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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.

F – I – T exercise into your daily Plans

See exercise as your daily ritual

See exercise as your daily ritual

Hi folks,

Today want to mention about making time to exercise.

Like most of us, we have busy lives at home and work.

Here’s some simple ways to do it.

F = Find time. Find means make time, if only a few minutes throughout the day for it.
I = Invest in YOU ! You ARE important. You’re of more value when your body and mind are healthy.
T = Talk. This refers to telling yourself something Positive Daily !!

Here’s some additional tips for you…

First: Begin each day doing just 5 minutes of movement as soon as you wake up.
Who says you have to train for an hour in the gym as soon as you start a new fitness plan? No one with half a brain. In order to create a new healthy habit that you can stick with, begin with a lifestyle change that is so small that you barely notice it. To illustrate, let’s say you have to be at work by 8 a.m., so you usually wake up around 6:30-7:00 a.m. (Note: I’m just using examples to make sure you get the idea, modify this to fit your own schedule). Simply wake up 10 or 15 minutes early and do the following workout*:

15-30 squats

25-50 jumping jacks or run in place for 30 seconds (giving options here, because I notice most people don’t like jumping jacks. You can even dance, do the Twist – MOVE !

10-25 push-ups (with your hands elevated on your wall or kitchen sink if needed)

25-50 jumping jacks or run in place for 30 seconds

5 yoga poses/stretches of your choosing (make sure you take care of your upper *and* lower body)

*Note: I’m listing ranges of repetitions instead of a specific number, because I’m sure a wide range of folks with a variety of experience levels are reading this. If you’re not sure where to start, do this during your first training session: assuming a scale of 1-10 that describes how tired you feel, stop the exercise at #5. Write down how many repetitions you are able to perform and gradually add 2-5 more per workout to make it more difficult. Begin by performing a single set of every exercise listed for as many repetitions as you can safely, which should take about five minutes. When that becomes too easy, make it two sets. When that becomes too easy, make it three sets. You get the idea.

Second: Get your gym gear together the night before.
Before you go to bed, lay out your gym and work clothes for the next day. It’s a lot easier to get organized while you’re still half-conscious than it is before you’ve had your coffee (and feeling like a zombie). For bonus points, put your gym shoes and socks next to the bed. If you workout in the evening, collect your training gear, put it in a bag, and toss it into your car.

Third: Treat exercise as if it is your job.
Exercise should be an enjoyable experience (if you’re doing it right), but there is no denying that you’re not always going to feel like working out. But since exercise is just as important for your physical health as going to work is for your fiscal health, why should it be treated any differently? Treat exercise as if it is a very important appointment by scheduling your training days on a calendar or planner. Aim to exercise on the same days, at the same times, every single week. If repeated consistently, this will train your brain to turn exercise into a consistent habit that doesn’t require much thought process.

Forth: Enjoy a mid-day / lunch walk to relax and unwind.
Remember that early morning workout I gave you in point #1? If you’re interested in bonus points, here’s another easy way to squeeze exercise into your day. Sometime around the middle of your day (maybe at lunch time?), go for a 10-30 minute walk downtown or at a park. Breathe deeply and try to quiet your inner-chatter, enjoying the peace and silence, while you walk. You’ll come back to work re-charged and ready to make the most of the rest of your day (plus, you’ll burn extra calories too!).

Fifth: Remember why exercising is important in the first place.
Never forget why pursuing health and fitness is so important in the first place. Do you want to be a positive example for your children? Could you use more energy to carry you gracefully throughout your days? Would you like to get fit so you can feel more confident in your body? Are you taking expensive pills with nasty side-effects, all of which could be avoided if you made a better effort to take care of yourself? Whatever the case may be, know your why.

Remember: Doing a little throughout the day, adds up by the end of the day. Go for It !!

Here’s to living a Boundrylessly Happy & Healthy Lifestyle – Daily !

You ARE Awesome !

You ARE Awesome !

You Really CAN get more from doing Less ~ Here’s How….

Enjoy-Life !

Enjoy-Life !

Hi Folks,

Would like to share a great post by one of my very favorite writers….Craig Ballantyne.

Here it is in its entirety…..

Get More From Less

By Craig Ballantyne

Does this sound familiar? You hit the ground running at 6 a.m. (almost literally) and you don’t stop until midnight.

That’s the prototypical busy executive’s schedule these days. And it’s virtually all wrong.

Up at 6 a.m., they drag themselves out of bed to hit the road for an hour of jogging. That’s followed with a rushed breakfast, often full of caffeine, sugar, and other processed foods, and then it’s rush, rush, rush off to a traffic filled commute. Then it’s a full day of back-to-back email sessions, marathon meetings, and of course, more email.

These “warriors” are in for a rude awakening.

Why?

Research shows the non-stop action, no-rest-for-the-wicked lifestyle is going to be their undoing.

Start early. Work late. Go home. Drop dead… literally.

The Japanese have a term for this phenomenon called “karoshi,” which means death caused by overwork.
All in the name of getting more done, I suppose. But as mentioned, research shows this approach is not the optimal path to success.

In fact, it may be one of the worst ways to tackle work, fitness, and almost all other aspects of living.

In health and fitness, the marathon approach to exercise has set back weight loss research and program design by decades, keeping many doctors and trainers stuck in the 1970s with their ineffective long, slow cardio approaches.

Today you’ll see “all night hack-a-thon” business building weekends popping up, which rarely leads to good ideas, but has become a badge of honor for wannabe entrepreneurs. This too is the wrong approach to optimal performance.

Finally, there’s the “no vacation” culture that is infecting America, and other countries around the world. Creating an oversupply of burnt out, frustrated employees that have no chance to recharge, rejuvenate and regenerate.

Short-term results may be achieved this way, but it’s certainly at a cost of long-term progress.

Fortunately, there is a better way.

I first read about this better approach to successful living over a decade ago in the book, “The Power of Full Engagement,” by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz. The authors proposed something radical (back then), insisting that our workday should be a series of sprints, not a marathon. Within your day there should be recovery periods. These should also occur within your weeks, months, and calendar year. There must be built-in time for rejuvenation, much like an athlete takes rests and has a pre-ordained off-season schedule.

But this book and the several similar theories that have come from other experts have failed to make a dramatic impact on the American culture of work. We’re still a continent of nose-to-the-grindstone and don’t stop until you’re dead employees.

But something’s gotta give. And it will.

Schwartz recently published an excellent article in the “NY Times” about his concept of energy management being more important than the ubiquitous idea of time management. It’s a concept that I’ve followed since 2003, when I first contacted his co-author, Jim Loehr, to review one of my earliest books, “The Executive Lifestyle Manual.”

In his research of corporate employee performance, Schwartz has uncovered startling facts about the common ways companies sabotage their results. In one study, employees sleeping less than six hours per night were found to have the greatest on-the-job burn-out. A Harvard study suggested that this on-going sleep deprivation accumulated by American companies costs the economy over $63 billion in lost productivity each year.

Furthermore, the anti-vacation culture that has seeped into corporate America is also hurting our economy. We mistakenly believe that less vacation time will help us keep our jobs, but Schwartz quotes a 2006 study that found, “for each additional 10 hours of vacation employees took, their year-end performance ratings from supervisors (on a scale of one to five) improved by 8 percent.” Yet our actions in regard to this knowledge border on depressing. Schwartz writes, “a recent survey by Harris Interactive found that Americans left an average of 9.2 vacation days unused in 2012 — up from 6.2 days in 2011.”

All of this might be killing our performance, if not literally killing us at the same time.

“Relax! You’ll be more productive,” Schwartz wrote in the NY Times article. Amongst the techniques Schwartz recommends for improving employee performance and health are “daytime workouts, short afternoon naps, longer sleep hours, more time away from the office, and longer, more frequent vacations.”

As I mentioned earlier, my workday is only eight hours long, yet to be frank, it feels longer. That’s because it’s interrupted several times by dog walks, a visit to the gym, meals away from the desk, and even short bursts of watching comedy videos from Netflix. These strategically scheduled breaks foster my creativity and enhance my energy, allowing me to get more done while feeling like I’ve done less.

I have been – albeit unwittingly – following the advice from K. Anders Ericsson at Florida State University who suggests that working in 90-minute focused increments is best for enhancing performance. This helps avoid exhaustion while supporting quality work.

While I’ve yet to include an afternoon nap in my schedule (although I do meditate for approximately 20 minutes each day), Schwartz has uncovered research that supports the performance enhancing benefits of a simple 19 minute nap on mental activities. Alas, instead of harnessing the powers of a healthy nap, corporate America employees instead choose to over-caffeinate and prop themselves up throughout the day with other artificial means.

Like taking on too much financial debt, this energy debt becomes a ticking time bomb. At the minimum it likely leaves you sick with bed rest a couple of times each year, while at worst it culminates in a heart attack in your late 40s or 50s. But it doesn’t have to be this way if you’re willing to insert a few research proven, healthy renewal habits in your life that support energy management.

As Schwartz concludes with his secret to success: “When we’re renewing, we’re truly renewing, so when we’re working, we can really work.”

You might not be in a position of strength (yet) to implement these suggestions. But you must change what is in your control. Start with better nutrition – eliminating excessive caffeine and processed foods – and adding short, burst bouts of bodyweight exercise to your day. With the Home Workout Revolution System that I’ve designed, you now have access to 4-minute no-equipment workouts that you can do anytime, anywhere – perfect for an energetic quick-start to the day or mid-day break to enhance your performance.

As you begin to reap the benefits from these healthy habits, work on improving your sleeping schedule, and experiment with the 90-minute blocks of focused work. Slowly yet surely you’ll become more productive – and you might even feel confident enough to start using up more of your vacation time.

Here’s some more information about Craig…..

Craig Ballantyne
Craig Ballantyne is the editor of Early to Rise and the author of Financial Independence Monthly and Turbulence Training. His most recent innovation, the Home Workout Revolution System makes it easy to use only use your body weight to get into great shape with 4-minute workouts. Learn more in the Home Workout Revolution Livecast where Craig will interview nutrition expert Joel Marion and show you how to develop the body you desire.Join the Livecast here.

 

Work LESS ~ Play MORE !!

Work LESS ~ Play MORE!!

E = T + M or Energy = Time + Moving !!!

Enjoying Exercise ~ Feeling Happy !!!

Enjoying Exercise ~ Feeling Happy !!!

Hi Everyone,

After enjoying summer vacation it’s now back to work.
However, this doesn’t mean missing those workouts that give energy.

Now that the days are busy with work, then come home and want quality time
with family, AND be healthy, sometimes a gym workout takes too much time.

You say, so miss one, or some, no big deal…..NO Way !!! It adds up AND gets a person
use to skipping an important part of the day.

Remember if you are heathly, with energy, you have more to contribute to your spouse, family,
or whatever you do.

So here’s a recent workout that you can do in the convenience of your home, or wherever you may be,
traveling even on business.

The Busy Person’s Energy Workout ~
(No weights required)
This little beauty includes only four compound movements, one pushing exercise and one pulling movement, step ups and plank crosses performed back-to-back in superset fashion. But get ready to fall in love. It hits every muscle you’ve got, from your hips to your head. Bonus:

Here is how it works. Back-to-back, alternate Dive Bomber Push-Ups (beginners use the wonderful pushup) with Pull-Ups or Inverted rows if pullups too difficult.
Do supersets of between five and 10 reps of each exercise. Keep doing sets until you’ve had enough. Then do step ups to catch your breath. Next do planks, REMEBER keep good form!!! BUT do it with a twist by tucking your knee(will start with the right knee) to your left. Then tuck your left knee to your right side. You can do this Simple. Or do ladders, beginning at one rep for each exercise and keeping adding another one rep to each new set until you reach a set when your reps are about two away from failure. Then stop. Take a breather. If you’re up to it, start at one rep and ladder again. Either method you choose, this exercise combo is fun and a great, great workout. In fact it’s – stupendous.

Just writing about it makes me want to break a sweat and enjoy a burst of energy out on my deck inspired by the breeze !!!

Hope this helps all of you busy but needing to keep fit without going crazy what to do !!

Please share your ideas and comments Folks !!!

Don’t Sit ~ Get Fit !!!