The holiday period brings forth its own set of challenges. As we approach the 2023 Silly Season, social calendars are filling out. Work, family, and friends are all vying for our time and demanding a balance between fitness, nutrition, and social engagements. On top of that, have you completed all your Christmas shopping? I can proudly say that this week, I didn’t leave it until the last minute (well, maybe just the last week)! During the silly season, most people don’t want to think about hard sets of squats. At Sydney Strength Training, we aim to make you Stronger for Life. Thankfully, even when time is scarce and resources are stretched, we can still assist you in working towards your goals. Enter “minimum effective dose” training and how you can stay fit this silly season.


Don’t compromise, strategise


Getting fitter takes time and effort. You need to strength train and set aside time for physical activity such as cardio. Perhaps you’ve been told “less is more”. Although sometimes, more is more. An individual’s training status (how well trained someone is), their current goals and resources will determine what level of training they need to make progress towards their goals. Thankfully, maintaining or, simply making progress at a slower rate requires far less time and resources. When time is poor, knowing what for many is an optional task, having a large time commitment to training means it’s too easy to shrug off entirely. Physical Activity Guidelines recommend that all adults engage in Progressive Resistance Training at least twice weekly and complete at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity (1). When looking to maintain fitness, don’t compromise, strategise.



How low can you go?


We’ve discussed that you should at least engage in progressive resistance twice weekly, and 150 minutes of moderate physical activity. What does this practically look like? Let’s start with progressive resistance training. Dr Patroklos Androulakis-Korakakis obtained his PHD researching how little training a Powerlifter needs to train to improve their strength. Competitive powerlifters looking to increase their 1 repetition max generally do far more than the minimum to drive progress. Dr Pak (as he calls himself) found that when “time or recovery resources are limited or even when training motivation is low”, as little as 2 exercises a day and 5 sets, three times a week was enough (2). A few sets of a leg exercise and superset of an upper body push and pull, twice a week will maintain your strength over the silly season. 30 – 45 minutes is all a session would take.

When considering physical activity, engaging in at least 10 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio, which equals 4 METs, twice a day suffices to preserve your cardiovascular health (3). METs refer to the ‘metabolic equivalent of a task’. 1 MET represents the energy necessary to sit quietly at rest. A brisk walk at a pace of 5.6 km/h, covering just under 1 km in 10 minutes, accounts for approximately 4.3 METs (4). When we put everything together, a couple days a week of less than an hour in the gym, and a couple of 10-minute walks a day doesn’t sound too bad doesn’t it?


Enjoy your holidays and your health


Being healthy doesn’t require unfair levels of compromise. We believe you can get Stronger for Life in a sustainable and balanced manner. We certainly expect that during busy (or silly) seasons, there might be some pulling back. The ebbs and flow of life are a fact that we can’t ignore. When time is limited, you make the most of it, which includes enjoying social time with loved ones. Health promoting behaviours don’t need to be thrown out the window, however. Overall consistency is what produces results. When time is poor, that just means doing the minimum required. At Sydney Strength Training we’re interested in finding the best way for you to achieve your goals. If you’re looking for more guidance as the year wraps up and we step into 2024, contact us here.




  1. Physical activity (who.int)
  2. MinimumDose™ – The ™ is ironic (minimumdosetraining.com)
  3. Level of physical activity among urban adults and the socio-demographic correlates: a population-based cross-sectional study using the global physical activity questionnaire | BMC Public Health | Full Text (biomedcentral.com)
  4. Compendium of Physical Activities – 17 – Walking (google.com)