Fitness for Busy Folk

Monthly Archives: August 2010

FREE muscle-gain & fat-shredding workout from Vince Del Monte

If you're super-serious about extreme muscle-gaining and fat-shredding results, you need to listen up and get on the edge of your seat.

Why?


Because something that has NOT been available for four months, Vince Del Monte's Maximize Your Muscle system, will be re-opening to welcome new members for 3 days ONLY.


Then it's, "Sorry, join the waiting list" for another 4 months.


Maximize Your Muscle & Blow Beyond Your Genetic Potential for $1.00 ---> MaximizeYourMuscle.com <—— check it out!

Truthfully, this is NOT for everyone'85 but if you do meet the requirements you'll be glad to know that Vince is allowing you to check out Phase 1 of his advanced muscle-building (and this is equally effective for fat loss) system for only ONE BUCK! (no joke)


Vince is making an enormous promise to you. He does not claim you with HIT your genetic potential but he claims  you will blow BEYOND it.


Vince even claims that he's in the business of "doing the impossible" he's that confident.


Want proof?

Check out mind-blowing results from his previous members who defeated the "impossible" and proved that Vince is in the business of doing the impossible (many of these pics belong in magazines):


$1.00 Trial Offer To Maximize Your Muscle ---> MaximizeYourMuscle.com <—- click here

I've grown to know Vince over the past few years and I can vouch that had to overcome of the worst genetics EVER.


I've grown to admire and respect his achievements, inside and outside of the gym, and I know you will too.


However, let me say that Maximize Your Muscle is for SUPER SERIOUS people!

This is not for people who show up to the gym late, slide out early, bounce from program to program, cheat on your workouts, cry to their doctor if they are sore and prefer to look like the norm...


Vince attracts people who want something beyond the norm in terms of their body and their life. If that sounds like you, then this might be the luckiest day of your life:


Yes, I Want A Body Beyond The Norm ---> MaximizeYourMuscle.com <------ click here for $1.00 trial


If you're ready to dominate your plateaus, crank up your results, increase your muscle, get ripped and switch your metabolism to turbo, just like Vince did, then take advantage of this amazing opportunity that will disappear Thursday night at midnight.


Lastly, via Vince's monthly workout DVD, newsletter and coaching call, you'll be challenged more than just physically - he'll push you emotionally, intellectually, relationally and spiritually. Vince has achieved more, by the age of 30, than most do in their entire lives'85 he's truly someone you want as a mentor and friend.


Please visit the website to read more about this INSANE and life-changing (in the literal sense) opportunity to blow beyond your genetic limits - inside and outside of the gym:

MaximizeYourMuscle.com <—– hurry, before he closes registration


As Vince would say, LIVE LARGE,

P.S. Skeptical? Just check out the before and after pictures of previous members and let them doing the talking if this sounds to good to be true:


MaximizeYourMuscle.com <----- $1.00 trial to blow beyond your potential


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Metabolic Conditioning for Fat Loss

There are a lot of crazy definitions for metabolic conditioning floating around. But for me, it’s all about focusing on raising your metabolic rate. This means that you train as hard as possible within a short period of time, so that you maximize your EPOC.

EPOC stands for Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption. This complicated sounding word relates to the number of additional calories your body burns after an intense workout to return your body to its normal state.

The more intense your workout, the more calories you burn after your workout is over. Pretty simple.

So what can you do make your workouts super intense?

Well, there are three things you need to focus on: rest periods, exercises chosen, and workout density.

Rest Periods

This should be your first step. Take your current program and simply focus on reducing your rest periods while maintaining everything else. If you’re lifting weights, try and maintain the same weight you’re lifting.

If you’re training with your bodyweight only, then reducing rest periods will be easier. But start off gradually. 5 seconds per week is more than enough. Get used to the feeling of your lungs working hard.

Exercise Selection

Once you’re only able to rest 30 seconds between each set, start taking a look at your exercise selection. Focus on movements that train the most amount of muscles at one time. So we’re talking about pullups, pushups, burpees, and planks.

The best weight bearing movements are thrusters, cleans, snatches, bench press, rows, deadlifts, and squats. Try an include compound movements, olympic movements, and bodyweight movements.

Try and combine two movements together to come up with your own hybrid variations.

Workout Density

Now we’re getting into deep territory, so read carefully. Workout density refers to the total amount of work you do within a given period of time. So now you have a completely new factor in your training: time.

Ever notice how much harder you workout when you’re training with a partner? It’s that sense of competition that allows you to work harder and push yourself beyond anything you’ve ever done before.

What if you could get that same feeling without a partner or trainer? Well, do one thing: time your workouts. Time your entire workout, from beginning to end, and seek to finish the workout faster the next time you do it.

This simple technique will force you to work harder, hence raising your EPOC!

Another great way to push yourself and burn more calories after your workouts is through interval training. I’ve got a great interval training bodyweight workout program you need to try. It’s currently available for free download:


Get an Intense workout at your Local Park!

Simply enter your name and email address below to download this program:

_________________________________________

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Your Bethak Program is Hurting your Knees

The Bethak, better known as the Hindu Squat, is a great lower body movement. However, it can also be a potentially dangerous variation to the bodyweight squats. If done at a high volume, the bethak can actually damage your knees!

Here’s how the Hindi Squat is different from the original, bodyweight squat:

  • In a bodyweight squat, you keep your feet flat on the floor. In the bethak, your heels come off the floor and all your weight is balanced on soles of your feet.
  • In a bodyweight squat, your knees are behind your toes. In a proper bodyweight squat, you should be able to make a perfectly straight line from your shoulders to your knees to your toes. In a bethak, your knees are clearly in front of your toes, and your shoulders are behind your knees.

In essence, you are placing lots of pressure on your knees and calves. Your calves can handle it, but not your knees. Right now, I have knee problems that prevent me from doing certain movements.

I need to be careful when performing deadlifts and squats. If my form goes even a little bit, my knees start to pain. This is one of the reasons why most of my training is bodyweight and kettlebells.

Traditional bodyweight squats don’t hurt my knees, because they keep the pressure off of them. In addition, Kettlebell Goblet Squats, where you hold the Kettlebell in front of your body with both hands, is a great replacement for weighted squats.

For hamstrings, I stick to stability ball hamstring curls, stability ball leg extensions, Kettlebell swings, and Kettlebell snatches.

So, if you want to protect your knees forget the Bethak/ Hindu Squat, and stick to traditional bodyweight squat.

And if you’re looking for a full bodyweight program, then you should check out my brand new Shah Training Playground Workout Program. It’s available as a free download:


Get an Intense workout at your Local Park!

Simply enter your name and email address below to download this program:

_________________________________________

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Introducing The New Get Lean Program

Let’s be honest. There’s a ridiculous amount of diets, disappointing workout tools and unachievable ‘success’ weight loss stories on the market. We really don’t need any new ones. Well I completely agree, so it’s lucky that Belinda Benn has released The Get Lean Program, a refreshingly realistic and honest weight loss program, so that I can share something different!


Belinda has put together a program based on her own real life transformation. You would never guess from her appearance but she is actually 45 years old and lived off a diet of sugar and fat until the age of 37. She has lived first-hand the frustrations and difficulties of weight loss. It is this experience that has enabled her to create a program that is realistic, affordable and guaranteed to see results. Belinda knows the struggle you face and also, how to get you through it to at last achieve the results you deserve.
What does the program include?
The Get Lean Program gives you so much value for your money. You will get:

  • 3 Phase Fat Burning System – A carefully constructed system of phases designed to ease you towards your ideal lean physique for long-term, sustainable results. No more yo-yo dieting.
  • Step by Step Fat Loss Plan – An easy-to-follow schedule that works into your everyday routine. No driving back and forth to the gym or buying expensive equipment. This plan works around you.
  • Belinda’s 10 Secrets to Success – Advice from the lady herself who has experienced the struggle of weight loss first-hand and knows how to help you succeed.
  • 15 Powerful Fat Burning Foods – Affordable foods that can be found at your local supermarket! Real products that fit in with your real life.
  • Proven Treat-Meal Strategies – This program isn’t about starving and suffering. It even makes room to satisfy your sweet-tooth cravings!
  • Nutrition Intuition Guide – The Get Lean Program takes a holistic approach to weight loss. This in-depth guide will help you to understand the psychological side of eating and work to re-train your stubborn habits. Not only will you feel great physically, but also mentally and emotionally.
  • Daily Meal Plans (12 Weeks) – 12 week plans that do all the hard planning for you. Once you finish this period, your old habits will be long forgotten and you’ll know how to eat well yourself.
  • Diary & Success Journal – A supportive and helpful tool that will help you monitor how your body responds to the changes in your diet.
  • Over 50 Fat Burning Recipes – Delicious, nutritious AND affordable. Use ingredients that already surround you and learn how to improve your use of them and make you fit, lean and strong.
  • 2 FREE LAUNCH GIFTS of Motivational Secrets and Audio Download Plus 6 Inspirational Wallpapers!

Amazingly, Belinda goes even further, offering you her personal support via weekly email as you do the program completely free of charge!
And it still gets better! With all of this, The Get Lean Program comes with a 60 day, no questions asked, money back guarantee.

Click Here to Grab the Get Lean Program!

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Playground Bodyweight Exercise Interval Routine for Men

It is my sincere belief that before lifting weights, you must master bodyweight movements. Instead, most men go straight to the weights. It’s all about lifting as much weight as possible. However, in the process, these guys end up getting big, bulky, slow, and fat.

If that’s your goal, then that’s fine. But you want a more leaner, athletic physique along with the athletic skills to show for it, then you need to start of with performing bodyweight movements in an interval format.

The best part about bodyweight training is that it doesn’t cost you a dime! Just go to your local park and start training with the monkey bars, dip bars, pullup bars, and benches. Some parks even have incline benches for abs!

Here are three basic bodyweight movements you can start off with:

Hanging Knee Raise


  • Grab a pullup or monkey bar. Bend your knees and tuck your feet behind your body.
  • Contract your abs and lift your knees up towards your chest. Return to starting position.
  • As you get stronger, start to straighten out your legs until you can perform the movement with your legs fully straight.

Plank


  • Place your forearms on the floor and lift your body off the floor so that your body is balancing only on your forearms and toes.
  • Hold this position for the recommended amount of time.

Squat Jumps

  • Squat jumps should be a staple in your playground routine. Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart.
  • Squat down by pushing your hips back as if sitting on a chair. Keep pushing your hips back until your knees bend naturally.
  • Make sure to keep your abs tight and back straight. Keep your chest out. Do not let your knees go past your toes.
  • If they do, then stop he movement and return to starting position. Try to keep moving your hips back until your thighs are parallel to the ground.
  • From this position, explode up and jump as high as you can. When you land, try and go back into squat position.
  • This is a fast, continuous movement.

These are obviously just a few of the infinite number of bodyweight movements that you can perform. I’ve actually used these, and 9 other movements to create a full body, 3 day per week bodyweight program called the Shah Training Playground Workout Program:


Get an Intense workout at your Local Park!

Simply enter your name and email address below to download this program:

_________________________________________

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3 Fat Loss Secrets From Bally the Dog

Woof Woof!

Bally the Dog here, and since my Human is away on holiday, I thought I’d email you with 3 fitness tips to help you lose fat.

After all, I finally figured out how to use the “Human’s” computer, but if you see any spelling mistakes, please  furgive me, but my big paws aren’t meant for these small computerz.

Oh, and if you’re a cat, please stop reading. Because I don’t like you and I will chase you down if I find out you are reading this.

Okay, woof woof?

Good.

Here we go…

Tip #1 – Get your exercise in the morning

After my morning walk, I usually get a rawhide treat, and then I just lie on the ground waiting for my next walk. And while I do that, I get to listen to my Human do fitness interviews for magazines and radio stations…

…and he keeps on saying:

“It doesn’t matter when you exercise for fat loss, all that matters is that you are consistent. And when you exercise first thing in the morning, that means you will be more consistent. And being consistent is one of the most important things in your fat loss program.”

Woof, woof, maybe that’s why I get a long walk and some sprints  first thing in the morning? Bark bark!

That is probably why the vet once said to my human, “Wow, your dog has six pack abs!”

Woof woof!

So if you are struggling to be consistent, get up a little earlier and do your workout before life/work/family gets in the way and stops you from getting your workout.

Woof.

Tip #2 – Eat 3 medium sized meals and some very healthy snacks

Since I’m a dog, I’ll eat just about anything. And that is good news, because that means I love to snack on apples, blueberries, broccoli, red peppers, and bananas.

Woof, I probably eat more fruits and vegetables than most humans, not including my Human. He eats a lot of fruits and vegetables every day, even while traveling.

And he has six pack abs too. Woof, woof, woof.

Tip #3 – Stay active on your off days with fun & playful activity

Even though I’m almost 5 human years old, I still get anxious when my Human leaves me alone at home and goes to the gym.

Woof, woof, woof! Bark, bark, bark! Whine. Bark Bark! WOOF!

I am sure am glad that he only goes 3-4 times per week, instead of 6-7 times per week like some folks.

On his days off, we go to the beach and parks and have fun. No long, slow, boring cardio for him. I won’t allow it.

Grrrrrrrrr. That’s what I say to cardio machines. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

I’d rather chase squirrels any day than get on a treadmill or one of those silly elliptical machines.

So bottom line:

1) Do short, burst workouts CONSISTENTLY.

2) Eat 3 mid-size meals and lots of whole, natural food snacks in between meals.

3) Train 3-4 times per week and stay active on your off-days.

Woof.

It’s that simple.

Let me know what you think.

Bark Bark!

Your favorite doggy,

Bally the Dog
Guard Dog, Turbulence Training

PS – If you thought this was stupid…

…let me make it up to you by recommending this free fat loss presentation here: TurbulenceTraining.com

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Burn More Calories in Less Time

Burn More Calories in Less Time
Yuri Elkaim, BPHE, CK, RHN
www.myFitterU.com

In my view, intensity is the most critical aspect of any exercise regime and can mean the difference between someone who reaches their goals and someone who doesn’t. Increasing your workout’s intensity will stimulate your body to burn more calories and induce a greater cardiovascular response. It will also allow you to have a more time efficient workout.

If you are looking to burn fat and become more toned, then increasing your exercise intensity is critical. Many people have the misconception that if you workout at a higher intensity you will no longer be burning fat since you will be in your “cardio zone”. Whereas, if you keep your intensity low for a longer duration you will burn more fat since you will be in your “fat burning zone”.

Let me clarify this for you once and for all. By training at a low intensity (<70% max) it is true that you use fat as your predominant source of fuel. While exercising at a higher intensity (>75% max) your main fuel source is carbohydrate but you will ultimately burn more calories. And since 1 pound of fat is equivalent to 3500 calories, the ultimate goal is to burn as many calories as possible to create a negative energy balance!

One of the best ways to achieve this intensity is through the use of full-body exercises (circuit training set up) in conjunction with interval training. The benefit of full body exercises is that they utilize more muscle in any given movement – thus, you burn more calories. The inherent intensity of the workout also means that each exercise becomes more challenging as your heart rate is sustained at a much higher level as a result of not giving yourself enough rest between exercises.

Here are a couple of benefits to following an exercise program combining circuit training and interval training:

1. Intervals and circuits vastly reduce boredom. Traditional steady state cardio training and/or weight lifting can become quite boring. Interval training and circuit training offer more variety and excitement to your workouts.

2. Interval training increases post-exercise energy expenditure (calories burned following exercise) more than steady-state exercise, which means that more fat is burned. After intense exercise, the body needs extra calories as it works to repair muscles, replace energy stores (i.e. carbohydrate) and restore the body to its normal state (e.g. reduce heart rate).

As this can take many hours, you will keep on burning more calories long after the workout is over. In fact, research shows that metabolic rate is higher for several hours following interval training compared to steady state exercise.

3. Interval training burns more calories. As an example, 30 minutes on an Elliptical machine using a steady state program will burn roughly 292 calories, whereas 30 minutes of intervals will burn approximately 584 calories!

Here is a sample circuit traing workout that will leave you huffing and puffing:

WARM-UP – bike, treadmill, elliptical, rower + dynamic stretching (5-10 min)

CIRCUIT (45 seconds for each exercise, with 15 seconds rest between exercises :: 5-7 min to complete 1 set)

Lunge walks with lateral raises

Plank (on stability ball)

Squats with medicine ball shoulder press

Push-ups

Side Bridges

Reverse Pull-ups

Burpies

INTERVAL TRAINING (cardio machine)

20 sec @ 100% : 40 sec @ 70% x 5 = 5 min

Repeat Circuit and Interval 3 times

Total Workout Time: 45 – 50 min

Do this workout 4 times over the next 2 weeks and watch the difference intensity brings to your workouts – and your results!

About the Author

Yuri Elkaim is a world-renowned fitness, nutrition, and weight loss expert. He is the creator Fitter U and Treadmill Trainer, author of Eating for Energy, and the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for men’s soccer program at the University of Toronto. His trademarked 12-week Fitter U iPod workout program has been helping thousands of people around the world get in shape and lose weight fast without the cost and inconvenience of hiring a trainer. Go to www.myFitterU.com now to get your FREE Fitter U workout and “How to Get Fit and Lose Weight Fast” report!

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Exercise Recovery – How to Feel No Longer Sore

Exercise Recovery – What Works Best?
Yuri Elkaim, BPHE, CK, RHN
www.myFitterU.com

The human body operates most efficiently when it is in balance, or has achieved a state known as homeostasis. As such, optimal recovery means that all body systems have returned to the state they were in before exercise (homeostasis). However, for most avid exercisers, recovery is a limiting factor. The better you can recover, the sooner and better you can train. The process of recovery (regeneration) gets less attention than it should. Every person should have a systematic plan that includes recovery activities on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis. The following are simple tools that you can implement to help your body recover better between exercise bouts.

Cool-down

After exhaustive exercise, don’t stop and rest immediately. You can speed up the removal of lactic acid from your muscles by continuing to exercise at a low intensity for 10-20 minutes. Cooling down can help reduce the feeling of stiffness that often occurs after a workout and is especially important if your next training session or event is scheduled a few hours later.

Stretch

Static stretching before exercise puts you at risk for damaging the very tissues you are trying to protect and as such should be avoided. Research has shown that stretching causes lengthening of the tendinous fibers within the muscle-tendon unit. Such lengthening causes the tendon (or passive) component to lose much of its shock absorbency, thus, placing the muscle fibers at greater risk of trauma. However, stretching after exercise may help minimize muscle soreness and may even help prevent future soft tissue injuries. Thus, before activity, more active-type stretching routines that promote range of motion and increased blood flow are recommended. Conversely, after exercise, the emphasis should be on passive or static stretching to allow the muscles to relax and return to their resting lengths.

Carbohydrates

The muscles are primed for quick restoration of their carbohydrate fuel reserves (glycogen) immediately after exercise, so don’t wait too long to start eating foods and drinking beverages rich in carbohydrate. Fruits, energy bars, and sports drinks all contain large amounts of carbohydrate. From a nutrition standpoint, post-exercise is one of the only times where you want to be consuming high-glycemic index foods for they will stimulate a quicker release of insulin and, thus, carbohydrate storage in the muscles. Ideally, these fuels should be consumed as quickly as possible upon finishing your exercise session.

Protein

Most forms of exercise lead to the breakdown of proteins within the muscles. This breakdown-repair process stimulates the muscles to rebuild and become stronger. Moreover, some of our muscle proteins continue to be broken down during the recovery phase after exercise. For a faster buildup of muscle proteins during recovery, include a small amount of protein in the foods you eat. Milk, cheese, eggs, whey protein shakes, sandwiches, nuts (almonds, walnuts) and energy bars provide carbohydrate and protein. Look for easily digestible protein sources (such as the ones listed above) following strenuous exercise. Avoid saturated fats.

Fluids

Replacing lost fluid is crucial to the recovery process. Having adequate fluids within your body promotes the removal of toxins and waste from your muscles. Top off your supply of fluids by drinking before exercise, continue to hydrate every 15 or 20 minutes during a workout, and replace any body weight lost during exercise by drinking while you recover. Remember, 1 L of water is equivalent to 1 kg of body weight. Therefore, if the difference between your pre- and post-exercise weight is 1.5 kg (3.3 lbs) you would want to rehydrate with 1.5 L of water to bring your body fluid back to homeostasis. Before, during, and after exercise, the rule of thumb is that if you’re thirsty, it’s too late! Therefore, be sure to have a water bottle throughout the day to sip on. On a daily basis (at rest), the number of ounces of water you should be consuming should equal half of your body weight (in lbs). Thus, if you weigh 200 lbs, then you want to be drinking 100 ounces of water (almost 3 L).

Salt

Your body loses water and minerals – mostly sodium chloride, some potassium – when you sweat. Drinking water alone during exercise and recovery will make it difficult to replace body fluids rapidly because much of it will pass through the kidneys to become urine. Replace the salt along with the water to counteract dehydration. If you have to compete again within a few hours, consider sports drinks that contain water, sodium chloride, or fruits such as bananas which are high in potassium. Add extra salt to foods at mealtime if you are susceptible to cramps. Consider using condiments, sports drinks, and fitness waters instead of salt tablets.

Damage Control

Inflammation, swelling, and muscle soreness are possibilities following strenuous exercise. To minimize the effects, consider cold packs around joint areas, alternating cold and hot whirlpool baths, and the use of specially designed magnets to speed the recovery process. Light massage is also a good option for promoting toxin removal from the tissues and reducing delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). A study by Hilbert et al. showed that a 20 minute massage 2 hours following exercise helped to reduce the intensity of soreness 48 hours post-exercise in subjects who underwent 6 sets of maximal eccentric hamstring contractions. Minimize foot contact with the ground. Engage in light activities that increase blood flow while not taxing the nervous system. Swimming, cycling, walking, and light jogs are alternatives, but minimize foot contact with the ground.

Sleep

There is plenty of evidence to show that lack of sleep can have an adverse affect on training and competition. You might get by for a day or two with inadequate sleep, but it will catch up with up sooner or later. If you haven’t monitored your sleep habits already, determine how much sleep you need each night to ensure full recovery. It’s not eight hours for everyone – could be less, could be more. Then try to establish a routine that will allow you get what you need to perform well.

Sleep is divided into 1.5-hour time cycles. If you can time sleep cycles in increments of an hour and a half (1.5 hours, 3.0 hours, 4.5 hours, 6.0 hours, 7.5 hours, 9.0 hours), you have a better chance of waking up refreshed. The idea is to awake at the top of the cycle instead of at the bottom. And don’t dismiss the power of a 20-30 minute nap during the day. The journal Sleep highlighted a meta-analysis done on studies looking at the effects of sleep deprivation on performance. The researchers found that overall sleep deprivation strongly impairs human functioning. Moreover, they found that mood is more affected by sleep deprivation than either cognitive or motor performance and that partial sleep deprivation has a more profound effect on functioning than either long-term or short-term sleep deprivation.

Also be aware that overtraining can impair your body’s ability to fully rest and regenerate. A study in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise revealed that female swimmers who trained excessively showed a higher incidence of sleep disruptions.

In sum, there are several measure that you can take to better your recovery between exercise sessions. Remember that a combination of the several of the aforementioned tools should be implemented for best results.

Yuri Elkaim, BPHE, CK, RHN
Creator, Fitter U

References:

Safran, M. et al (1989). Warm up and muscular injury prevention: an update. Sports Medicine, 239-249.

Hibert, J. et al (2003). The effects of massage on delayed onset muscle soreness. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 37: 72-75.

Pilcher, J & Huffcutt, A. (1996). Effects of sleep deprivation on performance: a meta-analysis. Sleep, 19(4): 318-326.

S. Taylor et al. (1997). Effects of training volume on sleep, psychological, and selected physiological profiles of elite female swimmers. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 29(5):688-693.

About the Author


Yuri Elkaim is a world-renowned fitness, nutrition, and weight loss expert. He is the creator Fitter U and Treadmill Trainer, author of Eating for Energy, and the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for men’s soccer program at the University of Toronto. His trademarked 12-week Fitter U iPod workout program has been helping thousands of people around the world get in shape and lose weight fast without the cost and inconvenience of hiring a trainer. Go to www.myFitterU.com now to get your FREE Fitter U workout and “How to Get Fit and Lose Weight Fast” report!

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Circuit Training Method – Unlimited Benefits!

Circuit Training – Unlimited Benefits!
Yuri Elkaim, BPHE, CK, RHN
www.myFitterU.com

Nowadays, most people don’t have time for lengthy, grueling 2-hour workouts, be it with work and family demands or simply the search of free time. Well, what if there was a way to be in and out of the gym in less than 1 hour and still feel absolutely worked? What if you could combine your cardio and weights so that you wouldn’t have to spend hours on either? Well, I’m going to let you in on a little secret – it’s called Circuit Training – and it is the most effective and time efficient means of exercise for those looking to lose weight and tone.

CIRCUIT TRAINING 101

Circuit Training involves completing several resistance exercises in a continual sequence. For instance, a circuit may be comprised of 8 exercises (push-ups, plank, lunges, etc…) with each one being performed for any length of time (30 sec, 45 sec, etc…) or number of repetitions. Between each exercise is a rest period of a certain length. Note that circuits that have lower rest periods will be more challenging and provide more aerobic benefit. An example of a typical circuit is 8 exercises each 30 seconds in length with 30 seconds to recover between each. This is only one example of 1000s of possible circuit combinations. There are many factors involved in determining the effectiveness of a given circuit including: number and types of exercises, load, tempo, duration of work bout, duration of rest bout. Basically, the more intense you make the circuit, the more challenging, yet effective, it becomes.

AEROBIC BENEFITS

Studies have found that aerobic benefits related to circuit training are mainly determined by the duration of the exercise (work bout) and by the amount and type of rest given between exercises. For instance, a meta-analysis done on circuits showed that a 10-exercise circuit (using weights) using a 30 seconds for both work and recovery, performed 3 times per week over 8-12 weeks improved VO2max (measure of aerobic capacity) by 5%. Compare that to continuous running, cycling or rowing at around 75% of max heart rate for 20-30 minutes, three times a week for 8-12 weeks which boosts V02max by around 20%. Obviously, this 30s work: 30s rest protocol is not optimal for yielding staggering aerobic improvements. However, other studies have shown that by shortening the rest period to 15 seconds or jogging during a 30 second recovery bout improved VO2max by 12% and 18%, respectively.

Further, some research has even shown that Circuit Training can be just as effective at maintaining previous aerobic gains as following a strictly aerobic conditioning regime.

Incorporating more compound movements (several different muscle groups involved) into your circuits will make it more challenging for both your muscles and aerobic system. This is because as you use more muscle mass, more oxygen is required to supply the working muscles. As a result, you begin breather heavier and your heart rate increases to provide the muscles with the oxygen they need. This technique makes circuits much more challenging and effective. As an example, perform lunge walks with a shoulder press, instead of either one separately.

Here is an example of a 7.5-minute aerobic based circuit:

1. Lunge Walks with Biceps Curls- 30 sec

2. Jogging on spot – 1 min

3. Stability Ball Chest Press – 30 sec

4. Jogging on spot – 1 min

5. Plank – 30 sec

6. Jogging on spot – 1 min

7. Back Rows – 30 sec

8. Jogging on spot – 1 min

9. Squat Presses – 30 sec

10. Jogging on spot – 1 min

BODY COMPOSITION CHANGES

Circuit Training has been shown to decrease body fat by 3%. Research also shows that lean body mass is either maintained or increased alongside the decrease in body fat. This is a major benefit for those who want to get in better shape, lose weight, and tone. With traditional aerobic training, a decrease in relative fat mass leads to a decrease in total weight with little change in lean body mass. The resistance work involved in the circuits encourages muscle-mass development, and thus any fat loss is replaced equally by muscle gain. This makes it easier to maintain the lower body fat or reduce body fat even further because the increase in lean body mass pushes up basal metabolic rate and overall calorie expenditure.

It has also been estimated that calorie expenditure during a bout of circuit training is approximately 5 – 6 kcal per minute for women and 8 – 9 kcal per minute for men (this may vary depending on body weight). Thus, if a man were to perform 30 of circuit training he would burn upwards of 180 calories.

OTHER BENEFITS

Because of the duration of each exercise many people claim that strength may be compromised as a result of working at a lower percent of 1RM (maximum weight you can lift once). This is definitely true in most cases and thus, I would not recommend circuit training for those looking to improve strength. However, some studies have shown that circuit training increases muscular strength anywhere from 7% to 32%.1 Achieving such strength gains requires working at a much higher percent of 1RM (>80%) and thus the duration of the work bouts would need to be much lower (<20 sec) in view of sustaining the heavier load.

Circuit Training is also beneficial for the development of the anaerobic system. Anaerobic conditioning occurs when exercising at a higher intensity for upwards of 20 seconds. This is the zone when you begin to feel the burn in the muscles as a result of lactic acid production. As such, your body’s ability to tolerate and buffer elevated lactate levels will be improved, allowing you to sustain higher intensities for a longer period of time.

CONCLUSION

Circuit Training is an excellent means of training the body if you are looking to lose body fat and maintain lean body mass. Depending on the protocol followed you will experience any number of the aforementioned benefits. Overall, it is great if you are short on time and are looking for a short workout that will leave you feeling great and more energetic.

References:

Gettman, L. R., & Pollock, M. L. (1981). Circuit weight training: A critical review of its physiological benefits. The Physician and Sportsmedicine, 9, 44-60.

Mosher et al. (1994). Effects of 12 weeks of aerobic circuit training on aerobic capacity, muscular strength, and body composition in college-aged women. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 8 (3), 144-148.

About the Author

Yuri Elkaim is a world-renowned fitness, nutrition, and weight loss expert. He is the creator Fitter U and Treadmill Trainer, author of Eating for Energy, and the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for men’s soccer program at the University of Toronto. His trademarked 12-week Fitter U iPod workout program has been helping thousands of people around the world get in shape and lose weight fast without the cost and inconvenience of hiring a trainer. Go to www.myFitterU.com now to get your FREE Fitter U workout and “How to Get Fit and Lose Weight Fast” report!

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Playground Routine: 3 Tough Bodyweight Exercises

Did you know that there was a free gym right in your neighborhood? Most community playgrounds are equipped with dipping bars, pullup bars, monkey bars, and benches – all the equipment you need to get a great workout!

Here are 3 tough bodyweight exercises that you can perform at your local park:

Inverted Rows

  • Even if you can do pullups, you should incorporate inverted rows into your routine. Find a low-hanging bar and lay on the ground with your chest underneath it.
  • Grab the bar and place your feet flat on the ground. Once you get stronger, you can keep your feet straight out and balance on your heels.
  • From this position, pull your body towards the bar until your chest touches the bar. At first, you will not be able to go full range of motion.


Squat Jumps

  • Squat jumps should be a staple in your playground routine. Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart.
  • Squat down by pushing your hips back as if sitting on a chair. Keep pushing your hips back until your knees bend naturally.
  • Make sure to keep your abs tight and back straight. Keep your chest out. Do not let your knees go past your toes.
  • If they do, then stop he movement and return to starting position. Try to keep moving your hips back until your thighs are parallel to the ground.
  • From this position, explode up and jump as high as you can. When you land, try and go back into squat position.
  • This is a fast, continuous movement.


Cross-Body Mountain Climber

  • Get into pushup position. Now lift your right leg off the floor. Bend your right knee and bring it towards the left side of your body, towards your left elbow.
  • Make sure to keep your back as straight as possible and abs tight. Move your right knee towards your left elbow as far as it can go, and then return to starting position.
  • Repeat with the other side.

If you’re looking for a complete, done-for-you playground workout, then you need to check out the Shah Training Playground Workout Program. Click here for more information.

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