Archive for the ‘Cardio Training’ Category

Explosive Bodyweight Only Workout: Blast Calories and Tighten Up Fast

With the launch of ShareItFitness.com just weeks away, we thought we’d take the opportunity to give you a little taste of what you can expect as one of our premium members.  As many of you know by now, Share It Fitness is an OnDemand fitness service, streaming full-length group fitness classes and virtual personal training sessions to any smart phone, tablet, computer, or wifi-enabled television.  Our library contains hundreds of fitness classes and training sessions (more than most people could get done in a calendar year) and is constantly growing.

Over the weekend we had quite a few of our readers ask for a quick, at-home workout, to help them out after a little over indulgence during Easter weekend.  With that in mind, we bring you our Aerobic Express fitness class by Share It Fitness trainer, Casey Kirch.  Casey leads this lesson with nothing more than his bodyweight and a fast tempo, making this perfect for anyone who wants to get a heart-pounding and sweat-inducing workout, at home.  To really rachet up the intensity, run through this class two, or even three times in a row to maximize your caloric burn.

Share It Fitness fitness classes are so effective because our instructors set the tone and pace each class.  All you have to do is keep up with them to ensure you’re getting an effective workout.  Workout plans that simply list exercises to complete are good, and have their own place, but there is no substitute to following along with a real-life trainer leading you through an exercise routine on your screen.  Keep up with Casey as he leads you through various exercises designed to burn calories and blast fat.  If you feel up for the challenge and give this class a try, let us know what you think after running through this class.  Enjoy!

In case you missed the link above, here it is again.

Ease into Fitness…A Progressive Plan for Beginners

After checking out our Total Body Blitz  (part two found here) workout plan, many of our readers felt this plan was a bit too intense for someone brand new to fitness, or has been out of the game for a while.  This was a fair assessment.  Our Total Body Blitz workout is definitely for someone with at least basic fitness abilities and an understanding of exercise.  There were many requests by some of you beginner’s for a plan that would help ramp you up to more intense routines. 

After hearing all the concerns, we spent the past month putting together what we felt is the perfect balance of ease and progressive challenges to give your body a solid base to start a more high-intensity routine.  If you were one of our readers who felt unready to take the Total Body Blitz challenge, the following workout plan is exactly what you will need to get your body and mind ready for more advanced routines. 

At the end of the day, you know your body best.  If you feel the 4 weeks included in this plan still doesn’t have you where you think you should be, feel free to run through this routine one more time.  If you’re giving these workouts your all, you should definitely be ready for something more challenging after the 8th week. 

One last point; there are obviously different levels of beginners out there.  If some of this stuff seems too easy, feel free to add a) total time to cardio b) lengthen the “work” portions of HIIT (high-intensity interval training) movements or c) continually bump up weights used while weight training. 

This routine has a heavy emphasis on cardio, as this is where most of our readers felt they were lacking most.  This is understandable as this is the aspect of fitness that gets most “rusty” for those that have been away from fitness for a while.  Take things easy at first and gradually bump up your intensity, weights, etc.  As always, any questions, feel free to ask.

Week 1

Day 1: 30 minute jog on treadmill/outside.  Try to maintain 12-13 min/mile pace.

Day 2: 3 sets of 10: Dumbbell bench press, bicep curls, bench dips, upright rows, tricep kickbacks, dumbbell military press. 100 crunches.

Day 3: 30 minutes HIIT cycling on stationary bike.  Use a :15/1:45 format.  What this means is, cycle as fast as you can for 15 seconds, then cycle at a more relaxed pace for 1 minute and 45 seconds.  Repeat this :15/1:45 cycle a total of 15 times. (30 minutes.)

Day 4: 3 sets of 10: Dumbbell squats, bench step ups, dumbbell lunges, calf raises.  60 body weight squats. 100 crunches

Week 2

Day 1:  40 minute jog.  Try to maintain a 11-12 min/mile pace

Day 2: Jump rope HIIT.  Get yourself a cheap jump rope (~$7) and try a :20/:40 cycle.  What this means is, jump rope for 20 seconds non-stop.  Follow this with 40 seconds rest.  Repeat this :20/:40 cycle 40 times for a total of 40 minutes.

Day 3: 3 sets of 10: Lat pulldowns, dumbbell squats, dumbbell skullcrushers, incline dumbbell bench press, reverse dumbbell lunges, tricep rope pushdowns, incline dumbbell curls.

Day 4: Cycle 45 minutes.  Try to maintain a 12-15 mph pace.

Week 3

Day 1: 3 sets of 10: Barbell bench press, incline barbell bench press, close grip seated rows, arnold presses, hammer curls, wide grip rows, reverse dumbbell flys. 50 bicycle crunches/50 flutter kicks/50 crunches/30 second plank.

Day 2: 45 minute jog.  Try to maintain a 10-11 min/mile pace.

Day 3: 45 minutes HIIT cycling on stationary bike.  Use a :20/1:10 format.  Repeat this cycle 30 times.

Day 4: Complete the following exercises in as few sets as possible: 50 box jumps/500 jumps with the jump rope/50 box step ups/100 mountain climbers/20 burpees/100 bicycle crunches

 

Week 4

Day 1: 50 minute jog.  Try to maintain a 10 min/mile pace.

Day 2: 20 minutes HIIT cycling (:20/1:10 format) , 20 minutes HIIT jump roping (:25/:40 format), 100 body weight squats, 100 lunges.

Day 3:  3 sets of 10:  Barbell bench press, incline dumbbell flys, close grip bench press, lat pull down, barbell preacher curls, lateral dumbbell raise, seated wide grip rows, bench dips, tricep rope pushdown.  2 sets of planking for 45 seconds.

Day 4: HIIT running.  Follow a 15 second/1 minute and 45 second format (:15/1:45).  Sprint at near 100% effort for 15 seconds.  Follow this up with a 1 minute and 45 second jog at a relaxed pace.  Repeat this cycle 15 times for a total workout of 30 minutes.  Follow this up with 15 minutes cycling, aiming for a 15 mph pace. 

This will have taken you through one month of training.  You should notice a heavy emphasis on not only cardio, but on HIIT (high intensity interval training) cardio.  This method of training is far more effective for increasing metabolism, burning calories, building lower body muscle, and increasing cardiovascular endurance than static-state cardio, i.e. jogging/cycling/etc at one pace for an extended period of time.  By balancing both formats of cardio (static/HIIT) we are able to progressively increase endurance levels in newer exercisers.  If any of this feels too difficult, don’t feel bad about backing off and taking things even slower.  You may need to extend the period you are on this beginner routine, but rest assured, you will get to where you want to be eventually. 

The most important thing about this routine is consistency.  Don’t skip days, stay consistent, and give 100% effort everytime.  You do that and good things are sure to follow.  Any questions, feel free to ask as always!

Do This…Look Like That…Total Body Blitz Workout Part II

Hopefully if you guys are reading this, you’ve already made it through the first part of this workout series.  If not, refer back to this post and give it a read.  It’s always best to start from the beginning of a plan, rather than jump right in at another point.  Things have been designed to build upon one another which taxes your body in a specific way.  The order in which you follow this, in my humble opinion, is very important.  Order and structure will lead to gains.  So fight the urge to jump right in if this is the first time you’ve seen this workout and start with Part I.

From all the feedback we’ve been getting it seems like this workout is absolutely KILLER and, more importantly, helping you guys make progress.  It has been so great to hear about all your successes in the first month.  Keep it up, stick to the plan, and good things are sure to follow.

As I mentioned in the previous post, part II begins increasing the TUT (time under tension) your muscles will endure.  This is an advanced technique which requires you to lift and lower the weight slooowlly.  I’ll get to just how slowly in a few minutes.  To accomplish this, we’re going to completely switch things up and lower the weight you’re lifting.  This is a great way to ensure your gains continue as your body isn’t going to know what to do.  When your body doesn’t know what to do, it can’t adapt to the stimulus, thereby leading towards consistent gains.  There is nothing worse than putting the time and energy into doing the same routine day in, day out, for months on end, only to realize minimized gains at best.  If you’re going to put the effort in, might as well follow a plan that makes it worthwhile.  Part II makes things extremely worthwhile…

Now, when you see (+TUT) next to a workout day, it means every exercise should be performed using the technique described below.  This technique will be increasing the total time under tension your muscle experiences.  To do this properly, I want you to do two things: 1) On the lift (concentric) portion of a lift, count to 4 in your head.  When you reach 4, you should have completely lifted the weight.  2)On the lower (eccentric) portion of a lift give it a full 2 count in your head.  When you reach 2, you should have completely lowered the weight.

Working out in this format will result in a 6 second TUT for each repetition.  Studies have shown that for each exercise, TUT between 40-70 seconds is most effective.  I believe the higher end of this scale is best.  That being said, most TUT exercises will be done for 8-12 reps.  The exact number of repetitions isn’t as important; you want to be feeling the burn and enducing failure on your last rep.  Whether that is rep 8 or rep 12 is less of a difference.  You be the judge of where you are at, and if you need to increase/decrease the weight used, go for it.  Biggest thing to make sure of, is you are doing full 4/2 counts (lift/lower), for a total of 6 seconds per repetition.

In addition, we’re going to be introducing you to a variety of cardio elements on cardio days.  By cross-training, we’re going to continue to push the body and get you to burn off those stubborn LBs of body fat.

Week 1

  • Monday – 3 sets of 8-12 using TUT format: Dumbbell bench press, incline dumbbell bench press, skullcrushers, dumbbell military press, barbell upright row, barbell preacher curls.  100 crunches/100 bicycle crunches (perform crunches as you normally would, not with the TUT technique)
  • Tuesday –  30 min HIIT cycling (20 seconds 100% intensity/40seconds 60% intensity, repeat for 30 minutes).  30 minutes jogging at a steady pace.
  • Wednesday – 3 sets of 8-12 using TUT format: Squats, deadlifts, leg press machine, calve raises, hamstring curls.
  • Thursday – 100 squat jumps/100 bodyweight squats/100 russian lunges/200 line jumps/50 burpees
  • Friday – 3 sets of 8-12 using TUT format: Dumbbell bench press, incline dumbbell bench press, skullcrushers, dumbbell military press, barbell upright row, barbell preacher curls.  100 crunches/100 bicycle crunches (perform crunches as you normally would, not with the TUT technique)

Tips: On Thursday, perform each set of exercises in as few sets as possible.  For weight days, you will want to lower the weight used so you can perform 8-12 reps with the TUT technique.  You will want to completely fatigue by the last rep or two on your 2nd/3rd sets.

Week 2

  • Monday – 5 minutes of weighted speedskaters/rest 90 seconds/5 minutes high knees/rest 90 seconds/5 minutes jump rope.  Repeat 3 more times.
  • Tuesday – 3 sets of 8-12 using TUT format: Squats, bulgarian squats, reverse dumbbell lunges, calve raises, quad extension, hamstring curls. 100 box jumps.
  • Wednesday – 20 minutes HIIT row machine (:20/1:00 format), 20 minutes HIIT sprinting (jog for .1, sprint for .1, repeat)
  • Thursday – 3 sets of 8-12 using TUT format: Lat pulldowns, close grip rows, hammer curls, military press, dumbbell flys, incline dumbbell flys, dips, front dumbbell raises, dumbbell shrugs.
  • Friday – 60 minutes HIIT jump roping (:45 jumping/45 seconds resting)

Tips: Continue to focus on counting slowly in your head.  If you feel you are able to bump the weight up and still maintain the 4/2 lift/lower technique, feel free.

Week 3

  • Monday – 3 sets of 8-12 using TUT format: Bent over barbell rows, bench press, incline bench press, lateral dumbbell raises, incline bicep curls, tricep kickbacks, tricep rope pushdown, barbell upright rows. 100 leg raises/100 flutter kicks.
  • Tuesday – Jump rope 30 minutes (2 minutes jumping/30 seconds rest.  Repeat 15 times.) 20 minutes HIIT cycling (:30/1:30 format)
  • Wednesday – 3 sets of 8-12 using TUT format: Leg press, deadlifts, squats, side barbell squats, sumo squats
  • Thursday – Share It Fitness Challenge Workout Challenge: Black Diamond
  • Friday – 3 sets of 8-12 using TUT format: Wide grip seated rows, lying dumbbell curls, barbell shrugs, arnold press, rear delt dumbbel flys, face pulls, cable rope curls, single arm dumbbell rows on bench

Tips: This week, we’ve included a Share It Fitness workout challenge.  Give this a try to see how you stack up.  These are very strenuous workouts, so don’t feel bad if you can’t make it all the way through.  It’s a good way to gauge your progress.

Week 4

  • Monday – Share It Fitness Workout Challenge: Cross Eyes
  • Tuesday – 3 sets of 8-12 using TUT format: Narrow stance leg press, wide stance leg press, dumbbell squats, 150 box jumps, 50 step ups (Per leg.  Hold dumbbells in each hand), 50 reverse step ups (ditto).
  • Wednesday: 30 minutes HIIT row machine (:30/1 minute format), 30 minutes HIIT cycling (:40/1:20 format)
  • Thursday – 3 sets of 8-12 using TUT format: Dumbbell bench press, skull crushers, incline dumbbell flys, lateral dumbbell raise, dumbbell pullovers, close grip bench press, dumbbell military press
  • Friday – 45 minutes HIIT sprinting (:30/1:15 format), 15 minutes walking backwards at ~2.5 mph pace.

So there you have part II of this Total Body Blitz workout plan.  Things have definitely increased in intensity from part 1, but you guys should easily be able to handle it, especially if you stuck with every workout in part I.  As always, any questions, comments, or concerns, feel free to leave a note and I’ll get back to you ASAP!

Stay connected to the Share It Fitness launch by signing up here, and be sure to subscribe to our blog so you don’t miss the rest of this Total Body Blitz workout.

The “Point” Workout

                                 ^ She loves the Point Workout 🙂

Finding a plan that helps you reach your goals is just as much about finding something that works for your lifestyle, as it is finding something that is well designed.  For some people, a highly structured plan that tells them precisely what to do every day of the week is exactly what they need.  But for others, this will only lead to burnout.  You know what kind of person you are.  No matter how much you want to make a change and are committed to following along with a prescribed routine, we both know if that’s not your style, you’re going to get sick of “having” to do a certain workout on a given day, and quit.  Workouts shouldn’t feel like a chore.  They should give you the feeling of motivation, empowerment, and hope that you are making positive changes in your body and health.

Some of you may find success by having a little more autonomy in your workout routine,  and that’s alright.  Unfortunately, 99.9% of fitness bloggers, websites, “experts”, don’t create routines that allow for choice.  They give you a set of exercises to complete, when to complete them, and set you off on your merry way.  While this isn’t inherently bad, it doesn’t take into account the people who don’t/can’t stick to this method of training.  For that reason, I’ve created a point-based workout system whereby various workouts have been assigned different point totals.  Each week your only goal is to hit a specific number of points.  Assigned points, total points required, and a few other key variables have been precisely calculated throughout trial and error with real-life clients.  Rest assured, by sticking to the very general structure of this workout, you WILL make progress, you WILL develop the body you want, and you WILL improve your health.

The only structure you need to follow for this workout to be a success is as follows:

  1. Use the workouts  listed for each point category, as these have been found to be most effective
  2. Don’t repeat the same workout back-to-back days
  3. Two days of rest a week is generally a good idea

1 Point Workouts – Good for days you are feeling less motivated, lack time for a full workout, or need a break but don’t want to skip working out completely.  These workouts typically focus on one element of fitness, i.e. cardio, weight training, and are relatively simple in nature.  You will not want to rely on these workouts too often as they are beginner in nature and a heavy emphasis on 1-pointers will not get you to your goals. 

  • 30-minute jog at a steady pace
  • Weight training one body part, i.e. performing all chest exercises, all bicep exercises, etc.
  • Bodyweight Blast Workout – 100 bodyweight squats/100 crunches/100 burpees
  • 15 minutes HIIT (high intensity interval training) jump roping
  • 1 hour of yoga
  • 45 minutes cycling at a steady pace
  • 20 minutes row machine
  • Jumper – 25 box jumps/ 25 jump squats/ 25 jump jacks.  Do 4 rounds total.

2 Point Workouts – These workouts bump the intensity.  Filling this into your weekly routine will certainly help you begin advancing towards your goals.  Mixing 2-pointers in with higher point workouts is a good formula to ensure you are getting proper rest and not overtraining, if you are a relatively new exerciser.  if you are more advanced, use 2-pointers on days you are feeling a bit sluggish.

  • Weight training – push/pull format , pick one of the following groups per day: back/biceps, chest/triceps/ shoulders, legs/abs.  You decide the exercises, just aim for failure on your last rep or two of your final set.
  • 60 minutes jog, steady pace
  • 30 minute swim
  • 60 minutes cycling, steady pace
  • Power Lift Workout – 3 sets of 10 -squats, deadlifts, wide grip pullups (w/assistance if needed), military press, bench press, incline bench press, leg press
  • 30 minutes HIIT (45 seconds work/45 seconds rest) jump roping
  • 30 minutes HIIT (30 seconds elevated pace/45 seconds slower pace) rowing
  • The Longest Mile workout
  • The Slow Burn workout
  • 1 hour spin class/pilates class/intense yoga/group fitness class of your choice
  • The Black Diamond workout

3 Point Workouts – These workouts are no joke.  Incorporating these into your weekly schedule is going to get you to your goals fast.  As your fitness levels progress, you will likely be able to include more and more of these into your routine.  Just be careful not to overdo it if you are still relatively new.  These workouts will include advanced cardio and strength based elements into one routine to create  a serious workout.  Others will provide advanced HIIT only training which will fully exhaust your body.   

  • 60 minutes HIIT spriting, i.e. 30 seconds sprint/1:30 jog, repeat.
  • Power HIIT workout – 3 x 10 Bench Press, HIIT (30 second work/30 second rest) burpees 10 minutes, 3 x 10 Military Press, HIIT (30 second work/30 second rest) mountain climbers 10 minutes, 3 x 10 Lat Pulldown,  HIIT (30 second sprint/30 second cool down) cycling 10 minutes, 3 x 10 deadlifts,  HIIT (30 second sprint/1:30 minute jog) sprinting 10 minutes.  60 seconds rest between weight exercises.  Upon finish third set of weight exercise, go directly into HIIT exercise.  Rest 1 minute after completing each HIIT exercise.
  • The Heart Pounder workout
  • The Dash Workout
  • The Max Effect workout
  • HIIT combo – 20 minutes HIIT cycling, 20 minutes HIIT jump rope, 20 minutes HIIT running
  • Power cycling workout – 60 minutes stationary cycling with dumbbells.  Over the course of an hour, perform 60 lateral raises, 60 front raises, 60 bicep curls, 60 military presses. 60 cross punches.
  • Ab Effect – 500 crunches, 5 minutes planking (break up into as few sets as possible), 500 flutter kicks, 1000 jumps on the jump rope.
  • 25 x 100 workout – Sprint 100 meters, rest 10 seconds, repeat 24 more times.

So looking at what we’ve got, I’ve given you 28 different workouts to follow along with.  This should include more than enough variety to keep you from burning out.  Most people settle into a routine of 5-6 different workouts and repeat those.  That is fine, but if you plan on doing this long-term, make sure to continually include new workouts into your standard routine.  One of the key concepts to any successful training plan is something that is unique to Share It Fitness and what we’ve built our name on; Body Diversity Training.  Simply put, individuals who incorporate various forms of exercise into their routine (weight training, HIIT, yoga, bootcamp style workouts, plyometrics, pilates, cycling) are far more successful, fit, and healthy than those who focus almost exclusively on weight training or cardio training alone.  The Point Workout relies on BDT to help you achieve your goals.  Get diverse when picking your workouts and create your own total body routine that hits your muscles and cardiovascular system in different ways. 

You may be wondering, what do I do with the points I accumulate?  Well, it’s quite simple.  Each week, you want to hit a total point value.  If you go over that value, good for you!  However, make sure you aren’t overtraining because that will have a reverse effect on your progress.  Since this workout is customizable to any fitness level point totals are based on your current fitness ability.  You know where you’re at, don’t underachieve, and find the category that is best for you.

Weekly Point Goals: 7 (beginner), 9 (intermediate), 11 (advanced).  Every 4 weeks, add 2 points to your weekly goal and go all out for that ONE week.  If you feel you can easily progress to the increased level, it’s time to push up to the next level, i.e. beginner to intermediate, intermediate to advanced.  For advanced exercisers, think about adding an extra training day to your routine.  For the most advanced exercisers, you should never be going beyond 18 points in a given week.  Anything more than this will lead to overtraining and possible injury

So there you have it guys; a very simple and easy to follow routine that breaks away from the traditional structure that you’ve probably been used to seeing.  I’ve seen real-life clients make HUGE gains on their own training in this format.  There’s no reason anyone reading this can’t realize the same results.  Keep up the good work, maintain your focus, and good things are sure to follow. 

If you liked this article, be sure to subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss any of our future articles.  Drop by ShareItFitness.com to stay up to date on our full website launch and get yourself a free premium membership in the process!

Slow and Steady? Forget that sHIIT…You’ve got to SPRINT!

 

If you want to see real gains, add sprints and really feel the burn.

Average vs. Awesome: How Small Changes to Your Routine Can Make Big Differences

How many people do you know that work out to some degree?  How many people look like the picture above?  I’m going to go out on a limb and guess, not many.  Truth is, developing a lean, fit, and healthy body like the one you see here, isn’t hard.  Having the know-how to achieve your goal, add in a little determination and ANYONE can look and feel great.  We’ll leave the willpower talk for another article, because right now, we’re going to make sure you have the know-how required to turn your average workout into a body-changing routine that is guaranteed to produce results.

Below, we’re going to look at some common forms of exercise, many of which you probably already do on your own.  We’re going to look at what your average person (who looks average) is doing, then we’re going to look at what the sexy, fit, and healthy people are doing.  Often times the changes are so small, you’ll be kicking yourself you didn’t think of this before.  You’ve got to instill it in your head; if you want to look and feel awesome, you’ve got to do a workout that is awesome.  If you want to look and feel like your everyday person, then do the same workout the everyday person does.  It’s that simple.

Treadmill Cardio

Really, any form of cardio could substitute for treadmill here. whether it’s the elliptical, or stationary bike, or row machine.  When you walk into any gym what do you normally see?  A string of (mostly) girls jogging along on their treadmills.  They’ll set the pace at a single speed, flip open their US Weekly magazine, read all about the latest celebrity diets, watch the clock, then hop off 30-60 minutes later.  Mentally, they feel they’ve done something great, which is why they are okay sticking to this lame routine, day in, day out. Think again.

How to make it an AWESOME workout: Put the magazine down.  Brangelina can wait.  Forget running at the same speed the entire time you’re on the treadmill.  To double or even triple the benefits here, incorporate HIIT training into your workout.  HIIT involves short bursts of all out sprints, followed by longer periods of reduced intensity.  Next time you’re at the gym, try something like this: Run at 5 mph for 1:30, followed by :30 sprint at 10mph, followed by 5mph at 1:30, followed by :30 at 10mph, etc.  As your ability progresses, increase your sprint times, speeds, and shorten rest periods to keep your body guessing and the progress a’comin.  

Free Weights

Maybe you’re a girl and you think the simple fact you’re in the free weight section with all the guys is enough to make you feel good about your workout.  Or perhaps you’re one of the dudes in there pumping iron, doing what all the other bro’s are doing, and think it’s gotta work for you too.  Get real.  When people hit the weights they’ll do the standard 8-10 reps, sit around, look at themselves, check out the chicks in the really tight yoga pants, fix their hair, do whatever they do for 90+ seconds.  Then they’ll jump back into it and repeat this process over and over.  You want to get toned, lean, and looking fabulous?  Turn the standard weight training routine on its head.

How to make it an AWESOME workout:  Mixing up your weight training routine every 4-6 weeks is key to continue making gains.  If you’re taking those long rest periods between every set, every single time you workout, you’re doing it wrong.  Try this: superset compound movements together, or string  2, 3, or even 4 isolation exercises together to create a killer combo.  Not only will this shred your muscles up in no time, it will increase your metabolism and fat burning potential, helping you achieve that lean and toned look even faster.  Some examples that will burn those muscles out include:

  • 10 Wide-grip pullups followed by 20 pushups followed by 30 crunches THEN rest 60 seconds before repeating
  • 10 Bent over barbell rows followed by 10 dumbbell bench presses THEN rest 60 seconds
  • 15 Behind the neck lat pulldowns, followed by 12 barbell curls, followed by 12 single arm dumbbell rows.  Rest and repeat combo 2-3 more times.

Workout Schedule

So you think you’ve got yourself a pretty solid plan as it is.  On Mondays you do weights, on Tuesdays you do cardio, on Wednesdays you rest.  You repeat this cycle endlessly.  Your routine becomes monotonous and predictable.  Unfortunately, your body is very well adapted at recognizing this repetition and will eventually respond less to the work you are doing.  What this means is, diminished gains the longer you do the same routine and/or schedule. 

How to make your workout AWESOME:  If you’ve been doing a split schedule for a while, where you’re doing cardio one day and weights the next, try mixing it up.  Including cardio into weight training days is a sure-fire way to jack your metabolism through the roof.  Your body is going to be shocked by the sudden deviation from your standard routine and won’t know how to react.  Expect soreness, increased muscle mass, and lower body fat in the days, weeks, and months ahead.  After doing 3-4 weight training exercises, grab a jump rope and do 15 minutes of HIIT training.  Or hop on the stationary bike and bike 5 miles as fast as you can.  Then, return to the weights.  A ratio of 3-4 weight exercises followed by 10-15 minutes of extreme cardio has been shown to produce better results than constantly separating the two on different days.  Work this type of exercise into the rest of your routine 1-2 days a week. 

Machines

Let me first say, machines are not bad.  They can actually be quite useful when worked into a well-designed fitness plan.  However, if you are like most girls I see at the gym, they are about as far as you’ll venture from the safety of the cardio equipment, for fear of being ogled by hoards of sweaty meatheads.  I’ll save my schtick on why you shouldn’t care what these meatheads are looking at for another day.  Today, I’m going to give you something to supplement the machine work that is sure to double the effects of your workout.

How to make your workout AWESOME: Fine, you’re still not ready for the free weight section, so you’re going to stick to the machines.  Well, there’s something you can do, that requires little equipment and just a bit of spare room, that will really push your body to the max.  That something is plyometrics.  Studies have shown that when plyometrics are combined with a weight training plan, the resulting workout is more effective than either on its own.  Basically, plyometrics give you a natural boost to get you closer to developing that killer physique.  After every couple exercises on the machines, try out some of these movements below. 

The moral of the story is you need to push the envelope if you want to continue making gains and getting closer to the body and health you’ve always wanted.  Doing what everyone else is doing isn’t going to get it done.  Next time you’re at the gym, take a good look at everyone else.  They’re average.  Don’t set your sights for average.  Shooting for average leads to diminished gains, exercise burnout, and an endless cycle of chasing something  that just always seems just out of reach. Stop the chase today and start making real progress.  Give yourself an AWESOME workout and AWESOME results will follow.

Stay connected to the Share It Fitness launch by signing up here for a free Silver membership plan, and be sure to subscribe to our blog so you don’t miss any of our fitness and nutrition posts.

Do This…Look like That…Total Body Blitz Workout

Fitness is simple..it really is.  Most trainers, websites, exercise DVD makers, etc, want to make it seem like there’s some exact, and hard to comprehend, scientific formula to getting in shape.  They all claim to have figured it out, and purport that THEIR method is the best, and likely, only way to get in shape.  The whole game is designed to confuse you, so you become reliant on them for their advice and/or workouts.  The game is up; this simply isn’t the way fitness works.

Certainly, there are some elements of any successful workout program that must be followed.  We aren’t saying you can just go out, casually lift some weights, run a few miles a week, and develop a killer bod.  It’s not quite that simple.  Problem with so many exercise programs out there today is they take bits and pieces of the three basic elements of a great workout.  P90x, for example, is great at utilizing muscle confusion techniques…but only for a limited period of time.  These workouts aren’t geared for a lifelong body transformation..rather, a 90 day change, at which point, your body has gotten so used to the workout cycle, it stops making progress.

I’ve been in the exercise biz many a year now, and have created Share It Fitness to bring top quality exercise programming to the masses.  I’ve seen what works and what doesn’t.  I know women don’t want to look like men, they simply want to develop that lean, mean, athletic look.  Being fit and sexy isn’t about being deathly skinny and starving yourself.  It’s about having a lean, toned upper body, a strong core, and a powerful and explosive lower body.  Developing this is very simple.  All it takes is self-discipline and a well-crafted plan.  If you stick to the plan below, to a T, I guarantee you will discover the body you’ve always wanted (provided you are eating a healthy diet as well).

It’s time to stop messing around with trends and fads, and start training to change your body and life, permanently.

For each week, each bullet point corresponds to one day.  It is best to do these in order (first bullet point = Monday, second bullet point = Tuesday, etc.) as the routine has been carefully designed to allow your muscles to rest effectively.

Week 1

  • Monday – 60 minutes HIIT cycling (30 seconds 100% intensity, 1:30 60% intensity, repeat for an hour)
  • Tuesday – 5 sets of 8: squats, barbell deadlifts, sumo squats, walking lunges, reverse lunges. 100 box jumps.
  • Wednesday – 30 minutes HIIT jump rope (45 seconds jump, 30 seconds rest. repeat for half-hour)/15 minutes row machine
  • Thursday – 5 sets of 8: bench press, military press, barbell curls, skull crushers, snatch, lat pulldowns. 250 ab reps ( you pick the type of exercises)
  • Friday – 60 minute jog

Tips: Try to complete this Mon-Fri, allowing yourself a full two days off on the weekend.  On weight days, make sure the weight is heavy enough that the 7th and 8th rep are VERY tough to complete.  Training heavy at the beginning of this program is key for establishing  your base.

Week 2:

  • Monday – 5 sets of 8: deadlifts, bulgarian squats, lunges. 5 sets of 50: squat jumps,  calve raises.  Plank for 3 minutes, 60 reverse crunches, 60 hanging knee raises.
  • Tuesday – 60 minutes HIIT cycling (:30/1:30 format)
  • Wednesday – 5 sets of 8: incline bench press, clean and press, overhead tricep extension, bent over barbell row, concentration curls, upright row.
  • Thursday – 60 minutes HIIT running (sprint for 30 seconds/jog for 1:30 minutes)
  • Friday – 5 sets of 8: deadlifts, bulgarian squats, lunges. 50 squat jumps, 50 calve raises.  Plank for 3 minutes, 60 reverse crunches, 60 hanging knee raises

Tips: When there aren’t any sets listed for squat jumps, calve raises, planks, and any ab exercises, complete the number of reps/time in as few sets as possible. i.e. 50 squats as fast as possible, before moving on to the 50 calve raises.  Continue to go heavy on the weight during resistance training.

Week 3:

  • Monday – Super Sets: jump rope 45 seconds/12 box jumps/rest 1 minute.  Repeat 20 times.
  • Tuesday – 5 sets of 8: close grip lat pulldowns, single arm dumbbell rows, dumbbell bench press, dumbbell flys, incline dumbbell curls, standing barbell curls, lat pulldown burnout (100 reps on light weight).
  • Wednesday – Super Sets: jump rope 45 seconds/12 box jumps/rest 1 minute.  Repeat 20 times.
  • Thursday – 100 body weight squats, 60 crunches, 100 alternating lunges, 60 bicycle crunches, 100 knee tucks, 100 flutter kicks, 3 minutes plank.
  • Friday – 30 minutes HIIT cycling (:20/1:00 format), 30 minutes HIIT running (sprint every other .2 miles, i.e. 0-.2 jog, .2-.4 sprint, .4-.6 jog, .6-.8 sprint, .8-1 mile sprint)

Tips: Super sets involve no rest between exercises; only rest when indicated.  Last week of heavy resistance, go hard and heavy.  Make sure you’ve increased the weight on each exercise from Week 1, if only slightly.

Week 4

  • Monday – 3 sets of 20: leg press machine, squats, deadlifts, calve raises, hamstring curl machine, box jumps
  • Tuesday – 20 minutes HIIT cycling (:20/1 min), 20 minutes HIIT rowing (:20/1 min), 20 minutes HIIT jump rope (:30 jump/:30 rest)
  • Wednesday – 3 sets of 20: lat pulldowns, bench press, incline bench press, tricep pushdown, concentration curls, upright rows, bicycle crunches, decline sit ups, hanging leg raises
  • Thursday – 60 minutes casual jog
  • Friday – 3 sets of 20: leg press machine, squats, deadlifts, calve raises, hamstring curl machine, box jumps

Tips: Use light weight on resistance training days.  Do these exercises slow.  Count to a full 4 seconds on the lift, and a full 2 seconds on the lower.

The above routine is part one, of a 12-week total body makeover.  You should already be seeing results after only 4 weeks of training.  As we previewed in week 4, part 2 focuses on increasing total time under tension (TUT) resistance training, which is a departure from the high sets/low rep heavy training that made up weeks 1-3.  Cardio training begins to include more cross-training principles and explosive movements to really develop your lower body while maximizing fat loss at the same time.  Part 3 will introduce complex lift formats such as step sets, drop sets, etc. while combining short, intense bouts of cardio to give you a couple more extreme workouts each week.

Part II of this workout found here…and Part III here.

After 12-weeks, we break down how to continue to push your body over the remaining 40 weeks of the year, to  ensure you are continually making progress and avoiding burnout.  Stay connected to the Share It Fitness launch and ensure a free membership by signing up here, and be sure to subscribe to our blog so you don’t miss the rest of this Total Body Blitz workout.

Total Body in 10 Minutes

Guest post of the day…

I have a great workout for you when you are in a rush or are making the time excuse. In 10 Minutes you will get your warm up in, elevate your heart rate and improve your mood. Remember when picking a routine the key is to not make it a routine. Always changing and confusing the muscles is crucial to success. So use this one when you choose and be sure to break it out when that little voice tells you “there is not enough time” for a workout.

Lets start with the movements. First is the air squat. Take your feet and place them under your shoulders. Then shoot your hips back and down like you are going to sit back on the couch. Literally back and down. Keep a nice upright chest do not fold yourself in half. Try to look exactly like this picture at the bottom. Then stand back up so your hips and knees are locked out and repeat. A couple key things to remember: keep a vertical flat back and stay on your heels. If anything starts to hurt then stop and consult with a trainer about your form.

Next movement is a Burpee. Nope that is not misspelled, Burpee is correct. Start standing then drop down so your chest is on the floor. Then get back to your feet jump and clap. It does not matter what goes on in the middle you can peel yourself up or do a push up. Just think about the two end points chest to the deck then jump and clap. Last movement is a V-up. Lay flat on the floor on your back. Extend your arms over your head. Now bring your feet and arms together over the center of your body at the same time. Finish position looks like this.  If that is too difficult then lift your legs as high as you can. Scaling is perfectly acceptable.

Now you have the movements, lets get to the workout.

You have 2 min to warm up. Get the blood flowing by hitting some jumping jacks, light jogging and dynamic stretching. Since you only have 10 min we will cut 2 min off for the warm up so no excuses about time. Oh yeah this workout is time based. Get a stop watch or use your phone. At the end of the 8 minutes you will record the amount of work you have done.

The Workout is….

20 Air Squats
10 Burpees
20 V-ups

Do that as many times as you can in 8 Min.

At the end of eight minutes record your score. Your score equals how many rounds you completed. An example would be 2 rounds plus 5 burpees.

Three Things to remember during this workout
1) Breath. During your squats and Burpees espcially. It is difficult to establish a breathing pattern during the V-ups but do your best.
2) Keep an active core during your air squats. It should be engaged and tight at all times during the movement.
3) This workout is about pushing yourself. Break through that mental barrier and work for the full 8 minutes are hard as you can. If you only get one round that is fine. As long as you put out your best effort!

I want to touch on the importance of recording your work. This is a great way for you to keep track of your progress. Think of it like running a mile. You want to get faster each time. If the scale does not change but you double your rounds I can guarantee you will be looking and feeling better.

Another tip for this workout is to do it with a friend. If the two of you are working hard together it will push you to work harder. If you are embarrassed or unsure of yourself pick a good friend and go outside your comfort zone. The results will be amazing. This blog post was kindly written for us by Geo Rockwell, founder of Fitrilla.com, where fitness entrepreneurs share their secrets to success. He has his CrossFit level one certification, CrossFit Endurance Certification, ACE Certification, and a Bachelors in Physical Education.

Secrets to a Supercharged Workout: Burn More Fat, Build More Muscle, Spend Less Time

Think about the last time you walked into a gym.  Odds are you saw the same thing you’ve seen a hundred times before.  The bench press and free weight section is packed to the brim with men, boys lifting for 15 seconds, resting (read: flexing, talking, ogling girls, etc.) for 2 minutes.  Then you’ve got your elliptical and treadmill ladies who spend 40, 50, 60+ minutes plodding along on their machine, the only thing changing is the pages of their US Weekly magazine as they casually flip through.  Throw in a healthy portion of fillers, the people who just kind of mill around, check their phone, text their friends, wait in line for the water fountain, and you’ve got a pretty standard gym anywhere in America.

These people mentioned above usually spend more time at the gym than I do.  This makes sense as most people think more time spent at the gym means they’ve worked harder.  But like almost all things in life, it’s not about what you do, it’s about how you do it. 

You’ve absolutely got to get yourself out of this cycle if you’re one of these people.  The purpose of going to the gym is to make progress; there is no other reason to be at the gym.  If you aren’t doing yourself any good, you’re simply wasting your time.  Mentally, you may feel you are doing something right by going to the gym for 90 minutes a day, but if you look at yourself in the mirror and look pretty much the same as you did 6 months ago, you ain’t doing something right!

Check it out…if you want to look like Sally from accounting, do a Sally from accounting workout (you’ll find these scattered all over the internet).  If you want to look like Ironwoman, Lokelani McMichael (or for you guys, Adrian Peterson) then you’ve got to do short, high-intensity, explosive workouts that replicate the training of professional athletes.  Because you are going to be training at an elevated level, the amount of time spent in the gym can be drastically cut.  IF you are going hard enough, workouts should never go beyond 45 minutes, and in many cases, 30 minutes is all you need.  Think of every infomercial you’ve ever seen….they’re all promising better results in less time.  Well, now you’ve got a non-gimmicky, sure-fire way to achieve better results in less time.  Leave the 5 minute workout DVDs and thigh master for the wannabe’s.

Now, lets get into the nuts and bolts of this format of training.  This type of workout will rely on three pillars; high- intensity interval training, explosive plyometric resistance training, and full-body supersets.  The combination of all three results in a chemical response in your body that provides benefits unseen by standard training methods.  The chemicals involved in this release are HGH (Human Growth Hormone), Testosterone, and IGF-1. 

HIIT

Many of you have submitted questions in the past about running long and slow, as you’ve heard that your body uses fat for fuel during long-duration exercise.  While this is technically true, it doesn’t paint the full picture.  For one, when you stop your long and slow training, your body instantly stops burning fat.  This is because your heart rate hasn’t been elevated enough to raise your metabolism significantly enough to continue to burn calories.  Even more alarming, long slow bouts of cardio signal the release of the hormone cortisol.  Cortisol is a muscle killing chemical that eats up your lean muscle mass.  Think about long-distance runners for a minute…they don’t exactly have muscular physiques, do they? 

The key here is to train at an intensity that elevates your heart rate, so your metabolism continues to burn calories well after your workout has ended.  During the workout you will be burning carbohydrates for energy.  Afterwards, your body will switch to burning fat.  As your heart rate soars, you begin to struggle, and your oxygen demands sky-rocket.  As you inhale more air to meet the needs of your body, your metabolism begins to rise.  This phenomenon is known as EPOC, or post-exercise oxygen consumption. 

Since your carb stores have been depleted during your workout, your body turns to fat stores after your workout to bring your body back to a normal resting state.  The amount of work required to take your body from all out exertion to a normal resting rate is significant, which is why your body continues to burn calories well after you are finished working out.  Some studies suggest that EPOC will cause your body to keep an elevated fat-burning potential for up to 48 hours. 

Want to make use of EPOC and HIIT?  Try either of our jump rope workouts for maximum effect! Found here and here.  If running/biking/swimming/etc is more your thing…try to perform your activity for 20-30 seconds at maximum effort followed by 45 seconds at half-speed.  Repeat this for 20-30 minutes total.

Explosive Plyometric Resistance Training

When I look at an athlete like Adrian Peterson, or UFC fighter Georges St. Pierre, I see a lean, explosive individual.  Their muscle fibers look like they are just itching to explode out of their bodies.  Comparatively, when I look at a powerlifter like Mr. Olympia, Jay Cutler, I see insane size, but I don’t get the same feeling of speed, athleticism, and explosion that the bodies of the other two convey.  Since I’m guessing most of our readers are more concerned with building a lean, athletic appearance, and not so concerned with building 22 inch biceps, training in a way that lends itself towards your goals, is paramount. 

With that said, the old format of lifting as heavy as possible, then resting for minutes on end before repeating is great if you want to look like Mr. Jay Cutler.  Bodybuilders use this technique to add massive size gains to their frames.  If you want to look like a lean, mean, fighting machine, try supersetting standard movements with explosive plyometric exercises.

Use heavy weights (3-4 sets, 6-8 reps) with this technique and limit your rest time (hopefully to nothing!) between the secondary exercise in the pair.

Some examples of training combos would include:

  • Barbell Incline Bench Press supersetted with explosive 20 Mountain Climbers
  • Bentover Barbell Row supersetted with 15 Squat Jumps
  • Lat Pulldowns supersetted with 12 Burpees
  • Front Barbell Squats supersetted with 10 Plyometric Pushups

Make a concerted effort to put maximum effort into the plyometric portion of the superset.  Go about completing these exercises in a calculated, methodical manner.  Think explosive.  Think max intensity.

This type of training will cause your body to wonder what the heck is going on.  Your heart rate is going to soar, hormones are going to be released in far greater quantity, and EPOC is going to come on in full effect. All in all, you’ve just done more for your body than any of those other people spending three times as long in the gym.

Full-Body Supersets

This next piece of advice is great for both men and women, but all you brodies out there, pay special attention.  Whenever I see guys at the gym, they are often supersetting between two exercises, hitting the same body part.  Think, military press and front dumbbell raises.  This is a fantastic way to add size and strength, and is a technique used by many bodybuilders.  However, as I mentioned earlier, I’m going to go out on a limb and guess most of you aren’t body builders.  This type of supersetting doesn’t do much for your metabolism.  In order to continue to build that muscle, while at the same time burning fat, go for full-body supersets.

By combining upper and lower body movements, with adequate intensity, you will cause your body to release greater amounts of HGH, testosterone, and IGF-1, than if you were to stick to the same body part supersetting you’re probably used to.

The release of these chemicals does wonders for those wanting to add lean muscle mass to their frames.  As an added bonus, the fat burning effects of EPOC (which you will experience if you are maintaining the right intensity between upper/lower body movements) is going to shred you up at the same time.  No more weight training PLUS cardio days at the gym.  Knock it all out in one intense workout.

To get the full benefits from this type of training, make sure you go heavy on the weights.  Aim for 6-8 reps per exercise and use compound movements whenever possible.  A good full-body routine would include the following:

  • Wide Grip Pullups supersetted with Pushups
  • Military Press supersetted with Deadlifts
  • Bench Press supersetted with Barbell Squats
  • Close Grip Bench Press supersetted with Barbell Clean and Press
  • Dumbbell Snatch supersetted with Box Jumps

 

In closing, standard isolation exercises, long and low-intensity cardio, and long rest periods are great for bodybuilders.  However, the fact is, 99.9% of you aren’t bodybuilders.  You’re regular people who simply want to add muscle, lose fat, and look great under your clothes.  Long, lean, and athletic.    I know exactly how you feel. In order to look that way, you must train that way.  Get yourself in gear and begin using the methods laid out in this article.  Stay tuned, because our next write-up is going to feature more advanced technique which combines all three methods into one insane workout.  Happy lifting!

Why You Aren’t Losing Fat (And What You Can Do About It)

I’ve seen it countless times.  Someone does their cardio exercise almost everyday, usually it’s a run, eats right, but still cannot lose their excess body fat.  There really isn’t anything more frustrating in all of fitness than doing the things you think you are supposed to be doing, and STILL holding on to that body fat you so desperately want to see disappear. 

Maybe you’re on the elliptical or other machine which tells you how many calories you’re burning.  You use a food journal, do the math, and have calculated you are burning more calories than you are taking in; you SHOULD be losing weight you may think to yourself. 

You may start to feel like all your efforts to run, bike, whatever it is you typically do, are in vain.  You are simply maintaining and see no progress.  This is a classic thought process, and one of the biggest contributors to burn out.  Instead of being the benefit to your love handles, what if we told you your cardio routine may be the reason why you aren’t losing fat?  Keep listening…

For many people, running is their form of cardio exercise.  They’ll often go on 4, 5, 6+ mile runs and think they are doing what they are supposed to be doing.  In reality, your body is a pretty remarkable machine.  It can easily adapt to a given stimulus over a period of time.  Doing primarily the same runs at the same speed over a period of time is going to slowly decrease the effectiveness of the run.  Your body becomes more and more efficient at handling the same run, which leads to the workout becoming less challenging over time.  After some time of doing the same basic run, your body will burn less calories for energy than it did when you first began your running regimen.

There is some research out there that suggests long, slow-to-moderate paced cardio workouts may contribute to the LOSS of lean muscle mass over time.  As we should all know by now, the loss of muscle mass contributes to a decrease in your metabolic rate.  The body with less lean muscle mass is burning fewer calories at rest than the same body with more lean muscle mass.  Your goal is to keep your metabolism as high as possible for your body type.  Combine this with the fact that your body has adapted to your cardio routine, and you have recipe for non-existent fat loss and a loss of motivation.

You may have heard the myth that you burn more fat calories by doing low-intensity cardio, while high-intensity cardio uses more carbohydrate stores for energy.  Per a recent CNN Health article: 

“In general, low intensity exercise has its place — it’s less stressful on joints.

The myth is that if you exercise too intensely, you end up burning carbohydrates instead of fat.

It’s the most dangerous type of myth because there’s a kernel of truth in it, Hutchinson said.

The more intensely you exercise, the higher proportion of carbs you burn. You may burn less fat, but the total amount of calories burned is higher and that is the bigger picture.

When your body has burned up all the carbs, it starts burning fat.

“You can ignore zones and pay attention to how many calories you burn, which ultimately determines how much body fat you’re going to lose,” Fitzgerald said.”

Focus on how many calories you are burning during your exercise.  I realize this can be hard and confusing at times, so go all out and pull back from your training when your body demands that you do so.  You will no doubt be burning more calories, and ultimately, more fat, by training at an elevated pace.

So, what does all this mean for you?  Our mantra is this: if you want to look like an athlete (and here too), you need to train like an athlete.  How does one train like an athlete you may be wondering.  For one, athletes and people with lean, athletic, healthy builds, don’t simply go on the same run everyday and expect to keep losing weight.  Cross-training is the key to success, along with high-intensity interval training.

Don’t stay at one pace the entire time you do your cardio.  Work short, intense bursts of energy expenditure into your run, bike ride, etc.  Every few minutes, go at 90-100% for 30 seconds.  Ease up, and repeat this cycle for as long as you are exercising for.  This type of training keeps your body on its toes, and will never allow it to get comfortable with what you are doing, which is key to speed up fast loss.

Cross-training is just another word for training your body using various formats to achieve a higher level of success.  You should always aim to incorporate various forms of fitness into your routine.  Alternating your weight training program to include periods of heavy weights/low reps, and low weights/high reps, supplementing with pilates classes, cardio-based fitness classes, wind sprints, running stairs…..you get the point.

The principles of cross-training is what helped shape the Body Diversity Training method we founded here at Share It Fitness.  We believe combining a variety of strength/cardio based fitness classes with an effective weight training routine is the single best way to achieve that healthy, lean, and toned body everyone should be striving for. 

Above all, you need to develop the mental discipline to push yourself.  Whether you are going for a run, lifting weights, or taking a bike ride.  NEVER get comfortable with what you are doing.  If you ever get to the point where going for that run doesn’t seem like work, it’s because it probably isn’t anymore.  Always up your intensity when possible, push yourself to lift that heavier weight, and keep trying different forms of exercise.  Do this, and that stubborn fat is going to start melting away in no time.

%d bloggers like this: