Friday, November 11, 2011

Get the Most from Your Workouts and Exercises

One of the most common excuses people give for not working out is time.  They don’t have enough of it.  And they want to spend it doing other will.  But part of the problem lies in the myth that you have to spend hours a day doing endless cardiovascular and resistance work in order to achieve the results you want.  The only guarantee here is that nothing will change for the better, and will likely continue to lead to the weight gain, physical inflexibility, lost strength, and weakened immune system of the sedentary.

The reality is, you can accomplish all your fitness and health goals in as little as 30 minutes, 3-4 times a week.  Unlike the daily exerciser who spends hours doing low-impact cardio, resting between reps, and zoning out in front of the gym television, the Maximizer must be disciplined from start to finish, committing to no rest, and absolute focus throughout the 30 minute effort. 

Maximizing engages the most muscle groups in the most effective manner through compound exercises.  These are movements that work multiple muscle groups at the same time. For example, a dumbbell bench press activates the muscles in the chest, triceps, and shoulders while a deadlift targets the hamstrings, glutes, and lower back. The time you would spend isolating each of these muscle groups would take you twice as long, whereas the compound moves will lead to the same results just as quickly.

Below is a sample two-day a week compound fitness work out.  Note the associated muscle groups and refer to the links for proper form and execution of each movement:

Workout Day 1:

Standing Shoulder Press: Shoulders and Triceps

Pull-up: Lats, Biceps, Mid-back

Stiff-legged Deadlift:  Hamstrings, Glutes, Lower Back

Workout Day 2:

Bench Press: Chest, Shoulders, Triceps

Bent Row: Mid-Back, Biceps, Lats, Shoulders

Barbell Squat: Quads, Calves, Glutes, Hamstrings, Lower Back
Each lifting routine above should take about 20-25 minutes, and with a proper 3-5 minutes warm-up/cool down period, you can be in and out within approximately a half hour. With limited rest, 5-7 repetitions, and heavy weights, you will see increased strength, muscle, and fat loss.

In terms of cardio, you can burn the fat covering those muscles in 30 minutes, twice a week  The key lies in the intensity and the “burn.”  Using an exercise bike as an example, warm up at a moderate pace for five minutes.  Gradually, increase the speed, pedaling as hard as you can for thirty seconds.  After thirty seconds, decrease your speed for the next thirty seconds, and then push the speed back up for forty-five seconds.  Again, decrease the speed for thirty seconds, and then push the speed back up for a full minute.  Each time you decrease the speed for thirty seconds, but add fifteen seconds to each speed increase.  

And congratulations – you are Interval Training!  It is always best to alternate forms of cardio between biking, running, rowing, elliptical machines, and even outdoor activities such as swimming and rollerblading.