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Mastering "Incidental" Training

In the wild we would have been in far better shape than we mostly are today. As hunter gatherers it was our lot to spend our days tracking animals through the African Savannah, before beating them to death with a club and ripping the flesh off their bones with our bare hands and teeth (have you ever tried doing that? It’s hard enough with a fish!). Today however we spend the bulk of our time sat down in an office or classroom typing, or cooking in the kitchen before eating in a civil manner with a knife and fork at the dinner table. For those of us who are health conscious this sedentary life style is then interrupted by the briefest burst of intense exercise before returning to these duties. The difference here is that we were once training throughout the day, meaning that our bodies very much reflected our lifestyles, whereas today we go out of our way to train in a very unnatural way.

If we wanted to stay lean then, and keep our muscles constantly working, we would find ways to make our day-to-day living harder. This is called ‘incidental training’ meaning that you aren’t setting out to train on purpose, but are spotting the opportunities as they arrive.

One popular way to do this is with a pull up bar in your door way. Place it in the door way of your room then give yourself the maxim that every time you walk through that door you have to do ten pull ups. Every time you leave the room in order to get something then that’ll be twice – once as you exit and once as you return – that’s two reps. This is on top of whatever exercise you might do that evening or that afternoon. You’d be surprised at the difference this can make, particularly in your general energy levels, and ability on the pull up bar. And sure you need to rest but on off days a few random sets of pull ups won’t hurt.

Similarly you can invest in a wrist grip, which you can then squeeze while typing. You can alternatively leave a dumbbell by your sofa and make yourself do several curls as you watch TV. The possibilities are endless and your whole house can become a fitness circuit! And even outside – you can do calf raises on the curb while waiting for the bus.

On top of this though you can simply make things you’re already doing harder. Carrying shopping? Why not do some shrugs. Heading to your office? Run up the stairs instead of taking the lift. You’ll be burning fat and building muscle non-stop throughout the day. Life really is training!

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