The Seven-Minute Miracle

7-minute advice

Dorothy Parker famously said, “I hate writing. I love having written.” I feel similarly about going to the gym, so I was

immediately intrigued by the 7-Minute Workout, a new app that guides you through a full-body workout in only (you guessed it) seven minutes.

It’s no surprise that a culture obsessed with “life hacks” intended to add efficiency to all areas of our lives (except, apparently, our aimless meandering on Facebook or at the Golden Corral buffet) would be responsible for the 7-Minute Workout.

Recently, I downloaded the app. A robotic voice commanded, “Start! Jumping Jacks!” I furiously flapped my arms and legs as the timer ticked down from 30. After a 10-second rest, the voice announced, “Wall sits! Ready? Start!” On and on it went, crunches to squats to planks to lunges, for seven miserable minutes.

I hated the 7-Minute Workout, but I loved having done the 7-Minute Workout.

The theory is simple: the right exercises at maximum intensity for short bursts yield better results than long, unfocused workouts. Since the effectiveness of the 7-Minute Workout is backed by scientific research, I’ve been wondering if the same principles could be applied to other areas of self-improvement:

The 7-Minute Therapy App: A robotic voice commands, “Talk about a recent nightmare! Ready? Start!” The timer ticks down from 30 as you speedily recount that naked-at-work dream you’ve been trying to forget. After a 10-second rest, the voice demands, “Describe your most humiliating childhood moment! Ready? Start!”

The 7-Minute Marriage Counseling App: The voice instructs, “Argue tearfully about whether to have another child! Ready? Start!” Next could be 30 awkward seconds to reveal what’s missing in the bedroom, followed by 30 seconds of seething resentment, then 30 seconds of questioning why the hell you let your partner talk you into downloading this stupid app since it’s clearly taking your partner’s side.

The 7-Minute Bond with Your Child App: 30 seconds of speeding through a favorite book could be followed by 30 seconds of catch in the backyard, then 30 seconds of talking about how grandma’s in heaven now, and 30 seconds of fumbling through an explanation of how babies are made. This is the perfect app for parents who travel a lot for business.

The 7-Minute Become More Spiritual App: A soothing digital voice leads you through 30 seconds of hot yoga, followed by 30 seconds of meditation, 30 seconds of posting quotes from the Dalai Lama on Facebook, 30 seconds of staring at a tree with a knowing smile, and concludes with 30 seconds of uttering phrases like “I’m spiritual but not religious” and “Nature is my church.”

The 7-Minute Workout might seem a mere fad, but perhaps it’s the harbinger of what’s to come in all areas of self-actualization. All of our goals and dreams, attainable in only (you guessed it) seven minutes.

Dylan Patterson is a writer and filmmaker who teaches English at Cape Fear Community College.


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