Is your health worth 1% of your day?

Photo by Karl Solano on

Arnold Schwarzenegger ran a campaign in 2012 called ‘Come with me if you want to lift.’ The campaign aimed to get as many people as possible, spending an hour per day working on their health and fitness. When listing the rules for success in his book, Arnold wrote that taking one hour to focus on your health is just 4% of your day. Spending this time each day will compound and lead to exponential improvements in your quality of life over time. Most people cannot find an additional hour in their day straight away, so he suggests to start with just 15 minutes or 1% of your day and as you progress, the amount of time you can devote to your fitness will go up.

Whenever you hear someone you care about complain about time, ask them if a longer, better life is worth 1%.


Percy Cerutty had a similar idea in his 1967 book Be fit or be damned. Percy lists the three most essential areas for health; Pedestrianism, a strong core, and regularly picking up heavy things. For pedestrianism (walking and running), Percy suggested running just 15 minutes per day on most days, starting with walking, then progressing to run/walks, with a long term goal of running 2 miles in this time (7:30 minute miles). He also suggested doing one longer run per week that you build up to 10 miles. For core strength, Percy suggested doing ten sit-ups as soon as you get out of bed and working towards a goal of 100 in a single set with a second set in the evening before bed. The deadlift is the king of exercises, and Percy believed that everyone should do it regularly. He wrote that you should start with half your body weight on the bar and have an eventual goal for health of lifting your bodyweight 5-10 times off the floor.  

Dead-lifting, that is, heaving heavy articles whatever their nature may be off the earth, must be considered a primary physical function of homo sapiens.

In a society where most members can afford to have all or most of the modern amenities, the barbell should be considered an integral part of healthy living.

Percy Cerutty

Commit to spending just 15 minutes per day, every day on your health.

When asked by family and friends what they should do to get fit, I usually give two suggestions;

  1. Couch to 5k
  2. Andy Bolton’s kettlebell swing ladder.

The couch to 5k programmes, such as the free one provided by the National Health Service, progressively takes someone from not running at all to running five kilometres without walking in nine weeks. The kettlebell swings ladder starts with 5 minutes of exercise and builds up to 10 minutes, giving you some time to warm up with some air squats and glute bridges. Doing the couch to 5k run/walks three days per week, the kettlebell swings on the three other days, some sit-ups each morning, and a day off should give you a good start towards health. 

For January this year, I am giving the Yoga 15 challenge a go. If you are struggling to get a Kettlebell and it is too cold for you to start running, why not join me?

Once you are in a routine, have a go at some four minute movement breaks throughout your day to get you moving and deadhang from a bar for shoulder health. If you get a kettlebell and are doing the swings, add some overhead presses too. After completing your first 5k, have a look at what is next on your distance running progression.

Feel free to contact me on Twitter if you have any questions and let me know if you are committing to 1% of your day for your health.