How can you stay really fit and perform at a high level with only a few hours of exercise per week when you are as old as dirt?

I keep a journal of my exercise on a daily basis.  I use this tool to see how I can improve my fitness with less and less time. 

Everyone states that the reason they do not stay fit is that they do not have the time, they are too old, they have knee issues, shoulder problems, blah, blah, blah.  I have all of those and more, so I will not bore you with the laundry list of injuries I work around.  These can be real issues, but if there is a will there is a way around most of these issues. 

My whole life has never had enough time to workout, but I recently took a long look at how I have been able to accomplish a high level of fitness with only a few hours per week devoted to exercise. 

I looked back at my journal and came to the realization that I rarely spend more than 45 minutes exercising at one time.  Instead I Micro dose exercise throughout the week.  This means I am mindful of just throwing in some exercise whenever I think I can.  I focus more on a goal for the day and then figure out how I will slip it in.   Below is an example of a typical week for me.  Btw, with a little planning you do not have to be in a gym all day to accomplish the same week.  

Monday:  Total exercise time less than 30 min.  On my way out the door in the morning I will do 40-50 pushups or a set of pullups to failure at home.  Later in the day I will do Heavy Deadlifts and Glute Ham raises.  Total time about 20 min.  I warm up with the glute hams and alternate between both exercises.  I execute 4 to 5 sets of each exercise.   This is a heavy lower body strength day.  This day is really important on so many levels.  You have to have this in your week

Tuesday: Total exercise time about 20 mins.   I will execute the pushups or pullups on the way out the door in the morning.  I will execute a Maximum Sustained Power set on the Versapulley or Kbox in my gym.  This typically consists of 2 sets of 4 explosive Short hip rows on the Versapulley or Kbox followed by a 10 to 15 second rest for 4 minutes straight.  I fully recover and repeat.  This is a power day.  Most people neglect this day as it is taxing and also is harder to design. 

Wednesday: Total exercise time about 25 min.  In the morning I do the pushups or pullups out the door.   Versaclimber intervals.  I will typically execute 12 to 20 minutes of short intense intervals on the climber.  For example this could be 8 x 45 second sprints with about 2 to 4 minutes between each.  During the day I may do the ab wheel for a few sets of 20 at different times when I need a break.  This is a needed intense cardio day and is also of great importance.  

Thursday: Total exercise time less than 30 min. I will usually focus on one upper body movement that I feel I needs work.  It may be shoulders arms, back etc.  This could be a pulling or pushing exercise that I can easily execute in sets of 10 to 20 reps.  I will set a goal for the day.  I may set a goal of 50 pullups by end of day.  I may just do 10 at a time during the day at 5 different times during the day.  It takes no time and I do not sweat and in fact I am energized.   This day allows me to focus on a particular area of fitness or muscle groups I want to improve. 

Friday: Total time about 10 mins.   I will typically do a long power set on the versa pulley.  This is a 20x10 by 4 min steady tempo of pulls for my lower body for 2 sets total.  Once again you see power in the equation for the week.  This is just a different energy system than the first power day.

Saturday: Total exercise time 2:15 to 2.5 split in two sections.   This is the longest stretch of exercise efforts.  I may ride my bicycle for 1 to 2 hours.  It is meditative and great to maintain my aerobic base.   I try to do this both Saturday and Sunday, but often it is just one of the days.  This is my aerobic fitness.  You need at least one of these longer days in a week. 

I also do 40 min of upper body lifting.  Saturday is a heavy strength day.  Low reps high load.  I can make gains in upper body strength with this focused approach. 

Sunday: 1.5 to 2. Hours of total time.   I go to the gym early and do all upper body again, but the focus is strength endurance.  Takes about 45 min.  This is strength endurance and hypertrophy.  I can add size in the areas I want to add with this day. 

Sunday afternoon I try to get in another bike ride.  Typically less than 1.5 hours of total time.  More aerobic.  Not totally necessary if you are not trying to improve your aerobic performance.


Total Time for the week:  Between 5 to 6.5 hours per week dependent on how long I ride my bike on the weekends.  You can adjust this accordingly.  If you are not as concerned about your longer cardio fitness or not planning on running a marathon or racing your bike you can rely on the shorter intervals to keep you very fit.  I like being 6 weeks away from race fitness so if I want to be able to go out and hammer on the bike.  I can be there shortly if I can get two days in, but I am not always successful. 

You can maintain great health, great performance, and a great physique with Micro dosing your exercise throughout the week.  Of course you have to couple this with a solid diet.  It needs to be solid, not insane.  

My diet is the real food diet.  Organic Protein whenever possible, tons of colorful veggies, fruits seasonally, and lots of natural fats.  Carbs should be nutrient dense whenever possible.  In other words reduce the processed foods and stick with real food.  I do not eat Trans fats.   I do take some supplements, but I do not see the need to partake in any of the anti-aging protocols that many in my age group turn to.  Most of the supplements I take are natural anti-inflammatories as I have so many nagging injuries from the past. 

I will be writing more on Micro dosing exercise for great health and fitness as you age in subsequent posts. 

I believe our bodies were built for micro dosing of exercise.  The idea of 1 to 2 hours straight 3 to 5 days a week is very difficult and I do not think fits well with how are bodies were meant to exercise.   If you are mindful, you can make this happen with little effort and it makes for a better day and week.

Truth in Fitness,

Jacques DeVore, CSCS