them an exhausted mess, huddled on the floor and gasping for breath.
Interval training can be as simple as someone who is out for a walk, pushing the pace for a block or two, and then returning to normal, Gibala says.
"I think there is compelling evidence that intervals provide superior benefits."
There are some risks when you up the intensity with impact exercises, he says. Take running, where pushing the limit means more stress on joints. But, he says, you do have the option to try doing fewer exercises at a high impact so the "cumulative force" is lower. Plus there's always lower impact exercises like cycling and swimming, he says.
If nothing else, interval training helps break up the rut that people can sometimes fall into when it comes to exercise.
"There's only so many ways to jog on a treadmill at a medium pace."