A new study (Ref: HERE) came out last year without much fanfare and without gracing the covers of different magazines. At first glance, it was easy to overlook the implications of the study, which showed how women could reduce fat stores for good. This is because the answer was not a new compound or cream, nor was the solution a different type of berry that is only found deep in the amazon – untouched by civilization for thousands of years. The study used women in the age and weight bracket that have the most difficult time losing weight to test the theory that we’re simply NOT active enough. The control group simply went about their day to day activities without adding any exercise, there was a low volume exercise group, a medium volume group (130 minutes per week) and a high-volume (HV) exercise group (250 minutes per week). The results were astonishing. After the duration of the trial, which lasted a full year, the high-volume group had lost significantly more fat than even the medium volume exercise group, and had lost it ESPECIALLY around the thighs and midsection. This was even more of a change in the HV group if the participant had started in the obese category, with several women losing as much as 80lbs of fat. What’s more, these results were not limited to just body fat, but the women also saw a reduction in breast cancer markers. So the good news is that if you want to lose body fat and keep it off, all you have to do is work out for between four and five hours per week! The bad news is that you must literally train for a minimum of 4 hours per week. That’s a lot of exercise, even for experienced gym junkies.
How Can You Sneak in 4 Hours of Exercise Every Week?
We get it, you’ve got a family, a job, and you travel for work. You’re up early, in late, and there’s just no easy time of day to sneak in an hour of exercise, certainly not 4 days per week, and DEFINITELY not when you take into consideration how long it takes to drive to the gym, shower and get home. The answer: Micro Workouts Micro Workouts are really just movement snacks. Little things you can do on a daily basis that will slowly and consistently bring you to your goal of 4 hours.
The Benefits of Micro Workouts
- Can be done anywhere (gym, office, home, park)
- Don’t need to shower every time
- Increase insulin sensitivity each workout (store less fat)
- Increase protein sensitivity (constantly building muscle)
- Increase global energy levels
- Not resigned to one form of training (yoga, weights, Zumba, running)
Micro Workout Example
A great example of a micro workout is:
- Banded Row https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ChVnSqz7S7s
- Banded Pushup https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJWBK4AfKjg
- Suspension Trainer Lateral Lunge https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dWNLzJqB8Is
Repeat each exercise for 45 seconds. Rest 15 seconds as you transition to the next exercise. Repeat 3-4 times. This workout is a great way of hitting the upper and lower body a short amount of time while keeping the rest low and the fat burning high. You can get a great training effect in just 10-15 minutes here. Here’s one of my favorites that will leave you breathless after just 15 minutes, and is a great way to work on the core and abs.
- Suspension Trainer Pike with Abduction https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dWNLzJqB8Is
- Suspension Trainer Single Leg Squat https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sDmrttMH6VQ
- Suspension Trainer Single Arm Fallout https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0L_kunt0B0U
Do the 1st and 2nd exercises for 45 seconds each, then do the fallouts for 30 seconds each side. Repeat 3-5 times each. Another great Micro Workout is just going for a quick jog! My favorite way to do it is set a timer for a little more than half the time you have. So if you’ve got a free 20 minutes, set your timer for 11 minutes. Run out and away from your house/office for the allotted time, then you have to make it back in less time than it took you to get out. It’s fun, motivating, and doesn’t take hours of cumulative effort.
The Best Times to Work Out
Obviously, you can’t call a time out in your workout and start banging out pushups on your desk while your colleagues look on in amusement. This is specific to you and your lifestyle, but there are times that work better than others. The best possible time is first thing in the morning, after a glass of water. No need to grab any food because everything you ate for dinner is still in your system and can be used to fuel a 10-30 minutes Micro Workout. After work, or right after dinner is another good time to grab a micro workout. If you can do 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes in the evening just six days per week, you’re right on track to hit the 4 hour mark. In a perfect world, you’d do more resistance training earlier in the day, and more cardio focused at the end of the day. But with the examples given above, you can make either of those micro workouts more cardio focused, or more strength focused based on rest intervals. If you don’t have any home equipment, that’s fine. There are a lot of ways to get a good workout with your body weight. I find it to be boring to only do bodyweight exercises, and I’m not as motivated to complete them. For the best and most minimal home gym set up, check out this system (Home2 System). In addition to completing your home gym, you also get access to 3 months of 25-35 minute micro workouts, which will help keep you motivated to keep working hard.
Bod in a Box Comes With:
- F3 Suspension Trainer – durable nylon straps that support up to 500lbs
- 2 Core Power Sliders – Supercharge leg and core workouts with triangular sliders for hard or soft surfaces.
- 1” Resistance Band – simulates a cable stack, and can add resistance to bodyweight movements
- ½” Resistance Band – The smaller version. Can be added together for up to 180lbs of resistance.
- 3 Months of Training – complete with video explanations and digital copy for your phone/tablet, the workouts are broken into “Basic Training”, “Core Power”, and “Extreme Conditioning”
This deal expires soon, so grab yours today.
Micro Workout Takeaways
Remember, you don’t have to commit to long, extensive session at the gym, or exhausting bouts of cardio to get the results you need. Commit to moving more frequently and exercising for shorter amounts of time more often. This will allow you to get the most out of your body, your mind, and your time. Remember, it doesn’t have to be 60 minutes! It doesn’t have to be 30 minutes. It doesn’t have to be even 15 minutes. If you waste time arguing with yourself about if you have time to do something, you won’t do anything. Grab a band and knock out a few rows, then get on the ground for a set of pushups or use the band for some triceps extensions. This is much easier also if you have your home gym equipment nearby. Buy a Bod in a Box, and keep it near your couch/desk/kitchen table. That way you’ll be able to grab a band and Do it right now! We all have 1440 minutes in our day. Spend 3 minutes right now doing a couple band squats or lunges. You’ll feel better and you’ll be on your way to knocking out those 240 minutes.
Shannon Clark holds a degree in exercise science and sport performance from the University of Alberta in Edmonton. Her love for physical activity began with her time as a competitive figure skater and she has since been working in the health and fitness field for over 10 years.
When she’s not writing about health, wellness, or fitness, she loves working as a personal trainer, baking up the latest high-protein desserts, and spending time with a good book or movie.