This is my go-to mix at the moment. It replaces a lifting playlist I shared previously that was created under my wife’s Spotify account. Figured I should create something under my own name. Some overlap with the original, but with a little more rock in this latest iteration.

It’s not terribly long. Just over an hour. That said, expect the playlist to expand in the future.

Sometimes you need (or just want) a ten minute workout. I think the guys over at Mind Pump (funny fitness podcast) would call these ‘trigger sessions’. Sort of micro workouts intended to offer a quick hit of stimulation, but nothing too intensive. Not sure if my workouts would be considered the same thing, but I like the term, so I’m using it.

Given the fact that most of us spend hours sitting each day, it’s beneficial to add small, frequent bursts of movement to wake up our body. This in contrast to exclusively engaging in only one or two intense workouts each week, with all remaining hours spent virtually motionless. That’s why I use these sessions. Well, that, and the following reasons:

  • I’m sometimes lazy, and 10 minutes is less than 11, 12, or even 20 minutes.
  • Alternatively, maybe I do really want to exercise, but happen to be at a stage where I need to reduce volume. Ten minutes lets me do something, just not too much.
  • I’m short on time. Something is better than nothing.
  • Again, I’m lazy. 

THE LAYOVER: Perform 10 minutes of suitcase carries with a kettlebell or dumbbell.

Suitcase carries are similar to farmers walks, except the weight is loaded asymmetrically (one side heavier than the other). This lopsided loading requires you to maintain an upright torso, fighting the urge to be pulled down by the weighted side. If you have the opportunity, this is a great workout to do in the backyard, barefoot, under some vitamin D delivering sunshine. Try to keep a steady pace with a solid posture for the entire 10 minutes, switching hands periodically (say every 50 metres or every 30 seconds). I personally use a roughly 60 lb kettlebell for my suitcase carries. 

This routine isn’t meant to blast you. It’s a little extra work you can throw in, especially on an ‘off’ day. For me personally, it allows me to feel like I’ve worked out, without really overtaxing my body. 

BAMBI LEGS: This is so easy it hurts. One plate (135 lbs) barbell squats: 3 sets of 20 reps. That’s it. That’s the workout. Get in. Get out.

BACK TO BASICS: To be honest, this one takes longer than ten minutes, because a little extra recovery is required between sets. That said, the total time actually moving is less than ten minutes.

The goal here is five supersets (back to back exercises) of 10 pull-ups and 20 push-ups (for a total of 50 pull-ups and 100 push-ups).

I’ll often perform this routine while cooking dinner. It’s a simple way to add a little exercise in without disrupting my day. For example, using my recent hamburger recipe, my session might look something like this…

  • Perform set #1
    • Chop some onions
  • Perform set #2
    • Prepare spices, form hamburger patties.
  • Perform set #3
    • Warm up BBQ.
  • Perform set #4
    • Place burgs on BBQ
  • Perform set #5 (final set)
    • Finish cooking the burgers, enjoy dinner.

These are but three potential workouts you can use. The main point is, sometimes all you really need is a quick burst of movement. It doesn’t need to be planned days in advance, and it doesn’t even have to involve changing into dedicated workout clothes. The fewer hurdles you encounter, the more likely you’ll actually engage in these activities. A few extra push-ups sprinkled in here and there will go a long way. Don’t overthink it, just give it a try.

Don’t forget to wash your hands after doing the push-ups!

For as long as I can recall, my dad has been grilling up spicy, mouth watering hamburgers during the summer months. Just one of his many food specialties, perfected over the years. These burgers are now a staple in our household, with my wife and I regularly grilling them up.

Since I’ve been asked about the recipe a few times, I thought I’d share it here. Note, however, this recipe has been tweaked slightly from my dad’s original version, so any issues can be blamed on me.

Usually I’ll prepare roughly 1.3 kg (2.8 lbs) of ground beef into an infantry of small patties. This amount represents the average size of the large mince packages found at our local grocery store. This produces around 30 patties, give or take, but don’t you dare hold me to that amount.

A colourful bowl of spices at the ready.

Burger Patties

  • 1.3 kg (2.8 lbs) medium ground beef (full disclosure: more often than not I have to settle for the lean mince at our grocery store, but I prefer medium for the additional fat)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons of curry powder
  • 3 tablespoons of paprika
  • 2 tablespoons of onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of salt (add more after cooked, if required)
  • 1 large onion (chopped finely)
  • 2-3 crushed, fresh garlic cloves (optional – my dad hates garlic and would never use this in his burgers)
  • 1-3 jalapenos (chopped finely)
  • 1 bunch of parsley or coriander (optional)
Prepping the ingredients.

I like to mix all the spices together in a separate bowl before forming the burgers. Similarly with the garlic and onion. This allows me to add spice, onion, and garlic gradually as I break up and mix the mince in a large mixing bowl, helping ensure the ingredients are evenly distributed.

I’m not concerned with producing perfectly round patties, but I do want them thin.

I also prepare a whole wack of parchment paper ahead of time. I make squares big enough to fit the flattened patties on. Let’s call them five inches squared.

Once I have the ingredients prepared and set aside, and the parchment cut, I mix everything together (mince, spices, eggs) and begin forming the burgers.

I grab a small chunk of mince, roll the meat into a round ball the size of a meatball – maybe a bit larger – and flatten the patty out between two pieces of parchment. I don’t use any special ‘as seen on tv’ tools, but feel free to get creative.

I like my burgers thin. Like, super thin. I’m going for that 1950’s roller skating drive-in vibe. You know, the one I never experienced? I just figure these were the types of burgers they made.

Thin also means these bad boys are difficult to handle. You have to carefully remove the parchment when grilling them or they’ll just fall apart. There are other ways to do this (i.e. form the meatball and mash the patty on a pan on the stove top, but I’m grilling these, so that’s not an option).

I repeat this process until I have a few towers of super thin burgers. Usually we’ll end up cooking up a third of the batch, and freezing the rest. If freezing, avoid squishing the burgers together, or they’ll be difficult to separate once frozen.

Bonus! Toasted Buns

Toasting your buns on the grill is great, but for truly exceptional, drive-in style hamburgers, butter your buns and toast them on a piping hot pan over the stove. Ensure the butter is evenly spread out on each half of the bun. Aim to have a consistent golden bun when complete. Voila!

Enjoy

These burgers are meant to be thin. You can easily double, triple, or yes, even quadruple up the patties. This is especially helpful if you’re trying to keep the carb consumption low. Just go heavy on the patties.

Also, I didn’t mention the obvious, but you might want to throw a little cheddar on these hamburgers near the end. Your call. Lately I’ve been enjoying mine with a little ketchup, mayo, and hot peppers. Highly recommended.

Time to fire up the grill.

It’s now day two sans-vacation. My first full day back to reality. My wife is at soccer (or is it hockey?) tonight, so I’m on my own. I knew if I didn’t take this opportunity to jump right back into the routine that existed before our vacation, I would run the risk of falling off completely.

That’s where my go-to evening checklist comes in. It’s simple, effective, and enjoyable.

  • Strength Train: Usually takes me between 25 and 45 minutes. This evening, for example, was on the lower end, with just a 25 minute squat session. I load up my favourite tracks (typically some hip hop), and get to work.
  • Sauna: The hip hop is turned off, and I toss on a podcast (Mind Pump being one of my go-to podcasts currently). I aim to enjoy endure around 15 minutes in the hot box.
  • Swim: Nothing is more refreshing than the relief of a cold pool after a serious sweat. I’m not interested in doing any laps (though probably a good idea). No, I’m just looking to lounge for a few minutes and cool down.
  • Steak: Or in my case this evening, just some giant grilled ground beef patties from Costco, covered generously with Montreal Steak Spice and Pink Himalayan Salt (appropriate after all that sweating). The meal is dead simple. And yes, that’s all I’m eating for dinner this evening. If my wife was joining, perhaps we’d have a spinach salad included as well. Again, it would be simple. Typically dressed with olive oil, lemon, and salt.

There you have it. My go-to evening routine. It checks all the right boxes for me from a fitness and nutrition perspective. And as previously mentioned, it’s easy – so I’m more likely to do it. It’s enjoyable. I get to listen to good hip hop, great podcasts, get stronger, eat delicious salty meat, and feel refreshed. And importantly, it’s effective. Not many exercise send as a strong a signal to your body to adapt than a few heavy sets of barbell squats or deadlifts. And if you believe recent studies, regular sauna may be linked to significant reductions in all cause mortality rates. Plus it feels good…. At least afterwards.

An easy, repeatable routine like the one above has proven indispensable in my arsenal of tools to improve my health. I’m curious to learn if others have had success with something similar.

Costco “meat discs” starting to cook…