PJ's Fitness Blog

A blog about a fitter you. Come find out what is on the cutting edge of fitness science and be a part of the ongoing conversation.

How to “HIT” Father Time Where it Hurts

FTWanna punch this guy in the face? I can show you how – and how to get away with it.

If anyone did a simple Google search, they would find numerous studies over the last 20 years showing that exercise adds years to your life, so this is well established and now accepted as fact, but a recent study showed that a certain type of exercise gives Father Time a special beat down. It’s called High Intensity Training (HIT), and while we are on the subject of time, it will save you a ton of it while giving you more of it.

HIT requires only a fraction of the time traditional training requires. A strength workout at the X Gym for instance, takes only 21 minutes, twice a week to attain strength, cardio and endurance benefits. To get comparable benefits with a traditional trainer, you would have to burn over 8 hours per week.

It seems recent mainstream research helps back up this bold claim. Scientists who looked at cyclists in Denmark found that men who rode with high intensity lived 5.3 years longer, and those with average intensity lived 2.9 years longer, than men who rode with low intensity. Among female cyclists, the high intensity riders lived 3.9 years longer, and those with average intensity lived 2.2 years longer, compared to the low intensity riders.

Men extended their lifespan over 5 years by doing HIT and women almost 4 years. Let’s have a little math fun with this. I’ll use the more conservative women’s results for the sake of comparison, and for simplicity sake I’ll round up to 4 years of added lifespan.

Now if you compare the time saved by doing HIT X Gym style (42 min./wk.) to traditional training (8 hours/wk.), you come up with 36 hours required per year for X Gym style, compared to 416 hours per year for traditional training. That’s 1.5 days per year spent in the X Gym compared to 17 days per year spent in the traditional gyms for the same fitness results. Bottom line: you are spending 15.5 more days every year exercising with traditional training than with X Gym. This is time you will never get back.

Here’s another perspective. Let’s say if you stuck with an regular exercise program for 20 years, you would gain the 4 extra years of lifespan the study suggests. By that time, you have spent about 8,300 hours working out, which is about a year. Now you have to subtract that year from those 4 extra years you gained from working out, because that’s the cost of the investment.

In 20 years of X Gym style training on the other hand, you’ve spent only 720 hours of those 4 years. That’s 30 days – or merely one month invested instead of one year spent.

This is assuming however, that your lifespan increase would be the same between the two training styles, but this study seems to indicate that with traditional training, you only get half the lifespan increase than you get with HIT. This means you don’t really gain 4 years for that year of time you spent. It’s probably more like 2.5 years, like the low intensity group showed. Is it worth it to spend a year to get 2.5 back? Probably. I’d take that return if it was my only choice. But how about getting 4 years back from investing only one month? I’d rather take that return any day! How about you?

Click the link in the first paragraph to see the study for yourself, and then try the X Gym to experience this fountain of youth for yourself!

*Special thanks to David Hanley, who brought this study to my attention (see his cool Evernote link to the study here). I typically spend two hours or more each day finding new research studies to experiment with, write about, and/or use to improve the X Gym program, but some of my best golden nuggets are found by members of the X Gym, friends like David, and family, so I am very grateful to all of you for sending me stuff like this, even if you think I might have already seen it! 



One Response to “How to “HIT” Father Time Where it Hurts”

  1. David Hanley says:

    Thanks the the kudos and analysis, PJ! I love your perspective on this, what a great tribute to economics of exercise!

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