Don’t delude yourself into thinking that seven minutes will get you ripped. It won’t. Ngo Okafor — whose bio boasts: “two-time Golden Glove-winning boxer, the most downloaded black male model of all time, a successful film and television actor, and the go-to personal trainer for some of the fashion and entertainment industries’ biggest stars” — didn’t get ripped working out for 7 minutes. But as he stood before a collection of pasty, not-ripped journalists, a thin film of sweat over his sharply defined frame, he did burn 84 calories in 7 minutes. “That’s 12 calories per minute,” he clarified. “Not many workouts can do that.”
Some workouts can, but most linger around 6-8 calories per minute. The high-intensity, low-rest workout pushes beyond most human wills, and in the digestible moment of a number we associate with perfection — “7” — it proposes that the remarkable can be accomplished in an unremarkable time. 12 bodyweight exercises for 30 seconds each, with 10 seconds of rest in between; Okafor broke a sweat, but only barely.
Wahoo, a fitness tech company based in Atlanta, is capitalizing on the 7-minute workout with the first wearable device to sync to an Apple TV app. Their heart-rate monitor, which also works to count reps, can connect directly to your Apple TV device, displaying both the sequenced workout (one is free and two cost $0.99 each, or you can “Go Pro” for $1.99 and design your own) and counting your heart rate and current reps. A Siri-sounding woman gives you audio countdowns and small bits of encouragement (“finish strong”). If your form falters, the screen shakes.
It’s a simple formula, but simple is the name of the game. 7 minutes is low-aspiration, on the grand scheme of fitness. But, placed at the end of a run, repeated a few times through, or used as an interim exercise in an otherwise immobile day (lunch break, anyone?), those 7 minutes can add up. One may not achieve Okafor-like triceps and pectorals, but it may counteract the general sedentary life of America. “Do that three times,” a guy noted in the back, “and you just burned off a Snickers.”
The Wahoo 7 Minute Workout is a free to download from the App Store on the new Apple TV or for iPhone and Android. Connected with the TickrX ($99), it provides heartrate and rep counts.