That’s why the digital fitness brand obé is encouraging people to play with “fitness stacking”: Tackling one 10-minute burst of activity at a time. And seeing if, after those 10 minutes are up, you’re up for more.
“It’s something that feels a lot more achievable,” says Melody Zoller, obé trainer and senior manager of programming. “It’s about proving to yourself that you're capable of doing things for the shorter periods of time that eventually build upon each other.”
Short workouts are highly beneficial. They can help you build healthy habits, give you the mood and health perks of exercise in general, and are easier to fit into your day—meaning they're something you actually might do.
Fitness stacking builds on those fitness snack pros. The idea is that fitness stacking is sort of like playing a mental game with yourself. It feels a lot easier to find the motivation to work out for just 10 minutes. And those 10 minutes are great, if that’s what you’ve got in you for the day. But Zoller says you might just find that once you’re already moving your body, you might be up for more than you think.
“What typically happens is we get the endorphins going, or our body gets warmed up, and we start to realize how good it feels,” Zoller says. “And if you have the time to finish those 10 minutes, you're like, okay, that felt great. I think I can try another 10 minutes.”
Fitness stacking is also beneficial because it allows you to customize your workout. Maybe your legs are super tired from a run you did the day before. With this technique, you can try a 10-minute upper body workout, and then maybe do 10 more minutes of core.
“You're really able to be in control of your movement and kind of create like your ultimate experience for the day, which I think feels really satisfying to know that you were able to decide exactly what you wanted to do,” Zoller says.
Obé has actually found that fitness stacking is something its users are doing naturally, whether completing a few short workouts together, or spreading them throughout the day. So they recently expanded their 10-minute video catalog to provide more stack-happy options.
Zoller’s advice for tackling a fitness stacking workout? Listen to your body. If you want to be done after 10 minutes, be done! But if you’ve got that fire and energy in you to keep going, choose your own adventure and embrace it.
Here’s a 20-minute fitness stack from Zoller that contains four five-minute workouts. You'll begin with a stretch, do one chunk of upper body, tackle some core, and end with a cool down. Here's the beauty of it: You can try one, do a few, or do them all—it’s up to you!
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