The Non-Workout Workout

I’ve written about this before, but I need to mention it again. This entry overlaps with my post on ten minute workouts, but this covers a more specific application. I’m going to call it the ‘Non-Workout, Workout‘. At least until I think of a better name.

Essentially, it’s just reframing training. You’re still putting in work, but it’s broken down into smaller parts, and inserted into another activity. Maybe it’s hitting 20 kettlebell swings every commercial break, or blasting out some push-ups while you make coffee. The idea is the exercise is secondary.

You’re not allotting an hour or two to lift iron. Instead, you just happened to have knocked out some pull-ups before each Skype meeting you had yesterday afternoon. It didn’t take a tonne of effort, physically or mentally. And it certainly didn’t require you to change clothes and schedule an appropriate time to move.

When do I use this:

  • I’m short on time.
  • I’ve recently been over training, but want some form of movement.
  • I don’t feel like training. Probably the most common scenario, to be honest.

How Does it Work?

I sneakily slip in a few sets of some exercises into whatever else I might be doing. Typically, it means completing supersets of pull-ups and push-ups while I prepare and cook dinner. I described this in a recent post, but to reiterate, here’s what one of these Non-Workout Workouts might look like (in fact, this what I did earlier this evening):

  • 10 pull-ups, 25 push-ups
    • Formed some burgers out of seasoned ground beef I had in the fridge.
  • 10 pull-ups, 25 push-ups
    • Started BBQ.
  • 10 pull-ups, 25 push-ups
    • Put burgers on grill.
  • 10 pull-ups, 25 push-ups.
    • Finished cooking burgers.
Burgers and strawberries. A summertime favourite.

That little routine barely disrupted my dinner preparation. Obviously it wasn’t a crushing workout, but it was something. And since I was reluctant to train today, the choice really boiled down to completing this small routine, or nothing at all.

And I didn’t really view this evenings push-ups and pull-ups as a workout. Not because it was light in volume, rather, because all I was doing was cooking dinner, the exercise itself was secondary, incidental. Or at least that’s what I tell myself. Like, “oh, may as well bust out a few chin-ups when I pass by the door frame. No big deal.”

It’s a simple and powerful system I use when I’m short on time, or more commonly, short on enthusiasm.

Sun’s out, guns out. Finishing up the burgers after a light push/pull.

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