Your Workout Does Not Have To Be Hard

You may have heard the hooha across the internet last night after a PureGym posted a workout for Black Lives Matter that was ‘as hard as slavery’.

I am here to shout from the rooftops that “WORKOUTS DO NOT HAVE TO BE HARD TO GET RESULTS!”


Because the vast majority of the population simply need to move for health and wellbeing. Your body is constantly rebuilding itself based on the stresses it is put under. If you are stuck at home, hunched over a laptop on your bed for hours at a time, then you need to move in a way to keep your spine strong and flexible. If you spend long periods sat down, you need to stand up and walk around more. All of us need a movement rich environment of exercise. Due to the sad fact that we don’t do very much, then almost anything will have benefit. What stops us from exercise, even though we know it will be beneficial? Social media snapshots, and a general trend in the industry that you must work hard. You must sweat, you must crawl away from your workouts. This is the biggest lie in in fitness, and it is putting people off doing anything. Right now we, as an industry, have to stand up and take responsibility for getting the nation moving. We can be the lifeline that gets Covid sufferers back to a (relatively) healthy state. This won’t happen until you realise that there are many of us in the industry who do not bow down to the gods of high intensity.

Workout smart. Focus on the purpose of the exercise, the sensation of what you are doing. Take the energy to be in the moment, and concentrate on the feeling. 5 minutes of general movement a day can have a massive impact on habit. That is when the magic starts to happen. Do a little every day, feel a bit better, and grow in confidence to do more. Do more every day, feel a lot better. Ever increasing returns. A workout can leave you elated, focussed, energised.

As for the workout behind the controversial post, it is pretty intense. It will not be appropriate (in its fullest form) to most of you. I do not know the trainer, so I do not know his style, his motives, his clients, their goals. It may be appropriate for them. If you want to understand more then please read on. If not, go and treat yourself to a kettlebell, start off light, and learn to move.

Workouts do not need to be hard efforts like this for you to get benefits

A – 1 x 100m Sprint
B – 2 x Push Ups
C – 3 Power Clean
D – 4 x Box Jumps
E – 5 x Deadlifts
F – 6 x Kettlebell Swings
G – 7 x Pistol Squats
H – 8 x Upright Rows
I – 9 x Burpees
J – 10 x Squats
K – 11 x Floor Wipers
J – 12 x Overhead Press

Just as it is this workout is tough enough, BUT, this is just the exercises. The idea was to do A, then B. Before moving to C you have to do A & B again. Before D you have to repeat A-C. and so on.

Let’s assume that each movement takes only 3 seconds (except sprints, obviously!)

That is a total of 363 repetitions (it should be 364 but the sequence has not started correctly according to the instructions on the original post)

If we allow for a very short 15 seconds to recover from each exercise and move on to the next then we have a 40 minute workout.

But to what purpose? The amount of load involved is huge. So much so that you couldn’t possibly do the workout if the intensity matched the number of reps. ie, low repetitions would usually be at a very high intensity. The higher the intensity, the longer the rest needed so you can continue working out. If I am doing a sprint workout then 100m would require a rest of at least 4-5 minutes. This is as much for your brain as it is for your body. The neural overload is huge. As a workout I would take 3 months to build up to 12 reps in total. Because I want to do things properly. Each exercise has a purpose. I have hurt myself doing too much too soon in a track session with a sprinter. I didn’t prepare my back fully, to cope with the effort of swinging your arms so far back at the start of a sprint.

‘Maybe’ I am being too literal, thinking of each exercise in an athletic perspective (very fast, very intense) because the load is so high it would not be appropriate at any intensity for a new exerciser

‘If’ I was capable of doing such a monster workout then, by my calculation, that would be 2 hours of high intensity, but even then 60 seconds rest between exercises would be insufficient. Sprints alone would be 1 workout for me, and most of you.

Please do remember that you do not have to exercise like this to get ‘fit’. Your workout does not have to be hard.

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