Researchers Says This Is The Single Most Efficient Exercise Regime

Researchers Says This Is The Single Most Efficient Exercise Regime

Pressed for exercise time? Australian scientists claim to have discovered the exercise technique that burns the maximum amount of fat with the least amount of work.

Photo by ifong (Shutterstock)

Participants in the study put in three 20-minute stints on an exercise bike per week for 12 weeks. During the sessions, they would repeatedly sprint for eight seconds, then pedal slowly for 12. The researchers claim that the subjects lost as much weight with this single hour of exercise per week as they would have with five to seven hours of jogging. The group explained the results this way:

Fast sprinting caused the body to release high levels of a specific group of hormones, called catecholamines, which drive the release of fat, especially abdominal and visceral fat, from fat stores so it can be burned by working muscles.

“We don’t know why, but moving limbs very fast generates high levels of catecholamine,” Dr Boutcher, whose findings are published in the Journal of Obesity, said.

Sprinting for eight seconds raised a person’s heart rate while keeping lactic acid release, which make muscles tire quicker, to a minimum, he said.

Fitness buffs will know that this is basically just a form of interval training, but it’s a very specific recommendation, and worth trying if you want to lose some weight without drastically changing your daily routine.

Forget the jog slog and fit in a sprint for maximum weight loss results [The Sydney Morning Herald]


  • I assume this is the fastest way to lose fat but not actually get as fit? I imagine it wouldn’t have the same impact on your cardio-vascular fitness?

    • ‘Sprinting for eight seconds raised a person’s heart rate while keeping lactic acid release, which make muscles tire quicker, to a minimum.’

      I’m no expert, but it sounds like it would improve you cardio-vascular system with minimal muscle strain.

      • Awesome if that is the case. I just find it hard to believe that you could get the same level of fitness in 1 hour. The cardiovascular system’s ability to keep you going “on-the-run” so to speak.

        I’m thinking about the difference between a sprinter and a long-distance runner. The needs of each cardiovascular system is very different.

        • Yeah but you’re sprinting every 8 seconds and 12 seconds slow pace, for 20min. It’s quite a workout, it’s not relaxing, I’ve done this before in cardio workouts, it will get you tired really quick. A lot of long distance runners also do sprint/slow jog workouts also during their training.

          • I’m not disputing it would be hard work. And yes interval training is a part of long-distance training, but it is just a part of it.

            I’m just amazed that 60 minutes of exercise a week could get your cardio fitness up to the same level as 6-7 hours of running.

            I can’t be the only person thinking that can I?

          • I know a few people who run marathons regularly, and they mostly do short interval training. When I did the half marathon a couple of years back, the organisers sent me a training program that only include two or threee long runs over a three month period.

          • Why on earth are you talking about cardio fitness? its irrelevant in this equation.

            The article is about weight loss, it says nothing about anything else.

            It is saying however that this interval training burns as much fat as just the standard 7hr run due to the release of a specific chemical which accelerates the fat burnign proccess.

            It doesn’t mean it makes you fitter, it doesn’t mean its the best method for long distance running it is 100% only talking about fat loss. so why would you even be thinking that?

          • Did you actually read my first comment?

            Thanks for your instructional input. I’ll make sure I run any future “why” questions past you in future…

            I guess it can be tricky to follow an entire thread. Much easier just to have a rant and move on.

          • I did and it was a silly question to which you jumped to a yes conclusion in the post i replied too, hence why i had to tell you otherwise.

          • Fortunately I read the report which deals almost entirely with various types of fitness levels related to this form of exercise.

            Further, if people are looking for exercise efficiency because they are time poor they need to be mindful that this approach shouldn’t be considered a cover all.

            So in conclusion, the only thing silly around here is kingpotato. That’s for your input champ. You’re a real asset.

        • Interval training is an excellent way to improve fitness.
          The biggest downside for me is that its unpleasant and if I train frequently its unsustainably tiring.

          • Indeed, but good for people who want to lose weight while spending a minimal ammount of time at the gym.

          • …which is what this article is about, thank you! The commenters here seem to be having trouble with that bit.

    • Try both. A couple of short intense sprints to leave your lungs bursting for more air. On the weekend, go for a nice long run. Add some weight training and you’ll be fighting fit.

      This sounds like a form of HITT training to me.

      • Yep, which is pretty much my routine… but let’s face it… I’m lazy 😉

        If I could get a similar result in 20 mins 3 times a week I’d be there. I have added in the 20 minute process just to see how it feels… yes… it is intense.

  • From first hand experience this works well. I have been doing this for a few months now with my mountain bike strapped to a trainer. My resting HR is under 60 which for me is a bit of a watershed number I think. I find the 20 mins of 8/12 to be hard work and would struggle to do much more than 3 a week. I try to work at a resistance that allows me to pedal at 60rpm for the “rest” periods and 120rpm for the sprints. My HR tends to quickly get to 110 then rise to 150 by the end of the 20 mins. (used to be 170 but I can’t seem to get it up to that level now……is that a sign of improved cario vascular fittness? BP has also improved though probably more due to some weight loss as I have been watching my carbs a bit work it from that angle as well.

    • Chris, there’s an alternative approach that I’ve been doing for the last few months – that is – instead of 8/12 you do 30/90, so cycle hard for 30 seconds, then ease off for 90 seconds. You still do 20 mins in total, with a 4 minute warm up and 90 second cool down, but it isn’t so hard mentally. I tried the 8/12 and found it too hard. Combine this 3 times a week with intermittent fasting every day and the weight just falls off. I’ve lost nearly 7 kilos in 2.5 months. The website has more info on the intermittent fasting (not nearly as hard as it sounds) and their 30/90 version of the high intensity training.

      PS This research was done by the University of NSW last year.

      • @WillD……….I am pretty much in the groove with the 8/12 timing now and don’t know if I would be able to maintain the intensity for 30 sec but I might give it a try to mix it up a bit.
        Thanks for the tip.

  • If you’re wanting to lose weight then sure, go for an epic jog every day, but note that you’ll be burning fat and muscle as well.
    If you’re wanting to lose fat, this article speaks the truth. Compare a sprinter’s body to a marathon runner.
    Above this though, you can’t outrun your fork.

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