A common excuse on hears for poor health is lack of time. It is very common to find middle aged male and female professionals working 55 hour weeks, helping their children evenings and weekends and finding a few hours to zone out and recover. Where on earth will they find the 150min/week for light exercise or the 60 min/week for moderate exercise? We already know from the Tabata protocol and other similar anaerobic sprint intervals that with very short intense bursts, athletes and the weekend warrior can improve their fitness. Few studies on these intensities have been done on the out of shape. After all, how many overweight people can even reach 90% of their predicted  hear rate max, and how of them will go there and maintain it?

Well hang on, a new protocol has been developed. Tjonna, et al; 2012 selected 26 men, BMI 25-30 aged 25-30 who were non-exercisers for their study. The men were divided into 2 groups; 1 groups performed 4 minutes of high intensity exercise while the other performed 4x4min high intensity exercise.

The subjects wore a heart rate monitor. They completed a 10 minute warm up protocol going from 50% predicted max HR to 70%. At that time they performed 1 min at 90% predicted max HR. Then, they either performed a 5 min cool down if they were in the first group or a 3 min rest at 70% predicted max HR before again returning to 90% for 1 min if they were in the 4×4 group.

Weight loss for the 1 intensity group was 1.8kg after 11 weeks while the 4×4 group lost 2.1kg, fat loss was 0.6% and 0.8%, VO2max had improved 4.5ml/kg/min vs. 7.0ml/kg/min. Changes in blood pressure, blood flow, triglycerides, fasting glucose, HDL, LDL, hemoglobin, CRP and HbA1c were noted but did have significant changes between the groups.

This is stunning. If you are not an athlete and really just want to lose weight for health a new protocol for those who can push themselves (and are otherwise healthy, since this is an extreme protocol) can be used. 10 minute warm up going from 50% of max HR to 70%, 1 min at 90% of max HR and then 5 min going from 70% to 50%. This is a 16 minutes protocol 3 days/week. All you need access to is a treadmill and a hear rate monitor.

Following this simple protocol can quickly help the unfit gain a base level of fitness and if it were amplified with dietary changes, even more quickly.

Time is not an excuse, if you don’t have 48 min per week, you need to re-evaluate what you’re doing with your time.