Thursday, May 16, 2013

Everyone is Looking for the Easy Way Out

I read an article in the NY Times today which you can have a look at here. The title of the article was "The Scientific 7-Minute Workout." The article attempts to describes another article that was published in the May-June issue of the American College of sports Medicine Health & Fitness Journal which you can find here. The NY Times article accurately describes the sample circuit that was described in the original article as well as the reason why the authors believe this is a good circuit that can allow you to get a substantial workout in in less time than some other more traditional workouts might allow. However, they also try to claim that the authors conclusion is that you only need to do 7-minutes of exercise:
Those seven minutes should be, in a word, unpleasant. The upside is, after seven minutes, you’re done.
If you take the time to go read the actual article this is directly contradicted when the authors state:
Because most individuals may not be able to execute the program at an intensity significantly greater than 100% of their V˙O2max, following the established ACSM guidelines for high-intensity exercise of at least 20 minutes is recommended. This may require multiple repetitions (or circuits) of a multistation exercise circuit.
How many of the people that read the NY Times article are actually going to go read the source material? I am going to guess almost none. So what does that mean? It means we have a conclusion by the author of the NY Times article (Gretchen Reynolds) that is likely to be taken by most that read that article as fact and it isn't even an accurate representation of the original work. This is either laziness, i.e. Gretchen never read the original article in it's entirety, or incompetence, i.e. Gretchen read the article but failed to understand what it said. Either way why is the NY Times publishing it?

The bottom line is there is no 7-minute workout that is going to solve all your problems folks. There never has been and there never will be. You need to commit to making a change and making the time to do the work if you want results. We all make time to brush our teeth and take a shower we should be making time to exercise now that we live in a largely sedentary world. If you are still living a hunter gatherer lifestyle or doing manual labor you might be able to skip the workouts. If you are like many of us though who work in an office you need to put in the work.

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