The Seven Minute Workout – Anyone Can Do It!
It’s the time of year when many of us are more body conscious than in the winter months. We’re focusing on ways to be fit and feel better since we likely show a little more skin in the hot months. We know that we should incorporate exercise into our lives year round, but summertime is probably the number one time we feel extra motivation to be in shape.
I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling excited about a workout routine that can be completed within 7 minutes – yes, 7 MINUTES! I’m going to go out on a limb here and declare that everyone can manage a 7 minute workout.
Guided 7 Minute Workout Video
I stumbled on this workout routine the other day as I scrolled Instagram stories. I was intrigued. This was new to me, and I wasn’t really buying a 7 minute workout could deliver results. My Google search, however, revealed that this isn’t a new approach to working out, and I found a number of free YouTube videos with a fitness professional leading a 7 minute workout. (There’s no reason to pay anyone selling this program via social media.)
I watched this video all the way through the first time to have an idea of how this workout is constructed. It includes a full body workout. Each exercise is done for 30 seconds followed by a 10 second rest.
- Jumping Jacks
- Wall Sit
- Step Ups
- Tricep Dips
- High Knees/Run in Place
- Push-up with Rotation
- Plank Left Side & Plank Right Side
I found A LOT of videos with this basic workout on YouTube, led by different fitness instructors. The one I’m sharing in this post is the one I like the best. It’s easy to follow, the instructor, Inga Houghton, demonstrates the movements simply and clearly, and the video uses a “Tabata song” which cues the exercises and keeps time for each one (an on-screen timer is really helpful as well to keep track of your time). There are apparently a number of different Tabata songs (who knew this was a thing?!).
This 7 Minute Workout video can be streamed from your computer, tablet, or smartphone, making it super convenient. It can go anywhere. Additionally, no equipment is needed for this workout. You can use a step stool or sturdy chair for the step ups, and, although a mat is helpful, it’s not a must to be able to do this workout.
Tabata – What the Heck Is It?
Tabata training is a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout. The original iteration features exercises that last 4 minutes. This 7 minute workout is a twist on that. I’d call it modified. The intensity and effort you put into it will correlate to the benefits.
This explanation comes from Web MD:
Tabata was founded by Japanese scientist Izumi Tabata and his colleagues, who conducted a study comparing moderate- and high-intensity training. For the study, the first group of athletes trained at moderate intensity for one hour, five days a week for six weeks. The second group of athletes trained at high intensity for four minutes, four days a week for six weeks. Their four minutes consisted of 20 seconds of all-out intense training (at 170 percent intensity), followed by 10 seconds of rest, followed by 20 seconds of intense training, and so on, until the four minutes were up. The results? Group one saw a 10-percent increase in their VO2 max (maximal oxygen uptake), but their anaerobic system did not improve at all. Meanwhile, group two’s VO2 max increased 15 percent, and their ananerobic system increased by 28 percent.
Tabata improves athletic performance and glucose metabolism and acts as an excellent catalyst for fat burning. The excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) effect for Tabata occurs immediately after the workout, so you keep burning calories. Tabata’s not easy at all, but it’s a great way to push your body to its limit in just four minutes. It’s the perfect workout to do if you don’t have much time, and it’s a great workout even if you do have time. You’ll burn an incredible amount of calories and obtain a full-body aerobic and anaerobic workout.
While the goal is to go full out for each exercise, it’s okay to modify so that you’re able to have success with each move and complete the full 30 seconds. For example, the instructor demonstrates push-ups on the toes. I’m not able to do a full push-up that way, but I can do the full 30 seconds doing push-ups on my knees and get my chest to the floor. I’m working toward the toe push-ups (pictures below). Similarly, for the high knee running in place section, I’m doing high knee marching and working up to running.
For best results, try doing two or three circuits (consecutive 7-minute workouts). The workout should be incorporated at least 3-5 times a week and can be done every day.
If you decide to try this workout, keep track of your body statistics (weight and measurements) to measure your progress or just track progress by how you feel – most likely better!
Video: 7 Minute Workout with Inger Houghton
Basic Equipment to Support Your At-Home Workouts
As noted above, this workout does not require any equipment. That’s awesome! That being said, some basic equipment can be really helpful in supporting an exercise routine in general, even though you don’t need anything in order to do this 7 minute workout.
First, it’s helpful to designate a specific place at home to be your workout area. It doesn’t have to be a whole room, but if you can find a corner in a room and have your equipment all ready for you, it will support your exercise habit. I’ve set up a corner in a guest bedroom with our at-home workout gear. When we have guests or our kids come home, it does throw a wrench in my exercise routine, but for the most part, I have access to that space.
This small assortment of equipment listed and pictured below includes things I use pretty much every day.
- If you think you don’t need a yoga/exercise mat, think again. A mat really helps to stabilize your body during exercising and keeps your feet and hands from slipping, and it’s so much more comfy than the floor.
- A foam roller should be a household staple. It’s amazing for rolling out tight muscles.
- Hand weights or dumbbells in several weights are really helpful for toning.
- An exercise ball is a multi-tasker – you can work many areas of your body. I like to use the ball for abdominal work.
- A yoga strap/stretching strap is also a game changer for helping to stretch out legs – hamstrings especially – and other body areas. The accompanying booklet that comes with the strap pictured is a great tool to get the maximum benefits.
Dress for Success!
There are people who get ready to exercise by throwing on an old t-shirt and baggy sweatpants or shorts that look they’re on the way out.
Don’t. Do. It.
It’s important to dress for the part. Wear workout clothes that you feel good in. Wearing schleppy clothes and putting out effort to feel your best – they just don’t go together. The pieces don’t have to be expensive or fancy, but it helps to feel dressed so that you feel your best. Sometimes when I’m not feeling in the mood to work out, I go on auto pilot and get dressed in the outfit; once you’re wearing the exercise clothes, you pretty much have to do the exercise!
I’ve pictured below a few options, starting with my favorite favorite Athleta Trekkie North Joggers (have you read my jogger review post?). I like them so much I now have them in four colors. They are so versatile – great for exercising at home, hiking, running errands, comfy and cute for air travel, etc. I swear it’s one of the best clothing investments I’ve made.