Let’s be honest, we don’t all care about having ripped abs, and that’s ok. Thankfully, the opposite sex often value things like intellect, sense of humour and nunchuk skills over a cover model physique.
There are lots of areas of life that demand our attention. So if your physique is low on your list of priorities how can you stay in shape with the least possible effort?
Caveat: These tips will not turn you into a world class athlete or build muscle to make Arnie weep into his porridge. That would take hard work and dedication. They will however give you the best return on the most minimal investment.
Enter the lazy person’s fitness guide…
1- Want To Get Fit?
Don’t: Go for long runs
Do: The Tabata protocol. Not content with making tiny phones, tiny hotel rooms and tiny piano prodigies, the Japanese invented tiny workouts too. The Tabata protocol has been shown to be as effective for aerobic fitness as longer, slower runs and it requires a mere 8 minutes per week.
Obviously there’s a downside: it’s incredibly hard. But if time is a real priority it’s worth a shot.
Choose a piece of cardio equipment. Stationary bike is probably your best option. Spend a couple of minutes warming up at a moderate pace.
Sprint as hard as you can for 20 seconds
Rest for 10 seconds.
Repeat for a total of four minutes. That’s eight rounds of 20 on 10 off. If you do this right, you should be seeing a tunnel of light by the end of it with all your dead relatives beckoning you forward. Don’t go to them. Just get your breath back and leave the gym.
2- Want to Lose Weight?
Don’t go on a diet
Do take pictures of your food on your iPhone.
From email, to facebook to apps, the iPhone has proven itself to be like a more reliable version of Ziggy from 80’s classic Quantum Leap.
Of course you need to eat better food to lose weight. But a huge amount of that is down to tracking and accountability. Taking photos of your food gives you the accountability of a food diary with zero hassle. Four Hour Body author Tim Ferriss reckons it’s as effective as having a personal trainer. We think he’s exaggerating, but it’s a zero effort, zero cost way of getting some accountability, even just to yourself.
Of course, as with all of these tips, if you want to get in remarkable shape you need to go deeper, but remember we’re looking at the lowest effort intervention possible.
3- Want to Build Muscle?
Don’t become a gym junkie.
Do use an abbreviated routine.
Most gym goers expend huge amounts of energy for very little reward, choosing exercises that target a tiny amount of muscle or are simply ineffective. When it comes to weight training you’re better of being like Wayne Rooney- simple but effective. Pick a couple of exercises, get instruction from an expert, and get strong at them.
Stick to big, compound exercises like chin ups, bench press, squats and deadlifts.
Three days a week is ideal but if you’re really stuck for time two will still make a difference. You’ve just got to really work at pushing yourself on those exercises.
4- Want To Be More Flexible?
Don’t take up yoga
Do the Worlds Best Stretch
We’re not knocking yoga, it’s a fantastic way to get flexible, align your chakras and legitimately ogle attractive people under the guise of admiring her downward dog.
But if you had to do just one we recommend the hip flexor stretch.
Why? You sit too much, which makes your hip flexors hate you and want to ruin your life. Stretch them daily and you’ll have a slew of postural benefits.
5- Want To Get Strong ?
Don’t take up residence in the weight room.
Do learn the deadlift.
In the realm of exercises, there’s one movement to rule them all. This move targets almost every muscle in your body, so if you want real, handshake-dominating, phone-book-ripping, stubborn-jam-jar opening strength you need to make friends with this classic lift.
A classic set and rep scheme like 5×5 will work for anybody, just be diligent and stick to it. You lazy bastard.