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Multiple mini workouts instead of single long ones - personal experience?

serindipteserindipte Posts: 1,220Member Member Posts: 1,220Member Member
I have begun with several mini workouts throughout the day, for instance, I have a dumbell in the bathroom for curls, etc while I'm visiting for other reasons. I'll stop once every hour or so for push ups, a set of jumping jacks, or something else. I know that, right now, this will be effective as I've been primarily sedentary for the last many years. Any movement is more than I was doing.

What I am wondering is if anyone has had long term success with mini workouts rather than pushing through an hour at a time.

(I've also added in walks 3-4 times per week, though I'm only up to 1.5 miles each so far, I'll keep going further as I'm able)
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Replies

  • cwolfman13cwolfman13 Posts: 33,444Member Member Posts: 33,444Member Member
    Any additional movement you do will increase energy expenditure which is why I try to make sure I get up and walk around the office building for a few minutes every hour.

    From a fitness standpoint, the benefits of mini workouts are pretty limited. Most of my deliberate exercise consists of cycling and most of my rides are around 40-45 minutes with a longer ride on the weekend. I lift a couple times per week and do some body weight stuff at home for additional resistance training.
  • CarvedTonesCarvedTones Posts: 665Member Member Posts: 665Member Member
    I do dumbbell rows interspersed through the day as well as under table pull ups and push ups. I have had good results with my goal of minor recomp; lost some jiggle around the waist and gained muscle in the chest and arms. It's easy to see that my upper body has improved significantly. But my goal was/is not to look like a body builder; more like toned (I know; that's almost a bad word in serious fitness circles but I can't think of a better one).
  • serindipteserindipte Posts: 1,220Member Member Posts: 1,220Member Member
    I do dumbbell rows interspersed through the day as well as under table pull ups and push ups. I have had good results with my goal of minor recomp; lost some jiggle around the waist and gained muscle in the chest and arms. It's easy to see that my upper body has improved significantly. But my goal was/is not to look like a body builder; more like toned (I know; that's almost a bad word in serious fitness circles but I can't think of a better one).

    I get what you mean :) It's built a little muscle and helped pull off the fat (aka toned) That's what I'm going for, at least for now. Eventually, I want to get to more serious strength training, but do not want to be 'that girl' who walks in and can't lift more than 15 lbs. lol
  • SonyaCeleSonyaCele Posts: 2,819Member Member Posts: 2,819Member Member
    the success of any program depends on what your goals are and if you stick to it. If your goal is to be overall more active throughout the day then you will be successful. Lots of people spread their workouts throughout the day and are very happy. People even break up their 30 minutes of cardio to be 5 minutes running 6 times a day. i've read articles that say that it is just as beneficial as doing it at once.
  • mbaker566mbaker566 Posts: 4,507Member Member Posts: 4,507Member Member
    is it better than nothing, yes. however, some might argue an aspect of fitness is keeping your heart rate raised for a sustained amount of time.
  • spartan_dspartan_d Posts: 596Member Member Posts: 596Member Member
    It depends on what you're training for.

    I often train for endurance. Brief mini-workouts wouldn't do much for accomplishing that goal.
  • spartan_dspartan_d Posts: 596Member Member Posts: 596Member Member
    SonyaCele wrote: »
    People even break up their 30 minutes of cardio to be 5 minutes running 6 times a day. i've read articles that say that it is just as beneficial as doing it at once.
    Those articles are written by people who either oversimplify or don't know what they're talking about.

    "Just as good"? In terms of calorie burn, maybe (and even then, I'd be skeptical). In terms of building stamina? Absolutely not. Ditto for things such as improving one's lactate threshold or VO2Max.
  • middlehaitchmiddlehaitch Posts: 6,623Member Member Posts: 6,623Member Member
    If you haven't already, have a read through this thread (below). There are little mini workouts scattered throuout.

    I think it is great that you are starting to move more and challenge your abilities.
    Working towards adding a little bit more every week or two will have you ready to look at short programmes in no time.
    Both Nerdfitness and HasFit have great short routines for beginners.

    Meanwhile, keep on doing what you are doing.

    Cheers, h.

    https://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/10610953/neat-improvement-strategies-to-improve-weight-loss/p1

    ETA: forgot to say, when travelling I do mini workouts (5-15 min) and they certainly help with maintaining my fitness level.
    edited May 15
  • serindipteserindipte Posts: 1,220Member Member Posts: 1,220Member Member
    If you haven't already, have a read through this thread (below). There are little mini workouts scattered throuout.

    I think it is great that you are starting to move more and challenge your abilities.
    Working towards adding a little bit more every week or two will have you ready to look at short programmes in no time.
    Both Nerdfitness and HasFit have great short routines for beginners.

    Meanwhile, keep on doing what you are doing.

    Cheers, h.

    https://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/10610953/neat-improvement-strategies-to-improve-weight-loss/p1

    ETA: forgot to say, when travelling I do mini workouts (5-15 min) and they certainly help with maintaining my fitness level.

    Thank you :)
  • middlehaitchmiddlehaitch Posts: 6,623Member Member Posts: 6,623Member Member
    I know you may not be ready for these two programmes yet, they are the ones I mentioned above, but if you like the look of them bookmark them for future use.

    You have no need to go at the same speed, or do 3 sets. Start with simplified versions of the exercises and break it down to what is doable for you.

    Your goal will be to be able to complete either work out as written eventually, not right now.

    https://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/beginner-body-weight-workout-burn-fat-build-muscle/

    Back in a sec got to go find the other programme.

    Hmm, this is the updated version of the 15 min programme I used.
    http://hasfit.com/workouts/home/easy-beginner/15-min-beginner-weight-training/

    Hope they help guide and inspire you.

    Cheers, h.
    edited May 15
  • spartan_dspartan_d Posts: 596Member Member Posts: 596Member Member
    SonyaCele wrote: »
    spartan_d wrote: »
    SonyaCele wrote: »
    People even break up their 30 minutes of cardio to be 5 minutes running 6 times a day. i've read articles that say that it is just as beneficial as doing it at once.
    Those articles are written by people who either oversimplify or don't know what they're talking about.

    "Just as good"? In terms of calorie burn, maybe (and even then, I'd be skeptical). In terms of building stamina? Absolutely not. Ditto for things such as improving one's lactate threshold or VO2Max.

    its all relative to what your goals are, what your physical ability is, your schedule , motivation, etc. You don't have to be a marathon runner or superset lifter to get in shape or stay in shape.

    Correct, and I'm not saying otherwise. Just saying that the statement "Doing five minutes of cardio six times a day is just as beneficial as doing it at once" is incorrect. The best one can say is that it burns about as many calories -- and even that is probably just approximately true.
  • mutantspicymutantspicy Posts: 387Member Member Posts: 387Member Member
    There's more to fitness than calorie burn don't let people discourage you. Long period steady cardio really does burn the calories and helps with weight loss, probably more than shorter period higher intensity cardio. or mini workout sessions. Its really hard to say with out knowing the details. However, sitting around all day long then getting up for an 1 hour treadmill sessions only to sit back down for the rest of night, while may burn more calorie isn't really doing much for your overall fitness level. Spreading out mini workouts over the whole day is good for your joints, it may or may not add up caloriewise. I think of it as I have a fitness journey, which for me includes, strength, yoga, calistenics, basically things that will make my body work better or "you know" not be like the rest of my family and screwed over by arthritis. When I am work I try to get up and do a couple laps around the office. I don't consider these to be a major factor in my calorie equation, its just part of my life goals. Then I have cardio sessions to help with my calorie equation of course these also help with overall fitness. All I'm saying is, is being sedentary all day except for 30 to 60 mins workout is not a good road map to fitness. I don't think anyone is saying that or trying to say your mini are not beneficial. I think people are saying to really get a true cardio workout you need to get your heart rate in the zone for a decent amount of time, but don't stop doing mini session because they are probably more beneficial to your overall health. Especially as we get older our joints get worse and worse and sitting is the enemy.
  • rileyesrileyes Posts: 1,249Member Member Posts: 1,249Member Member
    spartan_d wrote: »
    It depends on what you're training for.

    I often train for endurance. Brief mini-workouts wouldn't do much for accomplishing that goal.

    I increase my endurance with 5 to 15-minute circuits.
  • spartan_dspartan_d Posts: 596Member Member Posts: 596Member Member
    Five- to fifteen-minute circuits can certainly help somewhat with stamina. That pretty much requires going all out for those periods though, and one will tend to reach the point of diminishing returns fairly quickly.

    For endurance training, there is really no substitute for long periods of hard exercise.

    Also, while the two words are often used interchangeably, stamina generally refers to the ability to use one's muscles (including the heart) at maximum capacity, whereas endurance refers to the ability to exert one's self over longer periods of time. https://www.livestrong.com/article/370329-the-differences-between-stamina-strength-endurance/
  • CarvedTonesCarvedTones Posts: 665Member Member Posts: 665Member Member
    spartan_d wrote: »
    It depends on what you're training for.

    I often train for endurance. Brief mini-workouts wouldn't do much for accomplishing that goal.

    When I said it was working for me to recomp upper body, I probably should have mentioned that I also walk at 4+ mph for an hour or more most days and I try to get out on SUP a couple of times a week for reasonably long mostly steady paddling. In fact the selection of exercise for my mini workouts is largely targeting improvement of the muscles used in paddling, which also recomps upper body.
  • stanmann571stanmann571 Posts: 5,035Member Member Posts: 5,035Member Member
    Ultimately it depends on your goals.

    If you want to get stronger. Check
    If you want to get faster/improve cardio. Meh, probably not
    If yo want to get "toned". Nope, not going to do anything. Mostly because that's a result of eating less. That being said. spreading out the load over 6-10 sessions will probably mean you don't get as "rungry" which is a plus.
  • serindipteserindipte Posts: 1,220Member Member Posts: 1,220Member Member
    Ultimately it depends on your goals.

    If you want to get stronger. Check
    This is one of my primary goals with the mini-workouts.
    If you want to get faster/improve cardio. Meh, probably not
    This is where my walks are coming in. I can't do a lot yet, but I'll keep pushing on that.
    If yo want to get "toned". Nope, not going to do anything. Mostly because that's a result of eating less.
    I have a decent deficit in my intake and weigh/log every bite I'm eating. I'm down 12lbs so far and I'm in the first month. I know that will slow down now that the initial drop has come, but it'll keep going down.
    That being said. spreading out the load over 6-10 sessions will probably mean you don't get as "rungry" which is a plus.

    I like this bonus. :)

    Thanks!

  • spartan_dspartan_d Posts: 596Member Member Posts: 596Member Member
    spartan_d wrote: »
    It depends on what you're training for.

    I often train for endurance. Brief mini-workouts wouldn't do much for accomplishing that goal.

    When I said it was working for me to recomp upper body, I probably should have mentioned that I also walk at 4+ mph for an hour or more most days and I try to get out on SUP a couple of times a week for reasonably long mostly steady paddling. In fact the selection of exercise for my mini workouts is largely targeting improvement of the muscles used in paddling, which also recomps upper body.

    Yeah, that's a good argument for the occasional shorter workout. I don't recommend shorter workouts as the bread-and-butter of one's routine, but they can be good as supplementary work.
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