What I learned from 365 days of doing the 7 minute workout

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On October 2nd 2013, I downloaded an app on my iPhone called ‘Seven‘. It was a free app that guides you to doing a workout that lasts approximately seven minutes, which includes exercises such as push-ups, sit-ups, squats, and lunges, amongst others, without the use of any equipment, except a wall and a chair.

The exercises make you use most of your core muscles of your entire body within just a few minutes. The aim is to do the workout at least once per day, every day.


If you miss a day, you lose a ‘life’ (represented by a heart in this app) and you only get three of them per calendar month. The point in this is to keep a high level consistency by doing it almost every day throughout the month.

Apps like these were featured in The New York Times and have since become a dime a dozen from their popularity. It started out as a fad, but it became something I took quite seriously after a few weeks.

If you ask me why I started doing this, I wouldn’t really be able to go give you a good answer. I suppose it was because, like most apps, I just wanted to give it a go. But, if you asked me why I kept it up for 365 days, I can give you a much better answer.

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It’s only seven minutes a day. Seven minutes. It’s not much if you really think about it. It’s probably the amount of time you take to scroll through Facebook, wait in line at the supermarket, or make a cup of tea.

There are 1,440 minutes in a day. Seven of those make up less than half of one per cent of it.

The argument is that if you can’t even find that much time to do a short workout, and keep your body in shape, then you’ve got your priorities mixed up.

When I first started, I didn’t think I could keep it up for a month, let alone for a year. However, I’ve always believed that my body and health is one of the most important things to me because without it I wouldn’t be able to do anything else.

So, it was that thought that kept me going. What else could be so important that I couldn’t give <0.5% of my day to keeping fit?

I had no excuses.

365+ days

365+ days

In the year that I’ve started this workout, I’ve moved several times across the world. I started it in Kochi, Japan, where I lived at my other half’s house, then moved to my own apartment in Tokyo for a few months, then back to Kochi, then back to my parent’s house in Kent in England, then I stayed in my brother’s dorm in Leeds, then moved to my own place in Manchester. In between, I’ve stayed in quite a few different hotels and hostels as well.

I can proudly say, even after all of this moving around, I never missed a single workout.

After about a month, it became a staple part of my day. I simply couldn’t not do it. It was the only part of my day that was consistent during this tumultuous year with all of the moving around I did.

I usually did it in the morning, straight after waking up and splashing my face with water. It woke my body up and prepared me mentally for the day. I would either do it mindfully in silence, or play loud music and get myself pumped up for whatever I had to get done that day.

On the days I didn’t have time to do it in the morning, or when I had flights etc. that messed up my schedule, I would find another time to do it during the day, but I could feel the difference having missed it in the morning. I would be much more sluggish, and achy in some places.

I wish I could include some sort of dramatic ‘before and after’ photos of myself a year ago compared to now, but I don’t have any. I’ve never really had a problem with my weight, and the truth is, I’m sorry to say, this is not a weight loss app. Seven minutes is still only seven minutes, not a magic formula to lose weight. It has never advertised itself as such, so don’t be disappointed if you try it out for that reason.

What it is for is to ensure that for most days, you’ve done at least one thing good for your health. Even if you didn’t find time to go to the gym that day, or you ate an extra piece of chocolate, at least you can go to bed that day knowing that you did one thing good for you.

It’s been a long journey. There were days when I could barely pull myself together to do it, and there were days when I was ready to go by 6am. It hasn’t been easy, but I don’t plan to stop anytime soon.

Why don’t you try giving it a go?

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  • This sounds like a great way to squeeze a little fitness into the day. I’m going to take a look at this app and see if it works for me. Do you feel more fit than you did when you started?

    • Hi Eric,

      Yes, I do! It’s a great way to get your body warmed up for a workout later on as well. I would definitely recommend trying it out!

  • Nice recomendation, I´m trying to create an habit of exercise, until now I only do push-ups daily. I will try this app, it can be useful to diversify my small exercise routine.

  • 陈御颐

    Your words inspire me to stick to it. Thanks. I will keep going even after I graduate from high school in 2 months.

  • MS

    Is it possible to do this workout every morning and still do high intensity exercise 2-3 times a week as an addition to this? For instance, doing 7 minute workout every morning and doing ab exercises on monday, butt and leg exercises on wednesday and the back on friday? All of this without sore painful muscles in between? My doctor says you have to rest the muscles when they are achy or else you damage yourself. So i don’t know, can you do all of that without rest? I have exercised 2-3x a week for 2 months now so im somewhat fit, thats why i wanted to take it up a notch.

  • Funways

    It is a cool app! I just started a week ago, to prep for getting back into my normal exercise routines because I was sick for a couple months with a stomach bacteria which wore me down and I completely stopped working out. Long term I don’t know if this helps lose weight or anything, but I am willing to do this daily, especially on my REST days.

  • Bernhard Üllenberg

    Just my 2 cents: I’m doing the workout also over a year. There were times, when I stopped for days, or even some weeks, but then I started over again. My message: Don’t be too hard on yourself, if you miss a workout .. have the courage to start again is great accomplishment too.
    The benefits for me: After the workout I feel fresh and ready for the day. Since I have low blood pressure, I used to be tired and miserable in the morning. That time is gone.

    Also I look a bit more muscular and I can eat some unhealthy stuff and keep my weight 😉

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  • Thanks for sharing! How much weight did you lose during this span of 365 days? I’m trying to lose weight with 7-minute workout and would like to know how effective it is for that.

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