On the rare occasion you actually get to the gym, how long do you work out for?
As a gym rat, I go four times a week, and I only hang out there for 30 to 45 minutes. But some people love to hang out there for up to two hours.
According to a study by McMaster University, one minute of rigorous exercise affects your body the same way as 45 minutes of light sweating.
OK, I don't completely buy it. How sweaty can you get in just one minute?
Well, researchers evaluated the aerobic fitness and muscular efficiency of 25 men who weren't in good shape.
They were divided into three groups. The first group was told not to change a thing about their non-active lifestyles.
The second group started regular exercise that involved warming up for two minutes on a stationary bike and 45 minutes of moderate cycling, followed by a three-minute cool down. So, that's 50 minutes of exercise in total.
The last group did intense interval training.
Here's an example of what interval training looks like, by the way:
The participants' interval training consisted of a two-minute bike warm-up, 20 seconds of sprinting and slow peddling for two minutes. They repeated these intervals for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, they had only exercised intensely for one minute total.
So, the two groups that exercised trained three times a week for 12 weeks, while the first group just sat on their asses.
After testing the two exercise groups again for aerobic fitness and muscle efficiency, researchers discovered their results were almost identical.
Let's keep in mind these were just 25 men who were out of shape. Also, let's not forget that while interval training involves less time spent at the gym, you have to work harder during that time.
What would you rather have: a longer, more moderate workout or a shorter, but very intense workout?
At the end of the day, actually going to the gym to sweat for any amount of time is better than sitting around doing nothing.