(Breather) For the past 10 years, I have modified my fitness regimen away from narrow endurance focus (including the extremely health-destructive chronic cardio training regimen that I followed as an elite competitor for 15 years) to a more balanced regimen featuring comfortable aerobic workouts (i.e., jogging daily with dogs), regular brief, intense strength training sessions, and occasional all-out sprints.
It takes time, research, and a lot of trial and error to find out what works for you. A decade into this process of modifying my ever-evolving routine and here’s what I’ve come up with:
- Establish a Flexibility/Mobility/Wakeup Call Routine. This is fairly new to me, something I started doing around 2 years ago. Check out my YouTube video here and note that I’ve found moving my practice from the bed to the floor has yielded even better results!
- Increase General Everyday Movement. This one’s easy – just move! The goal is to break up the prolonged periods of stillness that most of us experience during the work day. Just freaking walk! Walk where you can, whenever you can, take the stairs instead of the elevator, and aim for frequent, very comfortable jogging (HR 130 bpm max) for 20 – 30 minute duration – something you can do with your friends, your partner, your dogs ….and then there’s also one of my favorite ways to move: the Unfrozen Caveman Runner! And don’t forget that foam rolling actually counts as movement too!
- Incorporate Micro-Workouts. These are brief efforts of explosive strength over the course of the day, one of my favorite fitness breakthroughs in recent memory. For example, hauling off a set up chin-ups when you enter that doorway, or doing a set of deep squats in your cubicle during the workday.
- Bring Brief Strength Training into the mix. It only needs to last anywhere from 5-20 minutes, 2-3 days a week. Save the extremely high intensity full-body work exercises (Schlepmo type-stuff—go hard or go home!) for the gym or outdoors.
- Full Strength Sessions should consist of 5 sets of 6-8 deadlift/ 5 x 12 pullups. Or Cordz. This should take approximately 30-45 minutes.
- All Out Sprints. Do this weekly. After 12 years of draining workouts (soreness, fatigue, etc.) I transformed my approach with Dr. Craig – HIIT v HIRT. 8 x 60m on field. Luxury rest intervals. 4-10. 10 minutes of quite challenging technique drills.
Do your fitness goals fit into the reality of your real life? [04:35]
Brad suggests you custom design a routine for yourself that will fit into your flexibility needs. [07:20]
Move more every day. Take breaks. Walk. [09:18]
Adding other micro workouts during the day is easier than you think. [11:31]
At the gym, even once a week, high intensity explosive workouts works. [15:22]
Don’t forget to sprint. [16:47]
So many factors go in to the concept of anti-aging. [19:41]
Do not reach for your phone first thing in the day. [20:09]
Get Over Yourself Podcast
Brad: 00:00 Welcome to the get over yourself podcast. This is author, an athlete, Brad Kearns, discovering ways to be healthy, fit, and happy in hectic, high stress modern life. So let’s slow down and take a deep breath. Take a cold plunge and expertly balance that competitive intensity with an appreciation of the journey. That’s the theme of the show. Here we go.
Brad: 03:25 A breather show, continuing with the wonderful momentum that we’ve created, working our way through a comprehensive healthy lifestyle strategy, anti aging peak performance. So we covered the grand overview, a tidbits about diet, exercise, sleep, lifestyle. Then we got into details with diet and now let’s cover the exercise and the movement objectives for living a healthy, happy lifestyle. And when I was writing the note to my friend, I put together a my personal fitness routine that has been time tested and optimized and especially with, uh, a nod or an acknowledgement that, uh, many of us don’t have, uh, hours and hours to work out every day and hang around the gym and do everything we’re supposed to do. And this includes me because remember I spent a decade of my life, uh, competing as a professional triathlete.
Brad: 05:37 So everyday I woke up and I lived and breathed exercise and workouts and fitness and recovery. And that’s a really fun and it was a, a great growth experience to dedicate my life to being an athlete and a lifelong dream since I was a little kid. And then I had to retire and grow up and get a real life and start a family and start a career or start a new career and all those great things that happened that’s happened over the last couple of decades. So I do not wish myself to be that dedicated to fitness goals, uh, right now and probably never again. Right? So I want to fit my fitness and competitive goals into the realities of modern life and the other interests and lifestyle responsibilities that I have. Same with most everyone, right? When you’re in your college years or your high school years and you’re given it everything you got and you’re practicing basketball for three hours a day, like my son’s team in high school.
Brad: 06:32 Oh Man, what a wonderful experience. You know, having that level of focus and dedication and getting the very best out of your body and striving for these great peak performance goals. So for the average listener, we want to talk about something different and that is to do the best we can within the confines and the challenges of hectic, high tech, sedentary focused, modern life. So I’m going to give you the step-by-step here and I’m going to cover a lot of stuff. It’s going to take a whole breather show, but when we break it all down, it is not a time intensive requirement. You can do it. It’s really easy. It just takes establishing these systems and habits. I think you’re going to love it. All right.
Brad: 07:20 So number one, starting off, and this has been a beautiful recent revelation for me. I believe I am two and a half years into this now is my morning flexibility, mobility routine.
Brad: 07:33 You can see pretty much what I do on Youtube. I’ve modified it a tiny bit from that, particularly by getting out of bed and onto the ground. So I was doing all these movements in bed just to make sure it was the first thing I did every day. And I realized that doing core work into a soft squishy bed, uh, was much easier than doing it on the ground. So now I pop out of bed and hit the ground. So it is a custom design routine of various leg exercises, leg swings, all engaging the core as my legs are off the ground and it takes several minutes. And I finished off with uh, the wonderful back bridge from the practice of Yoga. Probably the most difficult yoga position where I’m making an arch, like the gateway to St Louis with my entire body where it my only my toes and my hands are touching the ground.
Brad: 08:22 Really difficult. Worked up to that for a long period of time. Pretty dangerous. So you don’t have the flexibility and uh, working up to something like that. But the point here is that I want you to design your own customized routine of the acceptable duration that you can commit to doing it every single day. Okay. Take a look at my youtube video. Maybe it’s something inspired by that, especially if you’re an athlete. Some good drills to open up the hips and keep the hamstrings flexible. It could be the yoga sun salute sequences where you reach for the sky and then compress down, touching your toes, sweeping back up, whatever it is. Make sure that it is totally automatic and repeatable every single day so you don’t have to think about it, you just get up and do it first thing in the morning. So the morning flexibility, mobility, wake up call routine is the centerpiece of this fitness and movement goal.
Brad: 09:18 The next one on the list is that a objective to move more in daily life. So we want to break up these prolonged periods of stillness that many of us experienced during the workday with some j f w just frickin walk simple as that, walking more in daily life and finding assorted other ways to move your body. A, we have some great material in the upcoming book, Quito, longevity about some balancing drills that you can do on one leg, even in your cubicle. Uh, foam rolling counts as a movement objective, taking the dog out for a walk, morning and evening. And of course added onto this is the objective of completing some, uh, cardiovascular activity at aerobic heart rates. 180 minus your age in heartbeats per minute because we certainly don’t have the opportunity to walk around as frequently as our hunter gatherer ancestors.
Brad: 10:17 So within the confines and structure of modern life, we want to take those opportunities for five minute, 10 minute walking breaks, and then also throw down some official workouts, but making sure that they’re conducted at a comfortable heart rate. So, uh, some of my go tos in this area are to get those dogs out in the morning. Man, how much more motivation do you need than dogs who have built that expectation through habit that they’re getting out in the morning? I can’t look those dogs in the eye and say, sorry, I can’t take you a, the other fun thing that I’ve been doing that you can also see on youtube if you type in unfrozen caveman runner into youtube. So I’ve piggybacked my morning chest freezer, cold plunge practice with getting out and rewarming through jogging down the street until my body gets warm. And it’s a wonderful workout experience because your perceived exertion is reduced to almost nothing when your body temperature is lower. So the first 30 minutes of my run, I don’t even feel like I’m running. I’m just trying to warm up my body. So fun stuff there. But the point is get some cardiovascular activity, uh, every single day with the objective of GFW and then throwing in a frequent workouts.
Brad: 11:31 Uh, then, uh, I want to add this exciting number three onto the list and that is what’s being referred to as micro workouts. Maybe, uh, just I being the one referring to them. We’ll see, uh, type that term into Google. I don’t know. But this is the idea that throughout your day you can perform brief bouts of explosive movements in the course of your busy day and not worry about it. Just put it as a routine part of your day. So integrating the passing under of the pull up bar at my house. When I go through that doorway, I will have a penchant for hauling off, let’s say a single set of chin-ups and then going about my business, I have a hex bar, dead lift in the backyard, love this thing, and I will go out to throw a bag of garbage away and hit the deadlift bar for a single set of dead lifts.
Brad: 12:25 So if you get into the habit of, for example, dropping in your cubicle for a set of 20 deep squats, it’s really, really difficult. Try to go ass to grass style where you’re lowering all the way down, way past parallel, and then standing back up, even just doing 20 of those, it gives an excellent workout stimulation. So aside from your obligation to get into the gym or go to the track and do your formal sprint workouts or explosive strength training sessions, this concept of micro workouts has been a wonderful revelation for me. And I feel like it’s elevated my baseline platform from which I launce the actual, uh, proper, uh, strength training sessions and anyone can do it. You’re not getting sweaty after doing one set of pull ups or one set of deep squats and your cubicle. I also have these wonderful, uh, tools called stretch cord that’s a brand name stretch cord, Cor D,Z , but anything with the surgical tubing with the handles or you can find those at any sporting goods store and you hang those from a door knob or I hang them from my pull up bar and I’ll do perhaps a single set of wood chopper, a movement for the abdominals.
Brad: 13:38 So I’m not fatiguing myself. I’m not worried about, uh, you know, interrupting my day with a long duration workout that maybe I’m not ready for because I’m still recovering from an intense session at the gym. But just throwing down these micro sessions and watching how they accumulate over time. So consider that if I do a couple sets of deadlifts, uh, during a routine day, and maybe I do that four or five days a week, right? So realistically, uh, and again, not counting the formal workout, if I just go and hit that dead lift, maybe one set in the morning, one set at night, right? So I’m only doing what? 12 reps? I only have 200 pounds on there. No big deal. Um, that’s 2,400 pounds of lifting in a day that I don’t even count as a workout and don’t even think about. But if you add that up, uh, five days a week, right?
Brad: 14:31 There’s what, 12, 15,000 pounds in a month, I’m lifting 60,000 extra pounds without even thinking about it. How much better are my formal workouts going to be if I’m starting from a 60,000 pound, uh, monthly lifting platform? Huge difference. Especially cause I struggle to get in there in the gym and perform the workouts without getting sore the next day or without getting sidetracked and skipping workouts because they’re too strenuous or I’m not quite feeling right for an explosive peak performance session that lasts for a longer duration. So these make my formal workouts better, but they also have that fantastic additional benefit of breaking up periods of stillness throughout the day. Enhancing fat burning, enhancing blood circulation and oxygen delivery to the brain. So micro workouts, huge plug for those.
Brad: 15:22 And then of course a, we’re going to the next obligation of doing some brief high intensity explosive workouts, uh, in the course of a week. So let’s say, uh, getting to the strength training obligation with whether you’re doing the primal essential movements in your backyard or the park or going into the gym and going through the, uh, machine circuits. Of course, we want to delay the aging process and get those proper strength training sessions in where they’re lasting perhaps for 15, 20, 25, 30, 35 minutes total. And you know what? If you’re doing really well with the micro workouts, I’m going to say that just getting to the gym even once a week because again, I want to have this whole story here, this whole podcast doable and something that doesn’t feel intimidating to tackle. So if you can get to the gym for an excellent workout once a week and throw in these micro workouts on other days, that’s a pretty decent, impressive package. We’ve talked for a long time primal blueprint about doing two strength training sessions a week lasting between 10 and 30 minutes and sure that would be great to get yourself over to the gym a couple times a week and knowing that these workouts can be short in duration, but I know life gets busy and a lot of times we miss or skip the sessions, so package that together, the micro workouts with a formal strength training session and of course the all out sprint session.
Brad: 16:47 Use it or lose it, man. This is one of the fundamental laws of nature and longevity and performing at maximum intensity. Doing a brief explosive effort, even lasting for as little as 10 seconds, can have a profound effect on your longevity, on your fitness, at all other ambitions and other, uh, lower intensity performances. And of course, uh, breaking through those, uh, fat loss plateaus by sending this strong signal to your genes to uh, build or maintain lean muscle and drop excess body fat. So something magical happens when you sprint, when you take it up to maximum effort. Uh, they have a measurement called metabolic equivalent of task MET and they measure, uh, the difference between a particular activity and your baseline rate of let’s say a at rest your, uh, at one met one metabolic equivalent of task. And then you go up from there.
Brad: 17:49 So if you can look at a chart, probably find something on the Internet where a gardening, you know, on your hands and knees potting some plans has a MET score of five, a brisk walk has a MET score of seven to nine. Uh, same with casual cycling. And then you go up in the scale where you’re doing a, uh, a, a tempo running or bicycling workout, climbing a hill at a, uh, ambitious heart rate and that might be MET of 15. And then of course the brief explosive all out sprint has an incredible MET score of 30. So when you’re sprinting, you’re asking your body to perform at a rate 30 times metabolic rates, 30 times that at rest. And so the lasting effects of that, even if you’re only sprinting for let’s say a ten second sprint, you’re resting for a long period of time so you can perform again, an explosive high quality sprint the next time, the next time.
Brad: 18:44 And let’s say you only do four or six or eight in a session, so you’re really not, uh, explosive for more than a minute or two at a time during a quality sprint workout that will have a lasting effect on your metabolism for hours afterward, 48 to 72 hours afterward, you have sent a message to your genes to build muscle, repair muscle and drop excess body fat. That’s why sprinting is so powerful. It has such a wonderful impact on many other fitness goals and body composition goals, even though the workouts are short in duration. So unfortunately, even some devoted fitness enthusiasts and many devoted fitness enthusiasts never go near a the maximum all out explosive a workout performance. They’re content to get into the gym, get on the stair climber, watch CNN, watch the recap of the presidential debates for 40 minutes, 45 minutes, and go home and never challenge the body to perform at maximum level. So when we talk about the concept of anti-aging or compress morbidity that I mentioned at an earlier show, maintaining muscle mass, strength, balance, coordination, explosiveness for as long as you possibly can to ward off the ravages of aging and the accelerated aging that we’re experiencing modern life because we sit around too much. Wow. Sprinting can be your wonderful go to fitness objective.
Brad: 20:09 Oh my gosh. You know how many that is? That’s six. Okay. Six is a lot. But think about it. Most of these take very little time. Just a little bit of increased awareness and throwing in some, uh, new behaviors and through repetition and endurance, turning them in to habits. A recap. Here we go. First morning, flexibility, mobility wake up routine. Five minutes is all I asked to get started out of the gate. I thought my session lasted around five minutes. That was my guess. And then when we filmed it, and I, it a, it actually takes around 12 minutes. So the first 12 minutes of my day, every single day without fail, I’ve a strong commitment to this. That’s why I like to express it in a public forum so I can keep focused and keep doing it. Uh, my 12 minutes is going to flexibility, mobility, core exercise drills. So get something going every single morning. First thing, do not reach for your phone as your first behavior of the day. Uh, there’s some great research, I referenced this in Keto Longevity were reaching for that phone and putting your brain into reactive mode. First thing in the day is highly destructive because it fosters those types of behaviors in that type of mindset. And you get locked into that reactive mindset rather than the ideal peak performance state of being proactive and being disciplined and going by your to do list, achieving your high priority objectives, letting the other things fall where they may.
Brad: 21:43 And it’s so important these days when we have all this penchant for distractability. So if you reach for your phone first thing in the morning, I don’t have the person’s name, but the quote was, you’ll never recover (a psychologist that studies this stuff,)I a you’ll never recover. How about if you do a morning flexibility, mobility routine every day? Hopefully that will set you up for increased discipline and focus in all other areas of life for the duration of the day. So that’s number one. Number two is to get that frequent movement objective handled through a combination of JFW and structured cardiovascular workouts at 180 minus your age or below. You know what, if you can get a couple, few, five hours a week done, that would be an a plus score here. So in other words, you know, jog in a few days a week for 30, 40 minutes a taken that dog for a walk every night.
Brad: 22:41 All of a sudden you’re adding up to a few hours a week. So the goal here would be a few hours a week, a few hours out of the 168 in a week. And this is the most time intensive of anything on the list, right? The morning routines, 12 minutes a day max, five minutes a day. If you’re just starting out a few hours a week of a comfortably placed jogging, brisk walking, and uh, walking around and then the micro workouts, oh my gosh, what does this add up to in a week’s time? Probably a total of 30 minutes or something like that, right? When I’m walking by the pullup bar and doing one set or throwing the garbage away and hitting one set of deadlifts. Or if you’re in your cubicle and you’re doing a set of 20 deep squats, probably takes one minute. And if you do that two, three, four times a day, you’re going to have a massive fitness benefit for almost inconsequential time commitment.
Brad: 23:33 Okay. That was number three. Morning Flexibility. Number One, uh, movement, uh, low intensity movement. Number two, the micro workouts. Number three, uh, the brief formal strength training sessions lasting 10 to 30 minutes as number four. Once a week is all we ask twice a week would be better, but the formal workouts paired hand in hand with the micro workouts. Uh, and then we have the, uh, all out sprints, man, time to go do it. And again, a very short duration workout once a week is plenty. And the duration of your sprint should last between 10 and 20 seconds. I did a whole breather show on this, uh, about the cellular breakdown that occurs when you try to sprint for too long of a duration. So short explosive sprints of high quality throughout the session. That means extensive recovery time in between the sprints. And you’re good to go.
Brad: 24:29 Four to 10 maximum number of reps is fine. So you’re talking about a very short duration workout. Of course, I’m uh, requiring a tremendous, uh, warmup and preparation drills and dynamic stretching, especially with high impact running sprints because it has a high injury risk. So the workout might take 30 minutes or so, but the actual sprinting efforts, you’re only doing a couple few minutes of high intensity exercise with massive metabolic hormonal and peak performance benefits, anti-aging benefits. So there you go. Those are your exercise objectives. Go to it, throw them into place. Thank you for listening. Let me know how they go. Send an email to get over yourself email@example.com and we’ll talk about it on the show, especially if you have questions or a clarification that you require. Thanks for listening.
Brad: 25:28 Thank you for listening to the show. We would love your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org and we would also love if you could leave a rating and a review on iTunes or wherever you listen to podcasts. I know it’s a hassle. You have to go to desktop, iTunes, click on the tab that says ratings and reviews, and then click to rate the show anywhere from five to five stars, and it really helps spread the word so more people can find the show and get over themselves because they need to. Thanks for doing it.