Hey all, it’s Friday and the sun in shining…..life is good. Hope your week has been great and your weekend to come is just as great!
As it warms up this spring, the last thing I want is to be stuck indoors when it’s so beautiful outside. Swimming, biking, running…everything seems better with the fresh air in my lungs and sun on my back.
Everyone can use the season’s changing as a way of getting out and moving! Bike to work or to run errands, take a walk, get off of the treadmill and run outdoors. Whatever activity floats your boat, great. Just get out there!
With that said, some workouts (i.e. strength training) require us to stay indoors. BUT, that doesn’t mean we have to live in the weightroom to get a great workout. In fact, we may actually get better results by keeping our workouts shorter.
Sounds a little backwards, eh?!
Well, there are many reasons to keep our workouts short and sweet. A few are as follows:
- After approximately 45 minutes of strenuous activity, our bodies start producing more catabolic hormones. These are the ones that break down muscle tissue and make it harder to recover. While some muscle breakdown is necessary, marathon workout sessions can prevent us from recovering before our next workout.
- Speaking of hormones, anabolic hormones (we’re not talking steroids here) peak around 45 minutes of strenuous activity. These help build us up. Sticking to this duration may help us build more muscle and burn more fat.
- When you limit your workout duration, it requires you to pick effective exercises so as to get the most bang for your buck. Don’t perform bicep curls and sit ups for 45 minutes. Think squats and deadlifts, pushups and pullups, combination lifts (i.e. DB squat to press), and interval cardio like sprints.
- If building muscle is your goal, a caloric surplus is required. This means taking in more calories than you burn. Again, marathon workouts require a lot more recovery time and shifts the caloric equation to a dis-advantage here.
- Life is busy. Who wants to spend hours at the gym if you don’t need to?
So, how do we set up a complete workout without spending a lot of time in the gym? Try warming up with light activity, calisthenics, and mobility drills for 10 minutes. If you’re strength training with heavier weights, include movements that prepare the muscles to be worked later.
Move on with strength training. Spend no more than 30 minutes here. A simple set up would include pairing non-competing exercises together. Perform alternating sets of bench press and lunges, squats and pullups, deadlift and pushups, etc. Performing 3-6 sets of 6-12 reps, depending on your goals, will suffice. Move on with a circuit of accessory movements, and you’ll accomplish your strength training goals while also burning massive calories.
If you want to add cardio, choose quality over quantity. Higher intensity intervals, i.e. sprints of any sort with rest in between, will be efficient and effective.
Warm up. Lift. Sprint.
Over-simplified, perhaps. But that is the nuts and bolts. Pair this template with a sound diet (protein, veggies and fruits, healthy fats, plenty of water) and you’re well on your way to a better body and better health.
And yes, some of my workouts last longer than 45 minutes. But my strength training stays within those parameters. Some light warm ups and cool downs, including stretching, aren’t as strenuous and thus don’t fall into the time limit. Make any necessary adjustments that tailors a workout to your needs.
Take home? Don’t get caught up in all the minutia of training protocols, new fad workouts and gizmos, and any regimen that requires 2 hours in the weightroom.
And don’t forget to mix things up. Get outdoors when it’s nice out. Two or three days in the weightroom and two or three days outside doing something you enjoy is an awesome game plan.
Have a great weekend:)
“live like no one else, so later, you can live like no one else”