Zero Net Time — PART FIVE

So we’re at Part V of the Zero Net Time system, designed for whole body-mind fitness with a minimum investment of time and energy.


The modified “3 dimensional performance pyramid” starts with

  1. Psychological health. This comes from aligning our actions with reality, so that we aren’t distorting our reality map. Also by learning to control our emotions by
    1. Moving our bodies
    2. Focusing our minds
    3. Controlling our language.

The specific route to these things is “The morning ritual.”  This gives you the FOCUS on outcomes so that you know WHAT you want, and WHY you want it.


  1. Physical health.  Health is how you feel, your energy and aliveness.  Not “absence of disease” which is a core error most people make.  VIBRANCE.   “Doubling your energy” isn’t a bad goal here as well as “Moving with freedom, ease, and playfulness.”
    1. Joint mobility for general awareness and ease of motion is our most basic need.
    2. Then we need aerobic capacity (say, sufficient to walk hills with joy) and enough strength to move our bodies and navigate our lives without strain, as well as basic coordination and body awareness.
    3. The tool for these things is The Five Tibetans.  You might walk while doing your Morning Ritual, or combine Joint Mobility and Tibetans with the Morning Ritual
  2. If you just do the above, you will transform your body from “Couch potato” status: the Five Tibetans is pretty powerful, especially if you haven’t been exercising.  But the level beyond this is FITNESS.  Fitness has to do not with comfort ease and health…but performance.   How high, how fast, how far, how heavy.   Sports deal with Fitness, not Health.   And so long as you have your basics nailed down, it is real fun to build muscle, add endurance, develop speed.   If, for instance, you had a goal of earning a black belt, the smartest thing you can do is to develop your health and fitness OUTSIDE the class, so that in the class you can focus on skill.


We’re going to approach this carefully, and combine a few different principles.   Before we introduce the specific ideas in the Zero Net Time program, we want to explore WHY they were chosen. In this way, if you need to modify, you’ll know HOW  to make changes, and not do it randomly.


  1. Whole body versus isolation.  The body never moves in isolation. You can’t move your toe without twitching your ear.  So all isolation exercise is ultimately futile at producing improved motion or athleticism–you are training your body in a way quite contrary to its usage.  So many trainers suggest that whole body motion is the way to go.  Squats as opposed to leg extensions, Dead lifts as opposed to back extensions, etc.
  2. Aerobic. Aerobic exercise is in the range where you can talk but you cannot sing (roughly.   The military plays with this, of course).   It is exercise you can continue at intensity for 12-15 minutes.  Sweating, breathing heavy, etc.  The possibility of entering “flow” is strong here. This is very healthy stuff.   If you have a lot of emotional or physical toxins in your system this can be uncomfortable: your sweat can stink and sting as those fat-soluble toxins leave your system.  And old memories can return to consciousness.   But one of the most basic, powerful things you can do for your health.
  3. Core-Centric training.    If you had only one part of the body to work that  would provide the most benefits, it would be the abdominal girdle.   I’ve seen plenty of people with buff arms or strong legs…and sagging guts. But not a single person with a tight, toned abdomen and flabby arms and legs.  Not one.  So you get the biggest “bang for your buck” here in terms of appearance. And function?  The third chakra, the “power” center, maps over with the Chinese Tan Tien and Japanese Hara. These are the center of physical mass in the body, and focus here can give extraordinary balance and sensitivity, as well as real power.  The “core” transfers energy from the lower to the upper body, so that a punch or strike is never just hitting with the arms, but “stepping on the opponent’s face with your fist” as one instructor put it.
  4. Proper syntax.  Choosing WHEN to work a body part is as important as WHAT to work.  One factor is “pre-exhaustion”–which body part do you want to get tired in what order.  For instance, if you tire small stabilizer muscles before large performance muscles, you will never reach your maximum strength potential.  Muhammad Ali used to tire himself out with running before working skill drills, to enhance his ability to perform under stress.  In kettlebell training, there are two major families of exercises, “grinds” (slow heavy lifts) and “ballistics” (rapid lifts, often used for aerobics). And the expression is: “ballistic before grind, kettlebells are kind.  Grind before ballistic?  You’ll be a statistic.”



So while there are other principles, we’re going to juggle these four:

1)Whole body, not isolation

2)Aerobic result: aiming at continuous stress for over 12-15 minutes

3) Core-centric.  Let’s get the abs and hips and back strong and flexible!

4) Proper sequence of action so that the exercises work with proper synergy.



Whew!  Who knew this stuff was so technical, right?   But the smarter you are, the less work you have to do to get your result.


Next, we’ll actually create the sequence. We have two exercises already: Joint mobility and The Five Tibetans (well, you might look at that as six exercises, but we’re “chunking” here.)


See you soon!




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