Hello everyone and Happy Friday!
And a happy Friday it is! I’ve got a day off from the hotel to attend a full-day media mastery workshop. My hope is to hone in on my writing and story-telling skills so I can begin getting my work in some local publications.
On top of that, I got to practice my public speaking skills yesterday morning by delivering a 15 minute presentation with a Q&A to my networking group, and then spent the evening with a group of female entrepreneurs learning ways to set ourselves apart from our competition. My website is currently down but I’m working with a new developer who I’m very excited about to bring it back to life in a new and improved format.
All in all this has been an inspiring week and I’m looking forward to finishing the year off strong before setting some new goals to tackle for 2015 in my business life, my personal life, and my fitness game.
Now you might think that between all these meetings, website brainstorming, blogging, keeping up with administrative tasks for my business, training clients, writing programs, and working at the hotel that my fitness might be faltering a bit.
On the contrary, I’m still logging 5-6 workouts per week, slowly but steadily decreasing my body fat in preparation for my upcoming week in Mexico, and am no more sleep-deprived than I usually am 😉
How do I accomplish this?
EFFICIENCY my friends! Full-body workouts! But none of that bicep curls, leg extensions, kickback stuff.
I’m talkin’ big movements. Squats. Deadlifts. Presses, both shoulder and bench. Rows. Pull-ups and push-ups. And high intensity interval training.
Somewhere down the road the typical bodybuilder-style of training infiltrated the regular fitness world. All of a sudden the average gym-goer had days dedicated solely to triceps, shoulders, abs, or calves. Sets upon sets of different variations of curls, extensions, crunches, and raises.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with this. When done consistently it can produce great results. Hell, following a bodybuilding program is what got me into really focusing on weight training in the first place.
But the average person doesn’t have time to spend an hour on Monday focusing on their back and biceps, and then an hour on Tuesday focusing on their chest and triceps, and so on. They may start these programs with the best of intentions, and then an unexpected event comes up where they have to miss hamstring and serratus anterior day or something.
So unless they want to mess up their training calendar by pushing things forward a day, they skip it all together and then end up not training their hamstrings for two weeks. This may happen on a weekly basis with different muscle groups so they don’t see the results as quick as they’d like, get frustrated, and give up.
Let’s look at another scenario. Think about the overweight individual who’s new to exercise. Their ultra-fit friend has helped them put together a body part split routine where they train a different muscle group every day.
Included in day one, among other things, is four sets of regular bicep curls, four sets of hammer curls, four sets of cable curls, and four sets of ultra wide barbell curls. Day two has cable tricep extensions, tricep kickbacks, overhead tricep extensions, and skull crushers. Days three, four, five, and six follow a similar pattern.
This poor individual is not only going to be overwhelmed by all of these exercises, but they’ll also be wasting their time because these isolation exercises don’t burn a ton of calories!
The vast majority of us are not bodybuilders, which means we don’t need to train like bodybuilders!
Keeping it simple and focusing on compound movements that work the whole body is an efficient way to reach a variety of goals. The difference will lie in the weight used, the number of sets, and reps performed, and the duration of rest breaks.
Some might argue that focusing just on the big movements is boring. In my opinion sitting on the leg extension machine for 15 minutes is boring, but to each their own 😉 There are a ton of variations of these exercises that will still allow you to get an effective full-body workout and will keep you engaged.
You can do back squats, front squats, goblet squats, double kettlebell squats, box squats, sumo squats, single leg squats, and narrow squats.
You can do wide barbell rows, close-grip barbell rows, one-arm rows, kettlebell rows or seated rows. Wide pull-ups, chin-ups, neutral grip pull-ups, negatives, band-assisted pull-ups, or even the lat pull-down.
See where I’m going here? I could go on and on with different variations for these big movements. The trick is to pick one, MAYBE two exercises for each muscle group, determine your set & rep range, and then lift with passion and your goals at the forefront of your mind.
Maybe you’re looking to tone up and shed some body fat. You could perform the following workout three times per week before switching it up after a few weeks and will no doubt see results:
Back squat: 4 x 8-12
Shoulder press: 4 x 8-12
Dumbbell walking lunges: 4 x 8-12 each side
Chest press: 4 x 8-12
Romanian deadlift: 4 x 8-12
Lat pull-down: 4 x 8-12
You could perform these exercises as a circuit, resting 1-2 minutes between sets, or you could perform all sets of an exercises before moving onto the next. Adding in some active rest like mountain climbers, planks, or box jumps will boost your fat-burning potential.
If you’re looking to increase your strength you could alternate between two different workouts. Pick one or two exercises per workout to focus on, and then three or four other exercises to target the other muscles. This is what one day could look like:
A1. Squat: 5 x 5 with mobility work in between sets
B1. Push press: 5 x 5 with mobility work in between sets
C1. Bulgarian split squat: 4 x 5-8
C2. Strict dumbbell press: 4 x 5-8
C3. Squat-plank-push-up: 4 x 1 minute
You’ll get to focus the majority of your energy on your two big lifts, and then you’ll empty out the gas tank (and boost efficiency) with a tri-set at the end.
Keep in mind these are just examples and the exact exercises, frequency, sets, reps , & all that jazz will depend on you, your goals, and your needs. But for the beginner and intermediate lifter, training in this matter will yield great results.
These compound movements burn far more calories than isolation exercises, and by performing variations of the same movement with proper form multiple times per week you’ll be able to steadily increase the weight you’re lifting and the amount of sexy muscle that’s on your body.
So my weight training friends, how do you prefer to train? Full body? Body part split? Upper/lower split? Nothing at all ? 😉 Open up the discussion below!