Is A Shorter Workout Actually Better For You?  

Young woman and man at the gym exercising. Run on on a machine.

Most of us think that the more time we spend exercising and working out, the fitter we will get. There are a few different individuals out there that seem to like spending hours doing cardio or in the gym doing repetitions and ab work but the rest of us do it to see results! We do it to keep fit and healthy and looking good!

While exercising for longer periods of time isn’t necessarily bad for us, the more time = more result myth has been busted! Recent studies have actually shown that shorter, but more intense workouts may actually be more affective and help you meet your goals faster. Whether that’s to lose the 5 pounds you gained over Christmas or to improve your 5km running time. Short bursts of high intensity interval training (HIIT) is great news for us as it means we can spend less time in the gym and more time enjoying life.

Ok so what exactly is a HIIT workout and why does it work?

Most of us very rarely reach our body’s maximum performance, as we don’t give ourselves the opportunity. But there are benefits of reaching your body’s maximum performance such as improved endurance and speed.

So what exactly does your body’s maximum performance mean? Basically it means to be pushing yourself as hard as you can for short periods of time. Most of us can work out for a long period of time at only half our maximum performance, but if we always did this then our bodies would never stimulated the same way as if we were at our maximum performance level. Even if we are at this maximum performance level for a much shorter period of time. HIIT workouts involve pushing your body to do a specific exercise as hard as you possible can but for a defined short period of time such as 1 or 2 minutes.

So you Don’t Have Time To Work Out?

We all know it, life is busy. We don’t have time to be spending an hour or two in the gym five days a week. Even for those who try to commit to this, there are going to be many times where you just don’t have the time to spend that much of your life in a gym. This is another reason why a shorter workout might actually get you better results. They basically destroy the excuse of I don’t have time to work out today. We all can find 15-20 minutes or so each day which we can commit to exercising. You could watch 15 minutes less of TV, sleep 15 minutes less, or find that 15 minutes somewhere else in your day. Even better, some studies have shown that with HIIT workouts, 2-3 times per week may be all you need to see results. No more working out 5 days a week with traditional work outs.


Long Workouts & Overeating

I used to work in a restaurant that was at the end of a gruelling hike which took people somewhere between 1 hour and 2 hours depending on their fitness level. Every day I would see people come in after their hike and order nachos and beer as a reward for doing the exercise. They would eat way more calories than they burnt off.

I would see it time and again, and I was the same. Each time I did a long exercise session or huge bike ride, I would then come home and feel like eating everything in sight. I have found however that after my HIIT workout, I have more energy to attack the day without the food cravings I get with a more traditional endurance cardio workout.


It’s More Enjoyable

Most find short bursts of intense exercise more enjoyable then spending long periods of time on the treadmill for example. Running on the treadmill or cycling in the gym can be very boring and that is another reason why we make excuses not to go to the gym. Pushing yourself hard for short periods of time (especially with a friend) can be quite fun. And intervals can be as little as 20 seconds of pushing hard then take a short break. So it’s more enjoyable and takes up less time. Great!


Results Are Seen Faster

We all want to see results from our workout sessions as fast as possible. That is why so many of us try working out for longer and longer periods of time in the hope that results will be seen more quickly. But give a HIIT workout a go as you may find you see results in around half the time. There is more and more research to support this. I don’t know about you, but this sounds great to me. More bang for your buck. This kind of high intensity workout have benefits to people of all fitness levels, from the very fit to the not so fit.


unnamed (1)Charlotte is passionate about helping people lose weight and keep it off. Currently studying to be a health coach at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and owner of the site –

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