No Time to Workout? The Magic of Tabata

by admin


“I’m too busy to exercise”

… not if Tabata has anything to say about it!

Tabata is a high-intensity, interval training regimen that can produce remarkable results.  It only takes 4 minutes to do, and it’s incredibly effective!  You will be amazed at how intense the four minutes of exercise will feel.

  • Uses any type of exercise
  • Takes only 4 minutes
  • Engages both aerobic and anaerobic energy systems
  • Builds strength and endurance
  • You can do it anywhere!

Here is How it Works:

  • A Tabata workout is an interval training cycle of 20 seconds of maximum intensity exercise, followed by 10 seconds of rest.
  • The intervals are repeated 8 times without pause, so the total time of the Tabata workout is only four minutes.
  • To be clear, this isn’t “eight sets of eight,” although the goal of doing eight reps in each of the 20-second clusters is pretty good.  Instead it’s “as many reps as I can get in” during the twenty seconds, followed by ten seconds rest.
  • IMPORTANT: This isn’t a “four minute workout” – it’s meant to be done when your fully warmed up and possibly even at the end of a workout.

In terms of making your progress measurable, you can keep score by counting how many lifts or movements or distance or whatever you do in each of the 20 second rounds.  You can either add up the total of all your work done or make the round with the smallest number your score.

Here’s a cool Tabata timer:
[to upload to your phone:]


Credit for this simple and powerful training method belongs to its namesake, Dr. Izumi Tabata, and a team of researchers from the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo, Japan.  Their groundbreaking 1996 study, published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports & Exercise provided documented evidence concerning the dramatic physiological benefits of high-intensity intermittent training.  After just 6 weeks of testing, Dr. Tabata noted a 28% increase in anaerobic capacity in his subjects, along with a 14% increase in their ability to consume oxygen (V02Max).  The conclusion was that just four minutes of Tabata interval training could do more to boost aerobic and anaerobic capacity than an hour of endurance exercise.

Although Dr. Tabata used a mechanically braked exercise cycle machine, you can apply this protocol to almost any exercise.  For example, a basic Tabata workout can be performed with pushups.  The greater the range of motion done for each exercise, the better, so make sure your arms are locked out fully at the top and that your chest touches the ground at the bottom.  Perform pushups non-stop for 20-second intervals, followed by 10 seconds of rest.  Repeat for a total of 8 cycles.

Tabata Suggestions: 

  • Push-ups
  • Sit-ups
  • Running (sprint)
  • Swimming (sprint)
  • Rowing
  • Squats
  • Jump rope
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Pull-ups
  • Thrusters
  • Burpees
  • Lunges

Got it?  Now get moving!

Further reading and references:

Chronic Cardio Vs Short Interval High Intensity Exercise
Short Interval High Intensity Workouts Burn More Calories
Best Way to Improve Your Body Composition

Zieman E, et al. Aerobic and anaerobic changes with high-intensity interval training in active college-aged men. J Strength Cond Res. 2011 Apr;25(4):1104-12.

Laursen PB, Jenkins DG  The scientific basis for high-intensity interval training: optimising training programmes and maximising performance in highly trained endurance athletes. Sports Med. 2002;32(1):53-73.



Functional Fitness – Training to Get Fit for Life

by admin

At Bonfire we recognize and advocate that being physically fit is one of the major cornerstones of being healthy.  Physical fitness does, however, incorporate a wide spectrum of concepts, theories and elements.

In addition to the many, many benefits that being physically fit creates within the realm of being healthy, we also recognize that life is filled with unpredictable physical events that require simple to complex body movements at any given moment.  Not only do we want our bodies to be able to handle these unpredictable life events without injury, but we want our level of physical fitness to enable us to negotiate them with great success throughout our lives, as did our fit ancestors.

The term functional fitness is one that simultaneously defines, describes and includes the “holistic” physical fitness objective within the Bonfire Program, which could also be called “life fitness.”  It means doing exercises or activities that imitate “real life,” full body movements through wide ranges of motion. It could be described as Compounding Fitness.  It is a form of fitness designed NOT to isolate particular muscle groups or body parts. For example, rather than performing a “bicep curl” on a machine, a functional movement exercise would be to lift a weighted object off the ground from a squatting position to a standing position, holding the object overhead – all done with careful attention paid to safe and proper body biomechanics and posture techniques.

“Functional movements are  natural, effective, and efficient locomotors of body and external objects. Functional movements are compound movements – i.e., they are multi-joint. But no aspect of functional movements is more important than their capacity to move large loads over long distances, and to do so quickly. We believe that preparation for random physical challenges (i.e., unknown and unknowable events) is at odds with fixed, predictable, and routine regimens.” []

Finally, a fitness regimen incorporating functional movements can be had by anyone, at any level, and at any age.  It doesn’t require elaborate equipment or facilities; it does, however, require effort.  Functional fitness is not, contrary to popular belief, confined to elite athletes or “strongmen.”

Here are two more great articles on this subject:
Being Fit vs. Being Healthy: The 10 Facets of Physical Fitness
Short Interval, High Intensity Exercise


by MJ

Sprint Routine #1

  • Warm up with 5 minutes running at recovery pace (a little slower than your average running pace)
  • 3 rounds of: 2 minutes sprinting pace (as fast as you can), then 2 minutes back at recovery pace
  • Over time, increase to 6 rounds, and then increase your sprinting pace
Sprint Routine #2
(great if you have an outside running track near your house)!
  • Warm up with a lap around the track
  • 4 rounds of:
  • 800 m sprint
  • 200 m recovery

Gearing Up for Wellness

by MJ

If I told you there was an activity that would…
a) get your heart rate up,
b) get you “sweating and panting,”
c) was not only free, but SAVED you money, and
d) was super fun

…you’d think it was too good to be true, right?!

Well guess what folks… all it takes is hopping on your BICYCLE!

It helps that I live in a mild-weathered, bike friendly town, but I literally bike everywhere I need/want to go. For groceries, to yoga class, downtown for fun events, and to coffee shops to write brilliant articles like this one!

It feels great to sling everything I need onto my back and head out for the day. Not only are you getting your movement in covertly, but it saves a ton of money on gas if you can get into a consistent routine.

Granted, some days/nights, its harder to summon the motivation to bike when the car is sitting warm and pretty in the driveway, but I absolutely NEVER regret the decision to saddle up.

Enjoy the road from a new perspective today/this week! And always be sure to have your bike lights, helmets, and warm layers at the ready. Happy cycling!

Active Recovery

by admin

Active recovery – low-intensity exercise during periods of rest between moderate to intense workouts – a small number of research findings say it positively provides benefit while a small amount of research says it is not yet possible to conclude whether or not there is significant benefit.  While it is clear that research is still growing, there are studies that have pointed to positive effects of including active recovery in training cycles. More

Nutrient Glossary

by admin

Essential Nutrient Overview

Your body has innate nutritional needs that it requires for health and function.  These are called essential nutrients.  You cannot live on wood like termites.  You cannot use sunlight for energy like plants.  So, the basic physiology of your body determines what you need to consume for fuel and also for nutrition.  These are the substances that your body is designed to run on.

For example, you need to consume Vitamin C from your food.  If you do not, you will develop scurvy like an 18th century sailor.  Almost all other mammals actually do not need to consume Vitamin C, however.  They can make it from other substances they eat.  Humans and other primates cannot do this.   In other words, you are required to consume these essential nutrients from the food that you eat.

We need to consume Vitamin C from our food to satisfy a need of your body.  This is a basic example of how the essential nutrients you obtain from your food are specific to your body as a human being.  You will find a list of the known essential nutrients below.

What Else Affects the Essential Nutrients My Body Needs?
The essential elements that your body requires from your nutrition are based on both the innate needs of your body and also the specifics of your lifestyle.  The optimal levels are determined by things like your activity level, your age, even your environment.  High levels of physical activity will require greater calorie intake.  So will exposure to cold temperatures.  As we age, often the absorption of nutrients declines so more micronutrients are necessary.  It is important to remember that your body is dynamic and its essential nutrient requirements are dependant on the rest of your lifestyle at the time.

Where Can I Get The Essential Nutrients My Body Needs?
Nutrients are designed to come from eating real food in a manner that supports your lifestyle.  Whether from plants or animals, the food that we eat contains an extremely complex mixture of chemical compounds.  And often times, the name of a nutrient is actually referring to a classification of nutrients, rather than a single isolated element.  And the form and context that these nutrients come from is often crucial in how well our body can use them.  So a best practice is to consume a wide variety of real food that is congruent with your genetics and lifestyle that is in line with the Bonfire Health Ideal Diet.

Macro and Micro Nutrients
The two main categories of nutrients are Macronutrients and Micronutrients.

Macronutrients are the substances that we need in relatively large amounts, and include the three sources of calories – fat, carbohydrates and protein – as well as water.

Micronutrients include a large list of substances that our bodies need in smaller amounts, such as vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and essential fatty acids.

Minerals play a crucial role in the health of your body. Certain minerals are essential elements that you need to consume in your diet.  They include electrolytes like sodium, potassium and chloride, bone and teeth components such as calcium and phosphorus, and vital components of energy production such as magnesium.

The health of the digestive system influences its ability to properly absorb nutrients.  Key factors in mineral absorption are the mineral’s form (bioavailability) as well as interactions with other nutrients and substances present in the digestive system.  The digestive system needs to be properly acidic for the absorption of certain minerals, for example.

Minerals are typically broken down into two categories:  macrominerals and microminerals.  Larger amounts of macrominerals are consumed than the microminerals.  Just like all substances taken into your body, there are specific ranges of amounts which your body needs.

These macrominerals do not provide energy (calories) but serve many important functions in your body.

  • Calcium
  • Phosphorus
  • Magnesium
  • Sodium
  • Potassium
  • Chloride

Microminerals are present in all types of real, natural food to varying amounts.  Often times, the health of the soil will determine the micromineral content of food.  They are typically absorbed by your body in the small intestine.

Microminerals serve most commonly as co-factors for enzymes, meaning they are important for specific biochemical activities in your body.

Here are some microminerals:

  • Chromium
  • Manganese
  • Iron
  • Copper
  • Zinc
  • Selenium
  • Iodine
  • Molybdenum

The importance of fiber in your diet has been a topic of great research interest during recent years.  Fiber is found in natural foods – whole plant foods, in particular, are great sources of the various types of fiber.  Fiber includes both soluble and insoluble fiber.  Both are important for digestive health.  Fiber was a large part of our ancestors‘ diet.  Great sources of fiber include bananas, apples, pears, onions, potatoes, cauliflower, green beans and zucchini, as well as various berries, nuts and seeds.

Essential Fats
Certain fats are essential nutrients for your body.  For many years, conventional nutritional advice was to keep fat intake as low as possible, particularly saturated fat from animals.  However, it had been observed as early as 1929 that people and animals did not thrive when fed a processed diet specifically designed to remove all fat – and that adding a fatty component back to the diet will reverse ill effects. So after many years of a “minimize-fat” stance (low fat, non-fat, no fat), it has become apparent that numerous health problems occur when healthy natural fats are deficient in people’s diets. To read more about fat in general and saturated fat in particular, read Fat Is Good.

While it has now become recognized that fat is a necessary component of a healthy diet, certain specific types of fat are essential to the body.  The specific types of fats described as essential fall into two types: Omega-6 fatty acids and Omega-3 fatty acids.

Both Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids:

  • are unsaturated
  • are only found in certain foods
  • are a long chain fat, meaning they are a longer molecule than the majority of fats we consume

There are also several differences between them.  We consume far too many Omega-6 fatty acids in our modern diet, and we consume far too little Omega-3 fats, especially DHA and EPA.  Omega-6 fats are found in many sources commonly found in our diet, while Omega-3, especially the essential DHA and EPA, are not commonly found in our diet today.  In addition, Omega-6 fats tend to have pro-inflammatory effects, while Omega-3 fats have an anti-inflammatory influence on your body.  The best source of DHA and EPA Omega-3 fatty acids is fresh water fish.  The easiest way to make sure you are consuming enough Omega-3 fatty acids is to take a daily supplement.

Many nutrients play an essential role in your body by acting as antioxidants.  Antioxidants protect cells, DNA and proteins from damage by free radicals.  Free radicals are produced by normal metabolic processes in your body as a by-product of energy production and use.  However, unhealthy lifestyle choices create excessive free radicals that create damage to your body.  Free radical damage is associated with blood vessel damage and cardiovascular disease, DNA damage and cancer formation, and dementia.

Antioxidants are most concentrated in plant foods, especially those with bright colors.

The most commonly discussed antioxidants include:

  • Vitamin A:  found in carrots, kale and broccoli; critical for vision
  • Vitamin C:  found in red peppers, parsley and citrus fruits; supports the immune system
  • Vitamin E:  found in avocados, eggs, oils, leafy greens like spinach, nuts and seeds; promotes a healthy heart and aides in the absorption of nutrients
  • Carotenoids:  found in oranges, tomatoes, bananas and brightly colored peppers; aide in healthy immune function and fight free radicals
  • Lycopene:  found in tomatoes, pink grapefruits, watermelon and papayas; important for preventing heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, diabetes and male infertility.
  • Glutathione:  found in raw fruits and vegetables like broccoli, asparagus, avocados, and cauliflower; detoxifies carcinogens and free radicals and plays an important role in the immune system, gastrointestinal system, and the nervous system.

There is a broad range of nutrients in food that have levels of antioxidant activity; many are known, and likely even more remain to be uncovered.

Research shows that antioxidants are best obtained from whole foods, rather than as isolated chemicals.  A Bonfire diet-style provides a high level of antioxidants by supplying you with a broad range of fruits and vegetables, and at the same time, a genetically congruent lifestyle minimizes excessive free radical production.

One of the most dynamic areas of nutritional research has been into the body’s needs for fruits and vegetables.  The complex chemical compounds found in plant foods have been shown over and over again to have proven health effects and protect us from disease.  The chemicals in plants are often referred as phytochemicals, or phytonutrients.

The Linus Pauling Institute at the University of Oregon:

“Phytochemicals can be defined, in the strictest sense, as chemicals produced by plants.  However, the term is generally used to describe chemicals from plants that may affect health, but are not essential nutrients.”

However, in combination, research shows that they are in fact a critical essential element.  A key to this aspect of phytochemicals is that their effects add together.  Rather than a single chemical from a specific plant, the effects are from the spectrum of phytochemicals, and the total amount consumed.  This is why a Bonfire Health Diet Style includes eating a wide variety of vegetables!

Here are some of the more well known classifications of phytochemicals (although there are many thousands, most unknown):

See more about phytochemicals here at the Linus Pauling Institute.

It became clear that there were specific substances in food that were necessary for health, and that the lack of certain substances led to disease.  In 1912, the term “vitamin” was coined to describe these substances.  At first, there were two known vitamins, or classes of vitamins:  Vitamin A, the fat-soluble vitamin, and Vitamin B, the water-soluble vitamin.

There are now 13 essential vitamins, broken down into fat-soluble and water-soluble vitamins.

Fat-Soluble Vitamins:

  • Vitamin A (carrots, kale, and broccoli)
  • Vitamin D (fatty fish such as salmon, sunlight)
  • Vitamin E (avocados, eggs, oils, leafy greens such as spinach, nuts and seeds)
  • Vitamin K (green leafy vegetables such as kale, swiss chard, spinach, parsley and lettuce)

Water-Soluble Vitamins:

  • Vitamin B1 (green vegetables, beets, almonds, turnips and beans)
  • Vitamin B2 (eggs, nuts, fish and lean meats)
  • Vitamin B3 (turkey, chicken, fish, eggs, nuts, avocados, dates and mushrooms)
  • Vitamin B5 (broccoli, avocado, and meats)
  • Vitamin B6 (meats, raw vegetables, nuts)
  • Vitamin B7 (egg yolk, liver, some vegetables)
  • Vitamin B9 (liver, turkey, tuna, banana, potatoes, chili peppers)
  • Vitamin B12 (fish and shellfish, liver and other meat sources, eggs)
  • Vitamin C (red peppers, parsley, citrus fruits)

Your body requires protein in your diet.  Proteins are made up of building blocks called amino acids.  Your body connects various amino acids together to form long protein chains that are an essential part of every cell and tissue of your body.  Therefore, your body does best when an array of the various amino acid types are consumed.

Essential Amino Acids
Certain amino acids are essential.  Essential amino acids must be consumed in the diet or a deficiency results.  In other words, they cannot be made by your body.  The essential amino acids, however, can be used by your body to create all the other non-essential amino acids.

The essential amino acids are:  threonine, lysine, methionine, arginine, valine, phenylanine, leucine, tryptophan, isoleucine and histidine.  They are abundant in animal products like eggs, chicken and beef.  Be sure to select free range, grass-fed, naturally raised meats and eggs.  They can also be found in various nuts and seeds.

These amino acids cannot be made by your body.  They need to be consumed in your diet.  These ten amino acids are referred to as the essential amino acids.

Movement as a Nutrient

by admin


Critical Thinking:  Regular exercise is one component of being healthy – I need/want to exercise regularly.

Best Practices:  I work out every day (you only have to work out on the days you eat :) ).

Move or Die – Why Exercise is Essential
Want to be truly healthy?  Want to have boundless energy and avoid heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and senile dementia, not to mention obesity?  Well, it is now a scientific fact that to be healthy, to be “well,” you must exercise regularly.  It is no longer simply a luxury or for people who want to “be in shape” – the effect regular exercise has on your overall health is now known to be critical and essential for health and well being.  That’s why exercise must now be considered an essential element or required nutrient, not simply some form of therapeutic activity.  It should be thought of as important as breathing.

Exercise must be looked upon as an integral part of a complete health regimen (just like eating deep-fried food or smoking is part of a disease regimen).  For example, it’s been known for decades that regular exercise benefits the cardiovascular system, preventing heart attacks and high blood pressure.  Now, however, studies have also shown that women with breast cancer who exercised have a much greater survival rate compared to those with breast cancer who didn’t exercise.  The average person will read that and say “I don’t have breast cancer, so that doesn’t apply to me.” But what that study reveals is that exercise supports and enhances immune function – that’s why the women who exercised had three times the survival rate!

Although exercise, combined with proper dietary lifestyle practices, is a viable method of reversing many disease processes, the obvious conclusion is that we should all experience the benefit of an optimal functioning whole body physiology, which includes the immune system, by incorporating exercise into our daily and weekly regimen – as a priority, not “If my schedule allows it” or “Well, now that I’ve been diagnosed with XYZ condition, I better start getting in shape.”

Your Future Health Is Exercise-Dependent
Scientific evidence has proven that, combined with proper eating habits, regular exercise can prevent and even reverse diabetes.  Again, you may not have diabetes [5.3 million Americans have diabetes and don't know yet that they have it - The China Study, pg. 145], but do you see the inherent importance that exercise has on blood sugar and insulin regulation?

Want to avoid Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease?  That’s right – exercise!  Just as in the example described above involving diabetes, exercise combined with optimal, whole food nutrition high in fiber, phytonutrients and antioxidants from fresh organic fruits and vegetables, and sufficient Omega essential fatty acids from fish oil and flax oil has been found to be the best defense against the ravages of senile dementia.  Furthermore, none of those requirements listed previously can be substituted for another – we need the whole package:  exercise, proper dietary nutrients, rest, and a positive attitude.

And of course, last but not least – exercise is critical to avoiding obesity.  You knew that, right?  But did you also know that obesity is highly associated in causal effect with diabetes, cancer, and heart disease?

The Bottom Line:  exercise regularly to optimize your health and your life.  Or, then again you could choose to die an early, painful, and crippling death – the choice is yours!

Vital Behaviors:

• Get up earlier to allow time for a workout.
• Utilize your Bonfire Health workouts.
• Always take the stairs, park far away, walk to the mailbox.
• Bring lunch to work, eat at your desk after working out during lunch hour.
• Leave work on time and drive straight to the gym/health club (may require afternoon snack or snack on the way to gym (raw nuts and fruit).
• Schedule out/map out your week’s workouts (e.g. Mon:  bike ride; Tues:  swim; Wed:  Pilates class; Thurs:  run; Fri:  spin class; Sat:  yoga class; Sun:  core class, etc.).
• Join a gym, health club, or CrossFit; if that isn’t possible, then watch the Bonfire Video Coaching.

You can do it!

How Much Exercise?

by admin

Critical Thinking:  When humans were living a natural, outdoor-oriented lifestyle, the daily work and tasks created movement that encompassed the whole body through full ranges of motion throughout much of the day.  Therefore, I need to recreate that type of fitness though a specific and focused exercise regimen called innate functional training.

Best Practices:  30-60 minutes every day of moving, panting and sweating (outside of bed).

Vital Behaviors:  Map out, strategically plan out a systematic plan for intensive, comprehensive workouts at a gym, CrossFit facility, your back yard, garage, spare bedroom, abandoned house next door, etc.

Level 1:  Haven’t been exercising lately, or consistently out of shape, overweight, fearful of injury (or maybe recovering from an illness or injury) and/or social stigmatism, unsure of how to begin, where to begin, etc.?

• Walk around the block once a day for a week, then twice around the block, then twice around the block for time (meaning quicker than the previous session).
• Do standing wall push-ups and free-standing squatting motions (watch Coaching Video – hyperlink).
• Find hills and/or stairs – walk them, then increase the repetitions; skip stairs; then do them faster, then do them for time, do them more often.
• Move to Level 2

Level 2:  Reasonably fit, not overweight, but only works out 2-4 days each week.

• Figure out/create within your schedule time so that you will exercise every day.  This could mean joining some type of health club facility or gym – they’ve changed a lot so don’t be intimidated.  Maybe you’ve always wanted to start cycling – go buy that bike; however, if you live where it isn’t practical or feasible to ride December – April, then cycling becomes Plan B – Plan A is to figure out how and where you can exercise every day (you could get a “trainer” which you use indoors and mount your bike for indoor cyling).
• After you’ve established a daily exercise routine, turn up the intensity by doing one or more of the following:

• Start timing yourself in your exercise routines;
• Increase the weights, speeds, inclines (i.e. hills, treadmill), etc. – up the intensity.

• Get coaching.  This could mean simply taking a class – aerobics, kickboxing, yoga, masters swim, etc.  You’ll do twice the work in the same amount of time which means you can halve your workout time or simply do more.  Or, you could sign up for a series of personal training sessions to expand your exercise routine, increase your knowledge, or improve your technique to allow for increased intensity without risk of injury.

• Start working out with a buddy or a group of people (for example, in a class at your local gym, health club, community center, or at a CrossFit gym – you’ll do more, faster, and you’ll have more fun, and you’ll be held accountable).

Level 3:  Congratulations, you’re in an elite group on the planet – you’re fit!  So now what?

Get more fit.
• It may be time to find a CrossFit type of facility.  Watch YouTube videos of kettle bell workouts, CrossFit workouts, etc. to get inspired, to learn new, inspiring ways to get in even better shape.  Buy equipment for home use for the days you don’t or can’t make it to the gym.

• Get more efficient at getting fit.  Simply changing your workout routine can often produce new levels of intensity – i.e. the days you do certain things, the sequence in which you do things.  Do the same workout in 5%, 10% or 20% less time.

• Commit to an objective/goal:  an competitive event or certification.  This could mean signing up for a 10K race or a triathlon, or signing up for some type of certification (i.e. CrossFit or personal trainer certification), scheduling to attend a fitness camp. When a fitness objective or goal is on your future schedule/radar/calendar, you’ll be amazed at how it will help focus your workouts and keep you more consistent in your workout schedule.

Scalable Training: Customize Your Workout

by admin

One of the most important reasons for everyone to stay fit and active is to be able to handle the demands of daily life. From on-duty police work to motherhood, each walk of life has different and unpredictable demands. The ability to handle whatever life has in store for you requires the same basic abilities. As Coach Greg Glassman, the founder of Crossfit, says regarding fitness, “The needs of our grandparents and soldiers differ in degree, not kind.” These needs are the functional competencies to move our own body and objects through three-dimensional space. In other words, it doesn’t matter who you are or what you do on a daily basis, every person needs to train the same types of functional movement for optimal physical health and fitness.

Many people hesitate to start an exercise program, though, because sometimes working out can seem daunting. There might be unfamiliar exercises, fear of injury, or just anxiety about where to start. Scaled training is the answer to all these exercise dilemmas.

What is Scaling?
Scaling usually refers to dropping the number of repetitions or sets in a workout, lowering the weight, or modifying the movement so that a workout can be completed. These are all very effective ways to scale training while still maintaining safe and great outcomes.

The three groups are:

Level 1 Mover:  Beginner exerciser to light exerciser.

Level 2 Mover:  Moderate exerciser to one who exercises on a regular basis.

Level 3 Mover:  More advanced athlete to elite athlete.

The benchmark WOD for each day of the week is scaled appropriately to suit each level’s ability. For example:  Level 1 movers could have a workout that includes walking and wall pushups, Level 2 movers have a workout that includes a run and either standard pushups or pushups from your knees, and Level 3 movers have a workout completed as fast as possible that includes sprinting and clapping pushups.

Each of these workouts has relatively the same type of functional movement demands that are modified and done at different levels of intensity. This way each individual is able to get the prescribed amount of work done while appropriately challenging their fitness and skill.

How Do I Scale a Workout That is Too Difficult For Me?
Here are the three best ways to scale a workout, while still being able to maximize gains in overall fitness and skill:

1.  Scale down the weight so that you can complete all the repetitions needed to do the workout. If you’re fatigued afterwards, and you’ve kept moving throughout, you will still gain strength.

For example:  If you need to scale a workout that calls for 15 lb. dumbbell presses for 20 repetitions, you may want to grab 10 lb. dumbbells instead so you can still complete all the necessary reps. You should aim to scale down just enough so that the last few reps take a bit more effort and force you to really focus. If you’ve scaled down too far, you’ll find yourself busting out the last few reps will relative ease.

2.  Sometimes workouts are just too tough, or will take too long to complete. In that case, it might be necessary to drop down the number of repetitions and the weight. For example:  instead of doing 3 rounds of 30 repetitions of a certain movement, you could do 3 rounds of 20 repetitions. This way you can still complete the high number of repetitions the workout calls for without losing the high-repetition demand of the workout.

3.  Modify an exercise so you can still complete a similar movement pattern that a workout calls for. This allows you to complete your workout while continuing to improve on the necessary skill to being able to do more advanced movements.

For example:  if you are unable to perform a pull-up, then you can scale down the movement and do jumping pull-ups instead.

The key to exercise is that you should start the Bonfirehealth movement program no matter what your fitness level. Scaling down is not an admission of weakness or something to be ashamed of. Even super fit athletes will need to scale down at times. The workouts prescribed are something to aim towards as your goal. Read people’s testimonies on Bonfirehealth and see how others have gone from total inactivity to being able to participate in sports they used to love. But more importantly, they improved their health and fitness from day one.

The Dangers of a Sedentary Lifestyle

by admin

Sedentary Lifestyle
Sedentary lifestyle is a medical term used to describe a lifestyle with little or no physical activity.  It is commonly found in both the developed and developing world, and is characterized by sitting, reading, watching television or using the computer for much of the day, with little or no vigorous physical exercise.

The Facts on Sedentary Lifestyle:

  • Approximately 50% of America’s youth aged 12–21 are not regularly physically active.  Moreover, physical activity declines dramatically during adolescence.
  • According to the American Heart Association, those who are physically inactive have between 1.5 and 2.4 times the risk for developing coronary heart disease, comparable to that observed for high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure or cigarette smoking.
  • A sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of developing diabetes, hypertension, colon cancer, depression and anxiety, obesity, and weak muscles and bones.
  • According to the CDC, nationally in 2000, 78% of the population was at risk for health problems related to lack of exercise, which is regular and sustained physical activity.
  • On average, physically active people outlive those who are inactive.
  • Physical inactivity affects at least 20 of the most deadly chronic disorders. 

The Importance of an Active Lifestyle
Our genes, combined with lifestyle choices, determine the health that we get to experience during our lifetime.  What current research shows is that our genes are virtually identical to those of our hunter-gatherer ancestors who inhabited the earth over 10,000 years ago.  For them, daily physical activity was not a lifestyle choice; it was a necessary part of survival.  Nowadays, even though exercise and movement may seem like a choice, exercise is still very necessary for our survival and optimal health.

Currently, more than 60% of American adults are not regularly active, and 25% of the adult population is not active at all.  Sedentary Death Syndrome, or “SeDS,” is the term developed by more than 200 of the nation’s leading physiologists to diagnose the growing epidemic of physical inactivity and its relationship to chronic, preventable diseases.  All inactive Americans are currently at risk for SeDS, which can lead to premature disability or death.  Approximately 2.5 million Americans will die prematurely in the next ten years due to SeDS, a number greater than all alcohol, gun, motor vehicle, and illicit drug use deaths combined.  These researchers call SeDS the second largest threat to public health.

Avoid all these dangers of a sedentary lifestyle by making the choice to exercise regularly!  Check out our tips for getting started.

Now Get Moving!

Related Resources:
The Chair is Your Enemy
Sitting is Killing You
Inactivity Responsible for More Deaths than Smoking
If You Must Sit, Sit Here