How often you need to exercise to see results, according to the scientist behind the viral 7-minute workout

Darren Weaver
  • Working out regularly is key to achieving results, according to Chris Jordan, the exercise physiologist who came up with the 7-minute workout.
  • Jordan gave us a sample weeklong fitness routine to start with.
  • His recommendations are supported by recent research from the American Heart Association.

If you’ve renewed your commitment to getting fit now that spring has arrived, you may be wondering how much time that goal will require.

For your workouts to produce real results, exercise has to be a regular habit, Chris Jordan, the exercise physiologist who came up with the popular 7-minute workout, told Business Insider.

Jordan’s viral routine, officially called the “Johnson & Johnson Official 7 Minute Workout” is based on a popular form of fitness called interval training. It’s designed to give you the benefits of a sweaty bike ride or longer cardio workout in just a few minutes – but you have to commit to doing it regularly.

That means working out three to five times a week at the minimum, Jordan said.

His insight is bolstered by a recent study published in January in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation that found that the best results for heart health were gleaned when participants worked out four to five times a week.

That isn’t to say that your half-baked attempts at squeezing more fitness into your daily life don’t count – they do. Everything from taking the stairs at work to getting up from your desk every so often has a positive impact on your overall health, according to new research published in March. But if you want benefits that you can see – like more toned muscles or six-pack abs, you’ll need to up your game significantly.

For the January study focused on heart health, researchers split 53 adults into two groups, one of which did two years of supervised exercise four to five days a week, while the other simply did yoga and balance exercises. At the end of the study, the higher-intensity exercisers saw significant improvements in their heart’s performance, while the stretchers and balancers did not.

“We found what we believe to be the optimal dose of the right kind of exercise,” Benjamin Levine, the author of the study and a professor of internal medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern, said in a statement.

And while the researchers were focused on heart health, it’s likely that their advice applies to people who are either looking for physical results like leaner limbs and toned muscles or psychological ones like improved mood and higher energy levels. Both Jordan and Levine recommend interspersing cardio – running on a treadmill, riding a bike, or doing high-intensity interval training – with resistance training like planks, squats, or leg raises.

Here’s an example five-day training plan you can try that Jordan shared with us:

  • Monday: Cycling and upper-body resistance training, like arm raises.
  • Tuesday: Yoga and lower-body resistance training, like squats.
  • Wednesday: Running and upper-body resistance training, like bench presses.
  • Thursday: Rest.
  • Friday: Boxing and lower-body resistance training, like leg raises.

Whichever workout you try, however, the most important thing is to keep doing it. That might mean setting up a regular time every day when you cut out of the office for spin class or simply hitting the track first thing every morning.

“Plan ahead, schedule, the most important thing is to do it on a consistent basis,” Jordan said.

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