Hyper-Minimal WODS: Daily Workouts, Redux

Exanple of a daily workout by Dan’s Plan


There are many good ways to exercise. If you’re training for skill performance, it’s smart to use a training program shown to deliver results. However, if your bias for physical activity revolves around doing what’s necessary to facilitate health, you should emphasis consistency vs intensity. Indeed, regular physical activity helps you be healthy; it helps you feel good, look good, sleep well, sex well, think well, and live long. Even if you care to ramp up activity for the occasional performance goal (i.e., “I’m going to get in shape for a mountain biking trip I have coming up“), you still should maintain a practice of sufficient, regular physical actively between periods of heavier training. That’s why we designed our Hyper-Minimal WOD (Workout of the Day). The goal is to make it as easy as possible to fit physical activity into your life. Each day, a new WOD is posted on your My Plan page (see example of a My Plan page below).

Here is the WOD for August 1st, 2012:

Today I will…

Do at least one set of dips (but aim for 5-10 sets). Optional: Add in 1-8 sets of Type A conditioning.

Type A: Jog in place for 1 min followed by 20 – 30 seconds of max effort: sprints, sprint in place, spring feet, burpees, or equivalent.


  1. Low bar for success. Doing at least one set in a day means your successful. More is great. Get moving!
  2. Bodyweight oriented. Equipment friendly.
  3. Simple design. Easy to remember. Uncomplicated.
  4. Each day has two parts: strength move + conditioning option (but feel welcome to just do the conditioning option if you like)
  5. The conditioning option: Two types (A & B), both simple. You don’t need fancy equipment to sprint in place for 20 seconds.
  6. Do all work in a cluster (workout) or spread the stimulus across the day (as I usually do). If you have two minutes, you have time to fit physical activity into your life.  Additionally, it may be FAR easier for some to find 1-2 minutes multiple times a day than it is to find a free block of 20-30 minutes. Additionally, some research suggests that physical activity spread across the day is more beneficial than a workout followed by 15 hours of being sedentary. Besides, the longest lived societies on earth don’t “exercise” as we know it. Instead, their lifestyle involve regular activity – this is telling.
  7. Modify the exercise to make it appropriate for your level. Here is a video from FitStream on how to make body weight dips easier and harder. Modifications can be made for any movement listed in the daily WOD. I always start easy and then make the WODs harder by using additional weight or a weight vest as the day progresses. By the way, I do my dips on a corner in my kitchen (kinda like this). Be safe, creative, and opportunistic.
  8. No rep prescription. If you can do 15 reps of a certain exercise but you feel like doing only 12, do 12. Do what’s right for you in that moment and listen to your body. If you feel great, push it! If you’re not “feeling it” that day, just do what feels right. Some physical activity is energizing so you’re likely to feel good just moving a little. Be sure to tally the set in the correct category of our Activity Tracker (see blow).


The Dan’s Plan Activity Tracker is designed to make it super easy to enter steps and exercise, which provides a measure of total activity.  The exercise tracker is based on a scale of perceived exertion, ranging from 1 to 10: 1 to 4 on the scale would be things like sitting, standing, and walking: not exercise; 5 being the minimal exertion level necessary to categorized as ‘exercise’; 10 being a maximal effort. Enter daily totals in the Activity Tracker across our three categorizes of self-rated effort:

1. Moderate: Anything you rate as a 5-7 (I went for a 20 minute jog today).

2. Strenuous: Anything you rate as a 7-8 (15 minutes out of my 60 minute yoga class were in the Strenuous category for effort).

3. Aggressive: I did 7 near-max effort push up sets with a weight vest today. Give yourself 1 min for each set.

The entry for this day would be:

Moderate = 20 min

Strenuous = 15 min

Aggressive = 7 min


Precision is not required. Estimate your times in each category to get a global idea of your activity volume. Here is a trick I use for tracking my WODs. Near max efforts gets one minute per set in our Aggressive category. Sub max efforts tally one, two, three minutes (whatever I actually did, like for example, 3 minutes of jump rope) in the Strenuous category. Keep your Activity Score above 100% at all times. Basically, 100% represents the physical activity volume recommendations by various national organizations (American Heart Association, US Department of Health and Human Services, and other biggies). By the way, the Activity Score looks at your last 7 days of activity and changes daily, so basically, you can ask yourself “over the last 7 days, have I maintained a sufficiently active lifestyle?” If you’re anything like me, you will find this totally addicting.

Tracking is super valuable. It can show time-series data helping you make associations, like how you feel based on your health habits / practice. Additionally, it helps you be mindful of how you’re living RIGHT NOW; I consider this to be the most important benefit of tracking. Our tracking takes less than 1 minute a day and helps you keep your daily health practice top of mind.

Tracking: get’r done!


You’ll also notice the ad for Wello in the WOD image above. Wello is our *hawt* new partner that is disrupting (in start up parlance) the ginormous personal training industry. This cool company brings personal training into your living room via 2-way video chat. There are so many applications for their product, here are just a few I can think of:

  1. Utilizing a trainer to walk you through a training session while in the comfort of your own home (obvious). Also, you could be done with your workout by the time you got to your gym (this matters!).
  2. Find someone who has true expertise in a specific technique you’re training. Instead of choosing from the 3 trainers in your gym, search a much larger database and find the right person for you. By the way, personal training is not just for beginners. Formerly, I was the Assistant Head Strength and Condition Coach for a Div 1 university. I learn from trainers all the time. Open yourself to regular or period discussions with someone who has a fresh perspective on the science and art of ass-moving.
  3. Work with a trainer to develop a specific training program, then do the program mostly on your own, but check in via video chat periodically for feedback, tips, and to make modifications.
  4. Wanna help someone you love be more active? Gift a training session for your mom or dad. You can screen trainers and set up a training session for this person. Just be sure to practice using 2-way video with this person ahead of time so this doesn’t become an excuse.
  5. If you have some questions about how to perform one of our WODs, work with a Wello trainer, ask lots of questions, and feel uber confident you’re doing everything right.

I’d love to write more but I have to go do a set of dips. Do one with me!