Big Bold Predictions for 2010 – Part 2: The Minimalist Workout

Maybe it's just the natural path that my life seems to be taking now, but I think my theme for the next decade as I go into 2010 will be "living with enough".

As a result of that, I'm a neo-minimalist, I'm more aware of my carbon footprint, I'm over my "accumulate-as-much-sh*t-as-possible-even-if-I-can't-afford-it" phase of my 20's and I'm more concerned with spending time with my family and being healthy than having the latest and greatest gadget, pair of Nikes or iPod. 

I've also come to realize that when it comes to training, for me, I don't need to train 7-days-per-week to get the results that I want.


Because I live an active lifestyle that incorporates various activities into my day that keep me "fit" already.

And that's where Big Bold Prediction for 2010 comes in…

The Minimalist Workout

This one goes hand in hand with #1. Because people are becoming more health conscious, I think more and more of them will opt to live an "active" lifestyle choosing fun activities like recreational sports, hiking, surfing, snowboarding and bike riding for their "exercise".

Not to say that going to the gym isn't fun, but a lot of people really dread going to the gym. I think you have to have a certain personality to really enjoy it. 

But, if you have an individual who…

-commutes to work by riding his bike everyday,

-plays pick-up basketball twice per week,

-goes snowboarding or hiking on the weekend,

-meditates for 30 minutes everyday,

-eats a great diet of Real Food and

-sleeps 8-9 hours per night

 Then how often, really, does this person need to go to the gym to get or stay in shape? 

 For someone like this, I'd just prescribe him a 2-day per week program. Maybe something like this…


Day 1

1) Squat (3 x 6)

2a) Chin-ups (3 x AMAP )

2b) Push-Ups (3 x AMAP )

2c) DB Lunges (3 x 10/side)

3) KB Swings x 100 


Day 2

1) Deadlift (3 x 6)

2a) Standing KB Military Press (3 x 8 )

2b) KB Row/Bodyweight Row/Renegade Row (3 x 10/side)

2c) Pistols (3 x AMAP )

3) Burpee Tabata Protocol (20s ON, 10s OFF x 8 )


That would be it. He'd have to commit a total of 90 minutes per week (2 sessions of 45 minutes or less on say, Monday and Thursday) to go to the gym and train.

 And that's all he'd need because he (or she) is an active individual with a great consciousness of health and life.

 Too many people get caught up in the minutiae of training and they think that they need to be in the gym all day, everyday in order to see results.

 I used to tell my clients that it isn't about the 2 or 3 hours per week that I see you that will get you results … it's what you do with the other 165 hours in the week and how you live your life during those hours.

 So that's my challenge to you for 2010 and beyond …

 How well can you master the other 165 hours in your day when you're not training?

 Are you wasting time watching TV when you could be reading to or playing with your kids? (By the way, I don't count watching TV with your kids as "family time").

 Are you working out 7 days per week going half-assed? Could you spend your time more wisely by cutting your training time by 2/3, training with intensity and then doing things of more impact and meaning with your new found time?

 Now's the time to start.

 The New Year is upon us.


-Chris Lopez, CTT, CSCS

Author, TT Kettlebell Revolution 




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  • Reply December 31, 2009

    Michael H

    Thanks for the post! Really encouraging! I actually have, as of October, started working out for less time for only 3-4 days per week and I have been eating right. No junk food for me. I do not wish that I could go back to my previous lifestyle of working out or eating any more!
    Thank you for your inspiration!

    • Reply January 2, 2010

      Chris Lopez, CSCS, CTT

      Hi Michael,

      Great stuff and great approach to training. Keep on it for 2010 and let me know if there’s anything that I can help you with.


  • Reply December 31, 2009


    I’m not at that level of fitness or activity but my goal for 2010 is to at it by the end of the year at my ideal body weight. I think what is doable for me is a structured workout 3x per week (also to support my osteoporosis) as well as making sure I am active on 3 of the other days. It’s the getting started part that is difficult for me; once I am into the regime and it’s a rhythm, I rarely miss. But I have been starting and stopping for months now.

    I love what you wrote about what I do with the other 165 hours – it really struck a chord with me as I am looking at this from an alignment perspective – my current habits are severely out of alignment with my beliefs. So my approach is to line them up from an inner perspective of self-love and increased awareness rather than some “must” or “should”.

    • Reply January 6, 2010

      Chris Lopez, CSCS, CTT

      Hi Corinne

      Thanks for opening up about your struggles. When it comes to “just getting started”, I think the best way to create the exercise habit is to just take baby steps. First, set out a specific time that you would want to train. Then commit to that time EVERYDAY.

      Start the first day slow by just lacing up your shoes and maybe doing a little warm-up (don’t overwhelm yourself) … seriously – just lace them up and do a quick 5-minute warm-up … THAT’S IT! Don’t do anything else the first day.

      The next day, at the same scheduled time, lace up your shoes and do the warm-up circuit 2 times (that should take about 5-7 minutes). That’s it for Day 2.

      Day 3 – Lace’em up and do the warm-up and a light work set, etc, etc.

      Start slow and create the routine/schedule and you’ll be fine. Just stay consistent and make exercise a priority in your life.

      …And let me know if you need any help.

      Good Luck,

  • Reply December 31, 2009


    hi chris, great web site and enjoying your workouts.i am glad you realize at an early age how important it is to spend time with your of my favorite works
    with a 53 bell 5 cleans R+L 5 presses R+L 5 squats R+L 20 swings rest 1 min repeat

  • […] => The Minimal Workout […]

  • Reply December 31, 2009


    Aloha chris, I am always amazed at the content you put out. Most of the personal trainers that I know rely on retaining their clients and not providing the proper information for them to be self-dependent.
    You believe in a world of abundance and are constantly giving valuable advice. I stopped going to “gyms” over 3 years ago after 25+ years of weightlifting. Kettlebell workouts and body resistance training have opened up a whole new world of fitness for me.
    Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge.
    Hauoli Makahiki Hou (Happy new year in Hawaiian)

  • Reply December 31, 2009


    Really enjoyed your post Chris. Great examples of how Less is much, much more. I think you’re right on with your predictions too. It’s all about a quality and not a quantity journey isn’t it?

  • Reply December 31, 2009


    Great stuff Chris…Since I started doing BW exercises for December and back on strength gain workout (5×5)…I only need to hit the weights 3x/week (I still do intervals post strength training – 3 days max. Right now…it’s going pretty slow – but I know it gets harder and harder each week. But it’s all good. Like you said, less time in the gym…more time with other things more important like family, work…a social life if you will.

    And like you said…live an active lifestyle – you won’t be prone to having to hit the gym as much as you want (honestly, I haven’t hit the gym in about 2 weeks – all home workouts and bw stuff really. I think the only time I went to the gym recently was to chill in the steam room…I love the steam and it keeps my skin pores open).

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  • Reply January 1, 2010

    victoria boer

    thank you chris all my client has benefited a lot from your mentality towards , they finally realised that you dont have to spend your life in the gym to get great results.

  • Reply January 1, 2010


    I’m one that thought going out every day for 8 weeks straight would get me the results I was looking for (doing Craig B’s 10×20 KB workout 3times). What it got me was tennis elbow in my right arm.Now I’m limited until it heals to what I can do until it gets better which could take some time. For now I do Tabata KB swings 12 minutes 40 sec on 20 sec rest, 5 per side tgu’s and 3 sets of 20 face the wall, wall squats every other day as not to overtrain and injure something else. Like your website Chris, you’ve got great advice and I really like KB workouts!

  • […] Kettlebell Bodyweight Fat Burning Workouts | KettlebellWorkouts … […]

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  • […] Kettlebell Bodyweight Fat Burning Workouts | KettlebellWorkouts … […]

  • […] Kettlebell Bodyweight Fat Burning Workouts | KettlebellWorkouts … […]

  • Reply January 6, 2010


    This is a great workout. i’ve gained seven pounds of muscle because of your workouts. But i got a question. Do you take supplements, do you reccomend them other then fruits?

  • Reply January 8, 2010


    I used to hit the gym 6 days a week for 1.5 hours each time. That was in 1990s
    Now I walk the dog, briskly, for up to 2 hours each morning I don’t work. Only work 2 days a week.
    I do kettlebells most evening, plus high pulleys. Squats, lunges, pushups and abs every other day. Plus any stuff I feel like doing.
    61 now and still fit and healthy. I eat well and we grow lots of our own fruit and vegetables organically.
    People tell me I don’t need to exercise and to slow down now I am in my 60s. NEVER. They can be fat and unhealthy and I refuse to even discuss with them now.
    Exercise times, 30 minutes. Just perfect for me. I thing the kettlebell workouts are awesome.

  • Reply January 18, 2010


    The Every Other Day Diet review has found three factors that contribute to weight loss success: exercise, commitment, and realistic expectations. If you have these three, expect the EODD to do wonders to your body weight.

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