Fit in 4 minutes? I’m in

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 19, 2013

I’ve come to the realization that I’m lazy.

I mean I’ve done everything short of attaching electromagnetic shock pads to my bed to get me up and running in the morning.

I had aspirations of doing the Alligator Trot 5K, but the fact is, I couldn’t run those 3.1 miles even if there was an alligator chasing me. Instead, I will wave at my daughter as she makes her way around the track, whilst I enjoy brunch on the porch.

I want to get fit. Truly, I do, so I’m always on the lookout for new and exciting things. So, it was with great interest that I read about the workout designed to be quick, intense and provide in four minutes what 20 minutes of brisk walking would produce.

The four-minute “Tabata” style of interval training has profound effects on short-term, post-exercise metabolism that would take five times the amount of typical cardio exercise to shed the same number of calories.

I have four minutes a day, and I think that even with my small attention span, I could manage that.

Created by Japanese exercise physiologist Izumi Tabata, a trainer to Olympic speed skaters, Tabata training had never been tested to see how many calories it burns and what kind of a metabolism boost it really packs.

According to the Montgomery paper, Michele Olson, Auburn Montgomery exercise science professor (who knew there was such a job), has done just that. She determined what the training not only does for the heart, but also what it does to the metabolic rate – it doubles it.

The program involves four-minute bouts of explosive interval moves done for 20 seconds for eight rounds, with a 10-second break between each round. For her study, Olson used rounds of body weight squat jumps for the explosive moves.

“What happens in your head – and the beauty of this type of workout – is, ‘Anyone can do anything for 20 seconds,’” she said. “Blast, give your all, push through it, and the 20 seconds is over. Rest for 10. Because you did accomplish 20 seconds, you know you can do it again. It is very similar to run intervals — ‘I just have to get to that streetlight. I can do this.’”

Olson said psychological research shows that individuals engaged in more interval-based workouts have higher adherence rates with shorter workouts versus ones that last 30 minutes or 45 minutes.

“The fact that you can see results quickly without having to put in an hour a day is reinforcing,” she said. “The psychologists were using the term ‘enjoyment.’ This trend toward shorter but intense exercise seems to be continuing to evolve and emerge.”

I do enjoy exercise. I just don’t enjoy getting out of bed to do it.