Have you ever looked at the variety of bodies you see in the gym and wondered why some people look the way they do? Ever wonder what they are doing to achieve (for better or worse) their physique? For an extreme example, and with the Olympics coming up, take a look at the bodies of the competing athletes. It’s easy to see how certain types of training affect the body. These people are the extremes, but provide a very good glimpse into how specific training formats will shape and define you. The body of a shot putter is much different from the body of a gymnast, which is much different from the body of a distance runner. All three of these individuals train in vastly different ways, which is what we are going to quickly look at now.
For you regular Share It Fitness blog readers, you should know by now, when we develop a new workout, we like to give you a little science behind it so you understand the how and why of what you’re doing. For a second, take a look at the two images below..
On the left, we can clearly see the image of a toned, tight, and fit woman. On the right is an incredibly skinny and loose
skeleton body. The fit, healthy, and sexy body is that of a sprinter. The one on the right, is quite obviously, that of a marathon runner. It’s not rocket science to guess how each of these athletes train. The sprinter is doing short, explosive movements, while the marathon runner is doing long bouts of steady-state (running at one speed) cardio.
You see, when you jump on a treadmill, bike, elliptical, etc. and do your cardio at one speed, you end up eating through your muscle. Training like this, day in, day out, is not only a bad way to develop a killer bod, it also wreaks havoc on your joints; your knees in particular. As you may have already known, your body is highly skilled at adapting to a stimulus. If you’re running 60 minutes a day, 5 days a week, your body is going to get used to this stimulus and become more efficient. By increasing efficiency, your body thereby requires less energy to do the same 60 minute run over time. What does this mean for you? This means, the longer you do your same, boring, steady-state run, the less calories you burn.
One other thing I’d like to touch on; there is a huge misconception about working out in the “fat burning zone”. To stay in the fat burning zone, you perform your cardio at a relaxed pace. Sure, it sounds great, but who really cares what zone you’re in when you’re burning calories so slooowllly? Right now, as you’re reading this blog post, you’re sitting on the low-end of your “fat burning zone”. If it were that easy to burn fat, the leanest people would be the ones who constantly stayed in the fat burning zone; i.e. those who didn’t do a whole lot of hard work. This obviously is not the case. Obviously, marathon runners are not fat people. When you are doing as much steady-state cardio a week (upwards of 80 miles a week when training) as they are, you’re of course going to burn through all your fat (and muscle). But for our purposes, there aren’t many of us who have the time to do 80 miles every week.
One last point; when your body gets used to doing cardio in the “fat burning zone”, it begins storing fat in anticipation of these long slow bouts of cardio. From a physiological standpoint, this is ideal, because you have a steady supply of fuel (fat) readily available during your long, slow runs. But you’re doing cardio to burn fat, not retain it, right? Thought so.
So, what does all this mean to you? What this means is, you need to start training like an explosive, lean, mean, athletic machine. You want to look like a sprinter or other explosive athlete? All you need to do is train like one. If you want to look like the other moms on the elliptical, chugging along at a snail’s pace…go ahead and do what they do.
With that, let’s get on to the workout. This workout should take no more than 70 minutes depending on the pace you keep. It’s a great routine to work into another full program. Just substitute this workout for a cardio day or an off day. Like I always say, fitness is not a science. It’s okay to deviate a bit from a prescribed routine. For those of you on the Total Body Blitz plan, this workout can be easily incorporated on a Saturday or Sunday if you don’t want to replace any of your current workouts.
While you’re doing the exercises listed below, really concentrate on EXPLODING. Go hard through your jumps. Try to really go as fast as you possibly can. Get as high off the ground as possible. Move your feet as swiftly as you’re able. This workout will develop killer muscles in your lower body, help improve speed, endurance, foot work, and most importantly, help you shed massive amounts of calories so you start developing that lean, mean, athletic physique. Leave the steady-state cardio to the US weekly readers and people who simply workout and go through the motions to feel good, not to make actual progress. Above all, remember to Train. Like. An. Athlete.
- 5 minutes jump rope (40 seconds jump/20 seconds rest/repeat)
- 3 sets of 20 Squat Jacks/20 Box Jumps (24″+ box)/20 Med Ball Twist Jumps/rest 30 seconds
- 3 sets of 12 Bulgarian Squat Jumps (per leg)/10 Barbell Squat Jumps/1 minute 180 Planks/rest 45 seconds
- 5 minutes jump rope (40 seconds jump/20 seconds rest/repeat)
This is the end of part one of this workout. If you’re maintaining a good pace, this should have taken no more than 25 minutes. With part two, you’ll want to move outside or to a treadmill to complete the sprint portion.
- 10 minutes HIIT sprinting (30 second sprint/1:30 jog)
- 5 minutes run in reverse at 4 mph
- 10 minutes HIIT sprinting (15 second sprint/45 second jog) *Bump the speed 10%-20% faster than your first HIIT set.
- 16 minute progressive sprinting (starting at 5 mph, increase speed .5 mph every minute until you reach 9 mph. Begin to decrease .5 mph every minute until you return to 5 mph
Helpful tips: When doing your HIIT sprinting on a treadmill and it’s time to move from a sprint to a jog, hop off the moving tread (put your feet to the sides of it), and lower the speed. This will allow you to better stick to your times. Make sure to hold the handles as you jump back on. NEVER jump on at sprint pace.
The guidelines above are what most people would consider challenging. If you are ready for an extra challenge, feel free to bump the times, speeds, or heights of your box. On the flipside, if you need to scale back, don’t be afraid to go slower, shorter, etc.
When incorporated into a full plan, this explosion workout is guaranteed to produce results. Keep mixing up what you’re doing. Get outside and do some 5 yard sprints, shuttle runs, etc. Train like you are training for a sporting event or competition. Think EXPLOSION and high intensity. You stick to that and there is simply no way you’re going to fail.