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This Is the One-Minute Workout You Should Be Doing

This fast workout stokes your metabolism and helps you start building a leaner, stronger body.

No time to exercise? Sorry—you can't use that excuse anymore.

We have plan that can fit into the busiest of schedules. Yes, even yours. It takes less time (1 minute!) than you should be spending brushing your teeth (2 minutes). But we know it isn't a walk in the park. If you do it right—60 seconds of intense, all-out, aerobic effort—you'll feel it.

This isn't a joke. Our One-Minute Morning Energizer routine is based on high-intensity interval training (HIIT) research done recently by exercise physiologists at McMaster University in Canada.

Dozens of studies have shown that HIIT, or short bursts of fast, rigorous exercise sandwiched in between slow recovery periods, burns more calories and improves fitness better than long, moderate-intensity exercise, like jogging. Typical HIIT workouts take about 25 minutes, but the McMaster researchers wanted to see if exercisers could gain health and fitness benefits from much shorter HIIT sessions, so they put 14 sedentary and overweight men and women on exercise bicycles for an experiment.

The riders started with 2 minutes of easy pedaling to warm up. Then they were asked to pedal as hard and fast as they could for just 20 seconds and then pedal slowly for 2 minutes to catch their breath. They repeated the intense pedaling segments twice more in between 2-minute recovery periods. In all, the workout took just 10 minutes, with only 1 minute being of the highly intense, heart-pounding variety. After six weeks of these super-short workouts done three times a week, the participants significantly improved aerobic endurance, blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and other markers of health and fitness. The experiment demonstrated that high-intensity aerobic exercise sessions—even very brief ones—could put you on the fast track to a fit body. The takeaway? Lack of time should never keep you from getting some exercise.

How to Do The One-Minute Morning Energizer

Workout gear with phone

We adapted the McMaster researchers' test workout into a pre-breakfast ritual called the One-Minute Morning Energizer and made it part of our new diet program and book, The 7-Day Belly Melt Diet. We use one minute of intense aerobic exercise, broken into three 20-second bursts by 60-second "active rest" periods. With warm-up and cool-down, the entire fitness routine takes just 6 minutes. We recommend you do it shortly after getting out of bed as a heart-pumping wakeup call for the day. Here's one way to do it, using bodyweight exercises instead of a stationary bicycle:

• Warm-up (2 minutes) – 60 seconds of slow, marching in place while circling your arms followed by 60 seconds of easy jumping jacks.
• High-intensity exercise (20 seconds) — choose from one of these bodyweight exercises: arms-up squats, mountain climbers, or burpees.
• Recovery (60 seconds) – slow, steady march in place.
• Arms-up squats/ mountain climbers / or burpees (20 seconds).
• Recovery march in place (60 seconds).
• Arms-up squats/ mountain climbers / or burpees (20 seconds).
• Recovery/ cool-down march in place (60 seconds) Done!

3 Heart-Pumpers
• Arms-up squat: Spread your feet shoulder-width apart with toes pointed slightly outward. Raise both arms above your head. Keeping arms raised, bend your knees and push your butt back as if sitting in a chair. Lower your body until your thighs are parallel with the floor. Pause a second and quickly straighten your legs to stand. Repeat immediately and quickly for 20 seconds.
• Mountain climber: Get into the "up" pushup position with your hands directly under your shoulders and arms straight. Now, rapidly bend and straighten each leg one at a time in alternating fashion. It's like running in place with your hands on the ground. Try bringing your knees to your chest with each pump of your legs. Do these as fast as possible for a full 20 seconds.
• Burpees: This advanced exercise is similar to the squat thrusts you performed in high school gym class, and it's a great way to crank up the intensity. Stand with feet hip-width apart. Bend at the knees and waist to place your hands shoulder-width apart on the floor in front of you. Quickly jump your feet back so you end up in a plank position. (Optional step: Do a pushup at this point.) Then jump your feet back under you and straighten your legs to jump back to a standing position. Repeat rapidly for 20 seconds.

You can substitute almost any exercise for the three we've suggested for the 20-second high-intensity bursts, even walking can work as long as you hoof it with enough vigor to quickly elevate your heart rate.

You Cannot Outrun a Poor Diet

Healthy foods

Let's be clear: The One-Minute Morning Energizer is not going to give you washboard abs. Exercise will never whittle your middle as effectively as adopting a whole-food diet that minimizes fast-burning carbs, sugars, and processed foods will. The purpose of the One-Minute Energizer is to get you in the habit of doing some sort of intense exercise every day. You'll love the way it will make you feel in the morning. Then, once you build up some aerobic endurance, you'll want to do more. That's why we've included longer, more challenging exercise routines in The 7-Day Belly Melt Diet—for motivation and fun.

Weight loss, up to 14 pounds in 7 days, on the Belly Melt Diet will come from a strategic plan to melt pounds and inches rapidly. Studies highlighted in the book show that people who lose weight quickly are often more likely to keep it off in the long run. We've put together a four-point program that accelerates weight loss through a diet of foods rich in superstar nutrients called flavonoids. You should:

• Start each morning with a protein-rich breakfast smoothie.
• Build your main meals around whole foods following the diet's F.L.A.V.O.R. Foods Guidelines.
• Make sure each of your meals and snacks contains protein.
• Eliminate all sweetened beverages (except for smoothies); drink up to 16 eight-ounce glasses of water per day.

For more details about the program that'll help you lose up to 2 pounds a day, grab a copy of The 7-Day Belly Melt Diet!

Eat This, Not That!
Inspired by The New York Times best-selling book series, Eat This, Not That! is a brand that's comprised of an award-winning team of journalists and board-certified experts, doctors, nutritionists, chefs, personal trainers, and dietitians who work together to bring you accurate, timely, informative, and actionable content on food, nutrition, dieting, weight loss, health, wellness, and more. Read more about Eat This