How long do you work out for? If you answered; “an hour”, “two hours”, “15 minutes”, “not at all”, or “ice cream!” you’re probably doing it wrong. Even if you do work out for 30-45 minutes, you’re still probably doing it wrong. But guess what? Buy my DVD and in addition to receiving an hour long movie of me standing and berating you, you also get the right answer to my question and a free Tai-Bo workout VHS that I bought at a garage sale!
According to the old way of thinking, (read: bad way of thinking) each workout should take about an hour and a half to do all your warm ups, workout, cool down, and chat up the girls on the treadmill. But now, using advanced technology you can cram the same amount of work into around 40 minutes, and that’s if you include a shower at the end!
That’s a lie, there have not been any scientifically proven ways to hit on the treadmill bunnies more efficiently.
However, you can maximize your time at the gym and do the same amount of work, by following a few simple rules. I love rules.
What this doesn’t mean is going to the gym with a “well, maybe I’ll do some bicycle today, then maybe some cables, then probably watch that Tai-bo VHS that I have at home…” attitude. That’s stupid and not productive. If you or anyone you know is going to the gym without at least a rough plan, you lose.
Also, don’t plan your workout poorly. If you don’t know how to workout effectively, go see a professional (me), or figure out a workout that comes from a reputable source that you can do without looking like an idiot, injuring yourself, or looking like an idiot while injuring yourself. Very important. For example, a bad workout idea would be starting with curls, working in some overhead press, then ending with leg extensions. Just because you read it that it was Arnold’s primary workout in “muscle and fitness” mag, doesn’t mean it’s good. I don’t want to explain why not right now, but I might later. (oooooooh, cliffhanger!)
Another reason smart programming is important, is because you can do a lot more work in a shorter period of time if you program correctly. If you’re going to do 5 sets of bench press anyways before moving into your sweet 2-0-4 tempo lat pull downs, you might as well condense them together and do double the work in the same time period. Since they’re working opposing muscle groups, performance wont suffer at a muscular level. You’ll burn more calories, and everything will think you’re ultra smart. And for the guy that’s doing the heavy squats and “couldn’t possibly do anything else in between”, do something low intensity like grip work or pre-hab work for your shoulders, because you’re probably going to end up hurting them anyways. Band pull-aparts, wrist rollers, or just squeezing a tennis ball will help you in the long run.
Is that too hard? Then quit jawing with the guy next to you about how you “benched way more than this last week” and stretch your hip flexors.
Supersets and circuits are your new best friend.
This is where the passion comes in. You probably don’t need as much rest as you think you do. Let’s say you’re doing overhead press with the pink dumbbells. You’re supposed to do 3 sets of 10 reps. So you do 10, put them down, grab a drink, do 10, put them down, admire your leggings, do 10 more. Congratulations, you just wasted a bunch of my time, because I want to use those dumbbells and you’re hogging them. Besides, everyone knows they look way better with my leopard print toms than your stupid Nike’s
Instead of doing the 3×10 that’s perscribed, why don’t you just try to get to 30 total? Go until you’re a rep or two shy of failure, and rest then. For a lot of women with the dumbbells, you’d be surprised at how many you can do. 20 or 30 is not uncommon. If this is the case, up the weight. You deserve it.
3) Better Exercise Selection
This goes hand in hand with smart programming. But pick ‘bang for your buck’ exercises. trade your calf raises for leg press, and rear deltoid flies for heavy rows. Whether this is on a machine or free weight, it’s always going to be better to do exercises that use more than one joint. These are called compound movements and they should be the bread and butter of every workout you embark on. I don’t care if you’re 19 and athletic or 89 and decrepit. If you are in perfect health, or just had your back amputated. This is always the case.
OK. Ready for a sweet freebie?
Full body workout:
20 push ups
50 jumping jacks
A1) Lat Pull down x 15
A2) Reverse Lunge (body weight) x 15 each leg
A3) leg swings x25 each leg
B1) Leg Press x 10-15
B2) pushups x 15
B3) Stretch hamstrings 30 sec each side
C1) Dumbbell Swings x 10
C2) Wall sit x 30 seconds
C3 Overhead push press x 8-12
Do each circuit between 1 and 3 times, depending on how awesome you are.