Many of us have witnessed the rise of minimalist practices on our social media feeds and in our physical surroundings. With countless tips and tricks at our fingertips, life itself has become simplified in many ways, and who’s complaining? Given the rapid growth of the trend, there’s a new minimalist-inspired habit we can all feel excited about: minimalist workouts. Gone are the days when gym goers were advised to spend two or more hours a day training to notice results. Unless you’re a competitive athlete, this chunk of time isn’t a prerequisite for reaching your health and wellness goals. As it turns out, less could very well be more. Read on for a few best practices that will help you embody simplicity during each sweat sesh.
What is minimalism?
Minimalism was introduced into mainstream thought by dynamic duo Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus thanks to their popular documentary, books, podcast, and website. According to Millburn and Nicodemus, “Minimalism is a tool that can assist you in finding freedom. Freedom from fear. Freedom from worry. Freedom from overwhelm. Freedom from guilt. …Freedom from the trappings of the consumer culture we’ve built our lives around.” While many assume a minimalist lifestyle automatically entails having fewer material possessions and decreased commercial consumption, there’s much more to the concept. In truth, minimalism varies from person to person, but it always involves a common thread of consciously eliminating excesses to focus on what’s most important.
Bringing Minimalism Into the Gym
In terms of exercise, what’s most important is our health and wellness. Can we all agree? When striving toward our goals, remembering the notion of quality over quantity is essential. A kick-butt training regimen isn’t about mastering the latest and greatest equipment-dependent glute kickback. Rather, the foundation of a successful, sustainable regimen is a focus on what’s been proven successful—and the removal of unnecessary bells and whistles. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to exercise longer. You need to exercise smarter! If your training approach is centered on full-body workouts, high-intensity intervals, and compound movements, you’ll experience major benefits. As a personal trainer, this has been my go-to approach for clients with busy schedules. Not everyone can dedicate themselves to lengthy gym workouts five to six times a week. Full-time work schedules and family responsibilities take priority, and when this is the case, exercising is all about maximizing effectiveness with what time you do have. Jump into the tried-and-true non-negotiables and get your hands dirty. Get in, get out, and get the results: That’s how minimalism translates into an exercise regimen.
Give it a go!
Ready to try the minimalistic fitness approach for yourself? Test out our no-frills, superset-centric* routine next week…and knock out a few more to-do’s in your newfound free time.
- 4 × 12 Squat Superset with 4 × 10 Burpees
- 4 × 12 Overhead Presses Superset with 4 × 60-second Plank
- 20 minutes of Cycling
- 4 × 12 Deadlift Superset with 4 × 10 Pull-Ups (assisted if necessary)
- 4 × 12 Push-Ups Superset with 4 × 15 Ball Slams
- 15 minutes of Sprint Intervals
- 4 × 24 Weighted Lunges Superset with 4 × 12 GHD Sit-Ups
- 4 × 12 Hip Thrusts with by 4 × 12 Kettlebell Swings
- 5-minute row + 15 minutes of Rowing Intervals
- 30 minutes of Swimming
- 10 minutes of Pranayama Breathing
*New to supersets?
Supersets involve alternating two distinct exercises without resting in between, which can increase the intensity of your workouts without making them more complicated. For example, Monday you’ll start with 12 squats followed by 10 burpees, repeating the superset four times before moving on to your overhead press–plank supersets.