Monthly Archives: December 2012

The 5 Minute Holiday Blaster Workout

So… you’ve got NO time to workout this holiday season?  Well, how about 5 minutes?  Have you got 5 minutes?

Recently, I was playing around with different training modalities and was trying to come up with something that took practically no time, while still making a difference in your strength, muscle tone and in your health.  I came up with something that I call “blasters”.  A blaster lasts 5 minutes and, like blocks, you can stack more than one together based on your available time.

To perform a blaster, decide on 2 exercises.  For example, pushups and  squats.  Perform 10 pushups and then with no rest, do 10 squats.  Repeat for 5 minutes.  That’s it!  You’ll end up doing 5 sets of each (or more).  Choose the style of pushup that is appropriate for your fitness level (from the knees, or toes or with feet elevated or clap pushups or with one hand etc…).  Same goes for the squat (barbell, dumbbell, front squat, jump squat etc…)  Challenge yourself for the 5 minutes.

If you have more than 5 minutes, then add additional blasters based on the time you have available.  Got 20 minutes?  … do 4 blasters.  Do 6 if you’ve got a half hour.  Again, work at the level of YOUR fitness.  Push if you’re experienced and go easy if you’re new.  Do the best you can with the time you have.

It’s really a great, low pressure, way to keep things going over the holidays if you are out of your normal routine.  If you don’t have any equipment, do things like pushups, chair dips, rear lunges, crunches, squat jumps etc… You are only limited by your imagination.  If you do have equipment, you can still do the same type of workout.  Use exercises like curls, presses, squats, triceps extensions etc…

Try to mix up pushing and pulling movements, upper vs. lower body and strength vs. endurance exercises.

Here are a few examples of blasters that you might try.

1-  Elevated Pushups/ Squat Jumps

2-  Squat- Curl- Press/ Burpees

3-  Dumbbell Squats/ Overhead Presses

4-  Alternating Rear Lunges/ Bent over Rows

5-  Bicycle Crunches/ Close Grip Pushups

bicycle-crunches

 

Give it a shot over the holidays, you’re body will be glad that you did!

If You Don’t Change Direction, You’ll End Up Where You are Heading

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When someone goes to the Doctor for test results and is told that they have heart disease, they will usually ask “How did I GET heart disease?”.

Well…. you don’t “get” heart disease.  It’s not like getting a cold virus from having someone sneeze the virus onto you.  You create the environment and then nurture it over time.  For some it happens a lot sooner than others.  For a minority, it never happens.  In this regard, we’re all different.

But, for most people, if you are sedentary, you smoke, you stress about everything, you eat processed, refined foods and you don’t sleep enough… you will “get” heart disease… or diabetes… or hypertension… or gout… or SOMETHING.

Understand that you might be blessed, or cursed, with a strong constitution and/ or metabolism, YOU are the one who sets the course from there.  YOU are the creator after the fact.  You’ve got what you’ve got.

The same thing holds true for healthy, fit people that do habitual things that might harm them over time.  Too much heavy lifting over too long a period of time will usually result in arthritis, joint injury or back pain.  Again… you set the course.

Take a look at the direction that you are heading in (remember you aren’t there yet, you are just heading there).

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-Will it lead you to dis-ease or injury?

-Are your daily actions supporting a healthy body, sound mind and a strong spirit?

You alone can decide to stay the course, or change directions.

 

Either way, you’ll end up exactly where you’re heading.

The Death of the Twinkie

A few random thoughts on the latest Fitness news stories….

The Death of the Twinkie

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Massive and scandalous to some…. and a non- story to others.  My first thought was, “Do people REALLY still eat Twinkies?”.  Apparently they do.  Lots of them.

In the end, I don’t think that the Death of the Twinkie will have much of an impact on anything.  While it sure isn’t a healthy food choice (It’s really nothing more than processed flours, sugars, fats and chemicals), in moderation it probably won’t harm you if you eat one every now and then.

Twinkies won’t help you to get into great shape, but, they’re also not the reason that there is an obesity epidemic in many societies today.  It’s not that simple.

I tried one (for science you see) and …BLECH!   I’m all for a good “fat food” splurge as a treat …but it’s got to be worth it.  It should at least taste good!

Give me some homemade cake, some real whipped cream, maybe a  few berries.  That would be worth it.

A golden blob of who knows what filled with a greasy “cream filling”?  Not so much.

Exercise May Ward off Anxiety

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First of all…. I can’t believe that we STILL have to study this stuff!  I think we have enough anectodal evidence to conclude that….. YES…. exercise makes you feel better.  I can honestly say that after 50 000 workouts in my life time, I have never (as in ever) had someone say that they felt worse after exercising than they did before.

So… a recent University of Maryland study showed that people who rested for 30 minutes per day over two days didn’t fare as well in dealing with stress as those that cycled for 30 minutes per day over two days.

Participants were shown a series of images that were violent or disturbing along with neutral or pleasant images shortly after either resting or exercising.  While both groups fared well in the measurement of anxiety levels, the exercise group maintained the decreased levels of anxiety for longer.  The resting group had levels that rose back to their pre-test levels quickly.

“We found that exercise helps to buffer the effects of emotional
exposure. If  you exercise, you’ll not only reduce your anxiety, but
you’ll be better able to  maintain that reduced anxiety when confronted with emotional events,” study researcher J. Carson Smith said.

10 Minute Workouts

A recent news story addressed the efficiency of short, 10 minute workouts and whether they can actually help someone maintain, or improve, their health and fitness.

According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), multiple short burst workouts CAN improve endurance, strength and even metabolism in people who are just too busy to commit to longer sessions.  They even have a term for it.  Exercise Snacking.  I love that!

Trainers have know for years that the intensity of a workout session will be the deciding factor in how effective it is in bringing about change.  A 90 minute session of doing a few sets between chatting, drinking water and watching TV will hardly improve your body like a focused 10 minute blast of intensity.

I once challenged a client that told me that they had NO time to workout.  Eventually, they conceded that yes, they could sneak in 10 minutes during the day.  They wanted to know if they should go for a 10 minute walk.  This was a fairly fit individual to begin with, so I suggested skipping the walk (save that for errands that occur during the day) and trying this little circuit that I designed for them.

Pushups for 60 seconds (As many as possible!)

Crunches for 60 seconds

Squat jumps for 60 seconds

Cross Body Punches (like shadow boxing) for 60 seconds

Alternate Rear Lunges for 60 seconds

…..repeat for 5 more minutes!

Now… the above little “snack” is an absolute KILLER.  Very difficult.  …but it was designed to make a point.  The DURATION isn’t as important as the INTENSITY.

Do you think that if you could complete this circuit for 10 minutes everyday, it would get you fitter than going for a 10 minute walk?

You better believe it!  …and if you have TWENTY minutes, go for a 10 minute walk after round 2!