Are short bursts of exercise enough to stay fit?

You never regret a workout, but you do regret not doing it.

But sometimes it can feel like you’re too busy or you lack the motivation to spend another hour killing yourself at the gym. Well you’re in luck. You don’t need to spend hours at the gym slogging your guts out to get the results you are after.

In fact, study after study has shown that brief HIIT (high-intensity interval training) sessions can be just as effective – if not more so – than traditional long training sessions. To ensure you receive the benefits you do need to really push yourself during those intervals though.

I exercise six to seven times a week for between 28-45 minutes. This includes three days of resistance training at home and then I go for walks with my dogs on the other days. I’m not a gym bunny and frankly don’t see the point in spending hours running on a treadmill when I can get the results I want in just 28 minutes in my lounge wearing my pyjamas if I please.

I also enjoy doing HIIT jump rope sessions for 15 minutes. Basically you jump rope for 30 seconds, stop for 30 seconds and continue that for 15 minutes. You can also practice the same method on the treadmill – run for 30 seconds, and then stop for 30 seconds.

You can also opt for low intensity exercise like health and wellness blogger Jessica Sepel. Ms Sepel says when she was exercising intensely twice a day a few years ago she could not figure out why she was actually gaining weight. She says she visited her dietician in tears as she couldn’t understand her lack of results.

“Even now, when I find myself getting hyped up about a new exercise program or fun class at the gym and doing more exercise than usual, I feel more frantic and my body seems to hold onto more weight,” she says.

However, when she does moderate exercise for no more than 30 minutes a day, along with rest days, her body responds and loves it.

“This is why so many of us also tend to lose weight when we’re on holidays – because we’re resting. We eat more than usual and still lose weight? It always brings so much confusion to my patients in clinic.

“Why do you think it is? You guessed it – it’s your body telling you again that it prefers to be rested.”

Celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak advocates 25 minutes of exercise five times a week in his 5 Factor method. His clients include Halle Berry, Megan Fox, Julianne Hough and Jessica Simpson, so I think he might be on to something.

Australian trainer Kayla Itsines, my chosen fitness guru, has created a guide which includes (very sweaty and bloody hard!) 28 minute workout sessions, walks and HIIT. The results from those who follow her guide are truly incredible.

Leanne likes using the Nike Training Centre (ntc) app which is free to download and you can do the workouts at home in as little as 15 minutes.

It is a lot more manageable to delegate just 30 minutes a day or less to exercise. This means you’re more likely to stick with it and see the results you crave.


What do you think of short workouts? Add your thoughts to the discussion on our Facebook page.


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