Tuesday, February 12, 2013

It's not what you do, it's how you do it

"How can you stay in shape with only three 30-minute workouts per week?" I get asked that quite a bit. I believe it's not what you do, it's how you do it.

I change up my workouts often; one time strength training or bootcamp stuff, next time plyometrics, other time martial arts and so on — I like to keep my body guessing and moving in many directions. This way, it is always challenged. When it's challenged, it won't get lazy, it responds with results. So to answer the question simply, let's refer to my cardio interval and strength training days...

I keep it short, move fast, breathe hard, lift heavy and take very little breaks — all the while maintaining good form. If the weights start to feel too heavy to bear, but I want to keep moving, I switch weights as I go. If I'm out of breath, I slow down — sometimes, way down... but I try not to stop, I keep moving. 

If I need a break, I keep them short (10-15 seconds at a time), catch my breath and continue. I don't beat myself up if I need to take many rounds of short breaks in order to continue.

Taking short breaks gives your body a chance to catch up so you can continue to perform well and prevent injuries. So take the breaks, and soon you'll find yourself taking less and less breaks as your body becomes more and more conditioned and empowered!

Here's a quick glimpse of my workout at the gym today. Feel free to try it if you're a regular gym-goer. If this is new to you, don't worry, you can modify the moves. Details below.

Remember, always spend 5-10 minutes warming up and mimicking the moves before you even think about executing the actual workout. After the workout, always stretch. Your body can only perform at its best given the proper warm up and stretches.

Please modify the moves to suit your fitness level (as per below: Quick tips for beginners). Here are the details on this workout:

- 30-40 box jump into squat
- 12-15 dive under push up
- 12-15 (each arm) one-arm row in a lunge
- 12-15 narrow squat with lateral raise
- 15-20 tricep dips
(Repeat the entire set of exercises for a total of 3 rounds.)

Then, immediately go straight into core exercises:

- 10-12 v-sit up with weights (or no weights)
- 20 torso twist with weights (or no weights)
(Repeat this core sequence of exercises for a total of 2-3 rounds.)

Quick tips for beginners:
- For the box jumps, keep your box or steps much lower so you don’t have to jump so high. You can slowly advance in time. Remember to perform a squat when you're on the step.
- Or instead of jumping, just step up onto the stepper the same way you would walk up the stairs. 
- Use less weights and move slowly, you can always build up from there.
- Go for the lower number of reps based on the range that I’ve suggested, or find a rep range most comfortable for you to start with.
- For the push-up, just perform regular push-ups on your knees (but be sure to have something soft for your knees to rest on).
- For the narrow squat with lateral raise, just perform a half squat. That means your knees do not have to be at a 90-degree bend like mine. Just come down to a 45-degree knee-bend for now.
- For the tricep dips, to make it easier, bend your knees more by bringing your feet closer to your body. You can then use your legs to assist you in pushing your body up.
- For the v-sit up, don’t use weights. Bend your knees to make it easier. Still difficult? Just do regular crunches and reverse crunches for now.
- For the torso twist, don’t use weights, just clasp your hands together. Also, instead of leaning your body back to a 45-degree angle during the twist, just sit up a little straighter and keep both feet on the ground.

Okay, now go have some fun burning up fat! :)

Be sure to stretch after. Watch my video on How To Stretch All Your Major Muscles Without Pain.

— Remember, if it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you!

**Wait!! Want more? :) Check out more short fat-burning workouts here.

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