This month an article was posted in the health and wellness section of the New York Times entitled The Scientific 7 Minute Workout, and about half of our private clients forwarded the link to me. The 7 minute interval workout which uses only body weight has been proven to be just as effective as doing longer, less intense workouts. Who knew?! Um, my trainers and I definitely did. Those are the workouts we design for our clients every day. We work intensely for more than 7 minutes, but all of the exercises mentioned in the article are staples in our routines. And ask any of our clients, high intensity intervals are what we do best.
I was happy to see this article when I did…Coincidentally, I had just nixed my gym membership about a week prior to reading it. It’s like the Times wanted to reassure me that I had made the right choice.
Here I am, a trainer and exercise enthusiast, and I don’t belong to a gym? Yes, and I have been working out harder because of it. Not only am I saving that $73 a month, but I’m not temped to waste my time trotting along on the treadmill for an hour while watching CNN. Nor will I do a bunch of hamstring curls and quad extensions just so I can sit down at the machine. I found that when I was at the gym I was taking it easy and wasting precious time (something I have very little of now that I am a working mom).
At home in my apartment it’s a different story. I know I have 20 minutes to spare, so here is an example of what I do: I fill those 20 minutes with a circuit of explosive exercises like Burpees, Star Jumps, and Mountain climbers to raise my heart rate super high. And in between those explosive exercises I add strength exercises like push ups, squats, and plank. That way my heart rate recovers just a little, but not completely. I repeat the circuit 3 or 4 times and leave no muscle group untouched. My heart rate is up the entire time, and I am sweating buckets. That is a WORK OUT! And I didn’t even step foot in a gym. If fact, the only piece of equipment I used was a yoga mat.
Don’t get me wrong, I think longer, low intensity workouts have their place. Working at a crazy high intensity is not for everyone. Depending on your goals, medical conditions, and exercise history a moderate level workout (inside or outside a gym) may be a better choice. The most important thing about an exercise routine is that you will stick with it. It needs to make you feel good, inside and out. If you don’t enjoy what you are doing there is very little chance that you will integrate it into your everyday life.
Even with my new “home gym,” I still go for a couple of long runs per week. It feels good to mix it up, and the view from Brooklyn Bridge Park is amazing…So much better than the view from the treadmill.