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.
Check out our article “Three Factors That Will Make You Want to Exercise”