Fitness for Busy Folk

Monthly Archives: December 2012

Three Ways to Avoid Training Frustration

Image by Chris Wigginton

Training Frustration is when you are unable to reach your goals. This may happen for a number reasons:

  1. You were unable to meet your fat loss goal.
  2. Your training session was not as intense as you’d liked.
  3. You’re stressed out with your life.
  4. Your nutrition was not perfect due to a negative environment.

The reasons are numerous, but when the going gets tough, you need to be reminded of a few principles that will prevent training frustration:

Principle One: Analyze your Weaknesses

Each time you fail, you’re one step closer to succeeding. For example, did you just try two hours of cardio, five days a week? Why was this program a failure for you? Did any part of it work? Did you lose even one pound of fat? Did you gain any weight? What kind of diet did you follow?

Analyze your mistakes and move forward. This is how I discovered quick, intense workouts. I realized that cardio did actually work for me, but it was just that I did not enjoy it very much, and so was never able to stick to a cardio program for more than two weeks at a time. It took a lot of false starts to realize what I was doing wrong, and figure out what I can do different to get results.

Principle Two: Find your Reason

Motivation stems from intention. Find the right reason, and you’ll never lose motivation.

At first I thought my goal was to lose weight. But one day, as I was watching my grandmother struggling to walk up a short flight of stairs, I realized what fitness really meant to me. It meant being as agile and strong at 75 years old, as I was now. All of a sudden, I no longer cared about every single calorie, or how much weight I was lifting, or what the size of my waist was.

Image by ymcapdx

I started looking into mobility. I want to be able MOVE when I’m 75 years old. I began to focus my attention on figuring out which activities, movements, and programs I could perform that would enhance my mobility and athleticism.There was a criteria I used in determining how my program would change:

  1. The program needs to be exciting, so that I’d never get bored
  2. The program needs to be something that I can accomplish even if I have very little time on my hands
  3. I need to able to perform the workouts anywhere, even if I have no equipment
  4. The movements need to be safe and simple

This new found reason to exercise allowed me to develop the type of programs I develop right now. I’m actually able to maintain a lower body fat percentage and weight than before, without any sort of insane caloric restriction diets.

Principle Three: Challenge Yourself

Once you’ve found the right program and right motivation, it’s time move forward with it. The idea is to consistently push yourself to new levels.

Functional fitness revolves around being able to move in daily life. Dead lifting 200+lbs and being able to do 50 push ups in a row really goes beyond the necessities of daily fitness.

So then why do we do it?

We do it to push ourselves. Remember the first criteria: “The program need to be exciting.”

Challenge = excitement.

Think about it. When are you most bored? When you’re doing the same thing over and over again, and when the activity you perform becomes too easy. Find a way to challenge yourself, and you’ll not only make progress with your program, you’ll have fun with it!


Think about these principles the next time you face training frustration.
What are you doing wrong and how can you fix it? Are you training for the right reason? Are you challenging yourself?.

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Is your Fitness Program Prepared for Violence?

Image by ACU armadillo combat unit

The recent attacks in Mumbai really made me wonder if I am prepared to face such a situation. What would I do if I were in that hotel? What would I do if I were held at gunpoint?My spiritual background preaches Ahimsa, or Non-Violence. But there are two questions that’s pop up into my mind: 1) How can you be non-violent in a violent world, and 2) are you prepared for violence?

How Can You be Non-Violent in a Violent World?

Violence is the exertion of force so as to injure or abuse. There needs to be a motive for harm. If the injury that you inflict is caused by shear anger, then I would call that a pure violent act. However, if the injury that you inflict is caused by a motive for self-defense, then I would no consider it pure violent act. This is simply my opinion and do not agree with complete and utter non-violence.

If my family or any other human being is around me, I will attempt to protect them. If there is something that I can do, I will do it.

Are you Prepared for Violence?

When you have a trained killer ready to blow your brains out, the only thing you should be looking for is a way to escape. Most of the time, if you do nothing but sit silently, you’ll be just fine. But it’s the psychological games inside your head that are really going to hurt you.

As I was watching the Mumbai story unfold on CNN, I kept thinking about how I would react. Would I start screaming out in panic? Would I just sit there and worry? Would I sit there, stay calm, and try to find the best solution possible?

Image by clarity25

I’m hoping I’d choose option three, but the truth is that you never really know. Lets assume I choose option three. The goal isn’t really to fight off these terrorists, the goal is to run. Perhaps I’d need to jump over some thing, dart past other things, lifts things in my way, etc. etc. etc.

In such a situation, a variety of fitness qualities are needed: running, jumping, lifting, darting. Do you see any need for big arms or the ability to jog 24 miles at a time? I don’t. I’m not really sure what you guys are thinking, but here’s what I see as very valuable methods of preparing yourself for such a worst-case scenario:

  • Running Sprints
  • Jumping Drills/Plyometrics
  • Lifting things Overhead
  • Lifting things off the ground


Image by matt.hintsa

Is your Fitness Program Up to Speed?

I’m not going to sit here and say that I can train a military to combat terrorism. I can’t, nor do I wish to. But what I am saying is that the average person needs to be in better shape to handle these situations. They can occur at any time and at any place.

You really can’t be absolutely prepared for violence, however you can be better prepared for violence. There is no SWAT team or Military unit out there that is absolutely prepared for a situation, however their training better prepares them for a situation.

I’m not telling you to be paranoid here, I’m just trying to make your realize how important it is for you to be able to do simple things, such as (let me repeat) sprint, jump, and lift. And (let me repeat), the average person is unable to do such things.

I was watching a show on the History Channel called “Shoot Out.” They were talking about a hostage situation where the gunman had a shotgun pointing at and taped to a guy’s back. The gunmen and the hostage were outside, with SWAT surrounding them, and the gunman was doing a countdown. He stated that when he said “0” he would shoot the hostage.

As the countdown progressed towards 0, the SWAT guys came closer and closer, but not one of them did anything. Finally, the hostage decided to save his own life and lashed out at the gunman, when the gunman came to the number “2.” The gunman and the hostage wrestled with each other until finally a sniper was able to take down the gunman.

The more stories I hear, and the more news I watch I’m convinced that the only person that can save you is yourself. But are you prepared?

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How to Train for Strength

Dave Tate

Dave Tate. Photo by Elite Fitness Systems.

Most trainees believe that training for muscle mass is the same as training for strength. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. There is some correlation between the two. If you train for strength, you will put on a little bit of muscle mass, and if you train for mass, you’re likely to gain some strength. But this only occurs when a “training crossover” takes place. More about this later. Read more.

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How to Put on Muscle Fast

To put on muscle fast, you need to stick to the basics. You only need one or two basic movements per bodypart. The less movements you can do to get the job done, the better.

Setting Up a Program

Choosing a Training Split

Choose a training schedule based upon your training schedule. A typical schedule involves training 3 days a week on a Monday/Wednesday/Friday schedule. A training schedule should also take into account how quickly you recover from a workout. If you are following a full-body split, then it may take you to two to three days to recover from your workout. However, if you are training half your body one day, and the other half on the next day, you can work out more frequently.

 

Choosing the Exercises:

Choose 4 to 6 exercises to focus on, then split them according to your training split.

Core Exercises:

Deadlift

BackSquat

BenchPress

Bent-overRow

Pull-ups

MilitaryPress

Full-body Routine

Full body routines can also help you put on muscle fast. For full-body routines, you do not need to perform all 6 exercises in one routine. Split the workouts up amongst 2 workouts in this way:

Workout A:

Deadlift

BenchPress

Pull-ups

Workout B:

BackSquat

Bent-overRows

MilitaryPress

Push/Pull

Push exercises are all exercises that involve you to push a weight away from your body:

BackSquat

BenchPress

MilitaryPress

Pull exercises are all exercises that involve you to pull a weight towards your body:

Deadlift

Bent-overRow

Pull-ups

Push/Pull/Legs

A push/pull/legs split is yet another great way to put on muscle fast. For this split, you would simply take the two lower body exercises out and give them there own day.

Sets/ Reps

To build muscle, keep your set/rep volume between 36-50total reps. For example, performing 6 sets of 6 repetitions is a total of 36repetitions for that particular exercise.

Start off with lifting 70-80% of your one repetitionmaximum. Gradually increase the weight as the weeks go by.

Rest 60 –120 second between each set.

Supplementation

I personally do not like to take supplements. Supplements are “supplements” to your diet and training. Only take supplements when and if you have your diet and training in order.

If you want to really put on Muscle Fast then I recommend grabbing his bulking guide, where Vince Delmonte shares with you the exact diet that helped him pack on 7 lbs in 21 days!

Grab the free guide below by entering your name and email address:

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Make your Quick Workout even Quicker by Timing your Workouts

Image by A river runs through The best way to make a workout even quicker is to time it, then set a goal to improve upon it. For example, if a workout takes you 8:23.19, then you can set a goal to complete the workout in under 7 minutes.

  • I have found that I had to work incredibly hard, just for a three or four second improvement. Keep working on this workout one a week until you reach your goal.

Here is a sample workout I have done in the past:

5 rounds of:
10 16kg Kettlebell Snatch, each Side
10 Double UndersMy best time was 8:43.49. See if you can beat it.

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Silence for Intense Workouts

Silence

Silence. Photo by HaMeD!caL.

There is a moment right between my warm-up, and workout. Sometimes it is brief, perhaps lasting a few seconds, but other times it is long, lasting almost ten minutes. It is a moment of silence. Of reflection. The quiet before a storm. The soothing nature of the wind, steadily picking up the dead leaves off the tree and dropping them gently on the ground before the final gust of wind begins the season of autumn. Read more.If you enjoyed this article, then please subscribe to Shah Training for free. Click here for more info.

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Lose Fat with Supersets and Trisets!

“But I don’t have Time to Exericise!” – Image by higekuma

The single biggest excuse people state for not exercising is a lack of time. This is due to the belief that you must train for 90 minutes a day at an expensive gym, or purchase some expensive equipment or a set of DVD’s in order to get into great shape. That’s not true.

How to Get Exercise Done Faster

The key to getting exercise done quickly is to improve your workout density. The concept of density training is very simple: perform more work in a given time frame, or perform a given amount of work faster than you’ve done it before. Of course the “work” we’re talking about here is exercise.

The Benefits

The greatest benefit of density training is that you are able to complete your workout in a shorter period of time. This is extremely helpful for busy professionals who have no more than an hour per week to train.

Another advantage of density training is that it allows you to lose fat and build muscle with relatively light to moderate weights. The point is to condense more work within a given period of time, thus increasing the intensity and overload without having to increase the weight.


Image by alizinha/CrossfitNYC
For example, say that you squat 200lbs for 10 reps, resting 2 minutes per set. Drop the rest period down to 90 seconds and perform the workout. The weight will feel harder because your body is more fatigued. Your body really doesn’t know how much weight it’s lifting. Your body only knows that there’s something there that it can’t lift because it’s tired, and the only way for it move that object is to get bigger and stronger.

The Program

Two methods of improving your density are supersets and trisets. Supersets are simply two exercises performed back to back without rest. They have also been called couplets and compound sets. Trisets are three exercises performed back to back without rest, and are also known as triplets.

So lets put this theory into practice. Suppose you had one hour to exercise in the entire week. Lets split that one hour per week into four sessions per week. This means that each session can not last more than 15 minutes. Here is a training program using supersets and trisets:

Monday/Thursday:

Perform as Superset:
Hindu Pushups 3×10
Bodyweight Squats 3×20

Perform as Triset:
Kettlebell Swings 2×10
Kettlebell Front Squat 2×10
Push Press 2×10


Tuesday/Friday:

Perform as Superset:
Burpees 3×10
Pullups 3×5

Perform as Triset:
Kettlebell Push Press 2×10
Kettlebell Windmill 2×10
Sumo Deadlift High Pull 2×10

For some more great high intensity workouts and techniques, check out the following programs:

  • Gladiator Body Workout (Combination Bodyweight and Dumbbell Program)
  • Workout Without Weights (Bodyweight-Only Manual featuring Unique Intensity Techniques)
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How to Design an Effective Quick Workout

Image by Somewhat Frank

I spend a lot of time on this website talking about quick workouts. It’s time to give you guys a primer on how to design such a workout:

Step One: How long will the workout last?

  • Determine how long you want the workout to last and make that your time period or TP. You can choose a TP of 20 minutes, 10 minutes, or even 5 minutes. But be careful. The shorter the TP, the more intense the workout will be.

Step Two: Choose your Exercises

  • Use the following video to decide which exercises you wish to use.


Step Three: Organize your Exercises

  • Use the following table to determine how many repetitions you should perform per workout:

Table 1:

Goal

Rep Range

Mass Gain
8-12 reps
General Fitness
8-20 reps
Strength
1-8 reps
Fat Loss
12-20 reps
Athletic Fitness
12-20 reps

Step Four: Put it all together

Here is a sample 10 minute workout with the goal of General Fitness:

Maximum rounds in 10 minutes of:

Pullups 8 reps
Pushups 14 reps
Bodyweight Squat 20 Reps

Wait a sec, how did you come up with that workout?

The truth is, there is a certain amount of creativity and experience involved in designing quick workouts. What I did in the above workout was put together a triset, or three exercises back to back without rest.

  • The goal is to perform as many rounds, or sets of the workout as possible in 10 minutes, without rest. If your goal was to increase strength, then you would still use a 10 minute time frame (or any other time frame, depending on your schedule).
  • The exercises you choose will need to be difficult. Remember, for strength you need to be working in the 1-8 rep range. It is suggested you use some for of exterior resistance if you are unable to or do not wish to perform more difficult bodyweight exercises.
  • It is also suggested that you take some rest, at least 60 seconds, between each set.


BONUS TIP:

Forget the Cardio

Most trainees spend too much time on distance or steady state cardio, especially while trying to lose fat. Cardio is just one tool in the battle against fat, but not a necessary one. If you replace your hour-long cardio sessions with short 10-15 minutes of intense exercise, you will save an enormous amount of time and may even achieve better and faster results. Here are some articles for more info on this topic:

If you enjoyed this article, then please subscribe to Shah Training for free. Click here for more info.

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The Zombie Apocalypse Survival Workout

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I recently came across a great bodyweight training resource called The Zombie Apocalypse Survival Workout. This amazing program, developed by Rog Law and John Romaniello, features an intense 4-Phase Training Program that sculpts your body and gets you ready for anything…even a Zombie Apocalypse!

Is The Zombie Apocalypse Workout REALLY Worth Spending $47?

Before I purchased my copy, I thought of the same thing. $47 is a lot of money, especially for a 26 year old with no steady income. But, after purchasing Zombie Apocalypse Workout, I’m glad I made the purchase. In fact, I would happily pay 3 or 4 times as much. Here’s why:

The biggest problem with traditional bodyweight programs is that they lack intensity. The Zombie Apocalypse Workout is the kind of program you would put an action star through. You’ll improve all aspects of fitness – from conditioning and endurance to strength and agility…all while losing fat and building lean muscle mass!

The Zombie Apocalypse workout is a program which will sculpt you into a hardcore badass in 12 weeks. You’ll literally go from zero to hero in a short, 3-month period. And the best part about this routine is that all the exercises are bodyweight-only!

There’s also a lot to learn from the eBook that John and Rog have put together, including:

  • Why most cardio actually SLOWS down your metabolism
  • Why adding a “priming phase” to your workouts increases the fat burning potential of all your workouts
  • The WRONG way to do circuit training
  • How to get visible abs in 8 weeks or less
  • The “burst” rule of cardio

The four phases of the Zombie Apocalypse Workout are as follows:

Phase 1 – Zombie Survival 101 – Conditioning

Cardio is your best friend. The potential for human endurance is impeccable. But you must develop that endurance. This is where phase 1 comes into place. Phase one will help make sure that you are always in better shape than the guy next to you (and the zombie chasing you).

Phase 2 – Zombie Escape Strength – Relative Strength

Strength is important. Strength helps you run faster, climb fences, and fight competition that’s trying to get your food. This is the phase that helps you develop total body strength, and build the type of raw power that establishes you as a force to be reckoned with.

Phase 3 – Zombie Skull Crushing – Absolute Strength

Now it’s time to take things to the next level. Unleash that animal inside of you, and make sure that no one messes with you. Not only will this phase get you EVEN stronger, but it’s going to give you a scary level of confidence that others can literally “smell” off of you.

Phase 4 – Ultimate Zombie Domination – Overall Fitness

By this phase your strength and conditioning is going to be IMPECCABLE. Now it’s time to finish off the program with a BANG. This is where you really turn into a superhero…or should I say superhuman hero?

The Zombie Apocalypse Program is an advanced bodyweight program that’s gonna get your JACKED, LEAN and Cut!

Click Here to Grab your Copy Today!

Remember, the longer you wait, the longer it will take for you to achieve your goals.

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12-Week Advanced Strength Program – Month Two (With Free Printable Workout Logs)

Image by d_vdm

Last Month, I presented the first month of the 12-week Advanced Strength Program. This month, the first change we will be making is in the movements. The Front Squat will be replaced with the Back Squat, and the Bent Over Row will be replaced with the Bench Press. There will also be a bit of rearranging of exercises.

  • The Deadlift will move to Workout A along with the Back Squat and Bench Press
  • The Push Press will move into Workout B along with the Overhead Squat and Power Clean

The purpose of these movement is to:

  1. Train different parts of your body
  2. Provide a slightly different stimulus, but not enough to completely confuse and shock your body (the goal is gradual, but consistent progress).

Just as last month, you will be steadily dropping reps and increasing the sets as the weights become heavier. But the shock factor will come on week eight when you drop your rest periods to 45 seconds. If you have been following the workout for 7 weeks straight using 60 seconds rest periods, then you should have built up enough conditioning to train with 45 seconds rest periods.

NOTE: Pay careful attention to what it does to your strength levels in the present, and in the future.

Here is the full program in detail:

Workout A:

  • Back Squat
  • Bench Press
  • Deadlift

Workout B:

  • Push Press
  • Overhead Squat
  • Power Clean

Week Five

Sets: 6
Reps: 4
Rest: 60 seconds

Week Six

Sets: 7
Reps: 4
Rest: 60 seconds

Week Seven

Sets: 7
Reps: 3
Rest: 60 seconds

Week Eight

Sets: 7
Reps: 3
Rest: 45 seconds

Download the free printable workout logs here.

If you enjoy this program, please subscribe to Shah Training for free. Click here for more info.

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