The Power of Energy Microbursts for Increased Health and Performance with Jack Groppel (notes)

Notes on Jack Groppel’s ASTD 2014 presentation The Power of Energy Microbursts for Increased Health and Performance (M314)


  • Attended this session because health is currently one of my passions (ask me why)
  • Jack gave out free copies of his book with Jim Loehr The Corporate Athlete Advantage: The Science of Deepening Engagement. Thanks Jack!
  • He encouraged us to get up to move about during his session (good for the body and mind)
  • He shared results from many studies he’s conducted which gave me confidence that he’s onto something.
  • Also, there was a great mix of reinforcing things I already knew and new stuff that will help me have more energy in my personal and professional life.


  • Human Beings and Organizations are Multidimensional, Fully Integrated Energy Systems
  • Unlike athletes, we have very little time to recover before we have to perform again.
  • The Key to being Extraordinary is to manage our energy. Just managing our time is not enough (there will never be enough time).

Energy is Four-Dimensional with Force/Spiritual at the top of the pyramid:

  1. Force - Spiritual
  2. Focus - Mental
  3. Quality - Emotional
  4. Quantity - Physical
  • Human Beings are Storytellers…We have stories around everything! (This plays into micro-bursts.)
  • For personal Change to Occur, we must first change our story.
  • Note to self: without recovery time, we will keep getting weaker
  • Nothing goes continuously without break or rest cycles (sleep, eating, recreation, breathing, etc).
  • We are very linear in the workplace and it’s dysfunctional. Ask yourself, What happens when your EKG is a straight line?

  • Jack shared a great story how tennis players have a process for rest/recovery during their 20 second break. They’d get a mini-recovery in 16 seconds (micro cycle of recovery)

  • The Body is Business Relevant™ (2:15 video)

1-2 Minutes that can Change Your Organization:

  • “When the Air Hits Your Brain” in first 1-2 minutes of exercise you hyper oxygenate the brain before it reshunts the blood back to the muscles.
  • We need a Paradigm Shift: To become Organizations in MOTION where you and your team members are moving often and at regular intervals throughout your day.
  • “Health doesn’t motivate people until they don’t have it. But to have more energy motivates everyone”

So what are microbursts?

  • microburst = small investment, big return
  • In a case study with New Balance: Even after an hour, they were 2x higher (energy level) than they were before trying microbursts
  • microbursts leverage the hyper oxygenation of the brain and emotional benefits from changing our story to give us a burst of energy

  • Engaging in short bouts of exercise like aerobic fitness or improving health by losing weight does have an additive effect
  • But reducing overall inactivity is far more effective than even 1 hour of regular physical exercise

  • Mortality rates of those who spend 6 hours a day sitting vs 3 or fewer were:
    • 34% for women
    • 17% for men
    • This was true even if they exercised for 45-60 minutes a day!
    • note: This is why I switched a sit-stand desk last year

A great microburst idea: Calling a child, loved one, or friend.

  • The call allows you to mentally disengage with all of the junk you’re dealing with and then when you hang up, you feel better.
  • You can’t stay in the funk you’re in because it won’t work (unless you’re in the habit of venting to your kids!).
  • Microbursts are a skill. A skill that people must develop.
  • This microburst has been described before as “…calling a loved one is better than an expresso.” (Fast Company)

  • Walking meetings or even standing is a huge improvement over the traditional sitting meeting. It increases brain and energy levels. (Note from Aaron): Steve Jobs was famous for his walking meetings.

To Make Health and Wellness more achievable:

  1. Simplify it - Abandon the all-or-nothing mindset
  2. Focus on Energy, not necessarily Health - As a tangible, immediate enabler
  3. Experiment with yourself - Your body is your laboratory
  • If you’re skeptical, Jack suggests you at least try microbursts for 90 days.
  • Microbursts should be a minimum of two minutes long to get the heart rate up.

Three key takeaways:

  1. Your microburst will be unique to you
  2. Microbursts involve exercise & mentally/physically changing your environment
  3. Current business practices/schedule/etc do not modulate like people need

Link: Human Performance Institute

Additional ASTD 2014 Session Notes:

It is All in the Mind: Change the Way You Think About Change

Brief is Beautiful: Bite-Size Content and the New E-Learning

Transmedia Storytelling. A Hero’s Journey Through New Media

Practical Use of Social Media adds value to Formal Learning

The Power of Energy Microbursts for Increased Health and Performance


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