The One-Minute Workout

We have a few frequently used mantras here at aSweatLife. Say them with me now:

“Everything is better with friends.”

“If you have a body, you’re an athlete.”

“Everything in moderation.”

A lesser-used but just as beloved mantra that will be painted on our future office walls is, “Any amount of time is enough time for a workout.” We don’t believe that you need a full hour to dedicate to every single sweat session; if Hardpressed Strength and Conditioning classes have taught us anything, it’s that 30 minutes is more than enough time to work so hard you leave the gym floor shaking and near-tears (just me?). That’s why we’ve built an entire section of our website that’s dedicated to the 30-minute workout, where you can find something to help you get in a workout whether you have a treadmill, a set of dumbbells or just your own body to work out with.

We’re just as busy as you are. In fact, that’s the main thing all the aSweatLife contributors have in common – that we’re just over-scheduled people trying to squeeze in a workout. Sometimes, we’re great at scheduling a full week of classes and workouts. Other times, we look at our planners and realize we’ve got an early meeting, a happy hour and dinner with the family all on a Thursday, leaving seemingly no time for a workout.

That’s where Dr. Martin Gibala’s research comes in. Dr. Gibala’s research is dedicated to getting the most benefit out of the shortest workout – or as most of us know it, high intensity interval training. In high intensity interval training (or HIIT), you push yourself to the brink of exhaustion for a short interval of time (usually twenty seconds to a minute), followed by a brief recovery period before jumping right back into the exercise. HIIT is a mainstay in group fitness classes (how many times have you ended a class with a Tabata blast?), and it’s an easy format to apply to your at-home workouts.

Recently, Dr. Gibala’s research has centered around whether one minute of exercise can help people improve their aerobic fitness. In 2014, Dr. Gibala conducted a study in which sedentary men and women performed three twenty-second intervals on a stationary bike, with two minutes of rest in between each interval. The results? After six weeks of three sessions per week (just 18 minutes of intense exercise total), participants had improved their blood pressure numbers and other measurement units of muscular health.

So what’s our takeaway? We’re okay accepting that some days, it’s just not possible to make it to the gym. And some days, you just might not be motivated to lace your sneakers up and go for even the shortest run around the block.

But chances are, you can still talk yourself into one minute of exercise. Try running up stairs in your office building for twenty seconds, then recovering, then repeating that twice. Jump an invisible rope, do squat jumps, or our personal favorite, burpees – however you feel like sweating while you wait for your Uber to come or your microwave to ding. No excuses.

How are you going to make the most of your one minute of intense exercise a day?

Move Workouts

About Kristen Geil

A native of Lexington, Kentucky, Kristen moved to Chicago in 2011 and received her MA in Writing, Rhetoric, and Discourse from DePaul while trying to maintain her southern accent. Kristen grew up playing sports, and since moving to Chicago, she’s fallen in love with the lakefront running path and the lively group fitness scene. Now, as a currently retired marathoner and sweat junkie, you can usually find her trying new workouts around the city and meticulously crafting Instagram-friendly smoothie bowls. Kristen came on to A Sweat Life full-time in 2018 as Editor-in-Chief, and she spends her days managing writers, building content strategy, and fighting for the Oxford comma.