February 12, 2013 posted by


Probably the most valuable thing I’ve learned in my long tenure at Beachbody is the importance of efficiency. As an athletic trainer it mattered but you always had leeway. Athletes want to win and care less about how much time and effort it takes to do it. Regular folks have more pressing matters than being fit and time is of the essence. Over the years we’ve gotten better and better at distilling the necessities for being fit into as little time as absolutely necessary. We have it down to a science, literally.

I love seeing articles like the one that popped up last week on Science Daily, showing how short exercise can be more effective than long exercise.

Instead of long stints in the gym and miles of running in the cold, the same results could be achieved in less than a third of the time, according to new research published February 1 in The Journal of Physiology.

It not only validates where we do it makes it easier for us to “prove” our results on TV. It’s funny—not in a ha-ha way—that we often can’t cite our actual results from our test groups because they’re beyond what the authorities have deemed “possible”. The fact is, if you train smart you don’t need to spend hours a day in the gym in order to keep your body at peak fitness. Sure, you can be fit using that model, but in my experience I’ve found that most people, including athletes, train more than they should.

On the basis of these novel and earlier findings from other laboratories, Professor Wagenmakers expects that HIT and SIT will turn out to be unique alternative exercise modes suitable to prevent blood vessel disease, hypertension, diabetes and most of the other ageing and obesity related chronic diseases.

We’ve been using both HIT and SIT for years, so the word unique seems a little strange, but that’s probably why we run into issues with the FTC and such. Even though it’s not always “accepted”, we’ve proven that if you’re willing to make healthy lifestyle changes we can change your body composition from obese to healthy in as little as 10 minutes a day. With a 30-45 minute investment you can be down right fit, and an hour a day 6 days per week can have you as fit as people who use their bodies to make their living.

Another fact is that most of your super fit friends train more than they should. As your human lab rat I’ll be the first to plead guilty. I’m quite sure I spent most of my prime athletic years in an somewhat-overtrained and undiagnosed state. I now workout far less than I once did and, yet, since I’m smarter, my fitness stays high enough that I can get into competition shape for many different sports with a only few weeks of sports specific training. While I can say that wish I knew this years ago, I’m happy just to be able to pass on the knowledge so that you don’t have to make the same mistakes I did.

Look for a follow-up post, with examples and more in-depth analysis, later this week…


  • While HIT and SIT are good for overall fitness with reasonable time commitments, do you find them to be adequate for endurance fitness, e.g. marathons, iron man…My understanding has been that physiological changes needed for endurance, e.g. mitochondria, capillaries, only occur after > 1 hour activities repeated over relatively long periods of time (months, years). Have you found SIT and HIT followed by a few weeks of sports specific training to be adequate for your endurance performance?

  • For the most part yes but I do a lot of aerobic base work in my everyday life, muli-tasking things like dogs walks, chores, shopping, into actual zone 1 workouts. This does take a little strategy. As far as real training goes, there is a major trend among endurance athletes toward way less "miles" and far more intensity. Brad Wiggins is somewhat perfecting this model. Endurance improvements come very quickly–hence my 3 week model–provided you don't completely lose your aerobic efficiency, which is very easy to keep if you pay attention. For example, last year I did 3 12-hour-plus events over a 1-month window and survived them very well with only a handful on long workouts over the course of an entire year. I think I wrote my reflections on this somewhere but don't have time to look. Anyway, the answer is yes but, of course, there are further considerations.

  • I found it and re-read it and think I'll post a follow up to it tomorrow. It's got some stuff you'll want to read.

  • great blog post Steve! Hope all is well!

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