Sunday, 28 April 2013


Now I get bombarded with such a lot of health and fitness stuff, most of it I disregard, but sometimes, just sometimes I get something that makes sense.  And I have been preaching about intervals and short bursts of exercise till the cows come home!! 

If you are looking for weight loss and a bit of conditioning thrown it at the same time, this is the way to go.  Please read the below article, and if you are still one of the many that does long slow steady boring cardio (and you’re not in training for a marathon) take some heed from this and give the short workout at the end of the article a go. I have added my own adaptation at the end if you are a senior or a bad knees or bad back sufferer, so there’s no excuses!

STOP doing this workout
by Joel Marion

What workout?


That's right, long boring cardio is officially the WORST workout of the year.

Why? Well first, it's boring. I mean, who actually enjoys sitting on an exercise bike or running on a treadmill for 45 minutes? Not many people.

But much more important than that, it fails to produce fat loss RESULTS. Are there health benefits? Sure. But you can get those same health benefits (and more) with much shorter, much more exciting, and invigorating workouts. More on that in a minute...

But first, here's what research has to say about cardio:

Utter AC, et al. Influence of diet and/or exercise on body composition and cardio respiratory fitness in obese women. Int J Sport Nutr. 1998 Sep;8(3):213-22.

-In this 3 month study, women did 45 minutes of cardio a day, 5 days a week, and lost no more weight than those who dieted alone! Seems like a royal waste of time to me!

But perhaps this one study was a fluke? Nope!

Redman et al. Effect of calorie restriction with or without exercise on body composition and fat distribution. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2007 Jan 2.

-In this study, subjects did 50 minutes of cardio, 5 days a week, and once again lost no more weight than those who dieted alone!

Well, maybe if they increase it to a full HOUR of cardio a day, SIX days a week, then cardio will actual product substantial results? No again!

McTiernan et al. Exercise Effect on Weight and Body Fat in Men and Women. Obesity 2007 June - 15:1496-1512.

-Over the course of this one year study, subjects performed aerobic exercise for 60 minutes a day, 6 whopping days a week (who even has TIME for that?) and lost only 3.5 pounds on average in an entire YEAR!

3.5 pounds of fat loss after an HOUR of exercise, nearly every day, for an ENTIRE year. Man, oh man, cardio really is the worst workout ever!

But as mentioned, there is a much better alternative, and that alternative lies in short, intense bouts of exercise.

In fact, a recent study published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology found that 15 minutes of a circuit-style resistance training workout elevated metabolism for a full THREE days! And that's only from 15 minutes!

Other studies have found similar results with interval style workouts as short as 4 minutes producing dramatically more fat loss than long, extended bouts of cardio.

Here's an example bodyweight, short-burst exercise routine that you can try today to boost your metabolism and your fat loss results:

  • 30 seconds of bodyweight squats
  • 30 seconds of push ups
  • 30 seconds jumping jacks

Repeat 4 times.

That workout right there only takes SIX minutes and you'll burn way more fat than you will with those long, drawn out, boring cardio sessions.


If you cannot manage a bodyweight squat, use a stability ball behind your back on a wall.  Make sure your knees don’t travel over your toes.  Use your range of movement; go as low as you comfortably can.

If you cannot manage pushups, try and hold a plank position either on your forearms or straight arms for the 30 seconds.

If you cannot manage full jumping jacks, perform half jacks or do seated jacks on a stability ball. 

If you are unsure of any of these moves, ask an instructor to show you technique first.

These sequences can be progressed by doing each exercise for longer such as 45 seconds to a minute or doing more rounds.

If you need any more ideas, check out my previous ‘Legs & Lungs Workout in the Gym’ blogs for more ideas.

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