For our readers who are gym members, you may have noticed the “Plank Challenge” that occurred last month. For those who weren’t aware, we had a contest to see who could accumulate the most time in a high and/or low plank through the month. We had many participants, and MaryBeth won for our members with 93 minutes. Coach Raf and I both surpassed the 150 minute mark, and to some, this seemed excessive. If you break down the numbers, it really isn’t. And, both Raf and I employed a strategy that I’d like to share with everyone. It’s called microdosing.
Put simply, microdosing means dedicating small amounts of time throughout the day, to achieve a cumulative effect. In this case, it was plank holds. I accumulated 166 minutes in 31 days. If you break that down by day, it averages to between 5-6 minutes per day. If you can hold a 1 minute plank, this means spending 1 minute in a plank, 5 or 6 times throughout the day. How frequently do you have a minute to spare? It seems pretty reasonable when you look at it this way.
I’m not saying that this is what I did every day. Some days I spent an hour in front of the TV, doing 30 seconds on, 1 minute off, and alternating between high and low planks, because I can be a bit competitive at times. Do you have time in front of the TV where this strategy could work for you too?
It’s an important strategy to remember, because microdosing can be used in multiple ways. Struggling to dedicate 20 minutes per day to mobility work? Spend 2 minutes a couple times a day and see if you can at least get to 4 minutes. Only have 1 minute? Do you have a massage gun? Great! You get a 1 minute trigger point massage.
Struggling to get enough protein, or water in your day? With a little more planning, you can use microdosing here as well. Maybe it’s a protein shake in the morning. That gives you both fluids and protein. Maybe you keep a water bottle next to your bed so you can drink water first thing in the morning. If you can spread hydration throughout your day, you won’t find yourself chugging water around dinner time.
For our non-gym members, maybe you’re struggling to find time to exercise. Life might be so busy for you right now that you simply cannot dedicate an hour (plus travel time) to the gym. It happens. Do you have 10 minutes? Do a quick circuit of squats, push-ups, and sit-ups. Even 5 minutes would work. Can’t spare that time? Do “drive-by workouts.” Leave a kettlebell in your hallway. Every time you pass it, do 10 swings. This is another method of microdosing.
In fact, I used the drive-by method in high school to improve my pull-ups. My goal was to get from 15 to 20 strict. Every time I passed through my bedroom door, I had to do 10 pull-ups. Using this microdosing strategy, 2 things happened. First, I got really good at carrying as much as possible, so I could minimize the trips I made in and out of my room. And second, I got better at pull-ups. This strategy can be used with many different movements.
The point is, we want to focus on what we can do, rather than what we can’t. Microdosing is an effective strategy to sprinkle various healthy activities throughout your day. Nutrition, hydration, planks, mobility, calisthenics – it doesn’t matter. Microdosing can be applied to almost anything. Give it a try!