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Canadian researcher behind one-minute workout has a shorter option (theglobeandmail.com)
101 points by helloworld on Jan 23, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 126 comments

The reason this matters is that “lack of time” often crops up as an excuse when scientists try to figure out why so few of us get as much exercise as we know we should. Gibala and others have been whittling away at this excuse for more than a decade now, designing ever more time-efficient workouts.

The solution to the "I don't have enough time" problem is not to make shorter and shorter workouts, but to encourage a cultural shift away from constant media distractions and pointless hyper-productivity posturing. No one is too busy to spend 30 minutes exercising 3 times a week.

Ditto for the obesity crisis - the solution isn't to make less caloric foods, it's to change the culture of excessive portion sizes and sedentary lifestyles.

I have two small children that I raise while both me and my wife are working 40 hours per week. Trust me, there is no time for the exercise that you describe.

Also, what you say is misleading. Exercising for 30 minutes means that you also need to prepare, have a shower afterwards and it also means that you will require more sleep. If you add all those up it means that those 30 minutes are closer to an hour, if not more.

I know; I was a 30-40 km per week runner until my second child got born.

If you do strength training at home, as I do with two kids too, you don't need much preparation. I just take off my t-shirt, do some pull ups, push ups, squats, etc. following a well thought plan, and most of the time the shower is not needed. You don't even need to do all the exercises in the same time slot. You can do pushups as you watch your baby, a few pull ups while your watch your son wash his teeth, etc. Not changing, not much preparation.

I apply this method and it is amazing how stronger and leaner I am now. And doing pushups, some cardio is also done.

I do cardio while bicycling to the office (no clothes changes needed again; maybe just the t-shirt in summer), and walk up the office and home stairs (4 floors in both cases) two steps at a time.

This! My father used to work out when we were kids while we were playing video games, brushing teeth, homeworks, etc...I still remember him teaching me the multiplication table while doing pushups or pull ups and asking me : I did 3 sets of 8 pull ups, how much does it makes ? Good times

That is exactly what I'm doing! ;-)

> following a well thought plan

This is a much bigger hurdle than it might seem; at any rate the biggest one for me personally. I have absolutely no idea how to create an exercise plan for myself, which exercises should I do and in which combination. And additionally, even if I had such a plan, I have no idea how to measure my progress, or whether and how to modify the plan depending on the progress.

The nice thing about being incredibly out of shape is that any plan will work. It's only the people that are in relatively good shape that need a good plan to see improvements.

That isn't quite true either, though. Though it becomes more difficult to aim to low, aiming too highly can easily lead to injury.

No, poor form can lead to injury.

Poor form is sometimes caused by fatigue, but that's about knowing your limitations.

Parent's point stands. Anything - in a reasonable sense - is better than nothing. If you do handstand push-ups day one, you deserve what you get.

Rippetoe's stuff is pretty good. The first book on why barbells and getting started:

* https://www.amazon.com/Starting-Strength-Basic-Barbell-Train...

After a few months you'll exhaust that (perhaps just take it out of the library?), and need more intermediate-level information:

* https://www.amazon.com/Practical-Programming-Strength-Traini...

Otherwise, some others have suggested a few Reddit threads; see also /r/fitness.

> I have absolutely no idea how to create an exercise plan for myself

Don't over complicate things. Do 5 sets of 5 reps of: * Bench Press (barbell) * Front Squat (barbell) * Dead Lift (barbell) * Pull Ups (weight hangs off a chain linked through a squat belt)

Have 1.5 to 2 minutes of recovery between each set. Do this 2 to 3 times a week with as much weight as you can lift.

How to progress: Write down exactly what you lift in a notebook and attempt to do exactly what you lifted for the previous workout with the only change being an increase of 1 to 5 lbs on one of the sets.

Cost: A monthly gym membership or about 50 cents a pound for second hand weights. About $25 for a second hand barbell. $25 for a second hand bench w/rack. So starting out pickup 300lbs of weight which is about $150 plus the cost of the barbell, bench w/rack, and squat belt should set you back about ~$200 (or the cost of a gym membership for 4 months.).

There are pre-prepared plans that you can follow, like https://old.reddit.com/r/bodyweightfitness/wiki/kb/recommend...

You are right. I started with the book "Body Weight Strength Anatomy" by Bret Contreras. Then I used the internet to complement the gaps, watch youtube videos, etc.

Quiting social networks and watching/listening to news has helped to find time to learn and think about training.

Julian has a pretty good guide which I followed and gained substantial muscle from. It covers everything from diet to measuring growth


I like this one (7 exercises to keep firm body) which requires only some small hand weights and a chair:


If you can afford to spend a few hundred dollars then sign up for a few personal training sessions at your local gym. A good certified personal trainer can teach you proper form to avoid injury, and put together a customized workout routine that you can follow on your own.

Bodyweight training is incredibly effective. The problem is that it's simple and free, so you'll find very few people trying to sell you on it. Much of the noise about exercise is from someone selling you a program or some equipment.

So true! I'm doing body weight strength training and I'm amazed about the results. What is important is to annotate everything on a spreadsheet, in order to gauge progress, understand the concept of progression, and build a program that covers the whole body. But, don't obsess about the program, two years ago, when I started, my program was bad, and I have been improving it gradually, as I have been learning things. Due to work constrains I can't have a fixed plan (the same every Monday, Wednesday, ...) so I have to adapt constantly, which is great, as the results have been good. Bodyweight training adapts well to your life (not the other way around) and you can even workout in a hotel room!

Seconding this - bodyweight training is exactly how I got started in fitness for a year before eventually signing up for a gym after moving to the city. The /r/bodyweightfitness subreddit http://reddit.com/r/bodyweightfitness is a great resource with pre-made plans to ensure you're hitting all your muscle groups evenly. Highly recommend it!

I can do a few push ups etc. I wouldn't call that a workout though.

Running or cycling to work is not an option. I live in Cyprus where summer is regularly over 40 degrees C and autumn/spring regularly over 25. Also, there are almost no bike roads.

Why bodyweight strenght training is not a workout?

What it surprised me is how little you need to do to change your whole body. I'm stronger as ever working out 20-30 minutes three times a week the best weeks, even less sometimes.

I understand you not cycling in Cyprus.

Check the Strava heat map. Some people seem to be running and cycling on Cyprus, so this should give you an idea for local routes.


Since you're on an island you might also try open water swimming.

Isn't it better to have an aerobic warm up before doing any strength training (to prevent injury), along with pre/post stretching exercises?

I jump and run on the place for a couple minutes. You don't need more. I haven't had an injury in two years and I'm stronger than ever (8 pull ups, for example).

>Exercising for 30 minutes means that you also need to prepare, have a shower afterwards and it also means that you will require more sleep.

We've fetishised physical activity as "exercise", a strange and pointless hobby that you need to wear special clothes for. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Current health guidance suggests that it's perfectly sufficient to do 150 minutes of moderate cardiovascular activity and 60 minutes of muscular activity every week. Crucially, there's nothing magic about "exercise" as opposed to just doing physical things. Going for a brisk walk or pushing the lawnmower counts as moderate cardiovascular activity. Digging in the garden, laying bricks or carrying heavy bags of shopping counts as strength activity.

We need to get away from thinking about exercise as something we add to our schedule, but something that we build into an active lifestyle. Many people never do "exercise" per se, but get more than enough physical activity to stay healthy. Some people do have extremely sedentary lifestyles that are detrimental to their health, but they don't need a gym membership and some lycra pants to fix that.

The message shouldn't be "get more exercise", but "be more active".

We need more bicycle lanes, start taking away car parking and car lanes.

This is sad. Walking, brisk or not isn’t exercise, it’s walking. Carrying shopping bags isn’t exercise unless you’re so old or weak that you should seriously consider physiotherapy.

>This is sad.

Yes, it really is. A majority of Americans don't get this basic level of physical activity. Going jogging or lifting weights simply isn't necessary to maintain physical health, but you need to do something.


I agree that it's sad, but there's a minimum amount of activity that can be done to reduce your risk of death considerably [0]. I would rather people be fit and take their bodies seriously, but just a little bit goes a long way.

* 0: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/hsph-in-the-news/walking-e...

If you dont have 30 min a day for exercise and you think its entirely because you have two kids this is simply not true.Perhaps your work day is too long, commute too long, both parents working etc, these things play far more into time management than just the kids themselves. Better time management is part of the lifestyle switch described above.

Most people don't have great time management or great financial management: https://www.npr.org/2016/04/24/475432149/could-you-come-up-w...

Expecting people to suddenly improve and re-prioritize their lives accordingly is unrealistic, rather than working with people where they are on gradual improvements, encouraging them to take that big leap forward!

that article had me face-palming so many times. Maybe people should stop worrying about how much they need to spend to appear to be in a certain "class" and instead just stop spending money to keep up with the Joneses. If you can't responsibly support a (non-west-coast/NYC) family on $130k then you just suck with money. Christ if you can't even come up with an extra $400/month as someone with a middle class income wtf are you even doing? Your bank probably followed the 34% rule if you bought a house, meaning you just took on a ton more debt after securing the biggest mortgage you could...

I know lots of people who have monthly expenses that top their reasonable and well thought out mortgages. Education expenses, alimony, medical insurance/care & parental care are all major expenses for people.

While I agree with your sentiment that too many people spend money on dumb crap, making broad statements about what everyone should do is a step too far.

I have two small children that I raise while both me and my wife are working 40 hours per week. Trust me, there is no time for the exercise that you describe.

I'm not buying it. I had a kid (he's grown and moved out) and managed to exercise. I rode my bike to work. I coached his football and basketball teams. I squeezed in weights on my lunch hour. I ran or cycled a few hours early Saturday, before the rest of the family was ready to do things.

Same holds true for friends that have young kids today. One parent runs/cycles while the other helps with homework. Yoga at 5am. Treadmills or stationary bikes to squeeze in workouts whenever possible (after kids are in bed).

Good for you. Not all kids are the same. My 6 month old barely lets me sleep at night.

Sure. But, your 6 month old will soon grow out of that, be a toddler, and not much later a kid, preteen, etc. You aren't doomed to 18-22 years of sedentary life simply because there's a small human in your household. For most of that span of time, you will have to make time for exercise, but it's possible with planning.

Sometimes shifting the wording to: "I choose to play Legos with my kids" or "I choose to feed my kids" can help confirm that you're doing things just the way you want to be doing them.

I raised 3 small kids and it's easy to feel constrained. When I realized that everything I was doing was my choice, I felt less guilty about not doing X, Y and Z. Instead I was just prioritizing and choosing to do other things with my time.

So technically, yes you can choose to exercise 30min a day but it's also perfectly reasonable to choose sleep, playing with your kids, etc.

My wife and I have three kids including one under 12 months. I use my own app Streaks Workout (https://www.streaksworkout.com) on an Apple TV (also available on iPhone and iPad) doing short, basic workouts. The older kids who are 4 and 6 love following along too.

I agree completely that time is exceptionally short with kids in the picture, but it’s not impossible to do at least something simple.

Hey, didn't know about Streaks Workout but I do love Streaks so I'll be giving that a shot.

I noticed when reading the reviews that what seemed to be a common complaint was that the randomization would repeat an exercise type too often. Now, I know you've fixed this because I just spent five minutes reading the release notes for every release in the last year--but if you used the ability that Apple added to reply to these reviews, then someone wouldn't have to do that in order to figure out if the issue was addressed.

I have two small children with a wife that works 40+ hours per week as well. I still find time to lift weights (at home) and play sports.

This is very much embodying the spirit of Kaizen, that of making continuous small improvements.

To someone who does no exercise at all the thought of doing a whole 30 minutes of exercise is just too overwhelming for them that they will just keep putting it off and never get started. But maybe if it is just 1 minute, that would be enough for them to stomach and get them started. Once they have got 1 minute under their belt, they will be much more likely to go for 5 minutes and from that 30 minutes.

I quite often find that mantra of 'one more minute' really helps me to deal with arduous tasks and fight distraction. When I want to give up on something because it is too tough or boring and I just want to surf reddit instead, I tell myself, ok, just do 1 more minute of this and then give up. Often it is all I need to get over the hump and keep going.

You are definitely not wrong, and some people will just be overwhelmed to think that they will start in the gym in "full throttle" (and some trainers encourage this - I suppose they like high attrition) but it seems to be that 1 min is too short.

You need to set yourself up for success. If I'm postponing going out for a run, I may just put my running outfit and shoes next to my bed so it's in my sight when I wake up. If I'm getting fat I may just stop buying sugary foods to limit access. And so on, making it easy to do the right thing and harder to slip.

Ditto for the obesity crisis - the solution isn't to make less caloric foods, it's to change the culture of excessive portion sizes and sedentary lifestyles.

Agree that our sedentary lifestyles are a significant contributing factor to obesity, but you have it backwards about portion sizes.

Calorie dense (palatable) foods trigger our the reward centers in our brain more than non-palatable foods, and actually make us more hungry. This is an evolved survival strategy.

If you look at hunter gatherer diets, they will eat huge portions of extremely high calorie foods when they are available (e.g. drinking whole glasses of honey). They don't put on a lot of weight because they are more active, and don't have daily access to high calorie foods.

This means that large portions (and by extension obesity) are caused by the easy availability and low cost of high calorie foods. Telling people to eat less doesn't work because the systems that trigger hunger and fat retention work at a subconscious level and are in general more powerful than the conscious mind. The food environment that we have built up around us is a bad one for human beings.

If you want to learn more about how our hunger and fat regulation systems work then I can highly recommend "The Hungry Brain" by Stephan Guyenet [1].

[1]: https://www.amazon.com/Hungry-Brain-Outsmarting-Instincts-Ov...

I really don't think it needs to be that complicated. French cuisine, for example, is full of butter, fat, wine, and other theoretically unhealthy foods.

Yet the French have dramatically lower rates of obesity than the Americans, and recent increases in the French obesity rate are mostly due to Americanization / a drift from traditional French food culture.

I obviously don't have the data, but I think it's simply because meals are traditionally "sacred" in French culture (that is, you don't eat snacks in between meals) and because portion sizes are much, much smaller than the American equivalent.

Europeans who travel to America joke about how much weight they're going to gain on their trip, but it's not really a joke. There's just so much food. American restaurants serve appetisers that are big enough to be a main course and main courses that could feed a family.

Everything about the American food culture works to subtly distort your sense of what a sensible portion looks like. A Big Gulp is a grotesque amount of soda, but it seems almost parsimonious compared to a Double Gulp. It's almost like gaslighting - you're constantly being told that vastly excessive portions are the norm.


Not just that, also the amount of sugar in those portions is astounding. Luckily, when I visited the USA for 3 weeks, I didn't have time to get accustomed to that, and I actually didn't enjoy to eat that kind of food. Unluckily, now that I've been living in the UK for 6 months - where the amount of sugar is less than in the UK, but much higher than in Italy where I used to live - I'm starting to notice it less and less.

> Europeans who travel to America joke about how much weight they're going to gain on their trip, but it's not really a joke. There's just so much food. American restaurants serve appetisers that are big enough to be a main course and main courses that could feed a family.

I've heard this a lot but never experienced it. Are portions smaller in NYC (which is the only place in the US I've visted much)?

I definitely think so from my limited experience. I ate what seemed like normal meals in bars and ethnic restaurants in NYC, but in other areas we'd go to some place like Chilli's were the calories are insane - most appetizers are over 1000kcal, and most single courses 1500-2000kcal.

Obviously this varies a lot from restaurant to restaurant. But yes in general portion sizes tend to be larger in the US southeast and midwest regions.

I haven’t researched it, but I’m pretty sure the american diet has the highest amount of concentrated sugar (the most calorie dense foodstuff). Processed foods with added sugar are the most highly valued by your brain and so trigger overeating more than any other.

French food culture values home cooking from fresh ingredients which I assume results in food with lower concentrations of processed sugar.

Lack of sugar perhaps? Someone sent me a link a while ago showing how sugar triggers the body to store fat. Keto diets are similar in principle and many people claim to loose weight on them.

What about the relative levels of appetite suppressants (e.g. smoking) between the two cultures?

According to Wikipedia, the rates of cigarette consumption are basically the same:

#63 - France #69 - U.S.


If this were truly the determining factor in the American obesity crisis, we'd see similar outcomes in all developed economies (which, obviously, we don't).

Let's not throw our hands in the air and blame the quirks of evolutionary biology when there are clearly better examples to follow.

What do you mean obviously we don't. Obesity in France is at 24%, closely behind the US and the UK. And obesity is rising in countries around the world as access to "western" diets increases.

The obesity rate is the US is at over 36%, so at quite a distance to France [1].

The overall rank of all countries by body mass index places the US at #9 and France at #43. [2]

Evolutionary psychology is fine for producing plausible-sounding explanations, but I have not yet heard a single case where it actually produced something of scientific value.

Sure, aeons of scarcity obviously made us like food. But as can be seen with this example, culture often plays a much bigger role.

[1] https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/29-most-obese-countries-...

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_body_mass...

Obesity rates in both France and the US are rising at similar, alarming rates. In the mid-90s the US surpassed 24% obesity rates, and at that time France was at less than 10%.

This is crazy. What are we doing? Nobody chooses to be fat, except maybe sumo wrestlers and a few other strange outliers.

One successful approach seems seems to be education at schools and banning junk food there: "From 2012 to 2015, the number of overweight and obese children has dropped by 12%." https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/apr/14/amsterdam-so...

Here is a chart from Wikimedia, showing the incidence of obesity by country in OECD countries in the period 1996-2003:


Rates vary from 3.2% (Japan) to 30.6%. The median value is somewhere around 13%. Clearly there is more at work than evolutionary biology/psychology.

I feel like it's more related to the refined sugar added to improve the shelf live in the supermarket in the 50ies that are responsible, it's something they didn't have access back in the days. It's clearly something our body is not used to and store it straight into fat. (sugar triggers the same area in the brain as cocaine, so it's clearly addicting) So it looks like it's more about food evolution that went too fast for our body to adapt in time. And that is different based on DNA too, some people get a lot fatter than other, slow/fast metabolism ...

+1 about sugar.

Regarding evolution, I don't think we would like to have a few billion deaths to let our DNA "adapt"

Considering that a 30 minute workout often incorporates, getting dressed (5 min), driving to the gym (20 min), working out (30 min), driving home (20 min), taking a shower (15 min), being so exhausted that the rest of the night is down the drain....

The 30 minute workout is a myth...

> being so exhausted that the rest of the night is down the drain.

You're only exhausted after a 30 min workout when you have 0 physical training. After a few weeks it'll have the opposite effects. As developers our body is rotting away day by day, if I didn't push myself to exercise the most physical thing I'd do most of the days is pull a door to open it.

Even a set of dumbbells, a pull-up bar and a stretch mat will be miles ahead of doing nothing. It's very insidious because you can be passive all your youth with almost no side effects, but all those years of passivity will come back at us when we hit 50, 60, 70.

You're only exhausted after a 30 min workout when you have 0 physical training.

If you're not exhausted after a 30 minute workout that just means you're not pushing yourself.

I run to and from the gym (~15 min), mostly do compound exercises like ohp / squat / deadlift / bench press for 1-2 hours 3 times a week. I'm usually home before 9PM and cook / continue with my day. Unless you have to chop wood when you get back home you'll be fine.

Even after bouldering for hours to the point of not being able to hold a glass of water in my hand I've never been "so exhausted that the rest of the night is down the drain.", and I'm far from being a genetic freak or a good athlete.

I used to be your average 70kg skinny fat teen, that was 4 years ago when I decided to do something to not end up like all the chubby 30+ years old guys I was seeing daily and who were unable to go up 4 flights of stairs without panting, at some point you have to take decisions for yourself. It's not some bs like "you can be the next Einstein/Musk/Bezos if you try hard enough", there is no luck involved, no barrier to entry. The hard truth is that there is no magic bullet, no quick ways to do it, you just have to get up and move, be it cycling, lifting weight, running, swimming.

It's pure lack of motivation/confidence, once you get started everything falls in place and gets easier. 3 or 4 hours of quality workout a week, even at home, will change your body in a few month and you'll never look back. And if you can't find 3 or 4 hours a week to take care of your most precious physical possession (your body) I guess you have bigger issues to take care of.

If you are in reasonable shape recovering after a 30 minute workout will not take much more than the time it take for a quick shower. After that time you will have much more energy compared to what you did have before starting to get in shape

It depends on the exercise program.

I'm currently doing a Texas-method-based lifting program: three-days, medium-light-heavy. The "medium day" is mostly volume with (e.g.) 5x5 squats at 90% for example; I'm zonked after. My light/recovery day I'm only doing 70-75%. The heavy/intensity day it's 1x5 100% (or trying to reach five reps).

Of course if you're going an HIIT program, then yes, you should probably fairly drained afterwards.

So what? The idea that you need to go balls to the wall to benefit from exercise is probably why so many people fail at it. You get plenty of benefits by simply getting up and going for a bloody walk for 30 minutes.

If you're time starved and trying to work out like this, you're doing it wrong. There are much more time efficient ways to get some exercise.

Rather than driving 20 minutes each way to the gym, just put on some shoes and run/walk from your front door. You've saved 40 minutes and a bunch of money. Plus, if your goal is to lose weight, you've a far more effective workout.

Walk/run/bike to work. I've completed 2 Ironman triathlons and 75% of my training was done on my commute (my shortest route to work is 8 miles but I can take different routes and make it as long as I want) with hardly any impact (other than exhaustion) on my personal or professional life.

Walking is not effective for weight loss. Then there would be nothing left of me while working as a checker at a warehouse (35000 steps/day)

I don't know if it's true, but I often think the only real solution for weight loss is eating less, and that exercise is more of a way to improve general fitness rather than losing weight.

A caloric deficit is the only way to lose weight. You can burn off the calories that you eat, if you have the time and the energy; but the most efficient way is not to eat those calories in the first place and then exercise to improve your strength, cardio-vascualar stamina and flexibility.

You're also not mentioning the other half of the equation: calorie input. If someone eats the same amount of food, and walks more, then they're burning more than before when they were just sitting on the couch. Of course what often happens that the body starts wanting more energy for the new activity level, so many people end up eating more--no net change.

It should also be noted that there's more to exercise than just weight loss.

That is because the person I responded to didn't mention that and actually wrote that _walking_ was effective, not a caloric deficit.

Walking burns a lot more calories than not walking.

"You can't out run a bad diet"

I won't comment on the logistical difficulties of making a separate trip to the gym, except to say that there are always a million excuses not to work toward your goals, but if you really want 'em then you'll find another way.

> being so exhausted that the rest of the night is down the drain

This is your body's resistance to a change in routine; you may also observe it when, e.g., quitting coffee or skipping breakfast. Keep it up for a few weeks and you'll be over the hump. A couple more months, and a 30-minute workout won't even faze you.

Driving to the gym for aerobic exercise? I think it's fair to blame culture in that case.

buy an exercise mat (£5), search "low impact HIIT workout" on YouTube, follow the video just before your normal daily shower time (presumably you shower at least 3 times a week?)... it's just a matter of priorities, really.

My mid-range apartment has a gym, it's 30 seconds away from the front door and I shower at home without fear of foot fungus.

I still don't exercise anywhere near as much as I should. Perhaps the tyranny of distance is the myth?

"exhausted that the rest of the night is down the drain."

If you're going to the gym after work (and after getting home) that might be the problem. Everyone I know who works out either can take an extra long lunch break and do it then or get up an extra hour/hour and a half and do it in the morning. It's usually a lot emptier in the morning as well.

Also, there are a lot of activities you can do that don't even involve getting to a gym. You could do a 15 minute jog out and a 15 minute jog back. You can also do most bodyweight exercises at home.

I feel like the actual solution is to gamify it in such a way that it keels you competing with friends for the sake of winning. Fitbit's ranking system has definitely increased the amount of exercise I get.

I agree with this. I did running a few years ago, but stopped because it got too boring and I didn't notice any improvement. However, I recently got into Pokemon Go, which has an egg hatching concept. It rewards you with Pokemon with better stats, but you need to walk/run/bike 5km in order to get it to hatch. This has given me new motivation to run again.

Back when I cycled in a group Strava had a similar effect, you could see how many miles your friends had gotten in and would want to beat it (same with the mini time trials (strava segments) but they got dangerous with people doing stupid things to 'win'.

These days I ride alone and the only number I care about is my total for last week.

You can also gamify exercise with your friends by playing soccer, or basketball, or Ultimate. It has the added benefit of being fun.

I don't really compete with anyone, but I am using google fit since two months ago.

I was swimming and going to the gym since a couple of years ago before that, but I feel more motivated now just for getting the stats.

It's silly, but not unlike trying to get green squares on GitHub.

From a different point of view you are actually competing, but with yourself :-)

Garmin uses the phrase "Beat Yesterday" in their fitness tracker advertisements. Every day try to get a little faster.

Sign up for an actual "game" like a local 5km running race. If you want to place well in the race that's good motivation to get out and train every week.

It's not only about having "enough time". These "short time" approaches are amazing for "making" time. Every major habit I started, I first started doing a few minutes a day, then it naturally came to me to EXTEND it to a longer period of time.

This is an aspect it seems many people forget.

The reason I cycle almost everywhere is because its the fastest way around a dense city and it saves me time in most cases.

And yet, here we are, discussing it on the internet, and arguing about whether the researcher is right or whether there's a different/better solution.

I'm not claiming you're wrong, but I'm not going to raise my hand and claim that I don't spend more time fooling around online than I ought to either.

Stop prioritizing cars!!! More bicycles and walking. F cars!

I can see why you're being downvoted. Netherlands, that cycling paradise is the only 1st world nation where obesity rates are on the decline.


I don't think Netherlands is the only 1st world nation to cut their obesity rate. Japan has also done it.


This was initially as a response to wattengard. But I realized more people would benefit from this, so posting as a top comment.

I just wanted to post some options to workout from home. So it cuts down atleast on the time to drive out the gym and driving back. And if done in the morning also avoids the extra shower :)

Please note that other than having used these videos, I have no other affiliation to both these options. Both are free resources.

FitnessBlender[1] has >500 workout videos. The best part is, these videos are tagged by their difficulty from level 1 to level 5. You can jump into any workout at any level. If it is overwhelming or underwhelming, you can adjust accordingly. At my weakest even a level 2 workout was killing. Then I had moved upto a level 4 or short level 5 workout. You can do all the exercises with a dumbbell or bodyweight. Lost nearly 20kg using this. Then I got careless and let slip. Now I am starting back at level 3. I used to make my own workout plan, putting together the workouts that I liked. They also have paid workout programs that makes all the planning much easier.

100Pushups.net[2] and its associated pullups, situps running etc. These are just text resources that give you a detailed plan on how to progress from a single pushup(or none) and slowly build up until you can ultimately do 100. (The tracking app was added later and I have not used it.) It is purely bodyweight. You do need a pullup bar. I tried it for a short period and started seeing results in a very short period. But somehow working out with the video was a lot more motivating and I pushed myself more, than working out alone following some plan on paper. So I went back to FitnessBlender again. Yet, I feel, if you are good at pushing yourself, then this would be a good option.

Other please, share at-home workouts that have worked for you.

[1] https://www.fitnessblender.com/videos

[2] http://www.100pushups.net/

It's not a 'lack of time' why people don't exercise, they don't make time to do it. I totally understand why: it's so much easier and convenient to not do it, and for a very long time, you don't notice it all that much if you don't if you fail to do any exercise; it's only afters a long time of being sedentary and then having to do something slightly intensive you notice that all your strength and stamina is gone.

It's not lack of time; it's that people do not actively feel how badly their bodies deteriorate when they do not exercise, since it goes so slowly, and they do not do any exercise, so they also never really find out until it has become a real problem. If people would feel how bad it was not to exercise, they would be much more accommodating in their immensely busy schedules and actually take time out of their day to do so.

Once you cross certain threshold in fitness, and keep that level for some time, it becomes painfully obvious when you stop and almost immediately start losing all that hard gained strength, stamina, flexibility etc.

Relatively high fitness level is such a great feeling from oneself, it also positively affects your mind and mood. Every time I stop for whatever reason (ie travelling, sickness) I hate it, and also remember how hard it is to get back.

My two cents on the "enough time to work out" topic: I work eight hours a day on grunt level marketing stuff, in an open office.

I used to do power lifting, but between this job, online programming classes, and trying to maintain a relationship with my wife, this dropped off.

Something that helped me immensely was just bringing a couple 25-pound dumbbells to work, leaving them by a pile of junk behind the building, and ducking out for a "smoke break" every 2 hours or so, during which I spend 5 intense minutes systematically annihilating every muscle group I can. The "best" workout is the one you can consistently do.

Pros: Takes maybe 20 minutes a day and I'm doing it on company time, but I don't feel bad about it because I don't smoke and it clears my mind to focus on more PPC drudgery.

Cons: None. Bring dumbbells to work tomorrow and hide them behind your junk pile.

Someone left their dumbdells at my old office, and it became community use. Approximately every hour, I'd get up, stretch, do some pushups, and dumbell workouts. Didn't need to hide it, nobody cared.

The problem is, that even after a 1-minute workout, I need to take a shower and change my clothes if I want to stay 8+ more hours with other people.

Yes, that's why you should incorporate it in your morning routine right right after waking up, while still wearing the pajamas and then take a shower.

My question might sound aggressive but I've always been fascinated by seemingly smart people making that kind of point. Are you saying that having to take a shower is enough of an annoyance that you'd skip on a life time of benefits in almost every measurable health / well being metrics ?

Is that also true for a 20-second dash up the stairs, as suggested in the original article?

Four years ago I went looking for the fastest way to cut down my weight and ended up comparing different modes of running on Wolfram Alpha. Turns out increasing the incline was the most effective at burning energy, almost 3X or 300% at 30° incline¹ which is bonkers.

I couldn't mod my treadmill to get any significant amount of incline but quickly landed on the idea of using my staircase and thus began a 4 hour regimen (10:30 pm to 2:30 am) of running up and down 25 steps 120+ times. It was highly effective (96 kg to 83 kg) but I blew out my knees and right ankle after 4 months of this, forcing me to stop. It also was a problem when my neighbour's wife kept peeking through their door to let me know they didn't appreciate all that clacking at 1 in the morning.

4 years later I'm holding onto the same level I reached back then (84 kg) and I'd love to do it again and get it down by another 10 kg in an intense two-month sprint. But I get cold feet every time I think about it.

I'm taking Vit. C now to boost collagen so my joints should fare better the next time I try it. The lawyer and his wife have also moved out which is another annoyance taken care of. Whether I can resist the urge to push hard after seeing the results is the question.


It sounds very tough on your joints, did you consider swimming ? Cycling ? Rowing machines ? It's not all about the numbers, the only diets / workouts that work are the ones you can keep as a lifestyle.

Swimming ticks all the right boxes for me but the nearest pool is a bit far from here and I wasn't sure about the quality of water and general upkeep.

If those variables can be controlled swimming is definitely the best way to get a full-body workout without taxing the joints. Just the fact that I don't end up a sweaty mess with an extra load of laundry after each workout is a major win for me. Only problem is I don't trust the people running the pools here.

Edit: Tried cycling for a few years but it ended up not being safe early in the morning with a few politically-motivated murders on my route.

My current workout is just lifting weights + mountain climbers¹. Hasn't rocked my world but they do help me maintain status quo.


Something I remembered just now that was actually one of the reasons I was glad I stopped when I did: do be careful racing up and down the stairs in 20 seconds multiple times a day as the article suggests. I was constantly having low-grade anxiety one of those days I'd slip or trip and end up maimed or worse.

There are several simple HIIT routines on YouTube that can keep you gym fit without getting you killed. I like this one¹ but there are plenty others.


4 hours a day of stair running? That's completely bonkers. I used to stair run for 20 minutes ... and it kicked my butt in my 20s.

FWIIW, buy a kettlebell and take glycine/eat bone soup.

His newest study finds that dashing up a staircase for just 20 seconds, repeated a few times a day, can measurably improve your fitness.

Well, but doing this “a few” times, let’s say 3x, results in... 1 min. Where’s the news?

Don't remember where I heard it but once someone remarked that if President Obama could make time for an hour a day for exercise, then most people (which is to say, people not buried under their work or facing other difficult challenges) probably can come up with a better excuse than simply not having the time.

The thing is a managerial schedule has a lot of autonomy. The president decides when all the meetings are. Even ambassadors will move their appointments around to see you if you're POTUS.

Similarly for a lot of these tough-guy manager stories, they aren't doing anything that requires deep thinking like debugging TCP stacks.

I don't buy this. Just make yourself unavailable and make it non-negotiable.

In a managerial role you can mold your schedule to your life, rather than your life to your schedule.

You can have non-negotiable meetings and shift things around all you want if you have that kind of authority. But a lot of every day folks don't have the kind of work autonomy to have their schedule match their preferences

Even when he works out, he is probably working indirectly, like perhaps he has aides with him, doing, scheduling or what have you.

It's unfair to compare the average Joe to the POTUS. The POTUS has an army of aides to help him in his duties and he is expected to maintain good health.

A better way to approach the problem is to help people identify where there is a waste of time happening and guiding them to reduce that.

Personally I feel that smartphones have robbed us of our free time. They have seriously reduced our attention spans, have been feeding us endless information, most of which is useless and have made us borderline addicts. To maintain a healthier lifestyle and find more time per day, I would seriously consider ditching the smartphone and make do with a feature phone.

Reading this from a smartphone...

I wish this was a joke, but here we are. Luckily I have a better alternative for you; find a meaningful physical activity that you enjoy doing instead, and sit back and watch your priorities take care of the rest.

I have a wooden man [0] and a sand bag in my living room, which means the barrier to training is basically non-existing. And its a kind of training I enjoy, because it leads somewhere and strengthens the body in a non-artificial way. I'll do five minutes here, ten there; with the occasional late night 2 hour session.


> Still, the stair-climbing protocol isn’t just about time, he says. It should also “remind people that ‘exercise’ does not have to involve changing into spandex, going to the gym and making an hour time commitment.” The volunteers in the new study, he notes, didn’t don workout gear or shower afterwards; it was just a brief moment in their normal daily routine.

I completely agree to this one. Ritual of going to Gym becomes a big procrastion.

I think I might prefer the opinion of this other Canadian researcher: it's way too hard to incorporate physical activity into your regular activities.


I wonder if this is what a Minimum Viable Workout (MVW) would look like. I’m not trying to make my exercise life more efficient (I think time spent in the gym without a phone helps me disconnect), but because sometimes the effort barrier is too high for me and I fall into periods of inactivity. So I would find it appealing to maintain a baseline of fitness with a “no excuses” MVW.

I've often wondered if would help me to do an all-out 1K row right before bedtime, each day. I guess it would take 3:30 or so, maybe 3:00 if I really smash it.

The times I've done that I've felt extremely tired afterwards, and had to have a good long rest.

How would regularly performing at max without a warmup affect tendons etc.?

Is there evidence this is bad for you?

Lack of time because we must sit tweeting and posting selfies 7 hours a day. Everyone has 24 hours, if you cannot take 1 hour from that for arguably the most important thing for your health...

But let me ask you this: if you haven't posted to instagram in the last hour, are you really alive? And isn't being alive the most important aspect of health?

Indeed! You can't really post a picture showing how awesome your life is when dashing up the stairs.

It's quite possible to get an hour of good exersize walking the dog though and that is definitely something you can brag about. #zenlife (please, don't hurt me)

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