I’ll admit, I live in somewhat of a fantasy world. At a gym or fitness center, even the person who is in the worst shape, is still in good shape. See, 10% of the population currently maintains a gym membership. Of that 10%, around 10% goes on a regular basis. Even if I round up, I’m looking at 2% of the population. Seems odd that I want to talk to them about working out more, right? Well I do. (If you’re not regularly exercising, shame on you! Just kidding…but seriously. If you can give me one good reason why… Exactly, you can’t! Get to it!)
We commonly hear the question, “How many times a week do you workout?” Answers vary, and most guys my age will say that they lift every freakin’ day, bro, while the girls will run and do yoga, because weights are only for men. Most people usually end up exercising between 3 and 5 times a week, hopefully with a combination of different approaches. Let me up the ante a little bit, and ask you a new question:
How many times a day do you workout?
It’s an interesting question, because people generally assume that a few weekly sessions of exercise are all that it takes to look good and be healthy. I don’t exactly agree with that. Despite our high-tech world, we’re not meant to be sitting at a desk from 9-5, we’re supposed to be moving around. After millions of years, our species has the rare ability to work at moderate levels for extended periods of time, then work at maximal intensities for short bursts before returning to that sub-maximal workload. In essence, we’re the perfect machine for intervals. I’m sure you’ve heard of interval workouts, right? Think about applying that concept to your entire day.
If you think an example is coming, you’re correct! Let’s check out my day: I woke up around 6:30 this morning, and a whole half hour before my alarm went off. I drank my water, then headed on to my deck for my TRX based neural wake up. A few rows, lunges, squats, and various stretching movements later, I was done. It was about 15 minutes of movement, and I doubt my heart rate broke 120bpm. I wasn’t sweating, I was simply moving for the sake of it. Awesome.
We had half an hour for lunch during my 5 hour exercise physiology class today. As soon as we were out, I grabbed chicken and broccoli from the cooler in my car, fired up my iPod, and listened to an iTunesU lecture about neuromuscular activity while walking the indoor track at Adelphi. I ate while I walked, and after a half mile I returned to my car to drop off the food container, then headed back to class. It was around 20 minutes of easy walking during my lunch break, and my heart rate was just around 100bpm. Very low-level, right? (Bonus learning time thanks to iTunesU and my iPod!)
After class, I headed into the fitness center for a workout during which I benched for the first time in weeks. The workout also consisted of rows, chin-ups, push-ups, alternating dumbbell presses, and ValSlide Alligator Walks. At the end of it, I was absolutely smoked. From there, it was off to teach a drum lesson, then to the JCC to train Phil, who may be the only deadlifting grandpa in the facility. As I packed up the Prowler at the end of the session, I got suckered into playing 2-on-2 basketball, and after 30 minutes I was dripping sweat. (I’ll blame our two single-point losses on my khaki shorts…It’s hard to make lay ups in those!)
My day tomorrow will look relatively similar; a neural wake up as soon as I’m out of bed, then a loaded carry/conditioning workout around 12:30pm, and I’ll spend an hour or so playing games and bowling at Dave and Busters with my girlfriend before we see Harry Potter. While my conditioning workout will count as my training session for the day, the morning routine, and the vigorous effort of Skee-Ball and Wack-A-Mole will obviously contribute to my overall activity. After that, I’ll be content to watch the most epic throw down in all of wizarding history. Even though I know exactly what’s going to happen, so much adrenalin will be in my system it’ll count as activity. How awesome is it going to be?!
Now, my mission for you is to think about how you can include these ‘intervals’ into your daily ventures. Maybe this means a quick 15 minute body weight workout when you first wake up instead of that cup of coffee. It could involved riding your bike to work, or walking a few extra blocks to a park during your lunch break, and eat on the move. (It won’t make you nauseous, I promise.) After work, you’ll head to the gym to deadlift, bang out chin-ups, and do anything but curls. Please, no curls. If you have some time before bed, you’ll head out for a relaxing stroll around the neighborhood with your family, or destress with some Yoga. If you think it’s a lot, here’s how to start:
Did you schedule that training session? I mean, put it on your calendar, pack your clothes, plan to meat a friend; there’s no way you’re missing it. If that’s a given that you know you’ll take care of, then set your alarm clock 15 minutes early, and go to bed earlier as well. After you wake up, string together a circuit of some mobility drills and body weight exercises that help you to open up your chest, loosen up those hips, and start your day with some natural energy. It’s free and it’s good for you; why aren’t you doing it.
If you’re training on a regular basis, and you’ve implemented a neural wake-up, where else can you include activity. Can you walk during your lunch break? Maybe ride to work instead of driving? Isn’t walking the dog as good for you as it is for your pooch? The ideas are endless; you just need to find a way to move.
Apply this concept of intervals to your daily schedule; you can fit more of them into your schedule than you think. An open mind and positive attitude will allow you to do more than you think! Give it a try, and let me know how you feel. This doesn’t mean for a week or two before you decide it’s not for you. I have a hunch that after a month, you’ll never want to break these new habits. You’ll have more energy than you had, you’ll be leaner, have more muscle mass, and you’ll be convincing your family and friends to try the same thing.
Trust me, it works.