Sunday, July 23, 2017

Efficient; Adjective
Achieving maximum productivity with minimum wasted effort or expense.

When creating the most efficient workouts, it's all about the quality, not quantity. They should be compact, goal oriented, and encourage consistency and accountability. There are several resistance training systems that include vertical loading, horizontal loading, split routine, and circuit training.
You will probably see most gym members use the split routine, which is training different parts of the body on different days and performing all sets of one exercise before moving on to the next. Most people use the split routine due to equipment availability and because they don't want to loose their spot if they move on to a different exercise. To be honest, I really don't see the efficiency in this type of routine.  For example, if you work legs and shoulders on a Monday, then consider scheduled cardio, recovery, and days for the other muscle groups (i.e. biceps, hips, etc),  you may not work your legs and shoulders again for at least another 8-10 days. In addition, it increases the total time of your workout, lacks flexibility/creativity, and at times can be counter productive.

Let's face it, we all know that exercising is a large part of a healthy life style and we want to see the results. However, we wish it was more fun, didn't take as much time, and, of course, that dreaded leg day. So, here's how you make it more fun in the least amount of time and get noticeable results.

To get started, we will be using a combination of the vertical loading and circuit training.  This means your exercises will focus on all muscle group in each session. Depending on your designated time frame and endurance levels, you will need to plan one to two exercises that incorporate the chest, biceps, triceps, shoulders, back, and legs. As you plan your routine, make sure you address your specific goals, be creative, and ensure flexibility. When you execute your routine, you will do a single set of each exercise (12 Reps) with no rest in between exercises. Once you complete the cycle take a two minute rest break. After your break, you will repeat this cycle three more times. This is where the  flexibility comes in. If someone is using the equipment you prefer, find alternatives for that exercise to keep the cycle moving.  For example, if there isn't a weight bench available, use a stability ball (adds in a core exercise) or you may need to switch from dumbbells to cable equipment. Also, be creative in your exercise design and incorporate one, two, or even three muscle groups in one exercise.  To better illustrate, I've included examples at the bottom of this post.

When you put it all together, you have a routine that is aerobic, compact, time efficient, and provides a balanced impact on all muscle groups. Plus, it's challenging, fun, and gets results. As a good total weekly program, try your circuit day on day one, 20-30 minutes of cardio on day 2, and recovery on day 3. So, your cycle would be two days on and one day off for recovery. It provides great balance and is a perfect fit for a healthier life style.

Below are a few examples of including multiple muscle groups in your exercises. I hope you find them helpful. To view a full video click on the name of the exercise.

1. Lateral Lunge and Lean: ( 6-12 Reps on each side).  The lateral lunge captures the upper leg, butt, and hip. On the way back up, you are focusing on the shoulders and the lean hits the obliques.

2. Chest Press/Leg Drop: (12 Reps) Here you hit the chest area and increase flexibility in the leg lift while impacting the lower abs.

3. Bicep Curl Squat: (12 Reps) This exercises actually encourages a deeper squat while working your biceps.

These are just a few examples. If you would like to see more, please let me know.  I'm working with a good friend, Nickie Summers, founder of It's All You Fitness, and she has developed several exercises that incorporate multiple muscle groups that would have a positive impact on your progress.

Until next time, enjoy your workouts,

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Whether it's your vacation or work, keeping up with your exercise goals while traveling can be a big challenge.  Keeping that balance while you are at home is hard enough as it is.  When you are on the road, your time and resources are often limited and working out is usually not at the top of your list. Your schedule is hectic, you're exhausted, and you want to relax. I get it.

I get it because I spent a large portion of my forty years in the corporate world on the road so, I know it can be done.  You CAN stay in shape while traveling. It's all about knowing the limitation of your resources, finding your balance, planning ahead, and being prepared.  You will actually have more energy while spending time with your family on vacation or those longer work hours as a road warrior.

If finding time to exercise is a challenge when you are at home, it will become even more difficult when you are on the road. So, whether it's work related or vacation, plan short sessions. Focus on the quality and each workout will have an impact.

Most hotel "gyms" are outdated and usually inadequate at best. Think about what you can accomplish in your hotel room or outside. Here are a few suggestions that should address most situations:
  1. You can do bodyweight exercises such as push-ups, planks, squats, and jumping jacks.
  2. Go to YouTube on your smart phone or tablet and try yoga or Pilates.  You can always find a session that meets your scheduling needs.
  3. Pack a resistance band and your room is now your personal gym. I actually used to pack a jump rope as well. It makes for great cardio either in your hotel room or outside. Don't worry, the ceilings are always high enough.
  4. You can go outside for a walk and use the stairs instead of the elevator.
  5. If you enjoy running, make room for tennis shoes when you pack.
  6. If most of your travel is work related and you frequent the same locations.  Look for local gyms close to your hotels. They usually have good travel programs or membership incentives for travelers.  At one time, I actually had three memberships that cost just $30.00 a month.  
Working out while traveling is about maintaining your fitness. So address those limited resources as an opportunity to be creative, find your balance, keep it simple, and make it fun.

Until next time, enjoy your workouts (wherever you may be).