A microworkout is a tiny spell of exercise that lasts just 1-5 minutes. It is often spoken about in conjunction with the term “kaizen.” Kaizen is the Japanese word for “improvement,” which has been co-opted to mean “making tiny changes to a process in order to yield huge results.” The philosophy is that a small action, when repeated daily, can add up to something profound.
This is the concept of the microworkout. While many people attempt to start 4 hour training programs to no avail, working out for just 5 minutes a day is far more achievable. Will the results be as great? Not to begin with no, but the point is that you’ll use this as a way to form new positive habits that you can then use to introduce hardcore training.
Likewise, you can use microworkouts two, three, or five times a day and that way distribute your training throughout the day. The result is that you exercise a fair amount, but in a far more palatable manner. Moreover, your metabolism stays raised throughout the day, and you don’t undergo those long, unhealthy periods of uninterrupted inactivity.
But there’s a similar concept that is even more effective. That is to train as a part of your daily routine. In other words, you’re turning your regular activities into microworkouts. For example, that means you’ll be performing calf raises on a curb while waiting for the bus, doing curls while carrying bags, or even doing tricep dips on the couch while watching television.
This type of training completely solves the issue of time. You don’t have to “fit in” your exercise, because you’re doing it at the same time as something you already would have done.
Better yet, it takes the idea of continually exercising throughout the day even further. This is actually how the human body is evolved to train. We are not intended to go through long periods of complete inactivity.
But can it be as effective? That depends on your approach and your goals. For weight loss, calorie burn is calorie burn no matter how the activity is distributed.
For building and toning muscle, cumulative damage over a short period of time is often needed. That said, there are quick ways to accomplish this (such as with eccentric isometrics) and by understanding these concepts you can work effective training into and around your regular routine.