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Wake Up To The Power Of One

Fitness Snacking: What’s the deal?

The world moves fast. We get it. Sometimes it’s hard to find the time for a full workout. And, if you know us here at DRYWORLD, then you know we’re all about efficiency, maximizing input, and that powerful 1% for compound gains.

We know that not every workout needs to be a three hour sweat-fest in the gym.

Plus, fitness is hard. Being motivated and dedicated to keeping up with it is even harder. That’s why there’s a constant flow of new “hacks,” trends, diets, and miracle-making superfoods. Lately, we’ve been hearing tons about “fitness snacking,” which breaks exercise into smaller, more manageable chunks throughout the day. But what exactly is fitness snacking, and does it actually work? 

“Consistency beats intensity. Consistency beats volume. Consistency beats passion. Consistency dictates results. Consistency is what defines character.” — Rich Roll

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Let’s delve into this latest trend. Here’s everything you need to know about “Fitness Snacking.”

What is Fitness Snacking?

Fitness snacking is exactly what it sounds like… Minus the tasty treats. It’s the practice of engaging in short, frequent bursts of physical activity throughout the day rather than committing to a single extended workout session. The mini-workouts, aka. “snacks,” can be as short as 5 or 10 minutes, and can include a ton of different exercises, like brisk walking, squats, push-ups, or even a rapid-pace HIIT session.

The Pros of Fitness Snacking

1. Efficiency 

The first benefit is the most obvious—efficiency. A lot of people out there have packed schedules, and getting to the gym can be a big ask. Fitting in multiple short workouts can be more feasible than dedicating an hour or more to exercise. This aspect of fitness snacking makes it easier to stay consistent (which is critical to success) with a routine.

2. Increased Activity Levels

It’s never a bad thing to increase your movement throughout the day, and fitness snacking can help do exactly that by spreading physical activity out throughout the day. For those with sedentary jobs or lifestyles, the constant breaks from sitting in exchange for movement can be particularly beneficial.

3. Improved Metabolism

Frequent bouts of exercise can help keep your metabolism active throughout the day! Each mini-workout can act as a metabolic boost, helping to burn calories and aid in weight management.

4. Mental and Physical Breaks

We’re all about the mental aspect of fitness and health. Short exercise sessions can serve as effective mental breaks, too. By moving regularly, you can reduce stress, boost your mood, and improve your focus. The end result? Less fatigue and more productivity.

5. Flexibility

While consistency is key, fitness snacking also offers flexibility in your exercise type and timing. You can tailor your mini-workouts to fit around meetings and change them up depending on your location! It can make working out a lot of fun, while being easier to stay active regardless of circumstance.

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The Cons of Fitness Snacking

1. Limited Intensity

Shorter workouts don’t always allow for the same intensity as a long and grueling session. And let’s be honest… Sometimes you need those. They just feel good. While you can still incorporate HIIT with fitness snacking, you might not reach that threshold required for afterburn or other benefits of a sustained, vigorous workout.

2. Inconsistent Gains

If you’re looking to build significant muscle or train up for an endurance event, fitness snacking likely won’t provide the consistent, progressive overload you need to achieve your goals. Fitness snacking is better geared towards maintenance or a boost for those who aren’t already at a high level of athleticism.

3.  Distractions

Frequent breaks for a mini-workout can become disruptive quickly, especially in a busy work environment. While they can be convenient, they still might not be for everyone. You’ll need to find the right balance between productivity and activity, which can be challenging.

Who is Fitness Snacking?

A lot of athletes have incorporated elements of fitness snacking into their routines. Take Serena Williams, for example. She’s been known to integrate short, high-intensity exercises into her day to stay in peak condition. Soccer legend Cristiano Ronaldo includes brief but intense training sessions alongside his regular workouts to maintain high fitness levels. While they’re not ONLY doing fitness snacking, like some snack-fanatics might, they use aspects to help boost their athleticism.

Does Fitness Snacking Work?

In short, it can. Fitness snacking works by making exercise more accessible and less daunting. 10 sessions of 10 push-ups does sound more enticing than 100 push-ups all in one go, right? By breaking down workouts into manageable pieces, it becomes easier to stay active in a consistent manner. The frequent movement also helps combat the negative effects of prolonged sitting (mental and physical), enhances circulation, and can improve your overall energy levels. With careful planning, the short bursts can help ensure you’re getting enough of a certain type of exercise (such as strength training), too.

Plus, research suggests that cumulative exercise can be just as beneficial as continuous exercise when it comes to improving cardiovascular health, controlling blood sugar, and managing weight. Like we always say, consistency is key. When it comes to fitness snacking, you need consistency, and to ensure that the mini-workouts add up to a sufficient amount and level of physical activity.

While it might not be a replacement for all, vigorous and lengthy sweat-sessions at the gym, it can definitely enhance your overall daily activity levels, improve metabolism, and provide a much-needed mental and physical break from sitting at your desk.

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How to Try Fitness Snacking

Keen to try it out? Here are five tips for getting started:

1. Plan your snacks.

Schedule mini-workouts like you would any other appointment. To start, go for 3-5 sessions of 5-10 minutes each throughout the day. 

2. Incorporate variety. 

Mix up your workouts and exercises to keep things interesting and target different muscle groups. This will also help ensure you get enough out of your workouts for the benefits. Include cardio, strength training, and flexibility exercises. Need help? Dr. Andrew Huberman has some suggested exercises in this YouTube video.

3.  Use your environment.

The fun thing about fitness snacking is that you can get creative. Utilize what’s around you, be it taking the stairs, doing desk exercises, or finding ways to use your living room couch.

4. Set reminders.

Use your calendar or phone alarm to remind you to take an exercise break.

5. Stay consistent.

Keep up the consistency and incorporate snacking into your routine to reap the full benefits.

“Natural talent only determines the limits of your athletic potential. It’s dedication and a willingness to discipline your life that makes you great.” — Billie Jean King

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