90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
The Science And Sweat Of High-Intensity Workouts

Rock-hard bodies in a fraction of the time. We’ll look at the 7-minute workout and the promises of high-intensity exercise.

In this 2011 photo, U.S. Navy sailors participate in  intense 10-minute workout intervals. (Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Michael K. McNabb/U.S. Navy)

In this 2011 photo, U.S. Navy sailors participate in intense 10-minute workout intervals, testing fitness until only one participant remained. (Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Michael K. McNabb/U.S. Navy)

The roar in exercise for a while now has not been about “going the distance” or “slow and steady” or “a nice, long walk.”

The roar is about hard, fast, intense workouts.  Really intense.  The 7-minute workout.  Crossfit.  P90X.  Insanity. Super-charged bursts of exertion, high intensity interval training, that will bust out the sweat and — if you believe the TV ads — the hubba-hubba beach bod in a hurry.

So does it work?  How’s it work?  Who’s it work for?

Up next On Point: The 7-minute workout and its go-crazy cousins.  The high-intensity path to fitness.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Chris Jordan, director of exercise physiology at the Human Performance Institute in Orlando, Fla. and co-developer of the 7-minute workout.

Jessica Matthews, exercise physiologist for the American Council on Exercise, professor of Kinesiology, Health and Nutrition at MiraCosta College, fitness writer for Weight Watchers and SHAPE magazine. She is also a yoga teacher, group fitness instructor and personal trainer. (@FitExpertJess)

Justin Lin, physical therapist and athletic trainer who wrote about avoiding injury during high-intensity workouts in “Don’t Be Fooled By Crossfit, Insanity Or P90X.”

Show Highlights

For transcripts of individual show highlights, read this hour’s complementary blog post.

From Tom’s Reading List

The New York Times: The Scientific 7-Minute Workout — “Exercise science is a fine and intellectually fascinating thing. But sometimes you just want someone to lay out guidelines for how to put the newest fitness research into practice. An article in the May-June issue of the American College of Sports Medicine’s Health & Fitness Journal does just that. In 12 exercises deploying only body weight, a chair and a wall, it fulfills the latest mandates for high-intensity effort, which essentially combines a long run and a visit to the weight room into about seven minutes of steady discomfort — all of it based on science.”

The Atlantic: Insanity: The Rise of the Supercharged Home Workout — “Insanity is the brainchild of Carl Daikeler and Jon Congdon, co-founders of BeachBody LLC, an outfit that, despite its hammy name, had in the 15 years since its establishment seen meteoric success. Their first breakthrough came in 2003 with the launch of P90x, a ninety-day fitness program developed with workout guru Tony Horton. It combined resistance training and muscle confusion exercises and sold a million copies in its first season. Four years later, they looked to expand their line with an even more intense workout, one that could deliver the same results in just sixty days. It seemed they had a winner in high-intensity home fitness.”

WBUR: Flunking The Insanity Workout But Coming Away Wiser — “Here’s the basic concept: Try harder. To wit: Typical “interval training” involves several minutes of moderate intensity and then a minute or so of high-intensity push — a sprint, if you will. The Insanity workout flips that formula, so that you do longer high-intensity intervals and then have relatively short rests. That approach struck me as meshing well with a wave of recent research findings that shorter, very vigorous workouts can provide surprisingly strong health benefits. And, as I wrote when I embarked on my Insanity, I was inspired by a 58-year-old doctor I deeply respect, who reported that the program was certainly intense but did not have to be truly insane. He ended up with lower body fat and feeling great. So I took the plunge.”

Tweets From During The Show

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Jan 28, 2015
Vice President Joe Biden speaks at Pellissippi State Community College Friday, Jan. 9, 2015, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP)

The promise of free community college. What it might mean for our economy and our fraying social contract.

Jan 28, 2015
tasty

Did our sense of taste make us human? From evolution to culture, a new book explores the science and perception of flavor.

RECENT
SHOWS
Jan 27, 2015
As any ant knows, building a reliable team can be hard. (Flickr / Guildmn20)

From Silicon Valley to your office, some teams work better – and smarter – than others. We’ll look at the surprising reasons why.

 
Jan 27, 2015
Leader of Syriza left-wing party Alexis Tsipras speaks to his supporters outside Athens University Headquarters, Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015. A triumphant Alexis Tsipras told Greeks that his radical left Syriza party's win in Sunday's early general election meant an end to austerity and humiliation and that the country's regular and often fraught debt inspections were a thing of the past. (AP)

A leftist victory in Greece, and anti-austerity pushback across Europe. We’ll ask where this goes.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: January 23, 2015
Friday, Jan 23, 2015

New thoughts on Facebook, new analysis of State of the Union twitter activity and new weekend excitement. New! And exciting!

More »
Comment
 
Meet On Point’s Interns: Spring 2015
Friday, Jan 23, 2015

Good news! We have interns, and they are wonderful, and here they are for the spring term. Meet them digitally, right here.

More »
2 Comments
 
Caller To Author Ron Rash: ‘You Cared About People Like Me’
Thursday, Jan 22, 2015

An unexpected caller from South Carolina brings back guest Ron Rash’s years as a community college professor in a movingly real way.

More »
1 Comment