By Jordan Gray | Jordan Gray Consulting
I have a confession to make…
In many areas of my life, I am a ridiculously lazy person.
The most pronounced part of my life where this shows up is in how I exercise.
You see, I absolutely adore the benefits that I get from exercising (primarily: better quality sleep, creativity, resilience to getting sick, and boosted/stabilized mood)… but I don’t adore the exercising part itself.
This past year, I wanted to see how I could hack exercise. I wanted the best possible results (for the benefits that I optimize for) with the least possible energy and time expenditure. In other words, I wanted it to be simple and fast.
After countless gruelling sessions with personal trainers and hours and hours of research into various methodologies, these three things are what I settled on as being the most highly effective and easy to do exercise routines that give you the most bang for your buck.
When I’m feeling lazy, but I know that I have to do some form of exercise in order to enjoy better sleep, lifted mood, and more creativity, these are the things that I turn to.
Here are my three favourite lazy workouts, in no particular order.
1. Far infrared sauna
What Is It?:
Far infrared saunas are like normal steam or dry saunas… but better for you.
Whereas most sauna heat you from the outside in (making you sweat quickly, but with little toxin content to your sweat), infrared saunas heat you from the inside out (like a human-safe microwave) and therefore bring out a lot more toxins via your sweat.
Microwaving yourself might sound a little sketchy… but infrared heat technology is the same technology that hospitals use to keep premature babies warm when they’re in those little baby boxes.
When I do sessions in an infrared sauna, I tend to go in for 45-60 minutes at a time. As long as I’m continuing to drink water throughout my session, the way that I see it, the more time the better.
Why I Love It:
I get to sweat a lot without having to move at all, and I enjoy a deeper detox, while feeling less physically hot than a ‘regular’ sauna. And I always leave the sauna feeling just like I do when I leave the gym after an intense workout… high and happy.
What You Get From It:
With infrared sauna therapy, you can enjoy the following (scientifically proven) benefits:
– Deep detoxification
– Muscle relaxation
– Pain relief
– Weight loss
– Improved circulation
– Improved immune function
– Healthier, clearer skin and reduced skin conditions (such as psoriasis, eczema, etc.)
2. The Wim Hof method breathing technique
What Is It?:
Ever heard of Wim Hof (aka the Iceman)? Wim is a guy who discovered a series of techniques that basically turns you into a superhuman.
After having been surrounded by dozens of male friends who swore by his trainings, I decided to eventually try it out for myself.
The first time that I did the breathing technique, I held my breath for over two and a half minutes with ease. I was hooked. If I could hack my body to do something so seemingly ludicrous (to my mind) then what else was I capable of doing that I had previously told myself was impossible?
Anyways, the core of the Wim Hof method consists of three major parts: breath work, cold exposure, and meditation.
The breathing technique goes like this:
– Take 30-40 deep breaths, focusing primarily on the inhale. Big breath in, small breath out. So you’re basically getting high on oxygen by cultivating an oxygen surplus in your body. At the end of this series of breaths, exhale all the way.
– Next, hold your breath. Hold it for as long as is comfortably possible. If you really played full on with the series of deep breaths, you should easily be able to hold your breath for a full minute without needing to take a breath in (because of the surplus of oxygen that is still in your body).
– When you can no longer comfortably hold that breath, take one deep breath in and hold it at the top.
– Repeat these first three steps (do a total of 3 or 4 rounds of this sequence).
That’s it. Series of deep breaths. Exhale, hold. Inhale a deep breath and hold that. Then repeat.
At the end of this series, it is then recommend to meditate for 5-10 minutes (sit comfortably, close your eyes, focus on your breath), and then expose your body to cold water while in the shower (even 10-30 seconds of cold water exposure gives you health benefits).
For more information, check out the Wim Hof method through Wim’s website.
Why I Love It:
You can do it anywhere. You get the same rush of happy brain chemicals that you would get from a physically intense workout in a gym. You can do it first thing in the morning, without even having to get out of bed.
What You Get From It:
Of all of the claims that are made about the benefits of the Wim Hof method, only about 10% of them are actually substantiated by any science. But, I don’t really care. When it comes to health and wellness, anecdotal evidence (from myself, my friends, and my clients) is enough for me because science often lags behind health research. I know that it makes me feel amazing, and I’m always glad that I’ve done it.
Here are some of the most frequent benefits that the Wim Hof method claims or is connected to:
– Relieved stress, increased relaxation and peace of mind
– Feel energized and full of life within a matter of minutes
– Boost your body’s alkalinity and reduce inflammation for faster recovery times
– An increase of dopamine, serotonin, and other happy brain chemicals
– Improve your cardiovascular health
– Experience deeper, higher quality sleep
– Decreased risk of heart disease, cancer, and other diseases linked to inflammation in the body
And if you’re someone who is curious about the science behind things, check this out.
In an article that was published in this scientific journal, the following was researched and subsequently found (regarding the Wim Hof method):
“The present study demonstrates that, through practicing techniques learned in a short-term training program, the sympathetic nervous system and immune system can indeed be voluntarily influenced. Healthy volunteers practicing the learned techniques exhibited profound increases in the release of epinephrine, which in turn led to increased production of anti-inflammatory mediators and subsequent dampening of the pro-inflammatory cytokine response elicited by intravenous administration of bacterial endotoxin.
This study could have important implications for the treatment of a variety of conditions associated with excessive or persistent inflammation, especially autoimmune diseases in which therapies that antagonize pro-inflammatory cytokines have shown great benefit.”
Fancy way of saying, yes, there are health benefits to doing this breathing technique in conjunction with cold exposure therapy.
3. Three sets of kettle bell swings
What Is It?:
Kettle bell swings are essentially the fastest way to build an amazing ass, in under ten minutes per day (yes, really).
You grab a kettle bell (or some heavy, weighted thing that easily fits between your legs) and swing it back and forth, mainly using the power of your hip thrusters. Aim for 10-20 repetitions per set, and do three or four sets in total. This entire workout often takes less than ten minutes.