The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Monday, May 14, 2012

Fractal Fitness

Today is a pivotal day.
1) I'm creating another piece of the puzzle for the Sexual Transmutation course. Very happy about that.
2) Preparing for the Write on the River workshops this Saturday in Wenatchee. Have to have the presentation planned out, my hand-outs, and the equipment tested for recording the entire 3.5 hours. Stay tuned!
3) I'm continuing my experimentation with what I call "Fractal Fitness"--and just wanted to touch on it here. The idea builds from the Five Minute Miracle concept--taking several short breaks during the day, totalling to five minutes daily.

At some point I realized that my home schedule allows me more flexibility than many have, and I started asking myself what a "perfect" program would be, from my POV.

Welll...there was an interesting thing. A "perfect" syntax was:
1) Meditation.
2) Joint mobility
3) Skill work
4) Fitness work
5) Recovery (yoga).

I do skill before fitness because coordination degrades when you're tired. Unless you're training for high-level competition, therefore, it can be best to do skill work before you're tired. Note that this entire sequence could take no more than a couple of minutes: ten seconds of centering, thirty seconds of joint mobility, a single MA drill, a set of Be Breathed, and then a yoga pose held for five breaths.

Only a couple of minutes, but repeated Five times throughout the day, you can actually make progress.

Now...what happens if you have 20-60 minutes for working out solidly a couple of days a week? Great! What about if you just expand out one of your 5MM sessions? Go deeper into meditation, yoga, mobility, skill, or fitness. You are creating Macro-micro cycles, stressing health, safety, and awareness. On a day you miss your "big" workout, you are still stopping, breathing, and working your mobility. On a day when you miss your "little" workouts, you are still working every basic aspect of your health and performance.

It's fun--can take as little as five minutes a day (say...doing five short Be Breathed ab sessions) or act as the foundation of a high-level fitness lifestyle or even professional program.

And the fact is that almost any skill is best addressed in short multiple sessions per day. What would happen if you took N-Back breaks during the day? Stopped to read Aristotle five times? Reviewed a set of index cards organizing a writing project five times? The possibilities are endless.

I remember a comment I've heard from several "master" level performers I've known. The truth is that a master is thinking about his area of expertise all the time. There's a little simulacrum of him chugging at the typewriter, the karate techniques, the yoga poses, the Om meditation, or contemplation of Shakespeare at all times.

This is a way to begin to integrate whatever is most important to you, at the deepest level, with a beginning investment of only five minutes a day.

Sounds like a deal to me!



Don Weiss said...

One of the basic concepts I was taught in Chinese Martial Arts is a little bit every day is better than a whole bunch once a week. Goes with the 'Grease the Groove' concept of Pavel, also.
Thanks for your blog, it's been pretty inspirational.


Steven Barnes said...

You're incredibly welcome.

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