Does The 7 Minute Workout Actually Work?


It sounds pretty great, all you have to do is workout for 7 minutes per day and see results? Well, it might not be that simple. Results come from being challenged, and it is hard to determine how much your body is being challenged in 7 minutes. But – I do want to break down exactly what this approach is, and my take on if it actually works or not. So you can then make your own choice on if you want to try this approach or not.

What is the 7 minute workout?

The 7 minute workout is described as being HICT, high intensity circuit training. It uses bodyweight exercises, typically 30 seconds of work and 30 seconds (or less) of rest to achieve results.

The main point of this workout is the intensity. This isn’t a 7 minute cake walk or regular circuit, this is meant to be a grueling 7 minutes. The workout set up separates exercises into cardio/full body, lower body, upper body and core to make sure all muscle groups are worked.

The science behind this workout is pulling from both the resistance training from the bodyweight exercises, and also the cardiovascular aspect from the full body movements and lack of rest. The resistance training  exercise contributes to the amount of fat burned during a workout. The benefits of the small amount of rest is to elicit aerobic and metabolic benefits on the body.

Research (on this workout from the ACSM) has also found that there could be a greater impact on subcutaneous fat loss with the 7 minute HICT workout than with traditional steady state cardio or resistance training. This could be due to the increase in hormones in the blood during and after the HICT session with short rest periods.

The thought behind the 7 minute workout is to decrease the excuses that those have like lack of equipment and lack of time. The 7 minute workout allows you to do as many rounds as you have time for, and making everything bodyweight focused decreases the issue of needing any equipment. There is an app (I think) you can get to follow along with these workouts.

Bottom line, this workout is designed to decrease body fat, improve insulin sensitivity, improve VO2MAX and improve muscular fitness.

Sounds like it will be a good approach, but do those results actually happen? Are they proven?

My review of the 7 minute workout

The gist of the 7 minute workout is that it is circuit training. And coming from an exercise science background, there are benefits of this.

Circuit training can be a great way to get a workout in, in a short period of time. I agree that society is very fast aced right now, and the idea of doing an hour workout is just too much for some. So circuit training allows you to get in a great workout, in a shorter period of time.

High intensity workouts have their benefits, most of them being on the molecular level. These workouts improve your cardiovascular health, metabolic rate and improve blood pressure. These workouts are taxing, and are not meant to be done on a regular basis unless you are recovering properly. Recovering means getting in enough calories, sleeping well, no extreme muscle soreness, ability to still think and function etc. It isn’t about just doing the workout to get the best physical results, you have to think about your longterm, overall health as well.

As far as if this workout will bring you fat loss or weight loss…I’m not sure I can get behind it. High intensity workouts are challenging, and the general population isn’t pushing themselves hard enough, typically. High intensity, to get the benefits, is usually 10-15 seconds of an all out sprint and then several minutes of recovery. So if you are not pushing yourself to really improve and move quickly, then I don’t think the results are going to be drastic.

We also know that strength training is the true way to change your physique. The more muscle you are able to build, the better off your health and body are going to be. Bodyweight exercises work great in a pinch and can definitely be beneficial, but over time, you are going to want a greater stimulus on the muscle besides just bodyweight.

I do think this workout type could be beneficial for someone who is traveling, has no equipment and just wants to start. I am a big advocate of something being better than nothing, so if this workout makes you move more than you already are, do it!

How to Get The Results You Want

Getting results doesn’t mean you have to push yourself to extremes, change your entire life overnight and make yourself miserable. Results come from finding a workout routine you can be consistent with, and working on your nutrition.S

Research has proven strength training to be the top way to achieve specific physique results. The more muscle tissue you have, the more calories you burn, and the “leaner” you look at a specific body weight.

This means you want part of your routine to include weights, or strength…but the rest is up to you. Maybe you enjoy circuit training, body building, Crossfit, running, dancing, spinning. Whatever you can create a consistent schedule around is what you want to do. Because lasting results don’t happen overnight, they happen from sticking long term with your routine.

Check in with yourself, set goals, do things you wouldn’t normally do and find what fits into your lifestyle. There isn’t a one size fits all approach to health and fitness. There is only what you can finagle into your life, so that it doesn’t flip it upside down and cause you to fall off track.

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Haley Rowe October 1, 2020