Introducing the Minimum Effective Dose and Exercise
de-Jones Your Excuses

I was first introduced to the Minimum Effective Dose (MED) by Tim Ferris in his book The Four Hour Body.  He got the idea from another very clever guy named Arthur Jones.

The minimum effective dose simply refers to “the smallest dose that will produce the desired outcome” and “anything beyond . . . is wasteful.”

In essence, you don’t have to exercise nearly as much (not even close) as you think in order to have awesome results.

One of the hugest barriers I always had to having a regular exercise routine was that I felt that if I did not go to the gym for an hour, or do cardio plus weight training, or I did not do a huge work out routine, that I might as well not do anything.  Of course this was ridiculously discouraging.  Even when I did make it to the gym from time to time, I felt guilty because I was always just at the start of my new workout lifestyle and knew in the back of my mind I would not follow through.

I recalled very fondly my university student days where I seemed to have way more time (and no car).  What, with a full-time job, a family, and other responsibilities (not to mention the time it took to feed my various addictions), the last thing I wanted to do at the beginning or end of each day was hit the gym.  The last thing on earth I wanted was yet another task/job/thing to feel guilty about not doing etc.

The biggest perceived and I mean perceived problem about not exercising has been the lack of time.  Well, here it is, who doesn’t lead a busy life with oodles of obligations.  There is so much to do out there that is urgent.  The problem is that if you ignore your health, you eventually have to make the time to be sick, really sick.

I would tell myself that I did not have the time right now to start an exercise program . . .

Here is the beautiful thing.  We don’t need to exercise nearly as much as we thought we did in order to have awesome health, fitness and results.  We do have the time. Introducing the minimum effective dose.

So, what is the least amount of exercise we need to do to live a healthy, active lifestyle?  Way way less than you think. 

You do not need to do one hour for 5 days per week to have awesome results.

Everyone is different, but you would be surprised the results you will achieve if you adhere to only 3x 20 minutes of exercise each week!

What's important to note is your intensity during each session must be high, if you are going to implement the MED concept.  You simply cannot go through the motions for 20 minutes and expect to see results.

Ferris also says not to confuse physical recreation with exercise.  He says recreation is for fun and exercise is for producing changes.  He says do not confuse the two. 

Recreation  includes hiking, baseball, swimming, and other fun stuff.  The MED is intense and simple, but not easy.

MED exercise means performing precise movements that will produce a target change.

In essence, it has to be intense, not fun, and precise.  Tim Ferris puts his prescription in his book The Four Hour Body.  I put it to work with an intense Body Pump exercise class once per week and kettle bell swings as described by Ferris.  


Written by Val Hemminger, the nonconforming professional


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