Nike Master Trainer Joe Holder’s ‘Exercise Snacks’ Bring the Fire to Mini Workouts

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Photo: Joe Holder/Graphic: Well+Good Design
Over the past year, the idea that workouts need to always be a grueling hour-long session has become an antiquated one. Instead, the Blue Zones approach to fitness has reigned supreme, especially as people squeeze in workouts at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. One search on YouTube for home workouts will bring up thousands of quickie exercise sessions (including our very own Trainer of the Month Club workouts!) that pack a sweaty punch in under 30 minutes. This is a philosophy that trainer and fitness expert Joe Holder is a staunch proponent of, and he has created Exercise Snacks on Instagram to prove how effective mini workouts really are.

If you've never come across Holder, who's a Nike master trainer and founder of Ocho System, one scroll through his Instagram account will quickly show that he bases all of his exercises on precise science and physiology. On Exercise Snacks, you'll find everything from mobility and stability-focused routines, variations of the push-up and other strength training staples, and quickie HIIT workouts—and none of them run longer than 30 minutes (most are 15 minutes in length).

Holder says that he came up with the concept of Exercise Snacks when he was in college shifting away from playing football. He began researching efficient ways to exercise, and started to think about fitness in terms of longevity and health—not just intensity. "I was also inspired by a few studies that suggested breaking up exercise had a better effect on blood sugar than simply one longer workout," says Holder. FWIW: Especially this year, on-the-hour workouts have exploded as working from home has meant less baked-in movement in our days.

"Most people don't need the performance-associated aspects [of longer workouts]," says Holder, who points out that the general purpose of a longer workout is to improve your body's work capacity. "They need the health-promoting aspects such as quality, base-level strength, ability to control the body, stress reduction, improving sleep quality, and biomarkers, which shorter workouts can do if they're done correctly." When you look at the fitness guidelines of the country, the health department recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week or 75 minutes of high intense exercise a week. "That's a little bit over 20 minutes per day for moderate exercise and 10 minutes per day of intense," says Holder. "Now, you can't tell me that everyone can't find time in their day for that."

That's why Holder's Exercise Snacks work. They go to show that you can "still improve your strength, cardiovascular health, stress reduction, and injury prevention with shorter workouts," he says. His slogan? "Make movement a movement." Holder believes that workouts should be less structured (a la hour-long classes) and viewed as more of a component in health. "It does not have to be the whole 'get dressed up with a bunch of fancy clothes and tools,' but instead, 'my body is made to move, so let me see how I can do that both unstructured and structured,'" he says. All it really takes is working through bite-sized sessions throughout the day so that you feel good, turning exercise into a purely joyful snack—because it totally can be that.

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? ? ? GLUTE BRIDGE VARIATIONS TO ADD INTO YOUR SNACKS if you have the snack pack and the bands, add them in here too I’ll be coming out with full short routines again soon, sorry for delay, but for now here are more variations on everyone’s favorite exercise— ? the glute bridge Glute Bridge March Single Leg Clam Shell Bridge Frog Pumps Long Lever Bridge 3 Way Single Leg Bridge Side Bridge Plank These variations, especially the single leg clam shell bridge and the Long Lever Bridge, are great for runners Try them out and comment below with any feedback If you’re doing as a snack do each one 10 reps per for 1-2 sets If it’s part of your warm-up, add in 3 variations for 1 set of 8-15 reps If you want a great pump on a leg day, go 2-3x through of each exercise for 10-20 reps Anyway you decide to do it, let’s go and slide through for full instructions !!! #ExerciseSnacks

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