Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Efficient Workouts: Small Time, Big Rewards

Do you ever find it hard to fit in a good workout while you are traveling for business? Between meetings, luncheons, happy hour maybe some late night debauchery and travel deadlines there is never enough free time to keep your body and mind from derailing. Read on to find out how to cut your training time in half and keep you on course when the schedule keeps throwing up roadblocks.

In order to create the most time efficient workout you need to utilize a physiological phenomenon known as post-exercise oxygen consumption or EPOC. EPOC is the number of calories burned while returning to a resting state, following a bout of exercise. In return, any excess calories that can be utilized without physical exertion can help in maintaining weight. Over time these calories can add up to significant caloric deficits, and weight loss. A study performed by Borsheim and Bahr 2003, found that exercise intensity plays a critical role in the effectiveness of EPOC. They stated, “The absence of a sustained EPOC after exercise seems to be a consistent finding in studies with low exercise intensity and/or duration.” Also, they noted, that to effectively take advantage of EPOC intensity should be as high as possible for short periods of time over the course of your workout.

Alwyn Cosgrove, author of The New Rules of Weightlifting, suggests hacking your strength training to include only the exercises that produce the most results. By focusing your effort on the large muscle groups and multi-joint movements you will be able to increase workload efficiently in a shorter amount of time. This style of workout is often referred to as a complex. A complex involves using exercises that target all of the bodies major muscle groups. This series of exercises can easily be performed in a limited space with a pair of dumbbells, or if equipment is available, a barbell. The important thing is that you select a weight that you can handle for the most difficult movement. The goal is to complete each rep in the set, rest 30 seconds, and move on to the next exercise in the series. Once you have completed each exercise of the complex rest 45-60 seconds and start the complex from the beginning. Complete the entire complex 4-6 times.

Here is a sample complex that can be done with limited space and equipment:

Dumbbell Dead Lift x 8
Rest 30 seconds
Dumbbell Front Squat x 8
Rest 30 seconds
Dumbbell Bent-over Row x 8
Rest 30 seconds
Dumbbell Push Press x 8
Rest 30 Seconds
Dumbbell Swings x 24
Rest for 60 seconds and repeat 4 – 6

Dumbbell Dead Lift

Bottom Position of the Dumbbell Front Squat

Dumbbell Bent Over Row

Dumbbell Push Press (Only look at the middle and right photos, ignor the left)

Same motion seen here, just use a Dumbbell, instead of a Kettlebell
Although, there are various ways to trim body fat and get the shape you’ve always wanted; the best results have consistently been attained through a combination of strength training and short, intense, cardio exercise. This style of training effectively takes advantage of EPOC, which will make your body a fat-burning furnace even after you’ve showered up and are settling into that afternoon seminar.

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