The 12-Minute Workout Science Says You’ll Actually Enjoy 



If you’re anything like me, you have an entire compartment in your brain that’s sole purpose is to store excuses for skipping your workout: The Titanic is only on Netflix for one more night or it’s $1 taco night at Loco Pez or you “forgot” to bring your yoga mat to work. Hey, I never said they were good excuses. But what if you didn’t want to skip your workout? According to The New York Times, scientists in Denmark have created a new workout that people actually enjoy doing. And here’s the best part: It only takes 12 minutes to complete. Yes, a measly twelve minutes.

The workout, called 10-20-30 training, is a high-intensity interval workout — but it’s not your typical minutes-of-going-all-out HIIT workout. Instead, you only go full-speed for 10 seconds at a time. Here’s the gist: You run, ride your bike, or row on a rowing machine for 30 seconds at a gentle pace, then you up your pace to a moderate intensity for 20 seconds, then go all out for 10 seconds. You repeat that five times, take a walking rest for two minutes, then repeat five more times, and BAM: 12 minutes later, your workout is over. Cool-down not included, obviously. (Start with doing the workout twice a week, and don’t do it on two consecutive days, the creators suggest.)

So, how do we know people like the workout? Well, the researcher who created the workout, Jens Bangsbo, a professor of physiology at the University of Copenhagen, performed a study to see how folks feel about it. He got 132 middle-aged recreational runners to switch out their normal workout for 10-20-30 training twice a week and found that after eight weeks, all of the runners were still sticking to the training plan — a rarity in studies involving HIIT training plans, which most people abandon quickly. And folks in running clubs reported that 10-20-30 training made their workouts more fun and improved social interactions amongst members. After all, when you’re only running your fastest speed for 10 seconds at a time, slow-pokes only feel slow for so long. The icing on the cake? At the end of eight weeks, runners had shaved an average of 38 seconds off of their 5K times.

So, this week, sacrifice 12 minutes of your life to try 10-20-30 training. Who knows? It could just be the workout to finally lock the door on your workout-excuses compartment for good.

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