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Struggling To Lose Weight? It's Time To Try Micro Workouts

Alan Christianson, NMD
January 29, 2019
Image by BONNINSTUDIO / Stocksy
January 29, 2019
Here at mbg, we know that maintaining our healthiest weight is about way more than just diet and exercise. Our stress levels, our hormones, our blood sugar, and our metabolic health all matter. If you're feeling less than optimal or having trouble maintaining a healthy weight, you have to take a full-body approach. Luckily, in his new book The Metabolism Reset Diet, naturopathic doctor Alan Christianson creates a four-week plan—called the reset—to get your metabolic health back on track. One of the tools he suggests is the micro workout. Here's what you need to know about making these mini workouts part of your routine.
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The final aspect of the metabolic reset is the exercise portion called the micro workouts. Why is it that so many people can't seem to lose weight when they exercise hard? Exercise is a beautiful thing when you have a good metabolism. When you do not, though, it is a huge stress on your body. Studies have shown that the reason many people cannot lose weight is that they are exercising too much. Your liver has to process all the fuel you burn when you exercise hard. If it is already having a hard time providing energy, the extra burden just makes things worse. 

Some exercise is essential for glycogen production and muscle health. This allows you to unclog your liver by creating more helpful glycogen that can keep things humming. Micro workouts help in this sense because they:

  • Help you retain your muscles 
  • Don't require your liver to process more fuel 
  • Make your mitochondria stronger 

Quick workouts can work better for your metabolism than longer workouts while you are on a low-fuel diet. If it's done right, the workouts also do not raise hunger. Micro workouts are part of the reset that will heal your metabolism so you can enjoy more food and enjoy more exercise. 

There are two micro workouts on the reset program—one is intervals; the other is a sequence of bodyweight exercises. Do one workout each day in alternation—intervals on odd-numbered days and bodyweight exercises on even-numbered days, for example. These are considered micro workouts because you will be able to complete them in under five minutes. 

You can do intervals by jogging or cycling outdoors or indoors on a treadmill, exercise bike, elliptical trainer, or stair-stepper. After you have warmed up, go for 20 seconds at full intensity, followed by 40 seconds at an easy pace. You can raise the intensity by going faster, going uphill, or adding resistance to a machine. Complete three cycles of fast and slow finishing with the slow 40 seconds. 

If you plan on doing your interval workout on a bike or aerobic machine, you can skip your walk and instead do an easy 10 to 20 minutes as a warmup. 

Walking example:

  1. Do your daily 10- to 20-minute casual walk to warm up.
  2. Walk, jog, or run as fast as you comfortably can for 20 seconds.
  3. Go as slow as you wish for 40 seconds.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 for three times total, finishing with step 3.
  5. You are all done!
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Exercise bike example:

  1. Ride for 10 to 20 minutes with little or no resistance.
  2. Increase the resistance and ride at a challenging pace for 20 seconds.
  3. Ride slowly without resistance for 40 seconds.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 for three times total, finishing with step 3.
  5. That is it! 

The metabolic reset is a brief process—all it takes is four weeks. It heals your metabolism so that you can quit the hassles and stress of dieting. It helps take care of your liver, which is your key to metabolic flexibility, by creating more room for glycogen and helping to detox one of the most important parts of your body. As for the food on this diet? You remain low on fuel while still getting enough protein to keep you going strong. At the same time, you have the opportunity to reset your circadian cycle by paying off your sleep debt.

Sleep resets your gene expression so that the genes of weight gain won't be able to hold you back any longer. The micro workouts are just right enough to energize your muscles and keep your metabolism primed, without stressing your system.

Adapted from The Metabolism Reset Diet, copyright @ 2019 by Dr. Alan Christianson. Published by Harmony Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

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Alan Christianson, NMD
Alan Christianson, NMD

Alan Christianson, NMD, author of the New York Times bestselling book "The Adrenal Reset Diet," is a naturopathic medical doctor who specializes in natural endocrinology with a focus on thyroid disorders. He founded Integrative Health, a physician group dedicated to helping people with thyroid disease and weight-loss resistance regain their health. He has been named a Top Doctor in Phoenix magazine, and has appeared on national TV shows and in numerous print media. Dr. Christianson lives in Phoenix with his wife and their two children.