THE Article in Short
You don't need fancy equipment or an expensive gym membership to get in shape and maintain an optimized physical performance. All you need is some space (best outdoors) and your body.
- All you need to maximize strength and endurance is your body and proper clothing
- 2 bodyweight workouts for explosive power
- 1 bodyweight workouts for strength
- 1 HIIT training for cardiovascular fitness
If you want to live a long and healthy life, while looking good at the beach, this article is worth a read.
Why work out in a minimalistic way?
When it comes to working out, my one non-negotiable requirement is that I can time it whenever I want, fitting it into my busy schedule. This means I don't want to drive to a gym or be dependent on anybody else. Being able to work out right away keeps my motivation high and pressure on my willpower low.
This approach will allow you to INTEGRATE the workouts into your work- and private life, instead of relying on force and willpower, which is not sustainable over a longer term. Make it easy for yourself to work out. Make it easy for yourself to succeed.
The advantages of working out with a minimalistic approach are:
- Saves time
- Saves money (no membership fees or heavy equipment)
- Can be done anywhere, anytime
- Can be done outdoors for added benefits (sunlight, fresh air, grounding)
- Can be done while traveling
Especially the last one has been crucial in my last job, with lots of time traveling with hand luggage only.
THe minimum effective dose
With an otherwise busy schedule, you might not want to do more than the required 20% to achieve 80% of fitness benefits. But how low can we really take your investment in terms of time?
There have been a lot of studies on how much exercise is best in order to achieve better fitness but also longevity. Although we might see further development in this field through science and technology, around 150 minutes of physical activity, with 20-30 minutes of those being vigorous, seems to be the minimum dose required to stay healthy. Of course only when you do not spend the rest of your day in a chair.
That would break down to 20-30 minutes of exercise per day if we manage to stay moderately active throughout our workday (like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, stretching from time to time, using a standing desk etc.).
What we want to achieve with this minimalistic bodyweight training is:
- Optimal body fat levels
- Optimal hormone levels
- Muscle mass for strength and aesthetics
- Cardiovascular fitness
And all of those well balanced so we look and feel good at the same time.
What you need?
In terms of equipment the only thing you absolutely NEED is yourself and some clothing.
However there is something else you will need long-term in order to get strong and well balanced: Something to pull you up on. It could be the branch of a tree, some kind of metal bar, a door frame or gymnastics rings mounted on the sealing. While traveling, you will often lack the opportunity to pull your body up, which is okay. For the long-term you should look out for or invest in a pulling opportunity. After all, we are well developed monkeys and our bodies need to hang from time to time.
On top, if you go outside, I recommend to invest in barefoot shoes to support proper muscle engagement and sensory experience.
The 7 Minute Workout (30 Min)
1-3 Rounds | 30 sec power & 10 sec rest between exercises | 90 sec rest between rounds
This version requires something to hang from or pull yourself up on (alternatives in braces).
- Jumping Jacks
- Wall Sits
- Clapping Push-Ups
- Knee-Ups (Crunches)
- Lunge Jumps
- Squat Jumps
- Pull-Ups (Lunges)
- Rotation Push-Ups
- Side Plank
Let me know how many rounds you managed!
Full Body Circuit (30 Min)
5-7 Rounds | No rest in between exercises | 90 sec rest between rounds
Requires something to hang from or pull yourself up on.
- 5 Pull-Ups
- 10 Push-Ups
- 5 Chin-Ups
- 10 Diamond Push-Ups
- 10 Lunges (each leg)
- 10 Burpees
Super Slow Strength Bodyweight Workout (30 min)
1 Round | 1 Set | As many reps as possible, carried out as slowly as possible | No rest between exercises
Requires something to hang from or pull yourself up on.
- Upper Body Pull Exercise (e.g. Pull-Ups)
- Upper Body Push (e.g. Push-Ups)
- Lower Body Push (e.g. Squat)
- Lower Body Pull (e.g. Glute Bridge)
- Additional Exercise (e.g. Dips) // optional
- Core Exercise (e.g. L-Sit or Knee-Raises) // optional
- Finisher (e.g. 90 second Plank) // optional
All exercises should be carried out in the best form and as slowly as possible. Close to 10 seconds per move, meaning 10 seconds up and 10 seconds down. The goal is to keep time under tension as long as possible.
Jump Rope HIIT (15 miN)
5-10 Rounds | 30 sec all out | 60 sec relaxed
Instead of with a jump rope you can jump in place and do High-Knees for the 30 second Sprints.
- 60 sec Relaxed Jumping
- 30 sec High-Knees
Research shows that a high intensity training like this will boost your cardiovascular performance. For improved stamina, you might have to add activity with longer durations (like a 1,5h hike, a longer run, or brisk walking) into your workout routine as well.
It doesn't require a lot of time and money to get in great shape and optimize your physical performance. With the exercises above you can achieve great results, even at home or when out traveling. None of the workouts should take longer than 30 minutes if you stick to the instructions. Of course, with cooling down, showering and getting dressed, it will be a bit more but let's put this in perspective:
There are 168 hours in a week. With 5 workouts at 30 minutes you will spend 2,5 hours of those 168 on your physical fitness and health, while at the same time optimizing your brain, hormone levels, metabolism and even longevity. I consider this a solid Return on Investment.
"168 hours per week.
2,5 hours invested for working out.
Tons of benefits.
Really good ROI."
If you liked the article and got some benefit out of it, we would be grateful if you would recommend it to people who should get that info, too. You help someone you love and at the same time spread the word about optimized performance. If you're interested in daily updates on better performance, follow @minimalist_biohacker on Instagram. Also look at our offer for Workshops, Keynotes and Courses to optimize yourself or your company.