In Pursuit of More Efficient Exercise

Author: S. Bledsoe, M.D.

The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.

–       Michael Altshuler


Everybody strives to get more done during their day- more work, more socialization, more leisure, more sleep.  One of the most common excuses I hear is “I don’t have time to exercise.”  Of course, we all have the same amount of time in the day.  We will invest it in the things that we find important.


The idea that one needs to exercise for hours a day and pound the pavement for dozens of miles per week is being challenged.  Research is showing more and more clearly that one can get a great deal of benefit from exercise with smaller time investments.  In fact, an article appeared in The Journal of Physiology that suggests you can get great results from ¼ the time investment over a 2 week period of time.


Researchers at McMasters University in Ontario Canada took 16 men and split them into two groups.  One group would perform interval training by cycling for around 20 minutes 3 times per week for two weeks.  The other group would perform steady aerobic cycling for 60-90 minutes 3 times per week for two weeks.  Muscle biopsies were performed before and after the experiment.


What they found was astonishing.  The biochemical changes identified in the muscles were virtually identical in both groups.  Meaning, the interval group trained for 2.5 hours over two weeks, compared to 10.5 hours by the aerobic group, and they achieved nearly identical benefits to the musculature.


The concept of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is gaining more and more popularity as people realize the efficiency of this type of exercise.  If I can spend ¼ the time and achieve the same results, sign me up.  Later, I’ll discuss a variation of HIIT that will allow great results  in just 4 minutes.  What are your thoughts?

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3 Responses to In Pursuit of More Efficient Exercise

  1. Julie Taylor says:

    That sounds exciting to me – get all the great results in a fraction of the time – is it too good to be true? I hope it’s true.

  2. S Bledsoe says:

    The concept of HIIT is the subject of a lot of research. There’s no doubt though that excellent results can be obtained in far less time than previously thought.

  3. Pingback: CrossFit Alexandria » Blog Archive » July 9, 2012

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