For many of us, it takes effort to “psych” ourselves up for our regular workouts. If weight (or fat) loss is your goal, it’s even more difficult to get to the gym when you have an extended session of cardio exercise planned! Luckily, a team of researchers from Colorado State University and the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus have found that exercisers can burn an average of two hundred extra calories in as little as 2 and a half minutes of intense exercise a day! These findings could make exercise more manageable for people looking to get an effective calorie-burning workout with limited time in their schedules.
About the Research Study
Researchers compared the energy expenditures of five healthy male volunteers (between the ages of 25 and 31) on two different days, one in which they performed a sprint interval training session on a stationary bike. This research study very closely controlled and monitored energy expenditure of each of the volunteers. For example:
- At the start of the research study, each volunteer performed an exercise stress test (to ensure their hearts were healthy enough to withstand the high intensity exercise)
- Body composition and resting metabolic rate was established for each volunteer (to outline a diet developed with the exact amount of calories required to “maintain” their current weight)
- Volunteers were then sequestered in a hospital room for two days to precisely measure calorie expenditure (oxygen, carbon dioxide, and water content were measured and controlled throughout the research study)
- During the two days the volunteers primarily participated in sedentary activities (i.e., watching television or using the computer)
On one of the two days in the hospital room, the volunteers participated in one sprint interval workout. This stationary bike workout included the following:
- 5 x 30 second intervals of pedalling as fast as they can on a stationary bike (with very high resistance)
- 4 minute periods of recovery (pedalling with very little resistance) after each sprint interval
Results from the research study showed, for the five volunteers, an average extra calorie burn of two hundred calories on the sprint interval workout day with only 2 and a half minutes of hard exercise.
What does this mean for the rest of the world (outside of the research setting)?
Healthy individuals (cleared by their physician) who choose to participate in intense exercise can save valuable time at the gym. For example, a 150 pound person needs to run for approximately 18 minutes (at a speed of 6 miles/hour) to burn two hundred calories. That means this person can get out the gym door 15 minutes earlier with the same calorie-burning result.
For more information about this study, click here.