Archive for the ‘Strength Training’ Category

The Greatest Ab Workout in the World

Can we be honest for a minute?  When most of us are working out, what is the one area that we want to effect the most?  The answer is almost always, the abdominals.  After all, who doesn’t want a nice six-pack to show off?  With warm weather on the way, and skimpier clothing following suit, we’ll finally get to see what everyone has been working on (or not working on) this winter.  The good news is, if you’re reading this today, you still have more than enough time to develop a tight and toned mid-section.

Let me back up a second, you still have enough time if you break free from the same ab crunches and other similar core exercises you’ve been doing sporadically over the past however many years.  While they have their place for sure, they need to be intermixed with more complex abdominal exercises to maximize their effects.  After a while of trial and error, and seeing what works and doesn’t, I’ve developed what I believe to be the greatest abdominal workout you’ve ever attempted.  Before we jump into the routine, there are a few things we need to address.

  • All the ab work in the world isn’t giving you a six-pack if there is a layer of fat covering your abdominal muscles.  Diet + cardio work are the two most important things.  Get these two things right and use this routine to develop the muscles in your core.  Unlike other abdominal routines, this workout incorporates intense cardiovascular work that burns fat but also targets the core.  Two birds, one stone.
  • Your “six pack” is actually the Rectus Abdominis muscle.  It is ONE muscle.  Sometimes you’ll hear people say, “Oh I need to work my lower abs because they’re really lacking”.  Well, as hard as they want to try to train their lower abs, they really are still working the Rectus Abdominis muscle.  A vital part of developing beautiful abdominal muscles is making sure to use compound abdominal exercises which hit larger portions of the Rectus Abdominis, rather than isolating specific parts of it.
  • Include these workouts into the rest of your workout routine.  There is much debate about whether or not working the abdominals every day is appropriate.  It is my belief that while you can work the abdominals more often than other muscle groups since they are more accustomed to stress (keeping you upright, supporting your bodyweight, etc.) than say your biceps, I still feel they are a muscle and need to be given adaquate rest time.  Aim to complete this routine no more than 3 days a week, with about 48 hours rest between workouts.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way… lets move on to the workout that is going to completely change the way you look at core work forever.

As mentioned above, add days 1 and 3 to your current workout routine; try adding them to the end of a workout day.  Complete day 2 on its own.  If you are on a 5 day a week exercise program, either substitute day 2 of this workout for one of those days, OR (preferably) complete the day 2 workout over the weekend.  If you don’t currently have a workout routine, check around the blog for some pretty killer total body workout programs.

Day 1 – Strictly maintain rest times listed after each set.

  • 4 x 20 Decline plate sit-ups – On a decline bench, and holding a plate against your chest, sit up while slightly twisting your torso to the left.  Lower yourself, then repeat, this time, slightly twisting to the right.  Repeat this for the prescribed number of reps/sets. 30 seconds rest between sets.
  • 3 x 20  Eagle sit ups – 30 seconds rest between sets
  • 3 x 30 V-sits on bench – 30 seconds rest between sets
  • 3 x 15 Hanging leg raises – If this is too difficult, feel free to bend your legs and bring your knees to your chest.  If hanging from a pull up bar is too hard, use a dip machine, like this.  20 seconds rest between sets.
  • 3 x 30 Russian Twists with weight – Complete a full rotation, side-to-side.  Hold a dumbbell, medicine ball, plate, or other weighted object.  30 seconds rest between sets.
  • 4 x 25 Cable crunch – 30 seconds rest between sets.

Day 2 – Day 2 is going to incorporate cardiovascular movements that also hit your abs, giving you a double-dose of six-pack buildling goodness.  This should be a complete workout routine by itself, i.e., 45-60 minutes in length.

  • 4 x 15 Burpees/4 x 20 crunches – Perform 1 set of burpees immediately followed by 1 set of crunches (follow this format for all exercises below). Rest 45 seconds.  Repeat.
  • 4 x 30 Mountain climbers/4 x 100 pilates hundreds – 45 second rest between sets
  • 4 x 30 Horizontal jacks/4 x 40 Hip dips (20 per side) – 45 second rest between sets
  • 4 x 30 Speed skaters holding a plate – If you can’t make your way up to holding a plate, no problem.  Go without the plate until you feel able.  30 second rest between sets.
  • 5 x 1 Running high knees in place – 30 second rest between sets.
  • 5 x 25 Reverse crunches – 30 second rest between sets.
  • 4 x 15 burpees/4 x 25 crunches
  • 10 minutes HIIT sprinting (:30 sprint/1:30 jog)

Day 3 – So, in Day 1 we really used heavy weights to bring your Rectus Abdominis to complete exhaustion; you should have felt a deep after burn following this workout.  In Day 2 we incorporated a cardio element and utilized compound supersets to help build your abdominal muscles while burning the layer of fat covering them.  In Day 3, we are going to up our repetitions so your muscles don’t know what the heck is going on.  Take a deep breath, put your seatbelt on, and get ready to go..here’s the final part of this workout…

  • 2 x 50 bicycle crunches – 20 second rest between sets.
  • 2 x 50 Flutter kicks – 15 second rest between sets.
  • 2 x 40 Feet up crunch – 30 second rest between sets.
  • 2 x 100 heel touches – 15 second rest between sets.
  • 3 x 15 Pike ups – 30 second rest between sets.
  • 2 x 40 Windshield wipers – 30 seconds rest between sets.
  • 2 x 1 minute planks – 30 seconds rest between sets.
  • 10 x 15 Crunches – 10 seconds rest between sets.

There you have it guys.  To recap, we’re going to fully burn your abdominals out on Day 1 with a focus on weighted exercises.  Day 2 is going to introduce cardio exercises and compound supersets to kill your core and blast fat.  Day 3 utilizes high repetitions and shorter rest times to completely confuse your abdominals.  This three-pronged approach, using the exercises above, has proven to be extremely effective for real-life clients and remote clients alike.  Stick to the plan, include extra cardio if you could use it (realistically, almost all of us can), and eat a clean and well-balanced diet.  Remember, 60% of the battle for that six-pack will be accomplished by your diet and burning the fat covering your stomach through the use of high-intensity cardiovascular work.   As always, if you guys have any questions or need clarification, feel free to leave a comment.

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

You’ve made it to the home stretch.  If you’re reading this, hopefully you’ve made it through the first two parts of this Total Body Blitz workout without too many troubles.  Hope you’re ready for a serious challenge because we’re about to close things out with a bang.  Part III incorporates a healthy mix of compound lifts interspersed with bouts of high-intensity cardio.  This format departs from the standard weightlifting one day, cardio the next, that made up parts I and II.  We’ll still separate things here and there to give you a break, but for the most part, be ready to do your weightlifting and cardio in one intense workout.

We’ve successfully mixed things up over the past 2 months to keep your body guessing what’s coming next.  If you’ve been maintaining a good diet, you should have easily dropped significant body fat, as well as added muscle to your frame.  Part III really maximizes your fat burning potential, both during AND after the workout.  You probably have a good idea about how we’ll zap calories DURING the workout, but have you considered this type of workout can help you maximize caloric burn AFTER your workout?  Meet EPOC (Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption).  EPOC is your new best friend.  It represents how many additional calories your body burns after your workout has ended.

Your body wants to return to its pre-exercise state as soon as a period of exercise end.  After a boring, 30 minute jog, or simple weight lifting session, returning to this state isn’t very hard.  After completing a workout that combines the right intensity and exercises, your body is going to struggle to return to its pre-exericse state.  This is a good thing.  EPOC means, your body is using more energy, and burning more calories, as it tries to adjust itself to your resting state.  To maximize EPOC, and the calories you burn throughout the day, you will want to focus on lifting heavy weights (this elevates heart rate, which is great for increasing EPOC), limiting rest periods (I’ll let you know when to rest and for how long), and doing short but intense bursts of cardio.

If all of this sounds confusing, relax.  Part III of this workout plan is very easy to plan and everything is laid out for you.  Just follow along with the exercises and rest times, and you’ll be fine.  So what those nuggets of knowledge safely tucked away in your brain…on to the workout…

Week 1/2

Tips: Whenever you you see a combo with a slash (/) between exercises like this: 3 x 8 lat pulldowns/ 3 x 12 burpees/45 second rest… you will want to do 1 set of 8 lat pulldowns, immediately followed by 1 set of 12 burpees, followed by 45 seconds rest.  You will then repeat for the additional two sets in the combo.  Make sure to use heavy weight so the 8th repetition is very difficult on sets 1 and 2, and near impossible on set 3.

Monday

  • 3 x 8 Lat pulldowns/3 x 12 burpees/45 second rest
  • 4 x 10 reverse pushups/4 x 20 mountain climbers/30 second rest
  • 3 x 8 barbell curls/3 x 15 side squat jumps (squat, jump as far as you can to one side, repeat)/45 seconds rest
  • 4 x 8 bentover barbell rows/4 x 30 twist jumps (squat, jump and do a 180 degree twist, repeat)/45 second rest
  • 3 x 10 close grip rows/3 x 20 box jumps/30 second rest
  • 3 x 25 crunches, 3 x 25 bicycle crunches, 3 x 25 dumbbell crunches (hold dumbbell over head with straight arms and crunch up).

Tuesday

  • 3 x 10 bench press/3 x 30 flutter kicks/45 second rest
  • 4 x 8 barbell skullcrushers/4 x 50 jumping jacks/30 second rest
  • 3 x 10 dumbbell military press/3 x 30 med ball woodchoppers (15 to each side)/45 second rest
  • 4 x 15 bench dips/4 x 15 dumbbell bench step ups/30 second rest
  • 3 x 10 barbell clean and press/3 x 10 burpees/60 seconds rest
  • 4 x 10 incline bench press/4 x 30 mountain climbers/45 second rest
Wednesday
  • 3 x 10 barbell or smith machine squats/3 x 45 second jump rope/45 second rest
  • 4 x 10 deadlifts/4 x 20 horizontal jacks (In plank position, jump your feet off the ground and spread feet wide, jump feet off the body and bring your feet together so you’ve returned to plank position, repeat)/60 second rest
  • 3 x 10 dumbbell lunges/3 x 25 lunge jumps (lunge, jump up, and switch legs in mid-air and land on other foot forward)/45 second rest
  • 4 x 10 reverse dumbbell lunges/4 x 45 second jump rope/45 second rest
  • 3 x 12 box or bench jumps/30 second jump rope/3 x 20 mountain climbers/30 second plank/60 second rest

Thursday

  • 30 minutes HIIT (:30/1:30)cycling, 30 minutes (:30/1:30) HIIT running, 15 minutes (jump :40/rest :40) HIIT jump rope
Friday
  • 3 x 10 dumbbell bench press/3 x 30 flutter kicks/45 second rest.
  • 3 x 8 barbell skullcrushers/3 x 50 jumping jacks/30 second rest.
  • 4 x 10 barbell upright row/4 x 30 med ball woodchoppers (15 to each side)/45 second rest
  • 3 x 10 overhead dumbbell tricep press/3 x 15 dumbbell bench step ups/30 second rest
  • 4 x 10 barbell clean and press/4 x 10 burpees/60 second rest
  • 3 x 10 incline dumbbell flys/3 x 35 mountain climbers/45 second rest
Week 3/4
Monday
  • 4 x 10 close grip lat pulldowns/4 x 45 seconds jump rope/45 second rest
  • 3 x 8 wide grip rows/3 x 100 light toe taps (lightly tap tip of foot on a low object, switch foot mid-air, use fast feet)/30 second rest
  • 3 x 10 cable rope curls/3 x 12 burpees/45 second rest
  • 4 x 10 T-bar rows/4 x 30 side jumps (lay bar down, jump back and forth over bar)/45 second rest
  • 3 x 10 single arm dumbbell rows/3 x 50 speed skaters/45 second rest
  • 3 x 30 dumbbell crunches, 3 x 30 scissor kicks, 3 x 1 minute planks.
Tuesday
  • 4 x 45 second jump rope/4 x 8 burpees/4 x 20 mountain climbers/4 x 30 second plank/75 second rest
  • 3 x 10 bench press/3 x 25 box jumps/45 second rest
  • 3 x 10 incline dumbbell bench press/3 x 20 dumbbell bench step ups/45 second rest
  • 4 x 10 close grip bench press/4 x 50 jumping jacks/45 second rest
  • 3 x 10 lateral raise/3 x 10 knee tuck jumps/45 second rest
  • 3 x 10 tricep rope pushdowns/3 x 10 front raise/30 second rest
Wednesday
  • 4 x 10 squats/4 x 20 box jumps/rest 60 seconds
  • 3 x 10 deadlifts/3 x 20 lateral bench hops (keep one foot on bench, hop side to side with foot on ground. switch at 10)/rest 60 seconds
  • 3 x 10 quad extensions/3 x 10 hamstring curls/3 x 25 bodyweight squats
  • 3 x 10 bulgarian squat/3 x 10 reverse dumbbell side squats (step at a 45 degree angle instead of directly behind you)/30 second rest
  • 3 x 20 knee tuck jumps/3 x 10 burpees/45 second rest
  • 5 x 1 minute jump rope/5 x 30 second plank/5 x 25 bicycle crunches/75 second rest

Thursday

  • 20 Trifecta’s (Kick your legs out and drop down as if you are doing a burpee, do a pushup, pop yourself up, jump up and do a pull up.  If you can’t do a pull up do a hanging pull up, then repeat.)  Perform all 20 as quickly as possible.
  • 2 x 25 box jumps/ 2 x 25 jumping jacks/2 x 25 mountain climbers/2 x 25 crunches/rest 60 seconds
  • 15 minute HIIT cycling (20 second sprint/40 second relaxed pace)
  • 15 minute HIIT sprinting (:20 sprint/:40 jog)
Friday
  • 3 x 10 lat pull downs/1 minute side planks (per side)/3 x 10 hammer curls/ 45 second rest
  • 3 x 10 reverse plate curls/3 x 10 bent over plate rows/3 x 40 mountain climbers/ 45 second rest
  • 3 x 10 lat pushdown/3 x 40 twist jumps/45 second rest
  • 4 x 10 wide grip curls/4 x 12 dumbbell shrugs/4 x 20 tuck jumps/60 second rest
  • 3 x 10 close grip rows/3 x 10 lying dumbbell curls/3 x 30 box or bench jumps/rest 60 seconds
  • 100 crunches/100 bicycle crunches/100 hanging knee raises (perform all 100 reps for each exercise before moving on.  Complete as quickly as possible).
Completing the above routine will bring you through the 12th week of this Total Body Blitz workout plan.  Of course, this doesn’t mean you are finished.  Achieving a healthy mind and body (both inside and out) is accomplished by making consistent fitness a part of your life.  One of the most key concepts in all of this, is to make sure you are constantly mixing things up every 4-6 weeks.  Maybe find a different 12-week plan once you are finished with this.  Maybe start taking pilates, spin, or kickboxing classes in addition to your regular workout routine.  Maybe you start doing swimming workouts.  Maybe you want to try some boxing workouts for 4-6 weeks.  Maybe you want to go through this plan again, but increase the sets, order of exercises, cardio intervals, etc.  This is the beauty of fitness.  As long as your workout is pushing yourself to reach new levels, you can’t go wrong.
For those who follow this path, progress will be steady and sustained.  By the end of this 12-week period you should already be looking and feel world’s better than you were 3 months ago.  Continue pushing yourself for another 12 weeks and you’ll no doubt be amazed with the progress you’ve made.  Take things day by day.  Get through one workout, then focus on the next.  If you looked ahead to part III while you were still in week 1 of part I, you would likely have been intimidated and overwhelmed by what lay ahead.  The healthiest and most fit bodies belong to the people who take things one day at a time.  Do all you can for that one workout, eat right, take care of yourself, and all your goals will be realized.  Simple as that.
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Summer Shred Workout Plan

 

With summer just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about your bathing suit body.  The workout below is for the serious exerciser looking to change things up.  I’ve seen a lot of guys (and girls) do really well on this routine.  Variety is the key component of this workout.  If you’ve been stuck doing something similar for a while, maybe even another Share It Fitness workout plan, give this one a look.  As you should know by now, confusing your body is the best way to consistently making gains.  This plan is designed more towards those who want to build muscle (ladies – you will NOT get bulky from this plan, I promise!) with lower amounts of body fat to burn.  Simply put this plan is going to get you ripped and toned up and looking like an Olympic athlete. 

Your muscles are going to have that shredded (not bulky) look almost everyone wants.  At the bottom of this plan, I’ve included a quick meal guide to help ensure you are getting ample protein.  Remember guys, muscle tissue doesn’t grow just because you’re lifting weights.  Muscle tissue grows because your lifting weights AND feeding your body fuel to create this new tissue…very important.

I broke things up into a push/pull format.  You’ll do almost all push exercises on one day, pull exercises on another, legs on the third, and fourth will vary.  Be sure to follow the exercises listed in order.  If you are unsure what an exercise is, just submit a comment and I’ll fill you in.

 
Week 1 and 2 – 4 sets of 6-8, unless otherwise noted in parenthesis.  If reps increase, lower the weight accordingly.

 
Day 1: Bench Press, Incline Bench Press, Clean and Press, Incline Dumbbell Flys, Barbell Upright Row, Skullcrushers, (3×10) dumbbell lateral raise, (in as few sets as possible) 100 dips
Day 2: Barbell Squats (on rack or smith machine), Barbell Deadlifts, Leg Press Machine, Calf Raises, Sumo Squats (on rack or smith machine), (4×25) 100 crunches, (4×25) 100 weighted ab crunch machine, (4×12) hanging knee raises
Day 3: Lat Pulldowns, Bent over Barbell Row, (in as few sets as possible) 40 wide-grip pull ups, Close Grip Row, Hammer Curls, Single Arm Dumbbell Rows, (3×10) close grip pulldowns, Incline Dumbbell Curls
Day 4: 30 min HIIT sprinting (:30sprint/1:30jog), 30 min HIIT cycling (:30sprint/1minute relaxed cycle)

 
Week 3 and 4 – 4 sets of 6-8, unless otherwise noted in parenthesis.  If reps increase, lower the weight accordingly.

 
Day 1: Dumbbell Bench Press, Dumbbell Incline Bench Press, Clean and Press, Cable Flys, Barbell Upright Row, Tricep Rope Pushdowns, dumbbell front raise, (in as few sets as possible) 100 feet elevated pushups
Day 2: Barbell Squats (rack or smith), Barbell Deadlifts, Bulgarian Squats, Calf Raises, (4×25) squat jumps, (4×25) 100 decline crunches while holding plate, (4×25) 100 weighted ab crunch machine, (3x1minute) planks.
Day 3: Bent over Barbell Row, (in as few sets as possible) 50 wide-grip pull ups, Wide Grip Row, Barbell Preacher Curls, Dumbbell Pullovers, (3×10) close grip pulldowns, Incline Dumbbell Curls
Day 4: 30 seconds jump rope/30 seconds box jumps/rest 60 seconds/repeat 15x  30 seconds burpees/30 seconds plank/repeat 15x

 
Week 5 and 6 – 4 sets of 6-8, unless otherwise noted in parenthesis.  If reps increase, lower the weight accordingly.

Day 1: Bench Press, Incline Bench Press, Clean and Press, Decline Bench Press Machine, Arnold Presses, Close Grip Bench Press, Rear Delt Dumbbell Flys, (in as few sets as possible) 100 elevated feet pushups
Day 2: Barbell Squats (on rack or smith machine), Barbell Deadlifts, Close Stance Leg Press Machine, Butt to Floor Squats (on rack or smith machine), (4×30) bicycle crunches, (4×30) weighted ab crunch machine, (4×60) flutter kicks
Day 3: Lat Pulldowns, Bent over Barbell Row, (in as few sets as possible) 40 wide-grip pull ups, Close Grip Row, Row Machine 30 minutes
Day 4: 30 min HIIT sprinting (:30sprint/1:30jog), 30 min HIIT cycling (:30sprint/1minute relaxed cycle)

 
This will get you through 6 weeks.  When you’re nearing the end of week 6, check back on the blog for another 6 week muscle focused routine.  One thing to make absolutely sure of is the weight you are using.  You’ve got to use heavy weight so the final rep in your 6-8 reps is hard in sets 1,2; almost impossible in set 3, and brings you to the point of muscle failure in your last set (meaning you can’t complete the final rep).  Now, that advice is what would be considered ideal. If you are working out alone, without a spotter, it’s okay to back off a little.   You don’t need to kill yourself by dropping a bar on your head because you attempted a final rep, but you can figure out whether or not you’ll be hitting failure on the next rep.  Don’t risk hurting yourself, just push yourself to the brink and then back off. 

One other quick tip; keep track of the weights you’re using for the big lifts: bench, incline bench, clean and press, squat, deadlifts, upright row, leg press, and lat pulldowns.  Try to slowly increase the weight as this plan progresses.  A good goal would be a 5-10% weight increase by the end of week 6, depending on the exercise. 

You might hear a lot of people say the only way to get bigger is to lift heavy weight/low reps.  These people are usually meatheads who don’t know what they’re talking about.  The best way to continue adding muscle is to keep things fresh and making it so your body can’t adapt to the stimulus.  If you continue beyond this 6 week program, keep an eye out for a high rep/lower weight routine that plays off this program perfectly.  This format of lifting is just what has worked very well for me and people I’ve trained, both men and women. 

Make sure you are getting sufficient levels of protein so all your hard work isn’t wasted!  Quick guide below:

Protein Shake in the AM – 1 scoop whey, 12 oz milk = ~40 grams protein
Chicken breast 6 oz. – ~48 grams protein
Protein Shake within 30 minutes of ending workout = ~40 gram protein
1 cup greek yogurt right before bed = ~28 grams protein

Total: ~156 grams of protein before taking dinner into consideration

 

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Getting Fit 101: The Three Most Important Things You Need to Know

Okay boys and girls, it’s time to break some things down for you.  Today’s lesson will hopefully cement in your minds some very key concepts of fitness that you MUST become aware of.  Becoming aware of these things is going to help you inch closer to that six-pack, finally losing the love handles, running a 6-minute mile, nailing a 300-pound bench press, or whatever your fitness goals may be.  You see, it doesn’t matter what your goals are.  A well-tailored plan, a healthy diet, and determination is going to work for you.  Whether you are a man or woman, hard work is hard work, and the results are going to happen.  This leads me to my first point and the opening of today’s lesson…

  • Forget gender specific workouts.  Workouts should not be geared towards only men, or only women.  Sure men may be able to lift more, work longer, etc. but it doesn’t mean women can’t do the same workout.  The workout itself isn’t what is going to get you big, bulky, and looking like a man.  High levels of testosterone (something you women lack), a high calorie diet (something you can easily avoid), and the genetics to put on more muscle tissue are why men look like….men.  We’ve of course all seen women bodybuilders who look like Greek statues, veins popping and all.  Trust they didn’t get this way by simply lifting heavy weights alone.  Their physique is the result of an extremely strict, high-calorie diet, many supplements to boost their testosterone production, and relatively limited cardio.  In the end, workouts are workouts.  It’s the things mentioned above that will determine how the workout ultimately changes your body.
  • Cardio/Weight training ratios play a large part in determining your physique.  Take a look at the images below:

Now, I’m not here to judge.  There is nothing wrong with any of these body types.  The two on the end are examples of extremes.  The woman on the left is a marathon runner.  She likely does very little weight training, and focuses many hours a week on cardio.  Unfortunately, this excess amount of cardio eats up her muscle, fat (you want fat in certain places don’t you?), and leaves her very skinny. For those of you who think massive amounts of cardio is the answer…prepare to kiss any muscle (and physique) goodbye.  The woman on the right is quite obviously a serious bodybuilder.  High calories, exclusively weight lifting with no cardio for extended periods during the year, and a healthy dose of supplements (or ‘roids) have gotten her to where she is.  She didn’t get this way by simply lifting heavy weights alone.  Want to look like her?  Follow the above advice. The girl in the middle is fit, athletic, and healthy looking.  An even dose of cardio, mixed with heavy lifts, compound lifts, and a well-balanced diet have her looking the way she does.  Again, I’m not saying any of these bodies are wrong, just putting them up there and letting you decide what you want to be.

  • Understand what “toned” means. You’ll hear this word used in the fitness industry a lot.  More often than not, products, articles, etc. geared towards women will tell you their method of doing things will get you toned, not big and buff.  This is a scare tactic.  All toned means is less body fat.  When someone looks “toned”, their muscles are more pronounced.  Their muscles aren’t different, they simply have less body fat covering them so they pop out more.  Want to get toned?  Develop muscle underneath your layer of fat by completely fatiguing your muscle fibers with heavy weights (not 5lb dumbbells).  Mix in explosive cardio sessions to blast the fat away, and voila, you have developed muscle, zapped fat, and  now look “toned”.  Remember from above, a healthy ratio of cardio to weight training will make it impossible to get big and bulky. 

None of this advice is gender specific.  Whether you are a guy or girl, it all holds true.  Our bodies’ are largely the same, the key differences in hormone balances, genetics, and inherent muscle mass/body fat deposits are why men look like men and women look like women.  Keep these three points in your head as you continue along your journey towards a fit and healthy body.  There are certainly going to be days where you feel you are simply not making progress, or getting “too big and bulky”.  Eliminate these thoughts, trust in the science, and in the end, you’re going to have the body (and health) you’ve always wanted.

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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!

The Secret Total Body Builder

 

If you’re reading this, you’re in luck.  You are about to get filled in on a little secret that is going to literally change how you work out forever.  This tip is going to a)increase your fat burning potential, b)give you the nicest set of legs and glutes you’ve ever imagined possible, and c)make it easier to add muscle in other areas of your body as an added bonus.  Sound too good to be true?  Well, it’s not.  These benefits are all the results of one super exercise; the squat.

If you could only do one exercise for the rest of your life, the squat would undoubtedly be the one you should choose.  First off, there are multiple variations of the squat.  Sumo squats, plie squats, front squats, hack squats, jump squats…the list goes on.  Don’t get overwhelmed.  Stick to the traditional squat, and feel free to work in other variations from time to time (I’ll give you suggestions below).

The squat (right up there with the deadlift) works more muscles in the body than any other exercise.  This means you are working more muscles in less time.  With squats, you don’t need to worry about doing the boring isolation exercises to hit your legs.  You guys know what I’m talking about; the hamstring curl machine, or the leg extension machine, or the hip abductor machine…forget those.  Put more time into squats, deadlifts, and leg presses, and your entire leg routine is set.  The squat is going to work the muscles in your thighs (quads), hamstrings, butt (glutes), and calves.  But the fun doesn’t stop there; muscles in your lower back, abdominal region, shoulders, and neck are also going to be called in for support.  These stabilizing muscles will be recruited when you perform a proper squat.  Not to mention, you’re going to give yourself a cardiovascular workout at the same time.  This much work and muscle tension is going to result in a boosted metabolism, which is going to result in an increase in the number of calories your body burns.

It’s no secret that ladies in particular are especially concerned about their lower half.  The reverse seems to be true for the guys.  Well, I’ve got a little information for you both today.  For those concerned with developing a killer butt, thighs, and hamstrings, the squat is the answer.  Nothing is going to get you perfectly shaped downstairs the way the squat will.  Work a few variations into your routine to be sure you’re hitting all of those lower body muscles accordingly.  Ladies, do me a favor and PLEASE don’t be afraid to do these for fear of getting too big and bulky.  I’ve worked with, or have worked alongside, hundreds of women over my years in the fitness biz.  The ones with the tightest, most toned, and best looking lower bodies were the ones that made heavy barbell squats a large part of their routine.  And for you guys out there with the toothpick legs and big upper body beach muscles, I’ve got a tip for you too.  The legs contain the most musculature in your body.  When you work and build the largest muscle in your body, a chemical reaction is going to take place, making it easier to add muscle EVERYWHERE else.  That reaction is the creation and release of testosterone into your system.  The excess testosterone (ladies, I can already hear you getting antsy – chill out.  You guys don’t have this excess testosterone that’s going to make you big like a guy.) is going to make your upper body gains come about easier than ever before.  This is all because you started working your typically neglected leg muscles.

So, the next time you think about jumping on the stair mill for 30 minutes to work your legs, or replacing the leg day you know you should be having with back and biceps, STOP.  Walk over to a smith machine, or even better, a squat rack  and follow the routine below:

Tips: Over time, mix up the order of your exercises as well as including different types of exercises into your routine.  Always make the squat the key to your lower body routine.  Use heavy weights so the last rep or two are very difficult.  That said, be sure to practice your form before moving on to heavier weights as not to put yourself at injury risk.

There you have it.  Doing the workout above, with squats being the focal point, will put you on a path towards increased metabolism, a beautiful lower body, and a toned and athletic looking body from head to toe.

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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!

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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