Monthly Archives: March 2012

WHEN 24 HOURS IS NOT ENOUGH

Today at the dentist, he was telling me about how he used to go to the gym and how he only has between 6 and 7 am in the morning to work out. He told me it has been very hard for him to get in the gym between all the work he has and spending time with his family. We all have these problems from time to time in our lives, and for some of us, we have these problems more often than not. So when 24 hours just is not enough time, how can we make time to get a workout in?

For those of you who cannot commit to an hour a day three to four times a week for whatever reasons, there is a solution for you…. that is not dropping the gym like it was hot. Go to the gym and exercise in shorter intervals. You can try squeezing in thirty minutes of exercise three to five times a week in effort to still get in your workouts.

The rationale that someone must be in the gym for at least an hour to get a “good” workout is not completely accurate. There are some people in the gym who are there for two hours but don’t accomplish very much at all.  There is a great saying “train smarter, not longer.”  It is all about the quality of work that you put in, not the quantity.

Here are a few things to keep into perspective while trying to squeeze in a 30-minute workout.

1. PRIORITIZE

With limited time to get a workout in, you need to figure out what exercises are most important to reaching your goals.

 Break up your exercise program into core exercises, main exercises and assistance exercises.

Core Exercises – All exercises that work out your core. Just no crunches, sit-ups or ab machines. Unsure what to do for core work? There will be a post for that soon to come.

Main Exercises – (Also referred to as core exercises) this term is used for all the exercises that are essential to meeting your goals.

They are you major exercises, and will be slightly different based on your goals. For those wanting to increase strength and athletic performance: dead-lifts, squats, pushups, pull-ups and row variations are a necessity.

For those wanting to lose weight and have general fitness goals: dead-lifts, squats, pushups, pull-ups and row variations are all for you.

But why do I have the same exercises for both populations? Because these exercises are the staples to any exercise program, regardless the goal. The difference really becomes how one designs the rest of the exercise program. If these exercises are not in your workout plan, time to reconsider.

 Assistance Exercises – Term used for all other exercises you use besides you core and main exercises.

I am not referring to machine chest presses or your favorite leg abduction and adduction machines. I am referring to other body weight exercises that you will through in around your main exercises that will help compliment them. (Single leg work, burpees, other row variations etc…)

2. PUTTING THE PRIORITIES TOGETHER

The most basic way to program for shorter workouts is to either:

A) Pair up exercise sets into three to four exercises.

With this type of program, you should select at least one exercise from each of the categories above; Core, main and assistance exercises. If you decide to do a fourth exercise select from the assistance, or choose a mobility/activation exercise. Mobility exercises help pattern the movement for your major lift so you can have greater muscle activation during your exercises.

 Keep these rules in mind in order to gage how much time your workout will take.

Start with a mobility circuit (5 minutes): Pick three mobility drills that will best compliment your major lifts for the day. This allows your body to be better prepared for your workout. Also, if you spend time in the beginning of the workout to do it, you can add extra assistance or power work into your workouts.

 Each exercise roughly will take you one minute to complete. So if you have three sets of six exercises planned for the day that will take you roughly 18 minutes to complete.

And finally plan for a three minute rest at the end of each set. If you are doing three sets, it will be a total of six minutes rest (since you will not need to rest at the end of your last set).

Calculate all that up and you just did mobility work, six exercises and had adequate rest periods all in 29 minutes.

Circuit one Mobility (two sets)

 1. Supine Internal Rotation Stretch x 30 seconds

2. T-Spine Rotational Mobs x 10 each side

3. Glute Bridge x 10 with 2 second holds

4. Prone Y’s x 10 reps

Circuit two (three sets)

 1. Deadlift x 6 reps

2. Supported T-Bar Row x 8 reps

3. Side Plank x 40 seconds

Circuit three (three sets)

 1. Reverse Lunge x 8 each side

2. Incline Dumbbell Press x 8

3. Stability Ball Plank x 1 minute

B) Do Circuit Training with timed work to rest intervals.

 For this type of training program you can pick as many exercises as you want. For me personally, I like anywhere between five to ten different exercises. This type of training is better for conditioning as it will spike the heart rate to sprint like levels if done at the appropriate intensity.

The work to rest intervals will be determined based off your current fitness levels. You can start with a 2:1 rest to work ratio. Meaning two minutes of rest compared to every one minute of work. As you get better, you can work to a 1:1 ratio, or if a 2:1 ratio is too challenging, try a 3:1 rest to work ratio.

For example:

If you choose ten exercises within your circuit and use a 2:1 rest to work ratio, it will take you exactly thirty minutes to complete if you’re resting one minute and working thirty seconds.

The way this works is you select your ten exercises; you start from exercise one, do as many reps as you can in thirty seconds. Rest for one minute, Do as many reps as you can within 30 seconds for the second exercise, rest one minute. And repeat through all ten exercises. That is one set.  Repeat the whole process over from exercise one to complete a second set. That’s 20 sets of very hard work in 30 minutes.

Was this post helpful, enlightening, the purest, greatest thing you ever read? How do you squeak in a workout when you get too busy?  Let me know, leave a comment below!


Are You Getting Anything Out of Your Training

Today is a retest day for me.  I am retesting all of my core exercises that I had originally tested four months ago.  This will allow me to see if the program I wrote up is worth keeping, or needs to be tossed in the trash along with the time I would of wasted doing it.  All in all, trying different protocols is with my own training is what helps me continually get better at my craft.  It is this event that has inspired the idea for my first ever blog post!!! 

Regardless of what your goal is for exercise.  Whether you are a body builder, power lifter, athlete, or a fitness enthusiast, how do you know if you are getting anything out of your training program.

Here are a few helpful tips that will help you get a hell of a lot more out of your training program and witness results that you have yet to imagine.

  1. GOAL SETTING

Goals are the most important aspect of being successful, not just in the gym, but in life.  With out goals, there is no purpose… and there is nothing to strive for.  That leaves us to be left with mediocricy.  You have no idea how many people tell me “I just want to tone up, lose weight, get bigger” when I ask them what their goals are. You are most likely in this boat as well.   These are not goals, these are generalized wants.

What is the difference?

To say I want to tone up, lose weight or just get bigger you are not telling anybody anything.  If you were 200lbs and over a years time you lost 3 lbs and are now 197.  Did you reach your goal?  Are you happy? You lost weight didn’t you?  So why are you not happy with the weight loss.

Or on the other hand you wanted to increase your deadlift.  Over a 6 month period your deadlift went up 10 lbs.  Will you then be happy?

Of course neither of these situations is what anybody wants.  To have a unspecific goal, you are leading yourself up for failure.  And that equals lost motivation, frustration, self-anguish and eventually no more gym.

Specific goals is what makes the difference.

I am a male, 5′ 10″, 200 lbs with 34% body fat and have  a long term goal of being around 160lbs with a body fat f 15%.  Now we are getting somewhere.  Now we can break down how we are going to reach that goal into much smaller goals.  This will keep you on track.  You will know every month if you are on pace with your goals.  It is not only important to know if you are on track, but reaching your goals in itself is rewarding and makes you feel much better about yourself.  Its win-win.  This keeps you from endlessly running on a treadmill, like a hamster in a wheel, and it keeps you from countlessly wasting time lifting weights with no change in performance or body aesthetics.  This is a fail proof method to know if what you are currently doing works, or simply, if it does not.

2. MINDSET

In order to get the most out of your own training program you must understand two things.

  1. It is a lifestyle change, and
  2. You must be prepared to work…… HARD.

If you want to be fit, it must be part of your lifestyle.  I am not saying you can never have another cupcake, or another beer every again.  But you must find the time, and commitment into your health.  If you can do this, you will absolutely be successful in the gym, or better yet in any other aspect of your life.

Also if you want to get real results, you must understand it is going to be tough.  You will need to sweat, get stronger and have to push yourself to limits you thought you would never reach.  You have no idea how many times I have a client tell me “I can’t lift that weight” or “This circuit will be too hard for me.”  But then I give them that look, and they go at the set or the circuit and grind through it.

Once you realize you can do anything, you can do anything.  There is no reason why every woman out there shouldn’t be able to do body weight pushups or pullups.  There is no reason why every guy out there can’t deadlift 1.5-2x there own body weight.  There is no reason why you can’t go out and run that marathon.  Only you can stop you, and that’s it.  Put the effort in and reap the rewards.

Was this post helpful, enlightening, the purest, greatest thing you ever read? How do you get anything out of your workouts?  Let me know, leave a comment below!