The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Got An hour a week?

Short note today, as the next two days are prep for the Path workshop. I did want to speak about physical things a bit—I’ll come back to it later in more depth.  Right now, I’m having fun looking at fitness techniques that require minimal time. 

This is possible because certain types of fitness: max strength and certain types of aerobic fitness, for instance, can actually be OVERTRAINED in less than an hour’s work a week.  The Tabata wind-sprint protocol, superb for building wind, is just ten minutes or so of wind sprints twice a week.  Your max deadlift can be approached in only about 20 minutes of actual exercise a week—or less.

The real problem is that fitness rests on a bed of health.  Health can be defined as “wellness”—sound joints, flexible back, peak functioning for internal organs, etc.  So any consideration about “fitness” has to ask about its impact on health.  For instance, Pavel’s original PTP routine is superb on strength…but the “Power Breathing” technique it suggests is, by the Evil Russian’s own admission, a health risk.  Not for me!

However, Pavel has still created one of the three programs I thought I’d list that deliver real, no-b.s. fitness in less than an hour a week. 

Coach Sonnon’s FlowFit.  Terrific for overall fitness, flexibility, basic cardio, coordination…just a really, really intelligent approach.  Requires about 45 minutes a week.

2) Pavel’s “Enter The Kettlebell” system.  He’s REALLY done a good thing here.  By isolating the two most productive KB exercises and exhaustively explaining them, he created a fitness system delivering SERIOUS cardio and SERIOUS strength in…wait for it…34 minutes a week.  Four daily workouts—two five minute strength workouts, two 12-minute Tabata-Style cardio killers.  This is extremely smart stuff.  In combination with FlowFit, you’d have a program addressing virtually every component of fitness…for an investment of less than 90 minutes a week.  I’d call this combination a Best Bet.

3) Matt Furey’s Combat Conditioning.  Hindu Squats and pushups are extremely high-yield calisthenics, and real benefits can be reaped from just 15 minutes of work, 3-4 times a week.

And no, I don’t get a dime from any of this.

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