App Focus - 7 Minute Workout

Last Updated: Mar 26, 2014 10:44AM MDT
This is the first in our App Focus series. I wanted to give all our lolo fans a peak behind some of the thought and research that went into each app. I figured I should start with the 7-Minute Workout since it was selected by Apple as the Best of 2013.

The Scientific 7-Minute Workout was made famous by an article in the New York Times by respected fitness writer Gretchen Reynolds. It espouses the benefits of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). This type of training involves short intervals of intense activity interspersed with quick bouts of rest. I have been a huge proponent of High Intensity Interval Training for years, which is why I built it into nearly all of our lolo apps. 

Not only is it the perfect way to squeeze a little fitness into a busy day, but research has shown that it bestows a ton of benefits over steady state training (the type of training when you maintain a lower level of consistent effort throughout the entire workout). Intensity drives so many positive adaptations in your body. It not only helps you reduce fat and build muscle in shorter periods of time, but it causes all kinds of positive changes in your body that improves your health.

Benefits of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

1. Fast Results: Research shows you can get better results in 15 minutes of interval training three days a week than jogging on the treadmill for an hour. 

2. Burn More Fat: Despite the fact that you will burn less calories during a short HIIT workout than during a longer steady state workout, studies have shown that you will lose more fat over time with HIIT workouts.

3. Increased Metabolism: According to ACSM, you burn more oxygen during HIIT which means your metabolism will be increased for 90 minutes to 24 hours after your workout. Plus it stimulates HGH production in your body by 450 percent for the next 24 hours which increases your metabolism the rest of the day (and it slows the aging process). 

4. Increased Endurance: One 2006 study found that after 8 weeks of doing HIIT workouts, subjects could bicycle twice as long as they could before the study, while maintaining the same pace. Even with short workouts, you'll improve your long-distance endurance. This is because HIIT causes your muscles to produce more mitochondria. Mitochondria in your cells oxidize glucose and stored fat for energy, so the more mitochondria you have, the easier it is to fuel your endurance activities. Mitochondrial biogenesis (the creating of new mitochondria) is really a sign of fitness. The more you have, the more fit you are.

5. Decreased Appetite: While steady state training has been shown to increase appetite, HIIT has been shown to decrease appetite for hours afterwards. This is another one of the mysterious ways that HIIT causes increased fat loss even though you are burning less calories during each workout.

6. Keep the Muscle/Lose the Fat: It's hard to maintain muscle while trying to lose fat. Steady state cardio seems to encourage muscle loss, but HIIT preserves muscle while promoting fat burning. Just look at a sprinter verses a marathon runner to see the difference.

‚Äč7. Improved Insulin Sensitivity: As I mentioned previously, too much sugar in your diet eventually causes your cells to be less responsive to insulin. Decreased insulin sensitivity leads you down a path to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and a host of other health problems. HIIT has been shown to drastically increase insulin sensitivity and get things moving once again in the right direction.

Great Results in 7 Minutes

Why does the 7-Minute Workout get such great results? Aside from the benefits of HIIT, this terrific workout uses a few other sound principles to super charge your results.

1. Big Movements, Big Burn: Since time is short, you need to make sure you get the most out of each exercise. Every exercise in the 7-Minute Workout focuses on big movements like squats, lunges, and push ups so that you're always using lots of large muscle groups simultaneously.

2. Recover While You Work: Intensity is the key, but hitting the same muscle over and over again is going to wear it out and prevent you from keeping your intensity up. The 7-Minute Workout switches focus to different muscle groups with each exercise so that they can recover while you're actively pushing different muscles.

3. Resistance and Cardio Together: The mixture of resistance training and calisthenics keeps your heart rate up and your body burning more calories. Combining resistance training and cardio has also been shown to generate more mitochondria than either alone.

Why Our App is Better

While the Scientific 7-Minute Workout is an effective way to get in a great workout when time is short, it's one-size-fits-all approach can be a bit of a weakness. The original Scientific 7-Minute Workout has exercises that may be a bit too difficult for beginners, and advanced exercisers might find it a bit too boring. We never believed one workout was perfect for everybody, so I made sure that anyone could find the perfect 7-Minute Workout with our app. 

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