Recently I was browsing through the trending videos on YouTube, and I came across a video titled “The 4-minute workout that can replace 1 hour in the gym”. Assuming that this was just a link bait title that would go on to explain that actually 4 minutes couldn’t replace 1 hour in the gym, I decided to watch it out of curiosity.

You can see my video response here:

The video states that their routine is a 4 minute workout to replace 1 hour in the gym, and that long exhausting workouts don’t suit everyone, so interval training can be very effective.

That is true, but personally I would classify 4 minutes of intervals as warm-up and not replace an hour in the gym.The workout consists of five exercises that will take just 5 minutes:

  • 60 second squats
  • 30 seconds push ups
  • 30 seconds of mountain climbers
  • 60 seconds lunges
  • 45 seconds of jumping jacks

Now just to provide some context to this, if you consider a high intensity sport like squash, that burns around 800 calories per hour which is 13 calories per minute. If we assume that this workout burns between 10 and 15 calories per minute, that means this workout will burn between 40 and 60 calories.

That’s like half to 3 quarters of an apple or 4 to 6 cashew nuts!

So this video made me unhappy because it just sets unrealistic expectations. Additionally I agree with some of the points, which is that:

  • You don’t need to spend an hour in the gym
  • Short intense workouts are better
  • Interval training is good
  • Body weight training can be very effective and doesn’t require a gym

Now this workout would be fine if you did 5 sets of it. This strictly speaking would take you 20 minutes, and should burn between 200 and 300 calories which is far better.