Lately it seems like new workout programs are popping up left and right. And they always promise the same things- buns of steel, six pack abs and toned thighs.
The infomercials on these products usually show these super intense workouts. Then some ripped fitness “expert” says, “If you do this workout six to seven days per week you will look like me!”
Now, would working out in this way provide you with results? The answer is yes but a more important question you should ask is, will working out in this way put me at risk for injuries?
I mean, what is the point of getting “ripped” if you end of with an injury that takes you out of the game for two months.
I can’t imagine how many injuries these intense workout programs cause every year. A lot of the people ordering these things have never worked out a day in their life!
Most people have no business trying these workouts but especially those who have never worked out before.
Another negative that comes with working out six or seven days per week is the time commitment. Dedicating this amount of time is tough in general.
Add in a husband, wife, significant other, kids and work and your workouts no longer seem sustainable.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that your workouts should be easy or that they shouldn’t require some dedication. They should be hard but you don’t want them to be so hard you get injured or just simply end up hating it.
Instead of completely killing yourself, you should do workouts that leave you feeling energized, not dead.
If you want to get fit while also spending less time at the gym, here is something important to remember:
When it comes to working out… LESS is MORE!
I am sure this is contrary to what you have ever heard about exercise. The actuality is, you should do the least amount of exercise possible to produce the results you’re after.
Honestly, many times it is actually a lot less than we think.
To give you an example, I recently took two weeks off due to traveling. When I got back into the gym I was actually able to lift more weight than before!
I know this sounds counter intuitive, but if you structure your workouts properly, you can indeed come back stronger after a break.
The most important reason the “less is more” strategy to fitness works so well is because it allows you to become fitter and stronger without wearing your body down. Excessive wear and tear will keep you from being fit for a lifetime.
Now you might be wondering, “How much is too much and how little is too little?” The answer to this is going to be a little different for everyone but here are a few things that I can recommend across the board.
Kill The Cardio
Cardio can really kill your workouts if you do too much of it. To give you an example, I have worked with a lot of ultra-marathon runners and, believe it or not, their overall health is pretty poor.
Rather than doing cardio five to seven times per week for an hour at a time, cut back to one to three times per week for about ten to twenty minutes. The cardio I recommend is interval training.
Interval training in a safe way for you to train at a high intensely. Working out in the way will allow you to workout for shorter periods of time without sacrificing the results you want.
Interval training is essentially a mix of high intensity cardio training coupled with bouts of low intensity training.
Studies have shown interval training is better for burning belly fat, reversing Type 2 diabetes and improving cardiovascular fitness than a sixty minute continuous jog.
My second recommendation is to make sure you are strength training. In my opinion this is the most important thing you should do consistently.
Specifically, you should be lifting heavier weights for a low number of repetitions (think six to eight reps.)
This is my recommendation for both men and women. If you are a woman please don’t worry about bulking up! This simply won’t happen to.
You should be doing two to four, twenty to thirty minute strength training sessions per week.
There are a lot of different ways you can strength train but the one thing I really want you to understand, is no matter what method you choose and as long as you stick to the guidelines I have described above… LESS is MORE.
Something else to point out is you can couple your cardio and strength training together. Essentially, this means you can get fitter and stronger with only two or three sixty to ninety minute workouts per week.
Yes, I truly believe, if you do three well planned workouts per week you will get just as fit as you would working out six or seven days per week only with less risk of injury.
Just remember when it comes to working out, quality has much more of an impact than quantity.
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