Often people want to get into ripped shape, or even just drop a few "LBs", so they turn to dieting too hard and perhaps adding a session of cardio to their weekly workout routines. This is the wrong approach. One can "strip the fat" by incorporating the right types of high-intensity exercise either alone or combined with smart eating and a quality diet supplement. By using all three (exercise, smart eating, quality diet supplement) the results can happen in a more expedient manner. The aspect of relatively clean eating can easily be summarized as eat natural foods, avoid foods high in saturated fat, skip the fast foods, enjoy smart MRP's, eat fruits and vegetables and know how to control portion sizes. Seriously, there are great articles on this website regarding how to food shop, how to eat, what supplements to use and thus, this article will focus on one type of a smart workout that you can use to help shed fat over a 21-day period.
On each day of exercise it is advised to do a minimum of 10 minutes of warm-up (i.e. treadmill, elliptical, bike, etc). The first five minutes should be at a comfortable pace. The last five minutes of your warm up should be at a challenging pace. For example, if walking or jogging on a treadmill, increase both the speed and the incline until it becomes difficult for you to carry on a conversation. Get your heart pounding for a few minutes before we hit the iron.
After you have finished your warm-up it is time to get started with Antagonistic endurance training. This style of training is designed to maximize the energy expended, while minimizing the time you spend working out. Weight and fat control is affected by how many calories your body burns and just how you stimulate the muscles to adapt and become strong and toned. All exercises are to be done with one warm-up set. That is, do the exercise with one-half the weight that you normally do and do at least 20 repetitions. You will, therefore, do the following four exercises in a superset fashion. Your total volume, including the warm-up set, for each exercise will be approximately 3 x 20,15,15 (I say approx. because the range of reps on sets two and three is 12-15 reps). Again, your time between sets has to be around 30 seconds, no more than a minute maximum.
- Incline Chest Press -- Can be done with free weights (bar or dumbbells) or on a machine. After your warm-up set, pick a weight that you can lift for 12 to 15 repetitions (reps). Do one set and immediately go on to do the next exercise listed below with the minimum rest time required to move to the next exercise (this should take you no longer than 30 seconds to move from exercise to exercise and get set-up)
- Lat Pull downs -- This exercise is typically done on a machine. If no machine is available, then chin-ups may be substituted. After your warm-up set, pick a weight that only allows you 12 to 15 clean repetitions. Once you have completed the set, go immediately back to the Incline Chest Press and do another set. In other words, you are doing three repeats of incline bench press and lat pull downs before moving onto seated rows and flat benches.
- Seated Row -- This exercise can be done on either a machine (like an Icarian or Hammer machine) or on the cable row. Pick a weight that only allows you to complete 12 to 15 repetitions. Right after your first set is done, go to the Flat Bench.
- Flat Bench -- This exercise is to be completed with free weights or on a machine. Pick a weight that allows you to safely lift no less than 12 reps and no more than 15 reps.
Day two of the workout schedule is one where we look to maximize short-term energy expenditure. In general, lifting weights supports long-term metabolic enhancement, while aerobic activities are great for burning calories "in the now". Day two exercises are about being in the now! After warming up, do 3 sets of 15-20 calf raises. Next, go for a five-mile run. If you cannot run five-miles, than go as fast as your comfortably can on the treadmill at an incline of two-degrees for 40 minutes. If you can run the five-miles, try to do so in less than 40 to 50 minutes. When finished with that cardio, head off to a place where you can do abdominal exercises. Ideally you should have a stability ball (often referred to as a Swiss ball). Do three sets of 20-30 repetitions as you can of each of the following exercises: Straight crunch, stability-ball pull-in, reverse crunch, and hip rotation. After finishing this, do leg raises, three sets of 25 reps with one-minute between each set. Once done, call it a day.
Today, it is about working the arms in a unique way. Again you will be super-setting every two exercises, and doing a total of 4 x 20,15,15,15 (includes warm-up set).
- Standing Bicep Curls -- This exercise is to be done with a barbell using a wide grip. Do a warm up set with a weight that is about half of what you would normally curl. When finished with the warm-up set, get into your exercise. Pick a weight that you can curl in a safe fashion up to 15 repetitions. When the first set is completed, head immediately over to the Triceps Pushdown Machine.
- Triceps Pushdown -- A straight or cambered bar is normally used. Pick a weight that you can use for 15 repetitions. Once done with the first set, go back to doing Bicep Curls. Now, repeat this circuit for three sets of each exercise. Remember, antagonistic-synergy is in action, so push yourself and keep the time between sets to a minimum.
- Incline Bicep Curls -- This exercise is great for elongating the bicep and bringing about the "peak" of the muscle. It is great for bringing out the look of a full, peaked bicep. Sit on an incline bench. Set the incline back so that it is about 45 degrees. Sit leaning back and curl the dumbbells with your palms centered and with purpose. Use a slow contraction and even a slower relaxation. In other words, allow yourself 1-2 seconds on the "curl" and 2 to 4 seconds on the return. Perform one set of 12 to 15 repetitions. After you complete the first set it is off to blast your triceps.
- Triceps French Press -- This exercise is to be performed lying on a flat bench. You lie on your back and use a cambered bar. Take an inside grip or one that is comfortable for your wrists. If you are unfamiliar with the lying French press, take a gander at Arnold's Encyclopedia of Bodybuilding or even do a "Google" to get a pictorial of it. Do one set (to start) of 12 - 15 reps. After you complete one set, go immediately back to the Incline Biceps Curl.
At the bottom of the stadium row start running up taking two steps at a time if you can. Once at the top, run across the row until you encounter the next set of stairs and walk briskly down to the ground level. Turn and run back up. Repeat this up, over and down and back up routine for 35 minutes. When finished, walk for about 5 minutes throwing in at least 3 sets of 20 steps of walking lunges to cool down and stretch out the groin and hip area after such a workout. Next do basic static stretching out after you have finished, being certain to not forget your calves (2-3 x 30sec per calf).If you do not have a stadium to use but can find an apartment building with at least 10 flights, get to it! Run while taking two steps at a time, and run to the 10th floor. Turn around and walk down the stairs until you reach the 5th floor. Once at this floor, run back to the top floor and walk briskly down to the 3rd floor. Now, run back up to the 10th floor and walk back to the 5th. Repeat the run up, walk down, alternating between the 3rd and 5th floors until you have run/walked for 25 minutes. Once done, stretch out, drink some water and go hit the abs. When you are finished with your cardio for the day, head off to a place where you can do abdominal exercises. Ideally you will have a medicine ball (you can substitute a dumbbell or weight plate, but be careful to grip it well to avoid dropping it on you) of 8-15 lbs. Do 2-3 sets of 50 repetitions of each of the following exercises: regular crunches, crunches w/legs at 90-degrees, seated twists (a.k.a. Russian twists), reverse crunches, toe touches.