The Minute Rule

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5 minutes to fat loss


What I’m outlining in this article is not a new program. It’s not a cure all program. It’s not a replacement for the world renowned Tabata method. It’s simply another protocol that can be used in conjunction with a well designed program.

The ‘Minute Rule’ was learnt from Andre Benoit. Andre is not only a strength coach with a history of results he is also a former Olympian competing at the 1988 and 1992 Games in the doubles luge. Andre may well have learnt this protocol from someone else but until I’m told otherwise he gets the credit!

The protocol

15 seconds maximum effort, 45 seconds rest/active recovery

30 seconds maximum effort, 30 seconds rest/active recovery

45 seconds maximum effort, 15 seconds rest/active recovery

30 seconds maximum effort, 30 seconds rest/active recovery

15 seconds maximum effort, 45 seconds rest/active recovery

As you can see this is a 5 minute protocol. Sometimes, however, you’ll get a complete beginner and there is no problem with increasing the work load gradually. Remember you want to produce enough growth hormone so you feel queasy. Puking, although funny for everyone watching, is not a desired result. We have, with beginners, started with just the first 2 phases and built up each

On the other hand, you may well get someone with incredible recovery, or an athlete that needs specific work to rest ratios. In this instance you can increase or adapt the workload. For instance you could do one round of the above, then take 60 seconds rest and complete twice more for an MMA fighter, giving 3 rounds of 5 minutes.


It says maximum effort. It doesn’t say hold a little back so you’ll be able to finish it with ease. You need to go all out from when your rest/active recovery is over. Yes this will mean during the 3rd phase, when 45 seconds is required, you will hit a wall. As long as you’re giving maximum effort then you’re fine. Try and smash through that wall. For this reason you may need an evil bastard screaming at you and monitoring the timing as you’ll probably want to stop and cry or get an extra 5 seconds of rest here and there. You get out what you put in. A piss poor effort will get you piss poor results. If you feel like death at the end then you’ve done it correctly.


I love utilising the prowler for this protocol. You’re guaranteed to end up with prowler flu at the end of 5 minutes. We understand though that not everyone has an indoor Astroturf and prowler in their gym. I’m not a fan of traditional ‘CV’ equipment but this protocol is ideal for cyclical movements. The treadmill though is not ideal. You can’t adjust the speeds quickly enough to go from active recovery to all out sprint and jumping on and off the treadmill in a fatigued state is not a good idea. You can use a rowing machine or a stationary bike if you haven’t got access to a prowler.

Other exercises we’ve used that work well include:
DB Walking Lunges & DB Cyclist Squats: for active recovery drop the DB’s and use just bodyweight.

Note: This is not for isolation movements. It’s also relatively useless for upper body work especially overhead pressing. Extreme fatigue with implements overhead offers more danger than benefits.

Why is this protocol so good?
Fat loss

This protocol is effective for burning body fat for these reasons:

– Your metabolism be raised for up to 72 hours after completion due to EPOC

– You will improve insulin sensitivity by up to 23% (compared to 6% with steady state aerobic work)

– Growth hormone will increase due to the lactic acid production

Anaerobic & aerobic capacity

You will improve both anaerobic and aerobic fitness simultaneously.

Mental toughness

Being able to train yourself to exhaustion is a commendable quality and one I admire. If you need to improve mental toughness then this sadistic protocol is definitely worth a try.

Limited time/Finisher/Punishment

The ‘Minute Rule’ is great if you’ve got 5 minutes at the end of your normal session as a finisher but also works well if you only have a limited amount of time to train. It’s also fantastic for cheeky clients, clients that are late and clients who generally break rules.

Bang for your buck

So this protocol takes 5 minutes to complete and is more effective than steady state aerobic work. That’s definitely the most bang for your buck!

Here’s a link to see how it should be done. Click Here (Note: This is Owen’s 2nd round of 5 minutes, 60 seconds after his first round.

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