If you’ve renewed your commitment to getting fit now that January has arrived, you may be wondering how much time that goal will require.
For your workouts to produce real results, exercise has to be a regular habit, Chris Jordan, the exercise physiologist who came up with the 7-minute workout, told Business Insider.
Jordan’s viral routine, officially called the “Johnson & Johnson Official 7 Minute Workout” is based on a popular form of fitness called interval training. It’s designed to give you the benefits of a sweaty bike ride or longer cardio workout in just a few minutes — but you have to commit to doing it regularly.
That means working out 3-5 times per week, at the minimum, Jordan said.
His insight is bolstered by a new study published in January in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation that found that the best results for heart health were gleaned when participants worked out 4-5 times per week.
For that study, researchers split 53 adults into two groups, one of which did two years of supervised exercise four to five days per week while the other simply did yoga and balance exercises. At the end of the study, the higher-intensity exercisers saw significant improvements in their heart’s performance.
“We found what we believe to be the optimal dose of the right kind of exercise,” Benjamin Levine, the author of the study and a professor of internal medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern, said in a statement.
That advice holds steady whether you’re looking for physical results like leaner limbs and toned muscles or psychological ones like improved mood and higher energy levels. Both Jordan and Levine recommend interspersing cardio — running on a treadmill, riding a bike, or doing high-intensity interval training —with resistance training like planks, squats, or leg raises.
Here’s an example five-day training plan you can try that Jordan shared with us:
Monday: Cycling and upper body resistance training, like arm raises
Tuesday: Yoga and lower body resistance training, like squats
Wednesday: Running and upper body resistance training, like bench presses
Friday: Boxing and lower body resistance training, like leg raises
Whichever workout you try, however, the most important thing is to keep doing it.
“To achieve results,” Jordan said, “consistency is key.”