How To Exercise Less With Faster Results

Want to get the quickest results possible from your workout? In today’s episode, Get-Fit Guy talks about two different studies that looked into "fast results"--one in the world of cardio,  the other in the world of strength.

Ben Greenfield
3-minute read
Episode #197

In the episode, What’s The Minimum Amount Of Exercise You Can Do?, you learned that you can exercise as little as 15 minutes a day to stay healthy, as little as 30 minutes a day to stay fit and lean, and that you don’t get any extra benefit once you exceed 90 minutes per day.;

But let’s say you’re less concerned about how little you can exercise, and instead want to get the fastest results possible from the exercise that you do – whether it is for 15, 30 or 90 minutes. In today’s episode, you’re going to learn about the fascinating results from two different studies that looked into just that – one in the world of cardio, the other in the world of strength.

How To Get Faster Cardio Results

The first study appeared in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, and is entitled, “High-Intensity Interval Training Every Second Week Maintains VO2max in Soccer Players During Off-Season." In this study, it was noted that reduced endurance training among soccer players during the off-season could have a negative effect on game performance during the competition season. So the researchers wanted to figure out the minimum amount of stress high intensity interval training (HIT) that the soccer players could “get away with” during the off-season, while still maintaining their maximum oxygen consuming capacity.

In the study, they looked 2 different frequencies of interval training sessions during a 6-week period: 1 HIT session every two weeks, or 1 HIT session every week. The HIT sessions were pretty standard protocols, and consisted of 5 bouts of 4 minutes of high-intensity (87–97% of maximum heart rate) treadmill running, with full recovery between each of the 4 minute bouts.

It turns out that doing the HIT session once a week didn’t get any better results than doing it once every 2 weeks! So when it comes to cardio, and maintaining peak cardio capacity, a single high intensity session once every two weeks will do the trick.

One of the best ways to do this is via very hard treadmill efforts that last about 4 minutes in duration. Just imagine how happy your co-worker who heads out at lunchtime every day to do a hard one hour run will feel when they hear this news!


All content here is for informational purposes only. This content does not replace the professional judgment of your own health provider. Please consult a licensed health professional for all individual questions and issues.

About the Author

Ben Greenfield

Ben Greenfield received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from University of Idaho in sports science and exercise physiology; personal training and strength and conditioning certifications from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA); a sports nutrition certification from the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN), an advanced bicycle fitting certification from Serotta. He has over 11 years’ experience in coaching professional, collegiate, and recreational athletes from all sports, and as helped hundreds of clients achieve weight loss and fitness success.