Lots of people hear about the benefits of meditation but are put off by the way it’s portrayed. Although these days there is a ton of information out there on the benefits of meditation, many people are still reluctant to try it.

One option that I’ve just come across to see some of the benefits of meditation without actually meditating is to try some interval training (source and further details in the ‘useful links’ section).

The idea is to use a heart-rate monitor (many gyms have treadmills and bikes that have built-in heart-rate monitors) and to actively deepen your awareness of your heart-rate. Practise oscillating your heart-rate within a range through regulating your breath.

So, for instance, you could take your heart-rate to 170 and then practise taking it back down to 140.

Through doing this, you become familiar with having a deep focus on your breathing, with the natural next step being to move on to breathing meditation.

I personally found it pretty tough to get used to focusing on my breath for meditation and think I would have benefitted from an exercised-based introduction like this.

I am yet to try it but would love to hear feedback from anybody that does give it a go!



Useful links

The idea of using interval training as an introduction to meditation comes direct from Josh Waitzkin, child chess prodigy and martial artist (amongst many other things).

The idea comes from his recent podcast with Tim Ferriss. The reference is around 29:00 in the podcast but I’d definitely recommend listening to the whole thing – there’s a ton of interesting topics. I’d also recommend the first podcast Tim Ferriss did with Josh Waitzkin. If you’ve got any interest in methods for learning and developing expertise in a  field then you’ll find those two podcasts an absolute gold mine.


The Art of Learning – Josh Waitzkin

 Highly recommended

 Insight on learning based on Waitzkin’s experiences as a child chess prodigy (he became an international master at age 16) and world class martial artist (competing in Tai Chi Push Hands)

✓ Goes into great depth about Waitzkin’s own learning process, providing insight into how he became a master of his arts

 Includes methods for finding the zone

 Provides both a compelling narrative and plenty of actionable recommendations for anyone looking to become an expert in any field 


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Also published on Medium.