10 for 10 Workout

This was my workout for today.

Ten different exercises in 10 minutes.

After I designed this workout and re-read it, I actually said out loud, “this is going to be tough.” And it was, but in a good way. But funny how now that I’m sitting here writing it out for my blog, it seems like a distant memory. Get the workout done and move on – my body maintenance isn’t an event anymore, it’s required, just part of being here.

Warm up 

  • roll out ITB with Travel Roller
  • 10x flights of stairs by two’s going up and single steps going down
  • light stretches.

Set timer for:

10 Rounds of two intervals to equal 10 minutes

  1. 10 seconds Rest interval
  2. 50 seconds Maximum Effort interval

Each exercise will be performed only once through, which is one of my favourite styles…do it right the first time because there’s no second chances. Which, in my opinion is good training for life!

1. Dynamic Squat: 34

2. Chin Ups (reverse grip – palms face body): 11

3. Sandbag Tap Down (alternating legs): 32

    • I used a household step stool
    • I turn it around so the little step is out of the way
    • Start standing with both feet on top
    • Hugging sandbag above chest – parallel to floor
    • Step down w/Right leg- tap right foot to floor – return right foot to top of step
    • Step down Left leg – tap left foot to floor – return left foot to top of step
    • Each tap down counts as 1 rep

4. Feet Elevated Push Ups: 25                                               (my feet were elevated on a 24″ plyo box)

5. Straight Arm Hanging Leg Raises: 12

6. Prisoner Jump Squats: 25

7. Bicycle Abs: 60

8. Santana Push Ups: 12  (each push up counts as 1 Rep)

9. High Knees: 133

10. Burpees: 10

Cool down w/ 4 x 100 reps skipping w/rope

+ 45 minutes Ashtanga Yoga

  • approx. 20 minutes Standing Series
  • approx. 20 minutes Seated Series (first 12 seated postures including 3 backbends)
  • approx. 5 minutes closing sequence – no inversions + Savassana

Post workout meal:

  • Water
  • Real unprocessed Turkey slices
  • Fresh steamed curly green Kale (re-heated from last night)
  • Roasted Butternut squash + sweet potato w/ginger – chili peppers – cilantro – green onion – lime juice (re-heated)
I think anyone can try this workout, but at their own level.
  • If Chin Ups are just not happening you can simply practice hanging with straight arms from the bar – that alone will start to develop the strength needed to build up to the actual chin up.
  • No chin up bar? Leave it out and make it a 8 for 8 Workout.
  • Modified Push ups instead of feet elevated…maybe even just doing the wall press.

My point is, that there is always a way to modify any workout to suit your individual level. You can cut out exercises and make a it a 5 for 5 Workout…etc.

When I get some time I will add some links and hopefully more pictures to make the workout more clear.

My 12 Minute ‘Kitchen Sink’ Workout

English: Kitchen sink drain Deutsch: Abfluss i...

Today’s 12 Minute ‘Kitchen Sink’ Workout

Today I practice Yoga, but before I start, I like to warm up. And because my workouts are so short I figure that they make for a great warm up! Because I’ve got a lot of things to get done around the house (which I tend to fall behind on regardless) I find that these SHORT workouts help to energize as opposed to deplete. As a result, I find that I have more energy and TIME to do the things that are important to me and my family.

My workouts aren’t an EVENT anymore, they are simply the required set of exercises to maintain my physical body so that I can BE and DO and LIVE.

I felt like doing a 12 Minute workout today but didn’t want to repeat exercises so I decided to follow the Keep It Hard for 12 Minutes template from BodyRock Tv. I wanted to use my sandbag and medicine ball to change things up a bit. Below is what I put together.

I warmed up with 10x flights of stairs. Up by two’s down by single steps. Up + down = 1 x. Followed by some light active stretching.


Set Timer for: 12 Rounds of 10 seconds Rest + 50 seconds Maximum Effort

Do as many reps in each 50 second interval as possible with precision. One exercise for each round, which means you don’t have to revisit that exercise – so go for maximum effort.

1. Chin Ups (Reverse Grip – palms face towards body)    My score: 12

2. Start w/Sandbag on floor between legs. Squat down to lift SB to Right Shoulder + Squat as SB lands on R Shoulder + Straighten up + Squat to Lower SB to floor between legs + Straighten up = 1 Rep – Repeat to Left Shoulder – Alternating shoulders. (Therefore, you do three squats per side to equal 1 Rep) My score: 14

3. Mountain Climbers, My score: 128

4. Straight Arm Hanging Leg Raises (rounding lower back to raise legs up – toes touch top of door frame),               My score: 12

5. Alternating Side Jump Lunges w/ 8lb. Medicine Ball tap down, My score: 37

6. Lying 6 inch Leg Raises, My score: 21    

7. Santana Push UpsMy score: 12

8. Bicycle Abs, My score: 64

9. Dips (using Dip Stand), My score: 10 + 5 assisted

10. Jump Lunges , My score: 35

11. Prisoner Get Up , My score: 9

12. Burpees (includes push up and squat jump),              My score: 12.5

Cool down with 4 x 100 skips w/ rope

+40 Minutes Ashtanga Yoga Standing Series (includes first 12 seated postures –a few vinyasa scattered in today– + 3 Backbends + closing sequence).

After my workout, Stella was up and walking around.

What you have to know, is Stella is an ageing Rhodesian Ridgeback. Come March, she’ll be 15 years old. (That’s ancient for a Ridgeback, who’s lifespan on average is ten years). Her walks, however, aren’t much of a walk anymore – they’re more of a sniff. See picture – notice the snow covered snout. She has become very arthritic and she moves very slowly and cautiously. Her walks take a long time and don’t really cover much ground. She sleeps more during the day than she used to. I send her out throughout the day, just in the backyard to sniff around and to exercise her legs. She’s got to keep moving, just like us. Once she stops practicing getting up and taking the stairs…exactly, she won’t be able to. Same as us.

Her eyesight is going as is her hearing…however, it is remarkable how she can still hear the sound of the treat bag open – selective hearing I think! And some days her walks are just a few meters long, after, which she turns to come home. Luckily, we’re next to the forest so that makes for a lot of interesting smells- if you’re a dog. But in no way are her walks exercise for me anymore. I’m glad that I don’t count on walking the dogs as my exercise. In my view, the dog walks are just a chore – part of our household obligations and Active Living. The dogs’ walk is their daily maintenance – physical, mental and emotional. It’s a big responsibility taking care of another being, which makes it even more important to master the skills of taking care of oneself first!

What did you do today for your body maintenance?

Let me know if you give this workout a try. Because each exercise is done only once, I think that just about anyone can try it – providing necessary modifications are made to suit your level, of course!

WARNING: HIIT is Highly Addictive

A US Marine Doing Pull-ups.

My wise nine year old son asked the other day, “What’s the difference between a habit and an addiction?”  Taken completely off guard, I stumbled for a minute then started to think out loud.

Well, a habit is generally something you do that is good for you, like brushing your teeth after meals or doing your daily body maintenance exercises (got to drive it home while they’re young).  An addiction is generally something a person does repeatedly – usually in excess, which in the end causes them harm.

We came up with a few more examples for each and then left the thought behind. But of course our conversation provoked for me a little blog post.  I’ve said it before, but sometimes we need to hear the same philosophy from various perspectives.  What if our healthy habit of exercise turns into one of addiction? Meanwhile, the opposite is a concern for many…difficulty developing the habit in the first place, more on that another time.

Healthy Habit of Exercise = Increased Level of Fitness, Flexibility, Strength, Endurance, better sleep pattern and food choices, Active Living, etc.

Addiction to Healthy Exercise= Increased Level of Fitness + Chronic Injury/ Pain + Symptoms of Overtraining etc. Click Marks Daily Apple to read more about symptoms of overtraining.

But what if it’s not really an addiction to exercise, but rather enthusiasm?  How do we differentiate?  Well, all of this is obviously subjective – enthusiasm can very easily morph undetected…usually those around us see our symptoms long before we see them for ourselves.

When I first started transitioning from doing my hour and a half long workouts at the gym to doing HIIT at home exclusively, I had a difficult time accepting that anything under 40 minutes would or could be enough.  After a month or so I shortened my training sessions even further to 20 minutes, and because I was getting stronger with each workout and working at such maximal effort, I was ok with the change to shorter workout times.  The short-high-intensity workouts satisfied my ‘workout high’.

But then, there was a time when I had brought the workouts down to 12 minutes and I felt so energized from them that I just didn’t want the workout to be over. So I would do another 4 Minute Tabata to top it up. Or I would do HIIT workouts five days in a row – eager for the next day so I could get my 12 minute workout in.

I only had to do this a few times to realize that I was missing the point of what HIIT could offer.

When I was playing soccer regularly, there was a few times that after having played an hour of fast paced soccer I would then come home to do a short HIIT workout. For me that was the sign that I had crossed the line. Exercising in excess would lead to overuse and injury…I felt them (overuse and injury, that is) knocking at my door. What I ended up doing instead of a HIIT workout was to come home and stretch (Yoga) – a much healthier pattern. Lucky for me I generally only make the same mistake a few times before I change my pattern…unfortunately, there are countless opportunities for making new mistakes waiting for me at every turn.  (Actually, I honestly think making mistakes is terrific, it is our greatest teacher).

Today was another opportunity to listen to my truth and not my ego. Zuzka Light is back on YouTube – Zuzka has been taken under the wing of Darren Copik from Watch It Now Entertainment. She is the original face of BodyRockTv. In September of 2011, Zuzka stepped away from BodyRock to do her own thing (she and Freddy divorced – BodyRock is still going strong under Freddy’s direction and other hosts).

So, I grabbed Zuzka’s first ZWOD (Zuzana’s Workout Of the Day) Bodyweight Only Time Challenge workout, though I had to modify one exercise to suit me. I could have fallen into my old pattern and just used brute force to push through, but just by looking at the line up of exercises I knew that doing 3 Rounds would be excessive for me. So I did 2 Rounds and finished in 14 minutes. Just right.

Here’s what MY version of the workout looks like:

I warm up with 10x flight of stairs (up + down = 1x) by two’s going up + single steps going down (13 steps) + light stretches.

Complete 2 Rounds of the following 9 exercises in sequence as a Time Challenge.

1. Dive Bombers – 10 Reps

2. Burpees – 5 Reps

3. Squat + Side Leg Lift (Alternating sides) – 20 Reps

4. Lunge Back (Alternating sides) – 20 Reps

5. Burpees – 5 Reps

6. Side Plank Lift – 10 Reps Left Side + 10 Reps Right Side

7. Burpees – 5 Reps

8. Pistol Squat – 5 Reps Left Side + 5 Reps Right Side + 5 Reps Left Side + 5 Reps Right Side

9. Burpees – 5 Reps

Cool down with 4 x 100 skips with rope

+ 5 Forward Grip Pull Ups.

Plus 40 Minutes of Ashtanga Yoga Standing Series (including the first 12 seated postures -no vinyasa- + 3 Backbends + closing sequence – no inversions).

Tomorrow I will swim for 30 minutes and do 15 minutes of stretching in the Jacuzzi. I won’t do another HIIT or Yoga till Monday. But, regardless will start my day with stretching in bed (view the Bed Stretches #1 video here), some modified sun salutations – focusing on stretching out hip flexors (iliopsoas), followed by a 4 Minute Morning Week 3 – DAY 7.

Watch the sneak preview of what’s to come from Zuzka Lights new video series:


We all have to start somewhere. And we all have to find the right balance. Whatever you choose, be consistent and be kind to yourself. And most important of all STRETCH your body!

And to see the original workout breakdown and video click here. At :29 seconds there is a pause in the video which shows the breakdown in writing – for anyone who wants to write it out!

What exercise did you do today?

What If…? Part 3

US Navy 030830-N-9693M-006 U.S. Naval Academy ...

 In this post I will venture to explain some upper body mechanics…

Why too many downward dogs or push ups can give you a headache among other things.

Quick Review

In the previous two posts I touched upon:

  • How complex our body is
  • What a healthy muscle is
  • What fascia is
  • The relationship between muscle and fascia
  • How dysfunctional movement patterning can negatively affect our skeletal structure
  • A personal example of how repetitive overuse of imbalanced muscular patterning caused my legs to bow
  • Examples of similar types of bodywork: Rolfing/ Structural Integration, Kinesis Myofascial Integration (KMI), Wharton Performance Musculoskeletal Therapy (AIS), Active Release Therapy (ART)
  • Self-help methods: Feldenkrais, Alexander Technique, Pilates, Yoga, Body Rolling…
  • Listen to The Fuzz Speech by Gil Hedley or read the transcript
  • If you haven’t read the two previous posts view Part 1 here and Part 2 here before reading on.

When I was taking my Pilates Instructor Training Course, so many years ago, I was amazed at how much I didn’t know – boy that sounds arrogant! But it’s true – I was young and of course, thought I knew everything (much like my kids do now). My Pilates teacher, taught me to see with x-ray vision; which means, we were taught to analyze the way overused or underused muscles affected skeletal alignment – just by looking at someone. On the first day of this type of analysis, I remember feeling completely out of sorts: “You see what?” and “I have no idea what you’re talking about.” In time it all became so obvious, how was it that I couldn’t see all this before?

When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.

– Zen proverb

A quick side note: “The teacher” from my interpretation is not always a physical being. The teacher can be a spoken word or a situation, which contributes to an A-Ha! moment. The former scenario could have happened many times before, but it is at the precise moment when the student is really willing to see or is present, as if the planets have aligned like at the eleventh hour in a cinematic climax, the A-Ha! moment occurs. The teacher (or lesson) was always there, I believe all of our lessons are always circling around us, just waiting for that opportune moment. This idea conjures images of Glinda, the good witch from the Wizard of Oz, and those ruby slippers; Dorothy could have gone home at any time. The Lion, Tin-Man and Scarecrow all tell her that they should have thought of it for her…but Glinda reassures them that it was Dorothy, who had to think of it.

We are simultaneously teacher and student.

What does any of this have to do with doing too many push-ups or downward dogs? Bear with me…First:

1.We need to discuss neck and shoulder alignment.

2.What happens when we do too much of one exercise

3.Why being consistent with less, is more effective

1.We need to discuss neck and shoulder alignment.

The shoulder and neck regions are very complex, being made up of an intricate configuration of bones, cartilage, muscles, fascia, nerves, veins and arteries, which support our every move.

Just look at an example of how complex our internal wiring is (below):

The shoulder blades (scapula, singular and scapulae, plural) need to be well balanced upon the back of our ribcage. There are many muscles, which participate in all our daily movements, which we don’t often think about unless we feel pain in our effort to function.

The rotaor cuff muscles, below (there are four: Supraspinatus, Infraspinatus, Teres Minor and Subscapularis),

originate on our scapulae and insert onto our humerus (the upper arm bone). These muscles can work independently from one another and their main function, which is hugely important, is to stabilize the shoulder joint and provide movement of the arm bone, such as lifting and rotation.

But wait there’s more.

The Serratus Anterior, (above centre, seen here in red) also, happens to be one of my favourite muscles – I may quiz you on that later.

The Serratus Anterior (above and seen below left) combined with the Pectoralis Minor (below left)…

Pectoralis Minor originates on ribs 3, 4 and 5. They insert upward onto the Coracoid Process, which is a bony protuberance at the top of the scapula.

If the other muscle groups are not able to do their job or the Pectoralis Minor is over-compensating, the Pectoralis Minor can contribute in pulling the shoulder blade downward and forward.

…And on the back: Rhomboids, Levator Scapula, Teres Major (below left) and Trapezius (below right) all play a very important role in stabilizing the scapulae.

So all these muscles have to work in concert; like a symphony. Some muscles performing a fantastic crescendo when other sections are easing off into the whispers of pianissimo – this performance is happening ALL the time. This is what we mean when we talk about balance, which is why it is imperative to memorize movements in order to analyze them. As we become more proficient we focus less on how to do an exercise and more on how we feel doing the exercise, taking it to the next level of awareness; transformation comes as our awareness evolves. Exercising in this mind-full way is just not possible while watching TV, listening to music or having a conversation (hearing and having awareness of background noise and sound is very different from active listening). We actually must focus on the task at hand. To be mindful is to be focused.

Balance is something that is alive and is always fluctuating, it cannot be cast in bronze and held in place.

For example: if our Rhomboids are over-compensating for a weakness in our Serratus, the effect when attempting to do a push will then cause the shoulder blades to ‘wing’ (poke upward) causing more of an imbalance.

I have used the following quote before, it is so great that it stands repeating:

“Anatomy studies a projection of the static body, but function in the living requires more than static recognition.”

– Ida P. Rolf


2. What happens when we do too much of one exercise?

What happens when we do too much of one exercise, i.e., everyday, but in particular when we strain to squeeze out the last few repetitions beyond muscle failure.

The skeleton becomes compromised, the muscles and fascia can lose their functional slide and glide relationship – they can become stuck – nerves, arteries and veins can become impinged causing the next wave of who knows what…

…[Possibly,] “Thoracic Outlet Syndrome,” [which] can occur after trauma, such as with falls or accidents, which injure the neck/shoulder area, but more commonly the cause is a combination of muscle imbalances, and altered posture. These changes are common in those who spend long hours doing deskwork, or with certain sleeping positions, or improper workout routines.”

Dr John-David Kato DC, MSc, ACSM-RCEP, CSEP-CEP

Read more about Thoracic Outlet Syndrome here.

When this happens the end goal (a healthy, fit, functioning and balanced body) is sabotaged.

When we struggle with push-ups: the head drops forward, the neck muscles and shoulders are straining, this repeated practice is only reinforcing poor alignment. However, some will argue that they feel great. By pushing in the extreme they feel as though they ‘got a real workout’ and they can see the definition in their muscles, so in their mind ‘everything is coming along’.  It takes practice to fine tune pushing hard to our limit versus pushing hard beyond it.

The damage from pushing beyond our limit can have lasting effects, which don’t always surface until much later. Luckily, from what I’ve noticed, the body really does want to be healthy and happy. It has this amazing ability to regenerate. It seems to me that it is often the mind, which is more stubborn. To me, the body is like ‘man’s best friend’, it goes with you wherever, whenever, no questions asked. It will push for you beyond its limits, much like the dogs I see running the trails with their owners. Most dog breeds have no business running long distances, however, they carry-on for their owner, happy to do so, but sadly develop hip dysplasia (or something of the sort) requiring surgery. Most dogs are not meant for long runs, but are rather sprinters, who for themselves determine how much and for how long. Notice how those breeds naturally run in a game of tag only to stop and lay down to recover, then to bound up again to repeat the fun?  These breeds are the original Tabata athletes!

Where was I…

Also, there is a group of neck muscles called the Scalenes – Anterior, Medial and Posterior. (Below) You can see how the Scalenes are very deep within our neck.

The image (below) shows the nerves, known here as the Brachial Plexus (yellow), which pass through the Scalenes, including the subclavian artery, meaning it passes below the clavicle (under the collar bone), which pass again below the pectoralis minor muscle.

This image is intended to demonstrate how delicate our neck and shoulder structure is. And how easy it is to compress our nerves, arteries and veins when our skeleton is intentionally (through exercise) or accidentally (from trauma) pulled out of its optimal and balanced alignment.

Over-tightening of the Scalenes can pull on the Cervical Spine (neck vertebrae) pulling the neck bones forward which causes the head (chin) to tilt upward, Pectoralis Minor pulls the shoulder blades forward causing the shoulders to round, which compress the Brachial Plexus – the group of nerves exiting the neck area which can lead to tingling or numbness down the arms, among other possibilities. This is not good.

If your push up form resembles these two pictures (below), please practice modified push ups from your knees until you have developed a better balance within all the supporting groups of muscles that I have been talking about.

Regardless of my urging, if you insist on doing full push ups please analyze your form and before your body starts to go in this direction (see below), consider making a modification by dropping to your knees. From your knees if your form starts to fail, then stop – accept defeat with good form, that’s what we should be going for – or continue to work your way backwards to each modified version all the way back to the Wall Press. Once fatigued like this, it will surprise you how difficult even a wall push up becomes. It’s not how many you do, it’s how you do them.

Under my 4 Minute Morning heading I have the progressions for learning the correct form for push ups, starting with Wall Press then gradually working towards the full push up. When we skip ahead, assuming we are already strong enough for push ups or other exercises, we miss out on the necessary progressions. By spending time with each progression we develop better awareness of the simplicity and complexity within each exercise.

Help Yourself:

The daily Micro Breaks Stretches that you have been practicing (ah-hem), will support your efforts, by encouraging mobility in the muscles that are getting tightened possibly just from existing, doing some or too many push ups. Also here is another link to view at Wharton Performance: an AIS (Active Isolated Stretch) for Pectoralis Major and Minor. If you click on the Wharton Performance link, you will be taken to their main page, click on the second video on this page, the title is: “Active Isolated Flexibility with Phil Wharton” and skip ahead to 7:05 in the video to view the chest stretch. I do this stretch daily and occasionally many times throughout the day when I find myself waiting on the kids to brush their teeth or something of the sort.

3.Why being consistent with less, is more effective.

When was this idea conceived anyway? The idea that we have to beat ourselves up for hours on end to prove our endurance and therefore our worth? Was it Chariot’s of Fire? When did it happen that we were convinced that we all had to train as if we were professional athletes? By the way, most professional athletes are riddled with overuse injuries…more on that another time.

Hopefully, you’ve already listened to Gil Hedley’s, The Fuzz Speech; Well this is my: Less Is More Effective – Speech. By being consistent with shorter workouts, done every day for the rest of our life, we won’t need to go beyond muscle failure – we just need to go TO muscle failure – I repeat, not beyond. With this in mind we can better focus on our technique and devote more useful time to our stretching routine which will support our structure.

This is another shout out for the short duration High Intensity Workouts. Only 4 – 12 minutes, maybe up to 20 minutes from time to time and sure, keep doing your long cardio workouts if you like them – from time to time – balance it out. But generally speaking, when we are consistent – read: daily – I have found that our body responds better with a short High Intensity Workout combined with regular periods of stretching throughout the day. All of it is important, but in particular, finding the balance with:
  • exercise intensity
  • type of exercise/ variety
  • stretching/Yoga
  • being focused/ mindful
  • ability to access the meditative state
  • eating/nutrition/hydration
  • 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night
  • rest and recovery from exercise
  • relationships/family
  • creativity
  • duty
  • chores
  • work
  • play…

Being the natural chatterbox that I am, I have got a lot more to share on this topic (the downward dog part, etc…) and will post it over the next week; A little at a time so you can digest the information before I add on.

It’s Official…I Have Become My Mother

Up until I became a mother, I was not one for house cleaning and was not even much of a tidy-upper, either.  Having kids of my own was the tipping point at which my inner-mother evolved.

I grew up in a traditional middle-class household.  Dad went out to work and Mom was the ‘home engineer’.  She was the perfect role model in terms of eating well; she ate well balanced meals and enjoyed desert from time to time, (she definitely had a sweet tooth, which she did not deny).  I only learned about dieting from my peers whose mothers were experimenting with fad diets. Mom never needed to diet even though she was never a formal exerciser, she just never stopped moving.  And out of the blue, we’d often find her in a headstand.  She’d have her shower, then wipe down the shower to slow down the mildew from taking hold, which in the long run would make her house maintenance more manageable.  She wouldn’t take a flight of stairs without taking something up or down along the way.  She always seemed to be putting a load of laundry in or folding a basket-full. It drove me crazy!  As a tween I couldn’t stand to see her always working.  I vowed I wouldn’t be like her when I grew up…I would only do things that pleased me. Almost thirty years of running from reality, it’s now official…I have become my mother, AND surprisingly, it pleases me!

Just before spring of this year our present day cleaning lady retired.  At the same time, I was starting up this site and decided that I would now tackle our house cleaning on my own.  My reasoning was that if I had time to start up a website then I had time to do all the house maintenance as well.  I made a deal with myself that I had to get a certain amount of cleaning done each day before spending any time working on my site.

It was not so easy to clean the house the way I wanted it clean with infants, toddlers or pre-schoolers, but now that the kids are in school full time I know I can take this on. I’m not very good at it yet and it can be overwhelming at times, but if I tackle a job a day and keep the cycle going it seems to work well, at least in my opinion.

So where am I going with this?  It’s all about NEAT: Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis.   I came across a great article by Tom Venuto, you can read the original here titled “Why Cardio Doesn’t Work For Some People: A NEAT Explanation.”

NEAT or Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis accounts for all of your daily physical activity excluding your scheduled workout.  Common sense dictates that you already know the following, but maybe we could all use a gentle reminder…

From Tom’s article, “NEAT includes all the calories you burn from casual walking, shopping, yard work, housework, standing, pacing and even little things like talking, chewing, changing posture, maintaining posture and fidgeting. Walking contributes to the majority of NEAT.

It seems like a bunch of little stuff – and it is – which is why most people completely ignore it. Big mistake.

At the end of the day, week, month and year, all the little stuff adds up to a very significant amount of energy. For most people, NEAT accounts for about 30% of physical activity calories spent daily, but NEAT can run as low 15% in sedentary individuals and as high as 50% in highly active individuals.”

One of the major pitfalls that happens to people who take on extreme workouts is that they wear themselves down so much that they have no juice left for NEAT.  And then they over consume calories, which negates the calories burned in the first place!

At the bottom of Mr. Venuto’s article, he highlights five important points.  As they are all highly significant, pay close attention to point number two:

“2.  Exercise intensity can affect NEAT for days after a workout is over. Too much high intensity work might zap your energy and activity outside the gym, resulting in a lower level of NEAT. You have to keep up your habitual activity level outside the gym after pushing yourself hard in the gym.”

This is why I am such an advocate for incorporating 4 Minute Mornings and Short-Duration-High-Intensity Training into your life, specifically for those who don’t have time for longer body maintenance workouts.  It doesn’t mean I don’t believe in going for a jog/ run or long walk etc., but what I think happens to so many people is that they put so much belief into those long workouts to help them lose weight that they end up dismissing the significance of NEAT.  And the cycle continues. It’s all about balance. And that is what we mean when we talk about balance.  Exercise to become strong to live an active life.

But then there are those who DO a high level of NEAT all day long, those with physically demanding jobs.  All I can say is that it’s in the numbers: calories in vs. calories out.  How you fuel yourself is the most important factor to consider.

  • Eat real food, experiment with what energizes your body, don’t diet.
  • Exercise each day at a moderate level.  Knock yourself out from time to time, just to test your mettle and because it feels great to,
  • but DON’T overtrain or you’ll burn the candle at both ends, wasting your time and not getting results.

Read Tom Venuto’s article, it will help.

Stand up while you read it though, and go fold some laundry when you’re finished! Just imagine, a nation of hard, happy, highly functioning bodies with really clean houses! 🙂

Photo:  My Mom, Lea (1934-2004)- named after my Great Aunt Lea.  Doing a headstand at the cottage, age 48.

Today’s 10 Minute Workout

A straight flight of stairs, somewhere in the ...

Image via Wikipedia

I couldn’t find a link for this workout at Mark Lauren‘s website so I’m posting it here.

It’s a time challenge.

Only three exercises:

  1. Burpees +
  2. Mountain Climbers +
  3. Jump Lunges (A.K.A: Iron Mikes)
Complete 7 Rounds as fast as possible.
Round 1: Complete 5 Reps of each exercise (i.e. 5 Burpees + 5 MC + 5 Jump Lunges)
Round 2: Complete 10 Reps of each exercise (i.e. 10 Burpees + 10 MC +10 JL etc.)
Round 3: Complete 15 Reps of each exercise
Round 4: Complete 20 Reps of each exercise
Round 5: Complete 15 Reps of each exercise
Round 6: Complete 10 Reps of each exercise
Round 7: Complete 5 Reps of each exercise
My times:
2 August, 2010 –   Time  13 min :53 seconds
5 September, 2011 –  Time  10 min :31 seconds
For my warm-up:
Ran up + down my basement staircase 10 x (12 stairs).  (Up + Down = 1x)
Odd numbers I took the stairs by two’s.  Even numbers I took single steps.
1. by two’s
2. singles
3. by two’s
4. singles etc….up to 10.
Lunge style Hip flexor stretches, side bends, quads etc.
Did Mark Lauren’s workout, as I’ve come to call it.
Once finished it took a long time to get my breath back.  This was a super hard workout.  Walked around for quite some time breathing.
  • Cool down with 4 x 100 skips, still trying to bring my heart rate down gradually.
  • Cool down with 5 minutes on the stationary bike.
  • 5 Forward Grip Pull Ups
  • Full body stretches including rolling out ITB & TFL with foam roll.
Post-workout meal & lunch combined:
Romaine Salad with cherry tomatoes/ red peppers/ broccoli / my salad dressing
4 Slices of Roast Turkey (ingredients: roast turkey, salt –NOT processed)
1 leftover BBQ Sweet potato (fresh from last night) with a pat of unsalted butter.
12 oz. Water.

Use Your Body

Cover of

You Are Your Own Gym by Mark Lauren, is a great reference book.

No need for me to reinvent the wheel.  He has said it all: Why Bodyweight Exercises, Why Strength Training (or Why Cardio Is a Waste of Your Time), Back to Basics Nutrition, Myths, Motivation and Intensity.  These are very short, straight to the point essays so you won’t spend hours reviewing the information.  The rest of the book is filled with bodyweight exercise descriptions including photographs.

Mark Lauren is a certified Military Training Specialist among other qualifications. He knows first hand the necessity for soldiers to be in optimal shape for physically demanding missions.  From solid research and experience he has successfully designed short workouts that support his cause.  His book makes these strategies accessible for all of us.

If you find the books’ practical content a little over your head, you can follow my 4 Minute Mornings’ progressions which will establish a great foundation for strength and flexibility.  My hope is that you will graduate from these progressions feeling confident to tackle any workout program.  Remember, just about anyone can do these exercises; there’s really nothing to it.  Consistency is the real challenge.  If you keep your exercise sessions short you are more likely to practice regularly.

Read You Are Your Own Gym.  Arm yourself with the information and put it into practice.

visit www.marklauren.com

The following are my two favourite bits of research perfectly condensed and described by Mark Lauren.

Izumi Tabata

by MLauren » Wed Jul 14, 2010 7:02 pm

Izumi Tabata and his partners at the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo, Japan, compared the effects of moderate-intensity endurance and High-Intensity Interval Training on maximal aerobic capacity—the best indicator of cardiorespiratory endurance.
They conducted a six week study with two groups of randomly picked males.
Group 1 did one hour of steady state training five days a week. Group 2 did only 4
minutes of Interval Training five days a week.
At the end of the six weeks, Group 1 had an increase in maximal aerobic capacity of 10% and Group 2 had an increase of 14%. Not only did the interval group have a 40% greater gain in aerobic capacity, they had an increase in strength of 28% percent, as opposed to the Steady state group which had no gains in strength. And all this with just four minutes of Interval Training a day.  Similar studies have confirmed that Interval Training produces higher gains in aerobic fitness, greater decreases in body fat, and gains in strength as opposed to the muscle wasting that occurs with much longer sessions of steady state training.
And Cardio vs. High Intensity Interval Training by Mark Lauren

Dr. Angelo Tremblay

by MLauren » Wed Jul 14, 2010 7:02 pm

Dr. Angelo Tremblay and his colleagues at the Physical Activities Sciences Laboratory, in Quebec, Canada, tested the popular belief that low-intensity, long-duration exercise is the most effective program for losing fat.

They compared the impact of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise and High-Intensity Interval Training on fat loss. Skinfold measurements revealed that the Interval Training group lost more body fat. Moreover, when they took into account the fact that the Interval Training burned less calories during the workouts, the fat loss was 9 times more efficient in that program than in the aerobics program.

In short, the Interval Training group got 9 times more fat-loss benefit for every calorie burned exercising. How can that be? Because, after taking muscle biopsies, measuring muscle enzyme activity, and lipid utilization in the post exercise state, they found that High-Intensity intermittent exercise caused more calories and fat to be burned following the workout. In addition, they found that appetite is suppressed more after intense intervals.