No Time For Exercise? Microtraining Workout!

SpringtræningJumping is healthy (after basic training)
(Photo: Ski Fitness. Model: Kim Holmes)

By Marina Aagaard, MFE

“No time for exercise” is a   r e a l l y   p o o r   excuse. It is like this, “those who think they have not time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness” (Edward Stanley, Earl of Derby, 1826-93). And:
Lack of physical activity will result in a poorer performance physically and mentally.

More often than not; if your (exercise) activity is interesting enough, you will find time!
Also it is possible for untrained as well as trained individuals to obtain a notable training effect even with very short workouts, as long as the program has the right design; a suitable level according to your health and fitness.

If one day you believe, you have no time for exercising, then exercise for 5-10 minutes, it is far better than 0 minutes! You can maintain your current fitness level and your body loves every minute of your workout.

In the military they use 5-15 minute micro workouts on busy days with no time for regular ‘full-sized’ workouts. Even ‘everyday-warriors’ can  ‘microtrain’ and get ‘macro-results’ with cardio and strength training combined in ‘mini’ CrossFit look-alike programs (high-intensity basic training).

Microtraining can be performed in your everyday clothes (though not optimal) and everywhere, indoors and outdoors, and whenever, as it is primarily bodyweight training.
Of course you can also use nature, furniture or equipment for program variation. And you can perform either one, two or three rounds, series, of the exercises.

For maximum results the microtraining should be relatively intense, so often this means sprinting, leaping or jumping, which also functions as agility training.

Note: The higher intensity, the greater the effect, however, at the same time the risk of injury increases; train with concentration og muscular control. Start at a suitable level.

Below are some examples of microtraining workouts for intermediate to advanced exercisers (warm up, and start with a lesser range of motion). The examples show basic training and each micro workout may be changed with other exercises:

1 round (Tabata requires a 5 min. warm-up):
Tabata-routine; 20 sec. sprint, 10 sec. (active) rest-pause, repeat 8 times
12 back extensions
12 ab curls

1 round:
16 jump lunges (feet staggered, jump and change legs, repeat other leg)
16 push-ups
10 reaction drill (from prone (plank>les forward) to supine (sit-up)

2 rounds:
10 tuck jump (jump, pull the knees up)
16 back extensions
16 ab curls

2 rounds:
16 lunges (forward an/or out)
16 squat
10 pull-ups

3 rounds:
10 squat jump
10 dive bombers (circular push-ups forward and backward)
10 pull-ups

3 rounds:
10 Burpees (from prone or plank position, jump forward and up, return)
16 Lunges
12 Push-ups, narrow

Enjoy your workout!

10 Top Tips: Get The Most Out Of Your Training

By Marina Aagaard, MFE

Don’t waste your time! Check these 10 expert tips, based on motivation theory and advanced sports science, and get the most out of your training time.

Få Mest Muligt Ud af Din MotionFå Mest Muligt ud af Træningen      Få Mere Ud af Din Træning og motivation

1. Find your internal motivation, find out what’s fun and meaningful in training: 1) It feels good working up a sweat and feeling the muscles work, 2) you get to know your body, 3) you get more energy, perform better and can do things, you couldn’t do before.
Alternatively for external motivation: Put up a photo on your fridge of training or an athlete, that inspires you or give yourself a reward for reaching one of your training goals.

2. Enjoy your favourite form of training: Try different things; dance, martial arts, fitness, group exercise, individual exercise, ball games, racket sport, water sport. What motivates you the most, gives you the greatest chance of starting, committing and adhering to it.

3. Do cross training, mix different training modalities and activities; mix cardio, strength, coordination and balance, flexibility, indoor and outdoor, in the water or on the ground, with or without equipment, with or without music. The body and mind loves variety. It improves your motor skills and provides all-round fitness.

4. Do strength training, e.g. 3 times a week, 20-30 min. pr. time: It improves your metabolism, increases energy expenditure during workouts and recovery. It reduces the risk of injury and improves everyday and sports performance. And it’s easy!

5. Surprise your body. Your body reacts especially well to unfamiliar training, so dig out forgotten exercises and activities, e.g. hula-hooping or football. Or vary your advanced strength exercises with basic, heavy training.

6. Change your program regularly, every 4-6 weeks, to keep the motivation and stimulate the muscles to respond even better.
The exception: If you still progress and is happy with your program.

7. Organize your training in your calendar or a training log. Set time aside for training, get into a good rhythm. This is the basis for lasting result-oriented training habits and gives an overview of your training pattern; indicates if you undertrain or (rare) overtrain.

8. Set goals, a dream goal is fine, but split it up into realistic smaller goals: Taking small steps ‘Small Increment’ technique is brilliant and doable. See to, that your goal setting is SMART, Specific, Measurable – e.g. from 0-1 mile in 5 weeks – Accepted, Realistic and Timed. And in particular: Test yourself to see how you progress, fitness testing is a very motivating activity.

9. Train with a partner. Training with one or more people, e.g. group exercise, has proved to increase exercise adherence and a partner can support you and help you to increased (heavier weight, higher speed) performance.
If you prefer to work out on your own, then let your heart rate monitor, training log, training app or your workout music be ‘your partner’.

10. Make your diet and lifestyle enhance your training. Drink approx. 2 liters of water every day throughout the day. Eat in moderation and eat healthy, whole-grain, vegetables and healthy proteins and oils (e.g. oily fish).
Get 7-8 hours of quality sleep every night. You get more out of your training and faster.
Also: See to that your training clothes and shoes have a comfortable fit, let you move with easy and are sweat-transporting (and lay it out ready for use).
This makes a difference and enhance your training experience.

Exercise, yes or no? Your heart says yes!

Happy Heart Exercise

By Marina Aagaard, MFE

I was asked by a worried potential exerciser Is exercise really healthy, if you suffer from a cardiovascular disease?. The answer is Yes!
Exercise is one of the best things you can do for your heart, because it helps in preventing cardiovascular disease; it lowers your risk of atherosclerosis, a primary cause of heart disease and stroke.

You can exercise to either prevent cardiovascular disease – a smart move – or if you already suffer from a cardiovascular disease, you can use exercise as medicine to get better! Cardiovascular disease covers many a diagnosis, therefore you need a check-up and an individual exercise recommendation from your doctor, before embarking on a formalized training program.

Proceed with caution. First of all increase your daily ‘everyday living’ PAL, Physical Activity Level, and do it from today; walk and stand more and take the stairs every time.
Then include short duration exercise sessions, walking and cycling, to get an easy start and keep the motivation for staying with your program.

Exercise recommendations
If your are very inactive, start with 5-10 minutes.
If you are used to walking, start with 10-20 minutes.
Increase duration over time to 30-60 minutes; it is healthy and burns fat.

You should break a sweat and your breathing should be somewhat heavy; it is healthy.

Gradually you should exert yourself more for short periods of time (the interval structure below is an example from Dr. Bente Klarlund Pedersen):

Exercise program

  • Warm-up for 10 minutes.
  • 10 min. somewhat hard exercise followed by 5 min. easy exercise. And again:
  • 10 min. somewhat hard exercise followed by 5 min. easy exercise.
  • Cooldown, easy exercise for 5 minutes (last easy interval). Stretching as needed.

If this feels easy, repeat the sequence, first one, then two times for every exercise session: 3-4 series of 10:5 minutes (work:active rest).
Do not increase your exercise volume too much all at once. Increase either the number of sessions per week or the number of series per session.
Listen to your body; it should feel good and doable.

Exercise plan

 times 20 minutes a week is the minimum for health benefits. If you want to feel better and get into shape the recommendation is a

minimum 30 minutes of physcial activity every day (5-7 days) for adults and 60 minutes for children.

Initially the exercise should feel fairly easy, byt as soon as you are into the exercise habit and feel comfortable, it is recommended, that you exert yourself a little (to a lot) more – for your heart’s sake.

Note: Resistance training is also healthy for your heart and metabolism; when you do resistance training, the energy expenditure is increased both during exercise and during rest.
2 times ½ hour resistance training a week is highly recommended.
Ask for a program at your local fitness centre. Example:

Warm up for 10 minutes and then train your legs, upper body, low back and abs.
5-8 exercises is plenty for starters.
Do each exercise movement 8-12 times, repetitions, have a rest-pause, then maybe another 10, and a pause, and another 10: 1-3 series of 10 repetitions.

Valentine’s Day Pulse & Passion

Heart and Health Happy Valentine

Your heart loooooooooves exercise. 
ise your heart: Exercise with your loved one(s) …

By Marina Aagaard, MFE

Top Tip

Strengthen your heart with CV* exercise.
Strengthen your heart with fun and games; it’s nice.
Strengthen your heart, to your health; a wonderful spice.

Strengthen your heart with varied WOD**: Roll the idea-dice.
Strengthen your heart with passion, “give your cake some ice”.
Strengthen your heart; it will sing: “What a lovely surprise”.

* CV: Cardiovascular (for heart and veins)
** WOD: Workout Of the Day

Cardiorespiratory Exercise Recommendations (ACSM, 2011)

Frequency: ≥ 5 days/week for moderate intensitety, fairly light-somewhat hard, or ≥ 3 days/week for vigorous intensity, somewhat hard-very hard, or ≥ 3-5 days/week for a combination of both.

Intensity: Moderate and/or high (for apparantly health adults).

Time (duration):
30-60 minutes at a moderate intensity or
20-60 minutes at a vigorous intensity or a combination of both.

Note: These recommendations are for apparently healthy adults – and initially you may benefit from a lot less; if you are not used to exercise, start out gradually: 3-5 minutes, preferably daily or 3-5 times a week, and increase over time.
Strengthen your heart; live longer, healthier, happier!

Shop Till You Drop! It’s O.K.!

By Marina Aagaard, MFE
To me shopping is a rare activity, as I aim for LEAN living and fast shopping:
1) Establish need, 2) Buy object, 3) Return to basecamp.
In spite of this I was recently named as a source in the magazine I FORM in the article…
believe it or not … shopping can be healthy 
… as I was asked for tips on how to SHOP YOURSELF INTO SHAPE!

Top Tip 
Take the stairs instead of the lift,
move with tempo, don’t just drift.
Reach, turn, bend, extend – move on up.
When in line: Lift weight (bag), balance, never stop.   

The shopping article is based on American and Taiwanese research, which finds, that shopping can prolong your life, because it is a mindbody activity; moving around and using the brain for comparing goods and adding up numbers.
The article concludes: There is no reason to have a quilty conscience about shopping.

No matter if you love or hate shopping, you can take home the message: By using your head for various tasks and increasing your daily activity level – also during shopping – you can increase brain and muscle activity in small increments and improve fitness, quality of life and longevity.

Shopping |

Get Off Your Lazy Butt

By Marina Aagaard, MFT

Hey you, don’t just sit, your body is getting sick of it …
It is vital to keep moving during the everyday, not just during exercising.
So this is for coach potatoes AND fitness fanatics:

Top Tip

Never ever completely stop …
walk, run, jump and hop.
Never ever sit for too long,
it’s not healthy and simply wrong!

Several studies indicates, that sitting for longer periods is a major risk factor for disease, independantly of regular exercise, a.o. “Role of low energy expenditure and sitting  in obesity, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.” 
(Hamilton, Hamilton, Zderic, 2007).

An Australian study found, that the simple act of interrupting a period of sitting with any kind of physical activity, even at low intensity, results in an improved metabolic rate and reduced waist circumference (Healy et al. 2008).

Get up and stretch (photo: CPhotography):
Back, forward, side to side and rotation.
FitnessWellness in less than 1 minute!