SECRET TRAINING



Secret Training – Little Things That Make Big Differences


By Mikkel Gisle Johnsen


What if you could sneak in some extra fitness gains almost without having to make a big deal about it? What if you could get in some quality training without going to the gym or changing clothes? That’s what “secret training” is all about! There are endless opportunities for bonus gains in our day to day life and activities, and all we have to do is be aware of them! In today’s article I’m going to give you my best tips on how to make the most out of your day and sneak in that little bit extra!


Choose The Path of Most Resistance

It’s in our nature to always choose the path of least resistance. It’s part of our biological makeup to conserve energy at all times. This is partly what makes the modern human a pale shadow of it’s true potential. We’ve got so many labor saving devices and tools nowadays that we can easily end up entirely sedentary. Cars, elevators, sofas, shopping carts, escalators, remote controls and take away food – they all take away the element of effort that would naturally be there in a natural setting.

By consciously choosing to invest a little bit of effort in our daily life, just a tiny bit, the benefits can be huge. Not just long term health benefits, but immediate effects on our mood, productivity and wellbeing too!

A great book on exercise written by Dr. Doug Graham is (affiliate link)Nutrition and Athletic performance. I definitely recommend it to anyone keen on improving their life by incorporating exercise into it!

So what does it look like? It could be as simple as walking up the escalator or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. You could park your car at the far end of the parking lot instead of next to wherever you’re going. It’s not about doing ridiculous amounts of exercise at all times, but just a little bit here and there. Not enough to tire you out, quite on the contrary – just enough to keep you fresh and moving!


The Hard Way

It’s all about appreciating the hard way of doing things sometimes. The reason is simple, it feels good! We’re meant to move. When we don’t move, we stagnate and feel sluggish. People that are more active in their daily life are shown to be not only healthier, but much happier too! Working for our own survival isn’t really a struggle, although it can seem like that from the outside – it’s a pleasure!

How hard should you work though? That depends on your current fitness level, and goals. If you’re aspiring to be an elite athlete and spending several hours a day training, you’re probably better off sitting down and relaxing for the rest of the day. If you’re more normal however, just looking for overall good health and fitness, chances are that “standing around” would do you a lot of good. Rather than sitting down every chance you get – stand instead! Stand up desks are a great way to do this for people who work in offices. While you’re standing up you can work on your posture, engage your glutes, stretch out those tight hip flexors a bit and focus on proper back alignment. This is secret training at its best! You’re seemingly doing nothing, but in fact you’re working on your whole body, slowing down the decline in function that most people experience as they age.

Speaking of which, did you know that most of the deterioration that we normally associate with getting older actually has nothing to do with aging at all? It’s simply the result of an accumulation of poor lifestyle choices over time. You can sort of “get away with” eating poorly for a decade or two, but once you’re pushing fifty, sixty and seventy – the negative effects of a bad diet pile up and start precipitating a lot of symptoms of disease.

The same goes for fitness. It’s not really true that old age is associated with porous bones and low muscle mass, but a lifetime of poor fitness and sedentary habits sure is!

Be sure to learn The Three Master Keys to Building Fitness on how to get going!

All Those Little Things

So let’s wrap up this article with some practical advice. What exactly should you do? That’s really up to you and your imagination. We’ve already mentioned a few things, but here’s a bunch more:

  • Calf raises while standing around can be great for building calf strength. Maybe you’re waiting for the bus or standing in line. This exercise is super versatile.
  • Double stairs (stepping on every other step) are great for building quad, hamstrings and glute strength. Make sure you’re maintaining a correct forward lean and posture to avoid loading your knees the wrong way!
  • Carrying shopping bags used to be my only form of arm and upper back training for a few years back in the day. Sure, it’s not actually sufficient as the only training stimulus for that part of the body but it does add in that extra little bit we’re looking for in our “secret training”! Make sure you’re not slouching by keeping your posture erect and your shoulder blades retracted somewhat.
  • If you live in a cold climate, chopping wood is an excellent form of training.
  • Pull ups can be done anywhere! Bust out a few here and there when you see an opportunity!
  • Standing on one leg is a great way to not only work on your balance, but also your foot strength and stability. In order to stay balanced, all those little muscles on your foot keep firing in different ways to keep you stable. This is my favorite form of secret training. You can do it anytime you’re standing around, or maybe when you’re changing socks or putting on a shoe.
  • Juggling (oranges for example) is a great way to train your mind to muscle connection and get a break from working on your computer.
Those are some of my ideas, now it’s up to you to come up with even more! Let me know your favorite exercises in the comment section below! I wish you all the best in your quest for better fitness!


Want more good advice?
Check out our article “Three Factors That Will Make You Want to Exercise”



The Little Banana Book
The Little Banana Book
by Mikkel Gisle Johnsen – 58 pages

All you need to know about bananas in order to successfully eat a fruit based diet anywhere in the world!

This book will cover topics like:

  • Why bananas are so great for you
  • How to tell a good banana from a bad one
  • How to buy bananas in bulk at your local store
  • The best ways to eat your bananas – smoothie recipes included
  • Proper banana management – ensuring a consistent supply of ripe fruit
  • How to control the ripening process at home
  • Banana nutrition 101
  • learn more button

THREE FACTORS THAT WILL MAKE YOU WANT TO EXERCISE



Three Factors That Will Make You Want to Exercise


By Mikkel Gisle Johnsen


Even though we all know that exercise and activity are essential elements of a healthy lifestyle, very few of us actually do it on a regular basis. Why is that?

Today I want to touch upon three important factors to consider before you even start thinking about exercising. The way I see it, activity and exercise shouldn’t be something we need to force ourselves to do. Moving our bodies should be the reward – not the punishment – of being healthy, and it should require no mental motivation whatsoever.

By getting the following three aspects of your lifestyle in order, you’ll naturally have the energy to play, exercise, train and move your body – without effort.


Sleep

The first component of the high energy lifestyle is sleep. Without sufficient sleep, your body simply does not work the way it’s supposed to! Although we can get by on less sleep than we truly need, this is not going to cut it if you want peak human performance and healthy day to day energy levels. The power of getting adequate sleep on a consistent basis is huge!

The key is to go to bed early to allow enough time until you want to get up. In our natural tropical habitat, our sleep hours were regulated by the sun. In the tropics, the sun is down for about 12 hours per night, year round. We do not have good night vision as a species. Hint hint!

Modern science states that anything less than seven hours of sleep per night results in measurable declines in mental and physical performance. Eight hours is touted as the ideal medium. Our closes relatives the Chimpanzees and Bonobos sleep nine to ten hours per night. Athletes like Roger Federer is known to sleep up to twelve hours per night.

So how much sleep is enough? However much you need in order to wake up naturally, on a consistent basis, and feel refreshed and ready for the day! In other words; enough is enough!

You’ll probably find that somewhere between eight and twelve hours, most likely closer to the nine to ten hour range, will be adequate. The key is not forcing it. Just sleep however much you need, and no…you can’t sleep «too much». What an absurd idea! You’ll wake up when you’ve had enough!

Sufficient sleep will ensure that your nervous system is well rested and ready for a new day of awesome activities!


Hydration

It’s a fact – when dehydrated, your body cannot perform optimally. Before, during or after a training session or race, hydration is probably the athletes most urgent concern. Maximal aerobic power (VO2 max) is shown to decrease by 5% when experiencing fluid losses equivalent to only 3% of total body mass under laboratory conditions. In hot conditions this would be even worse. During a performance event, some of the main reasons why dehydration decreases performance are a reduction in blood volume, decreased skin blood flow, decreased sweat rate, decreased heat dissipation and increased core temperature.

More general, day to day symptoms of dehydration are things like fatigue, inability to focus, dry skin, constipation, muscle cramps and headaches.

To put it simply – a dehydrated person will probably not feel like exercising all that much. Getting on top of your hydration is key to creating the optimal conditions for an active lifestyle.

How to stay hydrated though?

In a nutshell – there are three steps: 1. Eliminate dehydrating foods and habits like bread, crackers, processed foods, coffee, tea, alcohol and other poisons. 2. Eat a diet based around fresh fruits (and vegetables if you want) high in water content. This will provide you with the bulk of your water for the day. 3. Drink plain water when thirsty, until satisfied.

Your water drinking needs will go down dramatically by eating a fruit based diet and your hydration will become a piece of (watermelon) cake.


Carbs

The last piece of the puzzle is just as – if not more – powerful than the previous two when it comes to creating the conditions that will naturally motivate you to move your body.

Carbohydrates! Especially in the form of simple sugars found in fruit! As a frugivore species, we have evolved to prefer carbohydrate rich fruits as our main fuel source – hence our liking for sweet things.

At rest, our bodies burn a mixture of mostly fat and carbohydrate internally for fuel. As the intensity of exercise goes up though, our bodies become more reliant on those carbohydrates, hence the focus on «carboloading» – which is just another way to say «getting enough carbs» – before a session, as well as sufficient intake of simple sugars during the event itself. Failure to provide enough carbohydrate in a marathon for example, leads to the dreaded «wall» which is simply a case of glycogen (stored carbohydrate) depletion.

Consuming a meal rich in carbohydrate right after a training session in order to replenish glycogen stores, is known to be an essential element in an optimal recovery strategy for athletes of all kinds.

Instead of living your life in a more or less glycogen depleted state, and then «carboload» in the days before a big event – why not stay «carbed up» at all times in order to perform at your mental and physical peak all day, everyday?

When people cut down on the carbohydrates in their diet, it inevitably leads to fatigue, lack of motivation, poor concentration and lower athletic performance. On the other hand, when people cut down on their fat intake (to less than 15% of total calories, with then 5-10% range being ideal) and replace it with carbohydrates, they invariably experience increased energy levels, mental focus and physical performance. Not only that, but their insulin sensitivity goes up as well, which ensures stable blood sugar levels. You can say goodbye to the blood sugar rollercoaster caused by the typical high fat «diabetes-type-2-causing» diet of the western world.

What’s the most available – and healthy – carbohydrate food on earth? Bananas of course! Learn how to make bananas your staple in The Little Banana Book!

The simple sugars in fruit are even superior to the cooked starches like grains and roots, simply because it digests so easily and comes without antinutrients like phytic acid and lectins. The sugars are readily absorbable without prior digestion. The various other nutrients needed for human health – like protein, essential fats, minerals and vitamins – are all there as well. It’s a perfect package!


Give It A Try

Why not just take my word for it and give it a try? Really! Try getting enough sleep, enough water and enough carbohydrates for just one month and see for yourself! I can almost guarantee you that you’ll be feeling a lot different about exercise after that month is up. It will likely go from being something you look upon as a chore, to something you regard as an absolute treat. Moving our bodies and being active is the stuff of life itself, but it sucks when the body doesn’t want to. Stack the cards in your favor and get on the high energy lifestyle today!

Give the body what it needs and you’ll be amazed at what it can do!


Read more: The Three Master Keys to Building Fitness

The Little Banana Book
The Little Banana Book
by Mikkel Gisle Johnsen – 58 pages

All you need to know about bananas in order to successfully eat a fruit based diet anywhere in the world!

This book will cover topics like:

  • Why bananas are so great for you
  • How to tell a good banana from a bad one
  • How to buy bananas in bulk at your local store
  • The best ways to eat your bananas – smoothie recipes included
  • Proper banana management – ensuring a consistent supply of ripe fruit
  • How to control the ripening process at home
  • Banana nutrition 101
  • learn more button

THE THREE MASTER KEYS TO BUILDING FITNESS



The Three Master Keys to Building Fitness


By Mikkel Gisle Johnsen


The word health literally means «whole», and that’s because it takes a whole spectrum of good lifestyle habits to make a person healthy and wholesome. Apart from diet, sleep, rest, sunshine and many other aspects of living healthfully – fitness is of utmost importance. Unfortunately, most of us today find ourselves lacking when it comes to maintaining a high level of physical fitness, and there are some very simple reasons why. In today’s article I want to give you Three Master Keys that you can use in order to take your fitness to the next level.


What exactly is fitness?

Contrary to what people think, building fitness (on a day to day level) does not have to take a lot of time, or be very hard for that matter. It is a process that takes time however. Sustained, long term fitness – which is what we want in order to be healthy – requires sustained, long term investments.

Fitness differs from the concept of activity because it has to do with the state of your body at any given time rather than how active you are. Obviously, the more active you are, the fitter you will likely get, but fitness is nevertheless an aspect of its own. It includes things like body fat percentage, muscle mass, strength, speed, endurance, cardiovascular fitness, types of muscle fiber, capacity for oxygen utilization in the muscles (Vo2max), lactic threshold, flexibility, balance and much more. It’s all about how well your body functions, as well as how adapted it is to a certain activity. We can’t be perfectly fit for everything at once though, most sports require specific fitness adaptions. A boxer requires a very different physique than what a long distance runner does – but they will still share many of the underlying fitness factors that healthy people have in common.

To develop a general, or specific, factor of our fitness we need to stress that factor. As a result of stressing individual factors of our physiology, and allowing for adequate recovery to follow it, our bodies adapt to the new demand put on it. This is called the training effect.

So then, now that we know what fitness is and what the training effect is, let’s talk about how to go about building it on a day to day basis. These three keys are general in nature, and apply to just about anything in life. Apply them, and you’re guaranteed growth!


Master key #1: Motivation

Motivation is always going to be the first step in any endeavor. Without it, we don’t engage. How then, can we maintain the motivation for building and maintaining fitness over a long period of time – indeed for a lifetime?

First of all we need physical motivation which translates to good health basically. If you don’t feel good on a day to day basis, you won’t be interested in doing much training at all. This is why it’s so important to pay attention to all of the various facets of health. There are however two of those facets that play a more important role than the others when it comes to being motivated for training.

For one – you simply MUST get enough sleep on a regular basis if you are to have the energy and motivation to train. How much is enough? You’ve had enough sleep when you wake up refreshed without an alarm clock and you could not sleep any longer. For most people this is typically between 7.5 and 10.5 hours per night. If we are completely honest with ourselves, and completely stress free, I think it’s safe to say that the higher end of that spectrum is more accurate.

The other aspect of health that affects motivation a lot is diet, and more specifically carbohydrates – or a lack thereof. Eating a diet high in carbohydrates (more than 80% of total calories) is of paramount importance if you want to stay healthy, positive, motivated and clear headed. Your body runs on sugar! Your brain loves the stuff! Low carb diets are notorious for causing brain fog and depression! Your physiology is that of a tropical frugivore species. Eat lots of fruit (ideally an all fruit diet) and alternatively roots, tubers, grains and legumes. All those good plant foods that have sustained us for the entire span of our biological history! Carb the f**k up basically!

The second part of staying motivated has to do with your mental/emotional motivation. This is easily achieved by cultivating it consciously. Keep reading books about fitness and health. Learn about how the body works. Watch YouTube videos about the subject. Hang out with likeminded people. Watch cool documentaries. Subscribe to newsletters that keep you inspired. Just stay inspired basically. It’s like keeping a fire burning – you’ve got to keep fuelling it with wood!

As your fitness improves, so will your health and inspiration (now that you’re seeing results), and this in turn means you will be more motivated to train. As you can see – it’s a positive spiral.


Master Key #2: Execution

No plan can work off motivation only. We need to execute. We need to get it done! This is where a lot of people go wrong – not because they don’t do the training, but because they do it the wrong way!

In a simple sentence, here’s how you do it right: Not too hard, not too easy – juuust right!

Work too hard, too much or too often and you risk the chance of burning out, injuring yourself or just plain hating it. Train too easy and you end up not reaching your potential, or worse – losing motivation due to the lack of results. You’ve got to hit it just right!

What is just right? Well, that depends on what you’re doing.

Generally speaking though, you want to do most of your training in a somewhat comfortable state that you can sustain for some time. That doesn’t mean that you should lift light weights if you’re trying to build muscles though (they need to be fairly heavy), but it means that when you’re done with your session you feel good – not completely exhausted. Most of your fitness activities should be enjoyable and playful – yet hard enough to experience growth. You’re in it for the long run – no pun intended!

Then when it’s time to go hard – you really go hard. Just remember, no one can go hard all the time. Save your “hard” for those focused, concentrated efforts you do on a regular basis.

This advice is very general, and it needs to be taken as just that. Adapt it to whatever specific sport or activity you’re doing and just remember to keep pushing the envelope juuust enough to keep growing, but not so much that you injure yourself or burn out. Keep this rubber band analogy in mind at all times: “Think stretch – not snap”.


Master key #3: Consistency

The last master key, and arguably the most important one for long term success is consistency. It takes time to get good at something, and building fitness is not different. The body needs lots of time to adapt to the stresses you expose it to, and since you can’t expose it to too many stresses all at once you have to spread it out over days, weeks, months and years. I’ve read that it takes 10 000 hours of training for an elite level endurance athlete to reach his or her potential in the sport. That’s more than 10 years of elite level training!

The good thing about this aspect is that building and maintaining fitness should be a lifelong endeavor! In other words we literally have all the time in the world! There are no quick fixes to health and fitness. It’s all about the slow and steady. Sure, you can get some substantial gains here and there within a short period but generally speaking things take time.

There’s also the concept of diminishing returns, which dictate that the more you do something, the less you get out of it as compared with when you just started out.

For me, the concept of consistency is reassuring and relaxing. It makes me realize that there’s no rush, and that the only way to get great results is to just keep doing it, little by little, day by day over the long haul. There’s no need for an extreme effort at any given time. The effort is light on any given day, but over time those light efforts add up to something great. Whether it’s training or business, consistency yields better results than any other single factor out there. Patience my friend. Patience.


Conclusion

So there you have it. Fitness is an important part of health in general, and cultivating it is very easy – as long as you follow these three Master Keys. Simply stay motivated by living healthfully (especially by sleeping enough and eating enough carbs) and feeding your mind with daily inspirational materials, execute your training juuust right in order to see results and avoid burning out, and last but not least stay consistent with what you’re doing – it’s all about sustainability long term!

Most of all have some serious amounts of FUN!

The information in this article reflects the views and opinions of the author and is intended for educational and informational purposes only. This is not medical advice. We are not responsible for any action you may take based on the information given in this article. For medical advice please see your medical professional.

The Little Banana Book
The Little Banana Book
by Mikkel Gisle Johnsen – 58 pages

All you need to know about bananas in order to successfully eat a fruit based diet anywhere in the world!

This book will cover topics like:

  • Why bananas are so great for you
  • How to tell a good banana from a bad one
  • How to buy bananas in bulk at your local store
  • The best ways to eat your bananas – smoothie recipes included
  • Proper banana management – ensuring a consistent supply of ripe fruit
  • How to control the ripening process at home
  • Banana nutrition 101
  • learn more button