This Is the One-Minute Workout You Should Be Doing

No time to exercise? Sorry—you can’t use that excuse anymore.

We have plan that can fit into the busiest of schedules. Yes, even yours. It takes less time (1 minute!) than you should be spending brushing your teeth (2 minutes). But we know it isn’t a walk in the park. If you do it right—60 seconds of intense, all-out, aerobic effort—you’ll feel it.

This isn’t a joke. Our One-Minute Morning Energizer routine is based on high-intensity interval training (HIIT) research done recently by exercise physiologists at McMaster University in Canada.

Dozens of studies have shown that HIIT, or short bursts of fast, rigorous exercise sandwiched in between slow recovery periods, burns more calories and improves fitness better than long, moderate-intensity exercise, like jogging. Typical HIIT workouts take about 25 minutes, but the McMaster researchers wanted to see if exercisers could gain health and fitness benefits from much shorter HIIT sessions, so they put 14 sedentary and overweight men and women on exercise bicycles for an experiment.

The riders started with 2 minutes of easy pedaling to warm up. Then they were asked to pedal as hard and fast as they could for just 20 seconds and then pedal slowly for 2 minutes to catch their breath. They repeated the intense pedaling segments twice more in between 2-minute recovery periods. In all, the workout took just 10 minutes, with only 1 minute being of the highly intense, heart-pounding variety. After six weeks of these super-short workouts done three times a week, the participants significantly improved aerobic endurance, blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and other markers of health and fitness. The experiment demonstrated that high-intensity aerobic exercise sessions—even very brief ones—could put you on the fast track to a fit body. The takeaway? Lack of time should never keep you from getting some exercise.

How to Do The One-Minute Morning Energizer

We adapted the McMaster researchers’ test workout into a pre-breakfast ritual called the One-Minute Morning Energizer and made it part of our new diet program and book, The 7-Day Belly Melt Diet. We use one minute of intense aerobic exercise, broken into three 20-second bursts by 60-second “active rest” periods. With warm-up and cool-down, the entire fitness routine takes just 6 minutes. We recommend you do it shortly after getting out of bed as a heart-pumping wakeup call for the day. Here’s one way to do it, using bodyweight exercises instead of a stationary bicycle:

• Warm-up (2 minutes) – 60 seconds of slow, marching in place while circling your arms followed by 60 seconds of easy jumping jacks.
• High-intensity exercise (20 seconds) — choose from one of these bodyweight exercises: arms-up squats, mountain climbers, or burpees.
• Recovery (60 seconds) – slow, steady march in place.
• Arms-up squats/ mountain climbers / or burpees (20 seconds).
• Recovery march in place (60 seconds).
• Arms-up squats/ mountain climbers / or burpees (20 seconds).
• Recovery/ cool-down march in place (60 seconds) Done!

3 Heart-Pumpers
• Arms-up squat: Spread your feet shoulder-width apart with toes pointed slightly outward. Raise both arms above your head. Keeping arms raised, bend your knees and push your butt back as if sitting in a chair. Lower your body until your thighs are parallel with the floor. Pause a second and quickly straighten your legs to stand. Repeat immediately and quickly for 20 seconds.
• Mountain climber: Get into the “up” pushup position with your hands directly under your shoulders and arms straight. Now, rapidly bend and straighten each leg one at a time in alternating fashion. It’s like running in place with your hands on the ground. Try bringing your knees to your chest with each pump of your legs. Do these as fast as possible for a full 20 seconds.
• Burpees: This advanced exercise is similar to the squat thrusts you performed in high school gym class, and it’s a great way to crank up the intensity. Stand with feet hip-width apart. Bend at the knees and waist to place your hands shoulder-width apart on the floor in front of you. Quickly jump your feet back so you end up in a plank position. (Optional step: Do a pushup at this point.) Then jump your feet back under you and straighten your legs to jump back to a standing position. Repeat rapidly for 20 seconds.

You can substitute almost any exercise for the three we’ve suggested for the 20-second high-intensity bursts, even walking can work as long as you hoof it with enough vigor to quickly elevate your heart rate.

You Cannot Outrun a Poor Diet

Let’s be clear: The One-Minute Morning Energizer is not going to give you washboard abs. Exercise will never whittle your middle as effectively as adopting a whole-food diet that minimizes fast-burning carbs, sugars, and processed foods will. The purpose of the One-Minute Energizer is to get you in the habit of doing some sort of intense exercise every day. You’ll love the way it will make you feel in the morning. Then, once you build up some aerobic endurance, you’ll want to do more. That’s why we’ve included longer, more challenging exercise routines in The 7-Day Belly Melt Diet—for motivation and fun.

Weight loss, up to 14 pounds in 7 days, on the Belly Melt Diet will come from a strategic plan to melt pounds and inches rapidly. Studies highlighted in the book show that people who lose weight quickly are often more likely to keep it off in the long run. We’ve put together a four-point program that accelerates weight loss through a diet of foods rich in superstar nutrients called flavonoids. You should:

• Start each morning with a protein-rich breakfast smoothie.
• Build your main meals around whole foods following the diet’s F.L.A.V.O.R. Foods Guidelines.
• Make sure each of your meals and snacks contains protein.
• Eliminate all sweetened beverages (except for smoothies); drink up to 16 eight-ounce glasses of water per day.

For more details about the program that’ll help you lose up to 2 pounds a day, grab a copy of The 7-Day Belly Melt Diet!

Get the New Book!

Want to lose 10, 20, even 30 pounds—all without dieting?! Get your copy of Eat This, Not That: The Best (& Worst) Foods in America!, and learn how to indulge smarter and lose weight fast!

Minute Moves: 7 Moves in 7 Minutes

When it comes to working out, most of us have one excuse card that we play over and over again: I don’t have the time. From kids to work, “time” is the roadblock that has kept many us from enjoying a healthy lifestyle. To add more practicality to your busy life, I have devised a quick and effective workout based on seven moves that will get you lean and firm and will fit into your daily routine-no matter what. I challenge you to take the next seven minutes of your life and invest in something worthwhile…yourself! * Perform each exercise for one minute, unless otherwise noted* Do not rest between exercises 1. Sky rockets: Drop back into a standard lunge position with your left foot in front, while your right is placed firmly in the rear. Next, crouch down (as if you were an Olympic sprinter) with your chest on your thigh and place one hand on either side of your left foot. Then, in one explosive movement, drive your right knee and both hands towards the ceiling. After your body is fully extended, retract back to the original starting position. Repeat, as many times as possible in 30 seconds, then repeat with the right leg in front. Coach’s tip: To ensure a proper stance, be certain to distribute a greater amount of weight on your front leg. This will enable you to create greater stability and balance throughout the explosive phase of the movement. 2. Bottle caps: Place your feet approximately one and half times shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent. Fully extend both arms out to the side. Next, lower your body downward bending both knees dropping into a full squat position. As you raise back to your original position, begin to twist at your hip towards the left. Your feet will remain firmly on the floor and will not rotate along with twisting torso. Twist back to the starting position and repeat, this time twisting towards the right side of your body. Coach’s tip: To benefit most from this exercise, concentrate on your breathing. Inhale as your body descends into the squat, exhale and contract your abdominal region as you rise and twist. 3. Hand over hand: Start in a traditional push-up position with both legs extended fully behind your hips. Next, lift your left hand off the floor and reach over your right hand. After crossing your left hand over your right to be sure to make firm contact with the floor to ensure full stretch and lengthen of your rear deltoid (the muscle group located in the back of your shoulder complex). Retract your left hand back and repeat with your right hand. Alternate between your left and right for 60 seconds. Coach’s tip: To ensure that your hips are stable keepyour feet shoulder width apart. 4. Rise and shine: Start by lying flat on your back with your left arm fully extended overhead. Press your right hand into the floor with knees bent, soles of feet pressing into the ground. Use the pressure of these three extremities to lift your body off the floor until you come to a complete standing position with your left hand extended fully over head. Slowly retract backwards returning to your original starting position. Again, you will only use the support of your left hand and both feet to control your body. Perform this move for 30 seconds with your left hand extended overhead, followed by 30 seconds performed using your right hand. Coach’s tip: For safety, perform this protocol slowly until you feel comfortable to move at a faster rate. 5. Star fish: Perform a standard jumping jack with explosive energy. Start by standing tall with your feet together and hands resting on your sides. Next, in one quick motion spring off the floor performing a jumping jack as high as you possibly can. Traditionally, a jumping jack is performed with your feet remaining relatively close to the floor throughout the “jump” part of the exercise. Here, your aim is to raise your feet as high as possible. Coach’s tip: Your goal is height and not repetitions in this exercise. 6. Booty blasts: Start in a traditional lunge with your left foot forward both knees slightly bent. Place your hands firmly on either hip to ensure stability and control. Next, lower your body downward dropping your right knee until it is approximately one inch form the floor. Then in one explosive rising action, kick your right heel to your glute. After the “kick” descend back into the lunge and repeat. Perform for 30 seconds with your left foot forward before switching to a right-footed stance.Coach’s tip: To maintain proper form, pretend that ice water is being poured down your spine keeping it straight throughout the exercise. 7. Karate kicks: Again, begin with your left foot forward in a standard lunge position with your knees slightly bent. Rest both hands on your hips and descend downward into full lunge. Next, drive your hips upward while performing a front kick with your left foot. After completing the kick, return to a lunge position and repeat. Perform for 30 seconds with your left leg before switching over to your right.Coach’s tip: Do not aim to perform a kick for height, but for repetition. As you become more proficient with the exercise your flexibility will increase allowing you to kick for greater height.

  • By Jay Cardiello

For the past few years, time-starved gym goers have whittled down exercise to roughly the amount of time it takes to brew a pot of coffee.

There’s The 20 Minute Body, 10 Minute Abs, and the Seven Minute Workout.

Now there’s this: the One Minute Workout. Yes, you read that right. Researchers from McMaster University in Ontario proved 60 measly seconds of intense exercise can increase endurance capacity and lower blood pressure.

For the study, 14 participants took on a six-week training program on the stationary bike. Three times a week they completed a session that included three 20-second all-out intervals, spread between easy pedaling. That one minute of intense effort (18 total minutes through the entire study) boosted endurance levels 12%.

From the New York Times:

“The men and women had increased their endurance capacity by an average of 12 percent, a significant improvement. They also, as a group, had healthier blood pressures and higher levels within their muscles of certain biochemical substances that increase the number and activity of mitochondria. Mitochondria are the energy powerhouses of cells, so more mitochondria mean better endurance and fitness.”

The importance of this study isn’t that it proves you only need one minute of exercise – it’s just not that easy to get ripped.

The importance is it proves the power of exercise, any exercise. Just one minute of movement can actually boost your health. For noticeable results, you need to work out for longer than it takes to heat up a cold slice of pizza. But if you truly can only spare 60 seconds (plus a warm-up), these five HIIT moves have the power to do some damage.

1. Burpee

A HIIT classic. You only have a minute so make sure your form is perfect on every one.

2. Squat Jumps

Make sure you are standing fully upright, aiming for as much height as possible on each one.

3. Stair Run

Because you only have one minute, make sure you find a staircase that’s tall enough to run up at a full sprint the entire time. This one will sear your lungs as much as your calves.

4. Pushup

Add a clap in between each one for more of a challenge.

5. Jump Rope

An efficient cardio exercise that can get a lot done in just one minute.

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7-minute workout apps: I tried 30, here are the best

Jennifer Jolly Special for USA TODAY Published 2:54 PM EST Jan 2, 2018 Columnist Jennifer Jolly doing plank exercises. Jeneva Toolajian, special for USA TODAY

The best 7-minute workouts on the planet are the ones you’ll actually do. This is what I know for sure after testing out more than 30 of them over the past few months. That and yes, they really do work. Adding in short blasts of high intensity interval (HIIT) training consisting of various strength, cardio, core, and flexibility exercises whenever I have a spare seven minutes in my day, have helped me get stronger, leaner, faster, and to feel better overall.

My favorites are all free, though you can subscribe for more features to most of them as well. But free works just fine. They’re all available on iOS and Android (except for one). They’re all built around the science-based concept of high-intensity circuit training using body weight, so you don’t need any fancy equipment. I’ve done these in hotel rooms, my office, parks, and even in a quiet corner at the airport waiting to get on a plane.

The study that kicked off this whole seven-minute workout fad four years ago notes that the secret-sauce is to strategically work different major muscles groups (upper body, lower body, core) each time you do the workout. This allows for one major muscle group to rest while you work the next muscle group, resulting in a super-efficient, super-effective routine.

The other important part? It has to be tough — 85% or more exertion for 30-seconds to one minute, followed by a 10-second rest. Or, as Heather Tyler, an NSCA-certified personal trainer and owner of Simply Fit LA wrote to me in an email, “you know that feeling like you’ve run up five flights of stairs, your heart’s pounding in your ears, you’re dripping sweat and you sound like a donkey wheezing?”

That’s basically the effort level most will need to strive for, and if you’re not fit to begin with, it’s an effort level you have work up to. The good news? Most of the apps have different workouts for beginners, intermediate, and advanced fitness levels.

More: How to spring clean your fitness regime


Columnist Jennifer Jolly doing some of the exercises on her front lawn. Jeneva Toolajian, special for USA TODAY

Seven minutes of exercise per day a few times a week though isn’t a magical elixir that will give you a bikini-ready body in a few weeks. Michelle Golla, of Denver-based Boost 180 Fitness, says, “it’s important not to set unrealistic expectations for a 7-minute workout. It will not completely transform your body, but it is a great way to get your heart pumping and burn calories all day long when you’re pressed for time.”

Also, my favorite workouts might not be yours. “It’s like asking someone for the best musician, or the best craft beer,” says Daniel Freedman, co-founder of online fitness site, BurnAlong. He recommends trying several of the apps out to see which one works best for you. “Who is going to inspire you?” Freedman says, “find who you’ll stick with week in and week out.”

Seven best 7-minute workout apps

That said, here are my favorite seven-minute workout apps, based on my past life as a personal trainer myself, current life as a ridiculously busy working mom and tech journalist who reviews this kind of thing for a living.

Johnson & Johnson 7 Minute Workout App

The Johnson & Johnson 7 Minute Workout App’s jumping jacks screen. Johnson & Johnson screenshot

If you’re looking for a customizable, well rounded, safe and truly free seven-minute workout app, you can download this one and get to work right this second.

It features 12 different 30-second exercises, with five seconds of rest in between. It’s great for beginners and athletes, syncs with your iPhone Health App to take your other daily movement into account, and the workout library has 22 presets that you can customize to create thousands of variations. You can swipe right or left during the exercises to see how much time you have left, watch the instructor, or listen to music from your iTunes.

Chris Jordan, director of exercise physiology at the Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute, demonstrates all 72 of the exercises, talks you through proper form, and gives you encouragement along the way.

The Smart Workout feature gauges your fitness and motivation level and recommends different workouts along with intensity increases—so you can’t slack off. Easily my favorite.

Seven App by Perigee

The Seven App by Perigee guides users through jumping jacks and other exercises. The Seven App/screenshot

This app has a huge variety of exercises and would have made the #1 spot, if it weren’t for the fact that even though you can do it for free, you’ll end up paying for a subscription to access all of the exercises and motivational tools (such as the $4.99 7 Club that lets you go to each exercise without having to watch a marketing video first).

Seven has you do each exercise for 30 seconds, with 10 seconds of rest in between. It shows each move with 3D illustrations and written prompts for beginners.

What’s really cool about paying for it is the added “gamification.” You basically start out with three lives. If you skip a day, you only lose one major organ, but miss three days in a row and you “die,” or start over again. It’s the same concept as a Snapchat streak, only for your health.

Wahoo 7-Minute Workouts

This app doesn’t give you the fancy video demo’s or illustrations the ways the others do. If you want to see how to do an exercise, you have to watch a video separately, which is a little jarring. Other than that, it delivers just fine in a series of exercises, with a firm voice to get you through them.

The app can take you through one of three regimens, which offer a variety of exercises, including crunches, squats and beyond. If you want, you can upgrade for $1.99 to get more personalization options and the ability to log your workouts.

7 Minute Fitness Challenge App

This is another one you can try for free, but you’ll end up paying $2.99 and more for full access to all of the various exercises. I like that the video instructions are led by both male and female trainers, and they do a great job guiding you through each exercise via video, audio, image and text.

When you upgrade to the paid version, you can also track your weight and visualize your progress, which might help you stay motivated. It also shows a calendar of all of your workouts and lets you see them at a glance. I’ve had this app for three years now and they do a great job of updating it regularly to add new exercises and respond to user requests.


A screenshot of the butt workout on the Blogilates app. Blogilates workout

The tagline for this one is, “Train like a beast, look like a beauty.” Again, you can try it for free, but will end up paying $1.99 to access the timer and another 99 cents to access the best videos. (All About That Butt is one of my favorites.) The connects you with a YouTube fitness channel and a style of exercise called “pop-fusion” Pilates.

It’s less about jumping jacks and more about holding a particular pose (like a half squat) until you’re crying. The workouts are designed to tone, strengthen and elongate muscles. You can also search the library of workouts by the area you would like to target making a nice alternative for focussed results.

7-Minute Workout For Kids

The 7 Minute for Kids app. Exactlead/handout

Okay, this one if for the kids, but grown-ups can do it to too. With animated instructions, catchy music, and all the basics of the other full-body workouts, this is another top choice overall. The exercises include some more advanced moves, like tricep dips with a chair and push-ups with rotation, so it’s a great one to do with your kids.

Yoga Wake Up (iOS only)

A screenshot of the Yoga Wake-up app. Yoga Wake-up/handout

This one is different from the others in that it’s yoga (duh), but also really mellow. You won’t be wheezing or sweating buckets, but you likely will feel better. The best part? You can do the movements from bed.

These short audio-only sequences include stretching and Asana along with breathwork, and setting an intention for the day. This mind-body workout is super convenient and great for someone like me who needs to slow down, in order to be truly healthier overall. There’s a seven day free trial, then it will cost you $5.99 a month.

Jennifer Jolly is an Emmy Award-winning consumer tech contributor and host of USA TODAY’s digital video show TECH NOW. E-mail her at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @JenniferJolly.

Published 2:54 PM EST Jan 2, 2018

One minute exercise challenge

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