Fitness for Busy Folk

Author Archive: Parth

The Best Trapezius Exercises You Have Ever Done

If you want to look like a superhero when your arms are covered, you need to work your trapezius, or traps for short. Big traps also give you a very convenient shelf on which you can rest the bar when doing squats; you won’t need one of those novice bar pads if you build bigger traps.

Your traps make up a large part of your upper back and consist three areas which, while they work together, also have distinct functions all of their own.

The Upper Traps, often called the yoke, rises up from your shoulders to the base of your skull. Its main job is elevation of the shoulder girdle which means shrugging your shoulders upward in a movement called elevation. Because of this, the most common way to pump up the upper traps is with barbell or dumbbell shrugs but, as you’ll see later, there are other exercises that you can do that will get the job done.

The Middle Traps work with your rhomboids and is located on and between your shoulder blades. The middle traps are responsible for drawing your shoulders back and together – a movement called retraction. This is an important movement for thickening your upper back and maintaining good posture.

The Lower Traps are located on and below your shoulder blades and are responsible for shrugging your shoulders downward in a movement called depression. Keeping your shoulders down means you will have greater shoulder stability, which will carry over to having better shoulder health and performance.

So, now you know a little more about the anatomy and function of your traps, it’s time to add some meat to this all important muscle group!

When to work your traps?

There are two main schools of thought when it comes to trap workouts – do them as part of your shoulder workout or do them when you train your lats. Both options can work well, so really it’s just a matter of trying both and seeing which works for you. Of course, if you are serious about bulking up your yoke, you could train them on a separate day so you can prioritize them.

Sets and Reps

While six to twelve is the most commonly prescribed rep range for muscle building, lower and higher reps can work too. To avoid a muscle-building plateau, try using a variety of rep ranges in your training e.g. do low reps/heavy weights for four weeks, moderate reps/weights for four weeks and then high reps/low weight for four weeks.

Warm-Up

Before you get into your workout proper, make sure your muscles and joints are properly prepared by doing some light cardio, joint mobility and dynamic flexibility exercises. Round off your warm up with one or two light sets of the exercises you are about to do.

The Trap-Building Workout

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Exercise Descriptions

Barbell Cuban Press to Overhead Shrug

Method: Hold a barbell with an overhand, slightly wider-than shoulder-width grip. Bend your arms and pull the bar up the front of your body to your sternum. Keep your elbows high. Rotate your arms and bring the bar to your forehead. Press the bar up and overhead to full arm extension. Then, keeping your arms straight, shrug your shoulders up as high as you can. Reverse the movement to lower the bar and repeat.
Variations: This exercise can also be performed using dumbbells or even a low cable.

Bench Shrugs

Method: Sit on the edge of a bench with your hands either side of your hips, fingers pointing forward. Extend your legs in front of you. Swing your hips forward so your butt is clear of the bench. Keeping your arms straight, shrug your shoulders and let your body sink down. Push yourself back up again. This is essentially a reverse shrug.
Variations: Bend your legs to make this exercise easier or, for a more demanding workout, do the exercise using parallel bars instead of a bench so you have to lift your entire bodyweight.

Band Pull Apart

Method: Hold and raise a resistance band at shoulder-height with your arms extended out in front of you. Shrug your shoulders back, open your arms and stretch the band out across your chest. Return to the starting position and repeat. This is an excellent postural exercise which is especially good for us desk warriors!
Variations: This exercise can also be performed leaning forward – like a bent over row.

Barbell High Pulls

Method: Think of this exercise as a power version of the upright row. Hold a barbell with an overhand, slightly wider than shoulder-width grip. Bend your knees slightly, hinge forward from the hips and lower the bar to knee-height. Do not round your lower back. Drive your hips forward, extend your legs and use this momentum to help you pull the bar up the front of your body to around chest-height. Make sure your elbows are higher than your hands and shrug your shoulders upward at the top of the movement. Lower the bar and repeat.
Variations: This exercise can also be performed using dumbbells or kettlebells which will allow you to work one arm at a time. Single arm high pulls are often called “lawnmowers” because you’ll look like you are trying to pull-start one.

Bat Wings

Method: Lie facedown on a bench with a dumbbell or kettlebell in each hand. Row the weights up and into your armpits and hold them there for as long as you can. Keep your elbows tucked in, your wrists straight and your shoulder blades squeezed back and together for the duration of your set but do not hold your breath.
Variations: This exercise can also be performed using a barbell.

The trapezius might not be as glamourous of a muscle as the pecs or biceps but you can always spot a serious strength trainer by the size and thickness of his traps. Prioritize trap training for a few months and you too will develop that look of power and strength.

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Burpees Mass: Is it Possible?

burpees mass

Burpees are one of the cornerstones of bodyweight training. Taking little space and no equipment, they can be performed just about anywhere and can be modified so that they provide an appropriate challenge for beginner, intermediates and advanced exercisers alike. There is no doubting their effectiveness but are they suitable for building muscle mass? Good question! Before we get into that discussion, let’s revisit the burpee so that everyone knows how to do one properly…

Proper Burpee Performance

  1. Stand with your feet together and your hands by your sides
  2. Squat down and place your hands flat on the floor either side of your feet. Make sure you drop your hips down below shoulder-height
  3. Jump your legs back and into the push-up position. Your feet, knees, hips and shoulders should form a perfectly straight line
  4. Bend your arms and lower your chest to lightly touch the floor
  5. Extend your arms and push back up
  6. Jump your feet back up to your hands. Keep your hips down and try not to round your lower back too much
  7. Leap up and into the air
  8. Land on slightly bent knees and repeat

You can make burpees less demanding by omitting the push-up and/or jump. With practice, you should be able to merge some of the phases together i.e. lower yourself down into the push-up while simultaneously jumping your legs to the rear.

Burpee Variations Include…

  • Travelling burpees – jump for distance instead of height
  • Double push-up burpees – two push-ups instead of one
  • Lateral jump burpees – jump sideways over a low hurdle
  • 180 degree burpees – do a half turn jump
  • Single-limb burpees – do a single arm push-up or squat

Burpee Benefits and Drawbacks

Burpees work virtually every muscle in your body, which means they are a very efficient way to get your workout. Your body has to work in a coordinated way, which make burpees a very athletic movement. The inclusion of a jump means that your legs get a great workout and may improve your general jumping ability and working so many muscles simultaneously means that your heart and breathing rate will rocket, delivering a terrific cardiovascular workouts while burning a lots of calories.

But, do all of these benefits add up to a great muscle building exercise? Sadly, they do not. While burpees will improve your muscular endurance, help you burn fat and develop a high level of fitness, they are not a good way to develop serious muscle mass – a process properly called hypertrophy.

There are a couple of reasons why burpees are not effective muscle builders…

  • Too Little Overload – there is no denying that burpees are hard but their demand comes from the cumulative volume of movement rather than the direct overload placed on your muscles. To make your muscles bigger, they need to be exposed to a significant overload – usually in the form of a heavy weight. Insufficient overload means to stimulus for muscle growth.
  • No Sustained Muscle Tension – when you do burpees, your muscles are only under load for a very short time – even if you do a lot of reps. Each push-up is punctuated with a period where the legs are doing all the work and each squat and squat jump is punctuated with a period where the upper body is more dominant. Sustained tension is an essential part of building muscle and most experts agree that muscles need to be under tension for 40 to 60 seconds for best hypertrophy results.

Better Mass Building Exercises

Let me reiterate; burpees are brilliant but they are a conditioning exercise rather than a serious mass builder. If you want to build mass using bodyweight exercises, there are better choices than burpees. The following exercises, for example, will expose your muscles to sufficient overload and sustained time under tension – the prerequisites for muscle growth.

Push-Ups – targeting your chest, triceps and shoulders, push-ups are the bodyweight equivalent of that champion barbell exercise, the bench press. Elevate your feet or strap on a weighted vest to make this exercise more demanding or, for the hard-core exerciser, perform one-handed or even handstand push-ups.

Squats – squats are the king of exercises but bodyweight squats do not generally provide enough overload to trigger muscle hypertrophy. Remedy this by wearing a weighted vest or backpack, holding a heavy object to your chest or even doing them with your training partner on your back. Advanced exercisers can really crank up the intensity by performing one-legged squats, which are sometimes called pistols.

Pull-Ups – targeting your lats and biceps, pull-ups are an excellent mass building exercise. Perform them in a variety of ways to maximize muscle growth i.e. overhand, underhand, with a narrow grip, wide grip or neutral grip.

Body Rows – body rows also work your lats but horizontally rather than vertically which means they replicate exercises like barbell bent over rows, seated cable machine rows and dumbbell single-arm rows. Easier than pull-ups, body rows are a viable alternative if you are unable to lift your bodyweight using just your arms.

Lunges – bridging the gap between regular and single-leg squats, lunges place an emphasis on one leg at a time and are a great way to work your butt as well as your quads and hamstrings. Use a slow and deliberate tempo to maximize the muscle building potential of this exercise and add some extra weight by holding a heavy object in your hands.

Dips – targeting the chest, shoulders and triceps, dips are a great mass building exercise. Leaning forward into the dip will emphasize your chest while a more upright position emphasizes your triceps. Hold a weight between your knees, tie a weight around your waist, and wear a weighted vest or a backpack to make this exercise more demanding. Parallel bar dips are generally more effective than bench dips.

If you are serious about building mass, you need to choose exercises that overload specific target muscles rather than work your whole body simultaneously. You only have to compare the muscular development of a top class bodybuilder to a top class Olympic lifter to see how true this is. By all means include some burpees in your workout but use them as a conditioning finisher after you have completed your mass building exercises.

Patrick Dale is an ex-Royal Marine and owner and lecturer for fitness qualifications company Solar Fitness Qualifications Ltd. In addition to training prospective personal trainers, Patrick has also authored three fitness and exercise books, dozens of e-books, thousands of articles and several Internet fitness videos. Patrick practices what he preaches and has competed at a high level in several sports including rugby, triathlon, rock climbing, diving and trampolining and, most recently, powerlifting. He is also an active personal trainer with a wide number of clients ranging from athletes to average Joes and Joanne’s. When not lecturing, training, researching or writing, Patrick is busy enjoying the sunny climate of Cyprus where he has lived for the last 12-years.

 

 

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Your Step-By-Step Plan to Embrace Pain

HOPE

HOPE

Life is not about surviving, it’s about thriving. The large majority of people are too afraid to step out into the world in the fear of getting hurt, mocked, or disappointed. This is no way to live.

What does this have to do with fitness? EVERYTHING! The reason why so many people walk around unhealthy is because they have allowed their fear to create a life of comfort. Exercise is all about pain. If you can’t embrace pain, then you won’t be successful in the gym.

You might workout. You might go to cardio classes. You might be dieting. But how much of that is within your comfort zone? How much of that is true, actual PAIN? You’ve heard the quote: Pain is weakness leaving the body. So if you’re not going through the pain, then what you’re doing is staying weak.

Many believe that if you feel pain, then it means that you’re weak. The truth is that if you avoid pain, you’re weak. You are so fearful that the slightest bit of something uncomfortable is going to make you turn the opposite way. The prize could be on the other side of the door, but you won’t open the door, simply because of the fact that it’s too painful to experience the unknown.

At the gym I see people taking it easy. They’re just sitting there, pretending, believing, and thinking that they’re working hard. But what they’re really doing is taking it easy. If you haven’t at least attempted to lift more, push harder, and train at a higher intensity level than the week before, then you’re just wasting your time. You might as well go home and eat cheetos.

Look, there are things that are completely out of our hands, I get that. Sometimes you can do everything right, and still come short of your goal. I get that. And that disappointment is hard to deal with. But you have to remember your ultimate goal: a better future, better body, healthier attitude and an improved lifestyle.

Here is what I have to say to those people that are “stuck.” If you’ve been slaving away at your workouts for quite some time now, and are still not experiencing the results that you desire, then perhaps the problem isn’t the workout. Perhaps the real problem is in your attitude. You’re taking it too easy on yourself. You’ve become comfortable with being comfortable.

You need to try something new. And if you make a mistake, you’ll learn from it and get stronger. If you become disappointed, you’ll re-adjust and try again.

And if you’ve tried to follow all the rules of dieting, and worked out hard but still fell short of your goal, then I want you to change the way you think about that situation. Instead of getting down on yourself, think about it this way: the mistakes you made, the time you lose, and the money you spend – all of that is tuition for what you didn’t know. Most of us are willing to spend time and money to go to a university to learn something that may or may not help us in life, but we don’t see life as the ultimate university?

So the moment starts now to not be afraid of pain. Here is your step by step plan to making this happen:

#1 – Acknowledge the fact that you need to push yourself harder.

#2 – Write down your current workout.

#3 – Take 50% of your workouts, and replace them with something you don’t like doing. For example, if you love bodyweight circuits, but hate treadmill sprints, and you train 4 days per week, then do 2 bodyweight circuits per week, and 2 treadmill sprints.

#4 – Take the remaining 50% and set a goal you’ve never attempted before. So, lets say you normally do 3 rounds of 10 pushups, 5 pullups, and 20 squats. Take this workout and try to do 6 rounds of 15 pushups, 10 pullups, and 30 squats. Don’t give up until the workout is complete Go above and beyond, just one time to see if you can do it.

 

Keep working hard,

 

  • Parth


P.S. Have you been feeling lately that you haven’t been pushing yourself hard enough? What’s your attack plan to fix this?

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Your Step-By-Step Plan to More Fat Loss

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Life is not about surviving, it’s about thriving. The large majority of people are too afraid to step out into the world in the fear of getting hurt, mocked, or disappointed. This is no way to live. 

What does this have to do with fitness? EVERYTHING! The reason why so many people walk around unhealthy is because they have allowed their fear to create a life of comfort. Exercise is all about pain. If you can’t embrace pain, then you won’t be successful in the gym.

You might workout. You might go to cardio classes. You might be dieting. But how much of that is within your comfort zone? How much of that is true, actual PAIN? You’ve heard the quote: Pain is weakness leaving the body. So if you’re not going through the pain, then what you’re doing is staying weak.

Many believe that if you feel pain, then it means that you’re weak. The truth is that if you avoid pain, you’re weak. You are so fearful that the slightest bit of something uncomfortable is going to make you turn the opposite way. The prize could be on the other side of the door, but you won’t open the door, simply because of the fact that it’s too painful to experience the unknown.

At the gym I see people taking it easy. They’re just sitting there, pretending, believing, and thinking that they’re working hard. But what they’re really doing is taking it easy. If you haven’t at least attempted to lift more, push harder, and train at a higher intensity level than the week before, then you’re just wasting your time. You might as well go home and eat cheetos.

Look, there are things that are completely out of our hands, I get that. Sometimes you can do everything right, and still come short of your goal. I get that. And that disappointment is hard to deal with. But you have to remember your ultimate goal: a better future, better body, healthier attitude and an improved lifestyle.

Here is what I have to say to those people that are “stuck.” If you’ve been slaving away at your workouts for quite some time now, and are still not experiencing the results that you desire, then perhaps the problem isn’t the workout. Perhaps the real problem is in your attitude. You’re taking it too easy on yourself. You’ve become comfortable with being comfortable.

You need to try something new. And if you make a mistake, you’ll learn from it and get stronger. If you become disappointed, you’ll re-adjust and try again.

And if you’ve tried to follow all the rules of dieting, and worked out hard but still fell short of your goal, then I want you to change the way you think about that situation. Instead of getting down on yourself, think about it this way: the mistakes you made, the time you lose, and the money you spend – all of that is tuition for what you didn’t know. Most of us are willing to spend time and money to go to a university to learn something that may or may not help us in life, but we don’t see life as the ultimate university?

So the moment starts now to not be afraid of pain. Here is your step by step plan to making this happen:

#1 – Acknowledge the fact that you need to push yourself harder.

#2 – Write down your current workout.

#3 – Take 50% of your workouts, and replace them with something you don’t like doing. For example, if you love bodyweight circuits, but hate treadmill sprints, and you train 4 days per week, then do 2 bodyweight circuits per week, and 2 treadmill sprints.

#4 – Take the remaining 50% and set a goal you’ve never attempted before. So, lets say you normally do 3 rounds of 10 pushups, 5 pullups, and 20 squats. Take this workout and try to do 6 rounds of 15 pushups, 10 pullups, and 30 squats. Don’t give up until the workout is complete Go above and beyond, just one time to see if you can do it.

Keep working hard,

– Parth

P.S. Have you been feeling lately that you haven’t been pushing yourself hard enough? What’s your attack plan to fix this?

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Truth About Pushups

girl-push-up

Pushups Take you Far

It’s uncanny how many pushups I still do.

Not a lot.

I thought it would be something I would leave behind as a beginner.

But as I learned more and more about exercise, I realize you can take any exercise and make it harder.

You can make it last for ever.

But the pushup is different.

Even the basic pushups is hard.

No matter how advanced you’ll get.

No matter how much weight you can lift.

There’s something about the pushup that just keeps kicking your butt.

Men-Pushups

There are many types of pushups

Many types.

Here are just some variations I’ve written about in the past:

Pushups are not all  you need

There are many people out there that will tell you “pushups are all you need.” This is not true. You should pair pushups with other movements so that you train your full body. Ideally, you should include the following types of movements in your fitness routine:

Pushups are Cardio

Pushups get your heart rate up, making them effective for fat loss. Unless you’re a complete beginner, pushups alone won’t get you the results you desire. Combine them with other movements to form a circuit workout.

Here is a great circuit workout including the pushup: Fat Loss is a Battle Workout #3

Pushups Build Muscle

Muscle building is all about overload. This means as you get stronger, you must challenge yourself with heavier weights. You are lifting approximately 70 – 75% of your total bodyweight when doing a pushup. So if you weight 185lbs, you could be lifting 130 – 140lbs per repetition. So as you gain weight, the more muscle you will be lifting.

However, your body doesn’t really know how much weight it is lifting. Therefore, you can still pack on muscle with bodyweight movements by making your workouts more challenging using the variations discussed earlier along with these advanced muscle building techniques.

The simple, “Do More Pushups” workout

So, in conclusion, to get the most out of pushups, simply do more pushups.

Of course, do not neglect the library of other bodyweight movements you can do help achieve your fitness goals. One great trainer I always recommend is Craig Ballantyne. You can read my bodyweight interview with him here. In addition, check out his deluxe bodyweight workouts for programs that will challenge you, get you stronger, and leaner.

Click here for Deluxe Bodyweight Workouts!

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The #1 Lie You Tell Yourself

Stop Lying to Yourself

Happy New Year everyone!

If you have been reflecting on the past year, and find yourself unhappy with the results you achieved in 2014, then there is one thing that is absolutely true: you don’t need another training routine.

Another book. Another workout. Another diet plan. Another piece of equipment. Another….another….Because let’s be honest, it is not gonna work for you. What you need to do is work on your thinking. There is most likely something mentally holding you back from achieving your goals.

 

Stop Lying to Yourself

Trainer Mike Whitfield would eat a bag of chips on his way home from work all the while thinking about what he wanted to eat for dinner. He would then warm up a frozen pizza, eat the entire pie, and finish the night off with a bowl of ice cream.

Mike kept lying to himself, saying that he needed to eat that bag of chips to relieve stress from work, and that he was too fat to exercise. His weight escalated up to 300 pounds before it hurt him enough to do something about it.

How many times have you told yourself that you need to do this, or need to do that, knowing that the habit was unhealthy? What kind of lies are you telling yourself that are holding you back from achieving your fitness goals?

One of the lies that Lolly Daskal addresses in her article The 9 Most Damaging Lies We Tell Ourselves Daily, is “I don’t have a choice.” Just as Mike Whitfield kept telling himself that he had no choice, no other way to relieve his stress from work, we constantly tell ourselves that we have no choice, and there is no other way.

We create stories in our minds. These stories we tell ourselves shape how we perceive ourselves, and the world around us.

The bad news is that often times the realities we create for ourselves are not based on what is actually true. The good news is that since our mind has so much control over our perceptions, we can change our realities and create a new story for ourselves!

Approach to 2015

Turn Your Fear into a Challenge

Humans respond to challenges. During the early years of our existence, we had to compete to survive. Every day was a challenge. We are no longer in survival mode, but our competitive nature is still a part of us. This is why when we’re in a competitive environment, we’re able to achieve more than we ever thought possible.

We often create these stories around things we fear. For example, Mike Whitfield could have easily dealt with his stress by working out. Instead, the story he told himself was that he couldn’t do it, and there was no choice for him. But you do have a choice. You can choose to make the decision to change.

One technique I’m using for my goals in 2015 is to turn my fears into challenges. By structuring your goals into both small and large challenges, you’re going to light a fire inside of yourself.

Both world-class athletes and movie stars take advantage of this competitive nature to achieve incredible levels of fitness. When there is a competition date set, you have no choice but to train hard.

See, if you’re going to make the excuse of having “no choice”, then you need to put yourself in a situation where you actually HAVE no choice but the healthy option. Because if you signed up for a triathlon, sitting there eating chips and ice cream will not get you anywhere.

 

Your Approach to 2015

So this coming year, instead of telling yourself “I have no choice” say to yourself, “I challenge myself to go to the gym twice a week” or “I challenge myself to do 20 pushups per day for the next week.”

Here are a few more ideas you can use to turn your fears into challenges, and create an environment where you have no choice BUT the healthy option:

#1 – Enter a Competition

It can be a fitness competition, a racing event, a strongman-style or obstacle course event. Do something that will get you in front of people, creating a situation where there is no turning back. You have to compete or you won’t get back your entry fee, and you will also embarrass yourself in front of all those strangers.

#2 – Friendly Competition

Compete with a close friend or group of friends. This can be lifting competitions, races or even weight-loss challenges. One reason why it was much easier for me to stay in shape before I began to work in a 9-5 office environment, was because I was training with my buddies in my backyard. We pushed ourselves and built a sense of camaraderie.

#3 – Do What you Believe is Impossible

To set up my goals for 2015, I asked a few people close to me what they believed that I thought was impossible for me to do. You see, at times we ourselves do not realize that we are making excuses or taking the easy way out. Our friends can help us see what is our true potential. Their responses helped me narrow down 4 important challenges I will be taking up for 2015.

#4 – Make a Bet

For one of my 2015 goals, I have a bet going on with a friend of mine. When money, or some sort of prize, is involved it helps you clearly see the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s much easier to visualize yourself achieving that goal, rather than you spinning your wheels and over time becoming depressed due to a lack of results.

You won’t have a great 2015 if you don’t fix your thinking. I’ll leave you here with another one of my favorite stories: Roger Bannister was the first person to run the 4-minute mile. Before Roger Bannister, the belief was that human beings were physically incapable of running a 4-minute mile. Mr. Bannister broke through that limiting belief, and within a year, 23 other people matched or beat that time. And since then, over 20,000 people have run a 4-minute mile.

Take 2015 on with an attitude of victory. Eradicate limiting beliefs, stop lying to yourself, and turn those fears into challenges!

Have a great 2015!

  • Parth
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Burn 20 calories per minute with this ODD workout method

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Research from the American Council on Exercise (ACE) has shown that you can burn up to 20 calories per minute with this odd training method. You could burn off last night’s dessert in about 10 minutes…

It’s the highest level of calorie burning you can get – even more than hill sprints.

If you were to do intervals on the treadmill, you’d probably hit a maximum of 16 calories per minute (even with a steep incline).

And I’m proof that this odd little tool works…you see, this past weekend, I cheated on my diet pretty hard – it was Thanksgiving after all –

… yet on Monday, I weighed the same

…and it was because I used this tool.

That’s why you should have this training method in your metabolic fat loss program.

The ACE study – performed on men AND women – also found that this ONE workout method increased their abdominal core strength by an amazing 70%!

They didn’t do crunches, they didn’t do sit ups, they didn’t even do boring planks.

All they did was this one odd workout method.

Use this odd tool to burn MEGA calories and get ripped abs

Use it and lose it,

– Parth

PS – Burning 20 calories a minute allows you to…

…burn off:

– A big chocolate chip cookie in 10 minutes

– A can of soda in 7 minutes

– A light beer or small glass of wine in just over 5 minutes!

Burn 20 calories per minute <= Replace intervals with this

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Christmas Day 20 Minute Metabolic Calorie Burn Workout

morning-girl-workout

Hope everyone is having a great holiday season thus far. This is the crucial time between Christmas day and New Year where people begin to really think about their New Year’s Resolution, and what they want to accomplish for the following year.

If losing weight is on your list, then there is one important thing you need to decide: what method are you going to use?

Lets see, you can

  • Do some aerobics for 20 minutes and burn 140 calories
  • You can sit on the exercise bike for 20 minutes and burn 293 calories
  • If you prefer standing, then hit the elliptical for 20 minutes for a 201 calorie burn
  • ..you can do some yoga for 20 minutes and burn 70 calories

I’ve got a better option. Try this 20 minutes Turbulence Training metabolic workout:

3 rounds of:

  • DB Flat Chest Press – 45 seconds
  • DB 1-arm Row – 45 seconds per side (rest 15 seconds between each side)
  • Total Body Extensions – 45 seconds
  • Rest 15 seconds between each exercise
  • Rest 60 seconds at the end of each circuit

Then, 2 rounds of:

  • DB Reverse Lunges (alternating sides) – 30 seconds
  • Standing DB Overhead Press (alternating sides) – 30 seconds
  • Kettlebell Swings – 30 seconds
  • No rest between exercises
  • Rest 30 seconds between each circuit

That shouldn’t take you more than 20 minutes. If you loved that workout, then you’ll love these workouts.

Get ready for your New Year’s goals!

-Parth

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8-Minute Killer Bicep Workout

15-Min-Arms

People respond to different forms of training when it comes to building muscle. But most of these programs can be categorized into two groups:

  • High-volume training – doing a large amount of sets and reps within a given training sessions
  • High-frequency training – training as often as possible

Few people can implement both at the same time and be successful with it. Arnold Schwarzenegger is famous for following a 6-day per week, twice per day training regimen.

You’re not Arnold.

So if you’re a busy guy looking to pack on some muscle on a lagging bodypart, then the best option for you is high-frequency training. Hit that muscle group as often as possible.

The majority of trainees hit a muscle group 3 days per week, so high frequency training (HFT) is when you train a muscle group 4 or more times per week.

But to effectively do this, these workouts also need to be brief. So then the question is: how do you train a muscle hard in a short period of time?

Answer: timed sets

8-Minute Killer Bicep Workout

Instructions:

  • Select ONE bicep exercise
  • Choose a weight you can do 12-15 repetitions easily
  • Set a time for 8 minutes
  • Do 10 repetitions
  • Rest 30 seconds
  • Repeat
  • If you are unable to perform 10 repetitions in any given set, then drop the weight and continue

Simple. You should be able to perform 8-10 sets easily within 8 minutes. Perform the workout upto 5 days per week, choosing a different movement each time.

Have a great holiday season!

 – Parth

PS – Prefer a full muscle building program?

Try this:

Kyle Leon’s SOMANABOLIC Muscle Maximizer

Enjoy!

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Putting Cardio to the Test + A Better Solution

cardiotest

You want to have certain criteria in place when choosing the kind of training you want to choose when trying to lose fat. For those that have busy lifestyles, the best criteria is:

  • Must be time-efficient
  • Must elevate metabolic rate for prolonged periods of time
  • Must be fun
  • Must be safe

So lets put three of the most popular forms of cardio to the test:

Walking

Walking is often the exercise of choice for beginners (regardless of age or gender). Initially, most beginners will get results with walking because it’s an increase in their level of activity.

After some time, just like with any form of exercise, results will diminish. So, the next course of action is to increase the distance of the walking, and frequency of the walking. But here’s the problem: you can’t increase the distance and frequency for ever!

You have a minimal amount of time to devote to exercise per week, so what do you do?

A better option:

Although you will eventually face the same issue with jogging and then running, I do believe these are beneficial tools to improve your endurance, and get your mindset towards more intense forms of exercise.

So, if you’re walking right now, start speeding up the pace with power walking with an eventual transition to jogging. After 3-4 weeks of jogging, move onto running. Then start implementing sprints and interval running into your program!

Here’s a great sprinting program to try when you’re ready: Sprint Conditioning by Mike Whitfield

Aerobics

Another popular form of cardio is aerobics. Aerobics comes in the form of step classes, aerobics classes, Zumba, etc. Aerobics shares a similar problem with walking: it does nothing for your metabolism.

So, initially the program might work for your, but if you’re not engaging in movements that elevate your heart rate, or those that engage your muscles, you won’t get the metabolism-boosting benefits you see with strength training or sprinting.

A recent remedy we’ve seen is combining aerobics with light-weight dumbbells. This is an ok solution, but at some point your body will become strong enough so that the light weight dumbbells become ineffective.

A better option:

Slowly start incorporating a session of full-body strength training. So, if you’re doing 3 days of aerobics, drop one day and make that your full-body strength training day.

A great program that provides the perfect balance between strength and cardio is Turbulence Training. Click here to check it out.

Spin Class

Doing intervals on a bicycle is perfectly fine, but in recent times fitness instructors have started adding in all sorts of crazy movements to make the classes more fun. Here is sample video of what I mean:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=COlQf7fG2kA

Some unnecessary movements I’ve seen in the video:

I’ve read about the dangers of standing up while spinning, but I won’t go into that here, simply because I am not qualified to make that judgement call. But I will tell you that doing ab crunches from the bike, standing up while boxing, swinging your arms, arms behind your back – all that is absolutely unnecessary and detracts your mind from what’s important: getting an intense workout. Here’s a great article from a spin expert that comments on this workout.

I’ve also seen videos of people doing hip hop moves while on the bike. I’ve also seen videos of people doing bicep curls while on the bike and other dumbbell movements.

A better solution

Instead of spin classes, perform straight intervals on a bike or treadmill consisting of 30 seconds on of intense effort, followed by 30-60 seconds of lower-intensity effort.

Do that for 20 minutes, and you’re done.

Lessons Learned:

Lets go over some key points from this article:

  • Research your method of exercise before embarking on it
  • Make sure workouts are safe
  • Perform full body strength training at least twice a week
  • Build yourself up to interval training

With GREAT gratitude for you every single day,

– Parth

PS – Stay safe!

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