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Incidental Training could save Your Life!

Incidental Training: Everything Can Be Training

By  on March 11, 2019

I saw an interesting documentary on the BBC a while ago called ‘The Truth About Slim People’, that followed the lives of slim people to see what they did differently from their larger counterparts. These people didn’t eat particularly carefully, or stick to any exercise regime, and yet they never seemed to gain weight.

Meanwhile, some people who count every calorie still don’t seem able to shed the pounds.

While I discussed some possible reasons for this in a previous video, the idea that this program honed in on was that the slim people were simply more active throughout the day. They would walk more, they would bob their leg, and they would take the stairs instead of the elevator.

This concurs with an interesting theory that our body will automatically seek a state of homeostasis and therefore prevent us from losing weight. Ever noticed how your weight doesn’t fluctuate on a week-to-week basis much? That’s probably because your body ramps up and down activity in order to adapt to the amount of calories you consumed that day.

Eat a little more, and you might find that you think harder (that’s right: thinking burns calories), you move a little faster (perhaps there is a spring in your step as you bound up the stairs), you shiver more, and your metabolism ramps up.

Conversely though, on days where you didn’t quite get as much to eat, you might find yourself crashing out early on the couch, lowering your resting metabolic rate (study), and tossing and turning less when you sleep. Your body has reached a state of healthy homeostasis and it requires a pretty big jolt to break this comfortable equilibrium.

Use a fitness tracker and you might be forgiven for thinking that the workout you just did helped you to burn a ton of calories. 180 in an hour is roughly an average for weightlifting for instance. The problem is that we often forget to deduct the calories we would have burned that same hour by just doing nothing. That’s probably around 50. Meanwhile that really you only burned an additional 130 calories – less impressive. That’s like a four finger KitKat.

The point of all this is that when it comes to health and particularly weight loss, the amount of movement you do throughout the day is probably more important than the amount of effort you put in down the gym for an hour.

More Reasons to Move Regularly

And this makes sense too when you consider our evolutionary background. In the wild, we would not have spent 95% of our time inactive, and then attempted to blow all of our energy in a single hour of intense weight lifting! Is it any wonder that this often leads to injury?

Sitting all day is actually immensely destructive for our health and has been linked with all kinds of health problems. According to widely reported research conducted a couple years back, sitting increases your chances of suffering from a wide range of diseases. In the study, Brazilian researchers looked at data from 54 countries and found that across the board, sitting for more than three hours was linked to 3.8% of deaths from all causes. The conclusion? That restricting sitting to less than three hours a day could increase your lifespan by an average of 0.2 years!

Another piece of research looked at information from across 47 previous studies and found that sitting raised the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes and ‘early death’ (cardiovascular disease and cancer will do that…). What’s more, this held true even for those that exercise regularly. In other words, you can’t ‘undo’ a lifetime of sitting by hitting the gym a few times a week. Physical activity helps but only to a small degree (those that are physically active are 30% less likely to die but they don’t get let off the hook!).

Another study conducted by a team from the University of Queensland in Australia had even more morbid findings. They found that on average, each hour of sitting in front of the television would reduce the life expectancy of adults by 22 minutes!

In another study, a team at the University of Queensland in Australia analyzed data on the television- viewing habits of 8,800 Australians. They calculated that each hour of television correlated with 22 minutes off the average life expectancy of an adult older than 25.

Remember that correlation does not mean causality! And I certainly wouldn’t put too much stock in these findings… but still, it’s definitely an interesting point to consider.

There are more reasons to move regularly too. Doing so, for instance, can help to combat anxiety (study), boost executive function (study), and reduce blood pressure and other markers of poor health.

The Solution: Incidental Exercise

So what is the solution?

One answer is ‘incidental exercise’. This refers to the exercise that you do throughout the day and typically encompasses things like ‘taking the stairs instead of the elevator’ or carrying shopping to your car.

If you’re struggling to lose weight, then take a look at your daily routine and ask yourself how much activity is involved. If you drive to work, sit at a desk, then come home and sit on the sofa… then you have room for improvement!

Incidental exercise is really about making healthy choices throughout the day: doing things like getting off the bus a stop early.

You are simply making the conscious decision to move more, thereby overriding your body’s attempt to maintain homeostasis. If you set yourself reminders to move or use tricks like standing desks, then you can reduce the amount of time you spend sat down.

Take a look at your routine and find places where you could easily insert a little more activity without making yourself overly tired or sweaty.

You can even set yourself easy little goals – such as doing ten press-ups every hour, on the hour. You’ll be surprised at how much lighter, more energetic, and less stressed you feel.

The Next Level: Incidental Training

But we can take this a step further with what I like to call ‘incidental training’. I assumed this was already a thing, but looking around I couldn’t find any reference to it.

The idea behind incidental training is simple: you’re going to integrate actual training into your routine – so that you aren’t just doing a single workout a day, but are also distributing shorter ‘micro workouts’ throughout your day.

Examples might include performing single legged calf raises off a curb while waiting for a bus, or performing an isometric curl against some railings. I use calf raises while bouncing my baby to sleep, and I play a game with here where I hold her in the air and perform sit-ups. You might keep a grip trainer by your kettle and use that whenever you’re waiting for the water to boil. Or you might perform some stretches in the shower. You can curl shopping bags and suitcases, or you can do a pistol squat down to the ground the next time you need to pick something up that you’ve dropped.

Another old trick is to leave a piece of equipment somewhere and then use that every time you go past. A lot of people do this with a pull-up bar – performing chin ups or pull ups every time they walk through their doorframe.

Or how about doing a very short 5 minute run around the block before lunch?

Does this work? What about overtraining you ask?

The answers to both these points depend on the type of training and what your goals are.

Studies show that micro workouts involving cardio are sufficient for increasing cardio fitness to some degree and that they actually help to improve adherence. Beyond a basic level of fitness though, you’re likely looking at HIIT sessions, which are still very intense and will leave you sweaty and panting for a good while.

It is possible to encourage growth in your muscles in a short space of time by using intensity techniques like drop sets to flush them with metabolites and cause muscle damage. Target a single muscle group, do a couple of drop sets, and in 10-15 minutes you can get a decent burn going that will equate to growth the next day. But doing this repeatedly throughout the day will take time, leave you sweaty, and potentially prevent recovery.

Lifting a very heavy weight on the other hand for just a couple of repetitions is even more likely to be effective in increasing your mind-muscle connection, your correct movement patterns, etc. Again though, there is some risk of burning out your CNS here, and of introducing injury. And it’s hardly convenient!

So we need to be strategic.

High rep and high weight work can be useful throughout the day as a way to ‘top up’ your training, to make up for shorter or missed workouts, or to feed the muscles with enhanced blood flow, to encourage recovery and growth. You can trigger significant changes in a short space of time, as long as you have been training long enough to know what triggers your body to change.

This is one way I’ve been coping with the lower energy levels and reduced free time that comes from being a parent.

Likewise, by using lighter weights and body weight, you might be able to benefit from what is known as ‘greasing the groove’ – as described by Pavel Tsatsouline. This means that you’re repeating a movement over and over again, so as to improve your ability to perform that movement correctly. This applies in golf where overtime your swing becomes more and more perfect.

But seeing as ‘strength is a skill’, you can see the precise same benefit by performing very light deadlifts if you keep a barbell in your garden. Pull-ups are also a great example, as are things like attempting handstands or planche. Keep some parallettes by your TV and have a go every now and then throughout the evening. You’ll be reinforcing neural connections through a process called myelination, thereby improving the efficiency of the movement, and thereby the strength.

Practising pistol squats

Better yet: why not try using overcoming isometrics to increase neural drive (static contractions where you push or pull against something without moving), or the concentric-only exercises I talked about in my work capacity video. In short: removing the eccentric portion of the movement that often incurs the most muscle damage and inflammation means that training is less likely to impede your subsequent workouts.

That’s why the aforementioned example of squeezing a grip trainer while the kettle boils is perfect.

Look for ways to insert incidental training into your routine to complement your current program, and you could see significant strength, size, and endurance gains.

Training Other Things

The other thing to remember is that weightlifting is not the only kind of training. I talked about a training program for the mind the other day, and discussed ideas such as performing mental arithmetic to boost working memory. You can easily do this while doing other mundane tasks.

Or how about engaging in a little ‘mindful ironing’ – meaning you focus 100% on the ironing to turn it into a form of meditation!

Flexibility is something that can be practiced anywhere, any time. Again, stretching in the shower is ideal, as is stretching before bed to improve sleep.

Or what about throwing a few punches next time you’re watching TV?

Why walk somewhere when you can jog? Or jog backwards and develop your legs and coordination in a whole new way? Who cares what people think.

Why stand when you can stand on one leg and improve your balance?

Why write when you can write left-handed?

Why go through the gate when you can jump over it?

EVERYTHING can be training.

Closing Thoughts

Whether your aim is to get the blood pumping and improve your health with a little more light activity throughout the day, to squeeze training in around an intensely busy schedule, or to improve a specific skill; incidental training is an excellent option. For me, this was the only way to add flexibility training into a hugely packed regime! Let me know in the comments down below how you turn everyday activities into convenient workouts.

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About the article writer Adam Sinicki

Hi there! My name is Adam Sinicki, I’m an entrepreneur, psychology graduate and amateur bodybuilder interested in fitness, self-improvement, technology, and transhumanism. I run an online business (NQR Productions) which allows me to live the lifestyle I want: getting time to hit the gym and to work on my projects and apps. Stick around and I’ll be sharing my experiments and adventures in brain training, bodybuilding, productivity, business, and technology.

When Less is More ~

 

 

Body weight exercise is So easy to do anywhere ~ Trust Me

Body weight exercise is So easy to do anywhere ~ Trust Me

Hi folks,

Hope all of you enjoyed a wonderful Happy Thanksgiving while giving Thanks to those special people in your life.

Between traveling for work and visiting family for the big Thanksgiving Turkey day been bus..but a Good Busy 😉
Whenever life gets busy it reminds me of the lesson of …Less is More ~

Focus on Exercise for Health. Exercise shouldn’t ever be something used to counter bad eating habits or because you feel as if you should do it – to put is simply only exercise when you are itching to move and then do exercise you enjoy. For most people who is some kind of sport or general play activity (frisbee, walks, group exercise classes)

Dont Worry About Strength – Many factors apply to strength: limb length, gender and body type…

We’re a combination of levers; that’s how we move,” Vanderburgh said. “Generally speaking, the longer the limb, the more of a disadvantage in being able to do a pull-up. I look at a volleyball player and wouldn’t expect her to be able to do a pull-up, but I know she’s fit.” – Link

Strength is not a good indicator of general health and wellness. Yes resistance training is important but how much you lift is not – simply doing some form of weight training is important for bone density and a strong body that functions well, for men and women.

Use it or Lose it – When it comes to general health and wellness there is a definite correlation between those who move and health. Whereas there is no direct correlation between avid exercisers (gym rats, serious runners etc) and health/wellbeing.
Take advantage of your body. Walk and spend time on your feet – simply standing for prolonged periods forces our postural muscles to kick in and work, it also turns off fat storage triggers and makes you more likely to stay lean. For instance standing while on the phone, the bus or walking to get your shopping are all ways to sneak in time on your feet without thinking about it. There is no harm in sitting but it shouldn’t be your default position for the day as it causes bad posture and weakened muscles, especially the hip flexors and lower back.

This goes for those who also exercise. It is not what you do for 1hr a day that counts it’s what you do for the other 12 hours you are awake. Make sure to take regular strolls if you work in a seated environment, also stretch at some point during the day (ideally before bed to release and relax muscles)

So How Should You Exercise? The two rules for this are to exercise when you have energy and actually feel like getting up and doing something. In other words no going for a run when your body is telling you to lie down and nap.

And number two is to exercise in a way that you enjoy, find something that gets you excited and wanting to move whether it be playing a sport or going for a long walk or a run. The last rule is to integrate some resistance whether it be pushups/pull-ups or circuit training in the gym (or like myself, find a nearby park or outdoor place with fresh air and sunshine to enjoy some exercise) – this is especially important for women as the lack of testosterone and tendency to decreased bone density with age makes this extra important.

  • Spend time on your Feet
  • Stretch
  • Resistance Training (remember the word  “resistance” is anything that gives your muscles a challenge..be it weights, your body weight, or even objects around the house can be used!)

Those are the three important parts of being fit and exercising well. This is not a post to slander exercise and its effects but simply to make you aware that it is more important to move – keeping your body active by moving. If you can stay lean and healthy without overdoing the exercise you are doing well – the last thing we want is a body which needs ‘exercise‘ in order to stay lean or for you to feel healthy. Never let it become a crux but rather something you enjoy and look forward to.

Live Boundrylessly by doing more with less !!  🙂

You really can exercise Anywhere !

You really can exercise Anywhere !

 

 

Live Boundrylessly letting your Weakness BE your Strength !!

~ Strength through Yielding ~

~ Strength through Yielding ~


Hi Folks,

Want to share an inspiring story with you.

There are times when we wonder how to overcome our weakness.
Perhaps you should be thinking ~ How to USE my weakness AS a Strength !!

A young boy who was born without a left arm was sent to Judo lessons by his mother in a bid to help with his confidence. So he began taking lessons with an old Japanese master.
Ever practice session the master taught the boy one throw. Just one technique over and over again.

Every so often the young boy would see the other students learning different techniques and ask the master why he wasn’t learning anything else.
The master always replied – “Just focus on this one throw. Keep practicing”

Several months later, it was the state Judo championships and the old master entered the young boy.

The young boy was terrified.

The first match began and the young boy grabbed his opponent and to the shock of all the spectators – easily flipped him to the ground. Instant win!

The second round was a little harder but the one-armed boy again pulled off the technique – the only technique he knew, and won.

The third and fourth round amazingly went the same way and the young boy found himself in the tournament final facing a much bigger, stronger and tougher opponent, who had won the tournament for three straight years.

The young boy was overmatched it seemed. Te referee and the organizers of the tournament spoke to the master and asked him if he wanted to withdraw his student..

“No” said the master. “We will fight”.

As the final match began the entire crowd were on the edge of their seat. The opponent stepped and grabbed the young one-armed boy and pulled him towards him. For a second it looked as if it was all over…

But then the one armed boy reached with his right hand, stepped in and BOOM – he threw his opponent flat on his back, to win the match!

The crowd went nuts – the one-armed boy was the state Judo Champion!

On the drive home, the young boy asked his teacher – “Was this a set-up? Did they just let me win because I only have one arm? I only know one technique – these guys know hundreds!”

The teacher replied “No – you won fair and square. But there are two reasons. You won because you mastered one of the most devastating techniques in Judo. And the only known way to defend against that throw is to grab the left arm!”

What appeared to be an incredible weakness – was in fact his greatest strength.

Live Boundrylessly by letting your Weakness BE Your Strength !!!