zenhabits : breathe

The Thousand Cuts Fitness Program

By Leo Babauta

I’ve trained for marathons, triathlons, 10Ks, a 13.5-hour challenge, Ubanathlons, and more. But my favorite fitness program isn’t one where you train for a major event.

It’s where you get fit by a thousand little actions.

When the actions are tiny, they are easy. You have no excuse. You can do them anywhere, all day long.

I fold fitness into my life, like blueberries into batter, and it becomes a part of the recipe, not just a topping.

If you haven’t found a way to get fit, try the Thousand Cuts Fitness Program. There is nothing better for those who don’t have the time.

Here’s how it works:

1. Right now, do something that only takes 1 minute. It might be a few pushups, bodyweight squats, an attempt at a pullup, a few lunges. You have time to do 1 minute.

2. In an hour or so, go for a walk if you can. If you’re in decent shape, make it a fast walk. Add some hills for challenges. If you’re not in good shape, just walk. Later, add some spurts of fast walking.

3. Later in the day, do a few more 1 minute activities.

4. Gradually build the 1 minute activities into 2 or 3 minutes. Then 4 or 5 of them. Add more of them throughout your day.

5. As much as you can, turn the activities into play. Throw your kids around. Run through a park and climb trees and benches. Race people. Play a sport.

6. Get a pullup bar for your home. Every time you walk by it, try to pull yourself up. If you can do pullups, do a few, or 10, every time you pass the bar.

7. Get a kettlebell. Swing it a few times a day.

8. Run places. Walk places quickly.

Always be active. It’s not hard, if you do it in tiny bits. You can’t say no to 1 minute, or even just a few seconds. And if you do a thousand of them, you’ll be fit.

Fitness is a part of my life now, but it wasn’t when I started. I did it in little bits, without designating a certain time as “workout time”. My whole life is workout time.



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