How to CRUSH it, even when you have to RUSH it!

I’m sure that many of you (myself included) are finding that you are busier and busier these days. Many days it is hard enough to get the ever growing “to do” list knocked out let alone trying to find time to get a work out in. As a result I talk to a lot of people who tell me that they get their workouts in when they have time, but many days they find themselves skipping them with a promise that they will make it up some other time. (I like to call these types of promises – “calculated lies”) Although your workout may seem like an ideal candidate for the chopping block when trying to free up some time, this strategy might actually be creating more problems. A growing body of research is finding evidence that indicates that individuals are more productive and focused, and less stressed after exercise. I know it’s counter-intuitive to think that pushing your body to the limit in the gym can actually increase your energy, but let’s be honest… we’ve all experienced that “high” after a good workout at some point. This suggests that exercise could be the “magic pill” you need to accomplish more throughout the day and that is why I wanted to provide some pointers to make sure that you are as effective and efficient as possible in the gym when time is limited.

I think the best place to start this is to bust a common myth and prevent a mistake that I observe a number of people making…when time is limited people have a tendency to head straight to the cardio equipment. Although cardio makes you feel as if you got a great workout in and it is definitely convenient (No thinking involved, put on your ipod, set it, and go), it is far less effective than resistance training. If you recall from my previous blog post “Cardio or Resistance Training?“, resistance training can produce a calorie burn that is 3x’s higher than cardio. Now don’t get me wrong, cardio is a very important part of exercise, but when time is limited and you are trying to be as efficient as possible…head to the weights.

The best strategy to use is to work large muscles first followed by smaller muscles. Large muscles include: chest, back, and legs. Small muscles are: triceps, biceps, and shoulders. Before I continue any further, I want to point out that you should have made a couple of decisions before getting into the gym:

What is your fitness goal?

Are you trying to increase strength, add size/bulk (Hypertrophy), or increase endurance? Answering this question will help identify how many reps you should be doing and the weight that you should be using. In that same blog I mentioned earlier I talked about the different “Work Zones” and defined them as follows for each category:

Strength – 6 Rep Max; Hypertrophy- 8 Rep Max; Endurance- 12 Rep Max.

Basically this means that depending on your fitness goals, you should use a weight that allows you to “max out” or not be able to do one more rep beyond the defined work zone. Clearly this weight will change depending on the exercise. Also a special note for anyone who says, “I just want to tone my muscles not add bulk”… All 3 of these strategies tone the muscle, but don’t worry too much about getting “Bulky”. Without a serious commitment and some nutritional/supplemental help, I promise you won’t start looking like Arnold anytime soon (I’ll bust this myth further in a future blog post).

What is your training strategy?

Are you doing a “Full Body” workout or are you on a particular day of split rotation? A full body is exactly what it sounds like: a workout that hits all the major muscles of the body in one workout. This is typically what most “time crunched” individuals will find themselves doing. However, if you happen to be doing a split rotation where the muscle groups are divided (split) into a strategic pairing (Chest/Triceps, Back/Biceps, Legs/Shoulders) and worked out over the course of 2-3 days then you will want to pick the exercises below that best fit into that routine.

Sample workouts:

These are some suggested exercises that you can do with equipment that will be available in most fitness centers. There are other options and variations, if you would like additional suggestions please shoot me an email.

My good friend and Body Blocks’ client Gene fitting a chest workout into his busy schedule.

Large Muscles: These muscles burn the most calories.

  • Chest (6 Sets): Flat Bench Press (3 Sets); Incline Bench Press (3 Sets)
  • Back (6 Sets): Wide-grip Pull Down (3 Sets); Reverse Grip Pull Down (3 Sets)
  • Legs (6 Sets): Squat-feet shoulder width [wide] (3 Sets); Leg Press-feet hip width [narrow] (3 Sets)

Small Muscles:

  • Tricep (4 Sets): V-Bar Push Down (2 Sets); Reverse Grip Push Down (2 Sets)
  • Bicep (4 Sets): Preacher Curl (2 Sets); Standing Straight-Bar Curl (2 Sets)
  • Shoulder: Dumbbell Side Lateral Raise (2 Sets); Bent Over Lateral Raise (2 Sets)

These exercises can also be done using a superset(A large muscle exercise paired with a small muscle exercise) for further efficiency.

Clearly time will play a part in what you are able to accomplish, but if you have a plan and you’re focused you can accomplish a great workout in 30 minutes and get on with your day. For other good time efficient workouts please read my blog “Conventional Training vs. MC²” and stay tuned for my upcoming blog about the calorie scorching 360 MC workout that is quickly becoming popular at Body Blocks.

As always I look forward to your feedback and hope that this has helped convince you that playing hooky from your workouts is not a good idea. Get in, get it done, and reap the rewards. Remember excuses are nothing more that calculated lies that we tell to ourselves.

Stay healthy,

Bob


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Conventional Training vs. MC²

Nowadays we are exposed to all sorts of recommended work out styles, each of which have their own benefits. In this blog we are going to discuss the benefits that can be enjoyed by implementing a workout style that strategically combines the effectiveness of time, cardio, and compound movements; this workout is known as MC² (pronounced M C squared).

Start by establishing the basics:

Conventional weight training is the foundation of a good workout. Conventional training consists of exercises that incorporate an individual body part with single or [mutli] joint movements. Examples of these exercises would include basic: Presses, Rows, Fly, Squats, etc.This method of training is necessary to help establish your base. Without a good foundation, other workouts will be more difficult and often ineffective.

You should utilize conventional training methods and concentrate on proper form and technique before integrating compound movements into your workouts. Failure to do this may cause your workouts to get sloppy when you attempt to incorporate compound movements and could result in injuries. Clearly this is not functional or healthy for your body and may delay you achieving your fitness goals. Proper execution of exercises will accelerate your outcome.

Need help creating a conventional training program? Please consult a coach or a trainer. There is no shame in asking for help every now and again. All the best people, in whatever their vocation, have usually had some help or guidance along the way; the concept with your workouts is the same. When working out at the gym and unsure of how to use a piece of equipment or perform an exercise properly always ask a gym employee if there is someone to give you direction or feel free to shoot me an email and I’ll do my best to respond with the guidance that you need.

A MC² style workout (concept designed by Free Motion Fitness ) is a combination of timed compound movements and timed heavy-load cardio. Compound exercises are movements that utilize more than one body part at a time, such as squat/curls, lunge/chest press, lunge/triceps-extension, etc.

Cardio is done at a slower pace but with a heavier load and with a high level of incline. This form of cardio places the load on the large muscle groups in your lower body, engaging your muscle longer to produce a higher caloric output.

In this workout you perform timed compound movements in rotation with your cardio. The benefits of this style of training include high caloric output from the increased muscle contractions that result from your compound exercises in combination with high intensity cardio. MC² workouts promote development of leaner muscle, muscle endurance and are great for melting away fat.

Before attempting MC² style workouts, be aware of your foundation. You may need to practice more conventional training methods so you are more aware of the movements. As I’ve said before it is more important to concentrate on technique and for to prevent injury and insure the maximum results. (Plus you don’t want to end up looking like a person falling out of a tree.)

MC² is a fun, challenging, and effective workout that is capable of delivering exceptional results. Please feel free to contact me at fitnessdefined@bodyblocksfitness.com for more information and as always enjoy your success.

More than a workout; Fitness is a lifestyle!

Movement is the key to life. We’ve become such a sedative society which is why we have so many health issues. We have all the knowledge, all the research and resources, yet we are the unhealthiest country in the world right now.

Think about it… People come from all over the world to the United States  to utilize the knowledge and resources that we have to offer and yet overall as a society we don’t apply any of it ourselves. It’s ludicrous!

Movement is what keeps people alive; it’s a fact of life. Nowadays doctors even prescribe exercise and movement as a means to stay healthy.

Read this USA Today article that discusses exercise prescriptions.

Dr. Raul Vazquez does Tread-a-Thon

                              wivb.com

Read this amazing story about my friend Dr. Raul Vazquez (above) who spent his day seeing his patients while walking on a treadmill to call awareness to obesity and the need to get healthy

Your body is your one vehicle in life, yet you put it in jeopardy. Fitness should be just as important as any meeting or appointment. If you’re not healthy you can’t do your job. Don’t be intimidated either. Fitness can be as simple as just getting up and moving. Taking a 5-10 minute walk two times a day would be a great start.

“I don’t have time”, “I’m not a fitness person”, these are all calculated lies to yourself. Everybody has a choice and these calculated lies become hurdles that you create for yourself. So take some accountability and get up and move. After all fitness isn’t just a workout at a gym or a mile run… It’s your LIFE! Ultimately its a choice, a lifestyle.