Whoever said that a workout has to be an hour? Or a run must be 10km to be worthwhile? As if a minute or a mile less would render it all waste of time. We have all been there. Had a workout cut short or a ride halted by one too many punctures. It can leave us feeling that our efforts were worthless, but I want to assure you that every rep and every step counts. Snacking just became good for you! Amongst all the strength and conditioning research from sport science to bro-science, there are a million “rules” about fitness, but the most powerful rule I have learned about fitness is there are no rules.
Don’t Be Distracted By The “Facts”
There are so many “facts” about fitness that if you tried to abide by all of them you would be paralysed by them. One in particular is the notion that you need to lift to failure or achieve a certain level of exhaustion to bring about improvement. This has a lot of value, but does it mean that if I stop one lift before exhaustion that the whole session was a waste of time? Absolutely not. In actual fact, you can achieve impressive levels of fitness without lifting to failure or running yourself into the ground day after day.
Some Of The Fittest People Never Workout
Have you ever met a farmer? The kind of person that hikes through field and fell, throws hay bales weighing 15-20kg overhead, wrestles livestock and chases chickens. The daily grind of turning over sheep, dry stone walling and wading through winter mud. Year round through burning sun or driving hail, it is as far removed as you can get from an air conditioned gym. What I’m saying is, these kinds of people are able to lift heavy things and cover many miles. They possess agility to cover rough terrain and catch wily livestock, all without training schedules or strict programmes. The job makes them physically fit in every aspect of fitness, defying the typical workout rules. Their daily “workout” is broken up throughout the day, mixing all kinds and all intensities of effort, resulting in incredible fitness.
It’s Snack Time
You can break up your workout into snack sized pieces throughout the day. Pick one exercise and do five or ten repetitions every time you enter the room. Better still, assign each room a different exercise and do a handful each time you enter or leave. See how many squats you can do whilst the washing up bowl is filling up. Can you hold a plank for the duration of an ad break? How many press ups can you do in the time it takes for the kettle to boil? I simply have my kettle by my desk and each time I need to get up (which is something you should do at least twice an hour) I grab it. I’ll do twelve swings or squats to press, wait ten seconds and do six more (four times). It gets me out of the chair and I can do hundreds of reps in a day.
It Quickly Adds Up
I didn’t used to think my eight minute cycle to work counted as fitness training. So, I recorded every commute ride for a year and worked out the maths. Here’s what a year’s worth of cycle snacks adds up to.
Distance 1600km (1000mi)
Time 53 hours
Every rep and every step adds up to a lot of work over the day, the week and the month. You can see how cycling to work adds up and you can do this with anything. Thirty sit ups a day for one week is 210 extra sit ups. That’s 840 a month and over 10,000 a year. Climb a flight of stairs once an hour at work. Eight or more flights, up and down every day soon adds up to stronger legs, heart and lungs. Like I said, snacking just became good for you!
What will you do to snack yourself fitter?