How much time have you got? (to exercise)

You’re given the same 24 hours as everybody else to get stuff done. However, you’re struggling to find the time to stay in shape while your friends who seem to have less time than you are ripped.

How is that possible?

jealous

Among the many clients, I’ve come across, their number one reason on why they’re not in better shape is “I don’t have the time.” Rather than tell them that we all have the same 1440 minutes per day and they need prioritize their time better, I often say “I understand.”

But what I really want to do is run my head repeatedly into a brick wall.

Brick wall

It’s not the amount of time you have to exercise, it’s making better use of the time you do have. (tweet this) Whether you have 10 minutes or 60 minutes per day to exercise, use the following strategies to get in better shape and be the envy of all your friends.

1. Exercise at home

 By the time, you’ve driven to the gym, exercised, showered and driven home or to work, a fair chunk out of your day has vanished.   Not everyone has time for that, unless of course you wake up at the arse crack of dawn.

Crack 1

Instead, cut out the middle (gym) man and save time by exercising at home. With the purchase of a few inexpensive fitness tools like looped resistance bands, dumbbells and by making use of a few household items, most of your fitness needs can be met at home.

Set aside a dedicated workout space and time and then you’re ready to roll. Watch the following videos to gain some exercise inspiration.

 Paper plates

 A couch

The wall

If you need help putting together an at-home routine, you can contact me here.

2. Use the great outdoors

Spring has sprung and summer is arriving so it’s  not too hot or too cold to step out into the great outdoors to exercise. This can be as simple as putting on a pair of shoes and taking a walk, run or going to your local playground to get your sweat on.

If the playground is not your style, try this for the next 12 days. Download a distance counter on your smart phone (if you don’t have a Fitbit or pedometer) and walk or run for 12 minutes for the next 12 days straight.

Here’s the catch. Each day try and beat the distance from the previous day. After 12 days of doing this, you’re sure to be a fitter, lighter and tighter.

3. Minimum effective dose (MED)

 If you’re burning the candles at both ends but still want results from your exercise, MED is perfect for you. MED is simply the smallest dose that will produce a desired outcome. In most cases, the outcome is probably fat loss or muscle gain.

The following routine will only take just over 30 minutes per week. You heard right. Just 30 minutes.  You’ve got 30 minutes in your week to exercise, right?

Instructions

Follow the training below, 4 times per week (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday) for 6 weeks. Please use nothing less than 100% effort.

Day 1

1A. Close grip pushups 10 reps (Can be done on an incline surface)

1B. Inverted rows 10 reps

1C. Kettle bell swings -20 reps or Bodyweight swings 20 reps

Rest 60 seconds and repeat for a total of 5 circuits

Day 2

Walk for 2 minutes followed by a 15 second sprint interval followed 15 seconds of rest. Repeat this cycle for 5 work/rest intervals. Afterwards, cooldown for 2-3 minutes.

(This can be done on a treadmill, track, bike, rowing machine or elliptical.)

Day 3

1A. Push-ups – 10 reps

1B. Side planks- 15 seconds each side

1C. Bodyweight squats- 20 reps

Rest 60 seconds and repeat for a total of 5 circuits 

Day 4

Repeat day 2

4. Eight-minute stackable (gym) trainings

If you find it difficult to exercise at home and you don’t have a lot of time to spend at the gym, then try my eight minute stackable trainings. You’ll only need to spend 8-24 min exercising after your warm up.

However, be warned. It’s intense but your results will be worth it.

Instructions

Complete each training as a circuit, resting as little as possible between exercises. Rest 30- 60 seconds at the end of each circuit and do as many rounds as possible within the eight minutes.

Select a weight that allows you to complete all repetitions with good form. If you’re doing more than one stackable training, rest 120 seconds between rounds and choose no more than three.

Eight minute legs

1A. Goblet Side Lunge– 8 reps on each leg

1B. Goblet squats- 8 reps

1C. Single leg hip extensions – 8 reps on each leg

Note- Use either a dumbbell or a kettlebell.

Eight minute arms

1A. Overhead triceps extensions– 8 reps

1B. Concentration curls – 8 reps on each arm

1C. Triceps pushdowns– 8 reps

Note- You’ll need access to a cable machine and dumbbells. Keep them both close.

Eight-minute shoulders

1A. Band pull apart- 8 reps

1B. Band shoulder press- 8 reps on each arm

1C. Band In/Outs- 8 reps on each arm (four front raises/four lateral raises)

Eight-minute chest

1A. Dumbbell chest flies– 8 reps

1B. Single arm chest press– 8 reps on each arm

1C. Incline pushups– 8 reps

Eight-minute back

1A. Dumbbell pullover– 8 reps

1B. Bent over reverse flies– 8 reps

1C. Single arm row– 8 reps on each arm

Eight-minute core

1A. Front plank with shoulder tap– 8 reps on each side

1B. Side plank with hip dip– 8 reps on each side

1C. Reverse crunches – 8 reps

 

Wrapping up

 You don’t need a lot of time to exercise but you do need it to be effective.  Because a little exercise can go a long way. Now I’ve busted the no time excuse, do you have any others?

Come at me.

 

 

 

 

The best exercise you’re not doing……..

This is a weekly series on exercise that will give you the biggest bang for your exercise buck in and out of the gym. Today’s exercise is split stance kneeling inner thigh mobilization. Mouthful, right?

You should do this because–  the inner thighs make up such a large part of our legs, can get ‘tight’ and affect your hip mobility and knee stability.

Makes your everyday life easier because– less knee and back pain is always a bonus and groin strains are never fun. Preventing them with this is much better.

Form tips – Don’t over arch or round the lower back to much as your are rocking back and forth. More is not better when it comes to this stretch, so please be careful.  Do 8 reps on each leg daily

 

Put the fun back into your exercise

You reach over to smash the alarm clock against the wall because it’s time to drag yourself out of bed. You’re stumbling around in the dark trying not to wake anybody up so you can get yourself to the gym because the scale isn’t your friend.

stock-vector-illustration-of-alarm-clock-ringing-133189433

Sounds like fun, right?

So many things in our lives aren’t fun, but exercise shouldn’t be one of those things. Movement and exercise (for the most part) should be mostly enjoyable and not viewed as punishment.

If movement is enjoyed, you’re more likely to stick with it, and the results you want will be within reach.

Rather than dreading your gym time, add the following exercises to your routine. Who knows, you may even smile a little.

1. Have a ball

 Most gyms stock medicine balls  and they’re a great tool to add some variety to your training.  Most people use them for every weird and wonderful core exercise known to man, but the real magic happens when you throw them.

You release built up tension, increase your power and burn a ton of calories. Heavens forbid, you may even laugh.

Find a wall, grab a ball and try this med ball circuit.

1A. Squat toss–           8 reps

1B. Slams–                  12 reps

1C. Overhead throw–  12 reps

1D. Twist throws–       6 reps on each side

Rest as needed between exercises and circuits and do anywhere from three to four circuits.

2. Get competitive……… with yourself

Counting repetitions and trying to beat it next time is a great way to measure progress, and the process of counting may distract you from the burn you’re feeling.

Set the stopwatch for 30 seconds and do a many reps as you can with good form. Choose from the following exercises.

Bicep curls

Overhead triceps extension

Chest press

Bodyweight squat

Be sure to “flex” afterwards.

3. Play

Remember what it was like to be a kid as you ran outside, played with your friends or reenacted your sporting heroes in the backyard? Close your eyes and imagine that for a moment. Good times, right? Here’s a few ideas to start you off.

  • Join a recreation league to play a sport you enjoyed during your childhood
  • Play hide and seek with your kids or other adults
  • Play catch, jump rope or hopscotch
  • Play fetch with your dog

Wrapping up

All movement is good movement, and you’ll be raising a sweat without even realizing it. Together, we can make exercise fun again.

 

 

 

 

The best exercise you’re not doing

This is a weekly series on exercise that will give you the biggest bang for your exercise buck in and out of the gym. Today’s exercise is crocodile breathing.
 
You should do this because- when we’re stressed or under pressure, we take short sharp breathes and this taxes our accessory breathing muscles. This exercise will help you focus on where you’re meant to breathe.
Makes your everyday life easier because– deep breathing helps relax your body and can wind you down if you’re wound up.
.
Form tips – I like to place my hands underneath my forehead for comfort but that’s up to you. Do 6 breathes like this daily and do this before every workout.

The best exercise you’re not doing

This is a weekly series on exercise that will give you the biggest bang for your exercise buck in and out of the gym. Today’s exercise is lacrosse ball foot roll.
You should do this because– we receive a lot of feedback from our feet and if something is amiss, this can effect the rest of the body.
 
Makes your everyday life easier because- we are on our feet a lot and they take a beating. You could say this gives you happy feet. 🙂
.
Form tips – Watch the video. Please do this once per day. If your balance is wonky, hold on to something for support.

Finding your why

I haven’t always been a beacon of health.  A long time ago, in a land far, far away I smoked cigarettes and pot, drank to excess and took pills. There were the happy pills and the ones that wiped my memory for days.

Reality

I was in my early twenties following the lead of the cool kids who I knew who took drugs. If I were to go back in time and analyze myself, I was trying to escape reality due to the fact that, at that time, my reality sucked.

My father had just died from stomach cancer.

Deservedly I was fired from my job and was receiving unemployment benefits.

I’d dropped out of college because it seemed a waste of time and copped a lot of shit from my college buddies for doing so.

My living situation got that bad that for a time I was homeless.

To top things off, my mother informed me that after she had gotten a divorce from my father, she tried to take her own life.

This was a lot to take in and I couldn’t handle it. Drugs and alcohol were the security blanket I snuggled into during stretches of cold, pointless days and nights.

It was easy to feel sorry for myself and point the finger at everyone but the wreck of a man in the mirror.

Fortunately, I was surrounded by a few friends and family who stuck with me. If it wasn’t for them, I don’t know where I’d be.

I eventually crawled out of the bottle. A few times I tried and failed to get my life back on track.  But in 1996, I got a real wake up call.

My college buddies had graduated and decided that before joining the nine to five rat race, they would travel around the world and party like it was 1999. I saw them off at the airport and was incredibly jealous.

This set a fire underneath my butt.

fire

Within a few months, I got a full-time job, an apartment and started putting money away for my own overseas trip. It wasn’t always smooth sailing. Within eighteen months I was on a plane travelling to Indonesia and then to the United Kingdom.

I won’t bore you with the intimate details of my trip but this life changing experience was when I met the woman of my dreams.

Within two years of our eyes meeting, I walked down the aisle in Dallas, Texas in the good old U S of A and she put a ring on my finger. I felt like the luckiest man in the world.

lucky

By that stage, I’d traded cigarettes (she hated them), pot and pills for a far more comforting security blanket. Back in Australia, I’d left behind my dream of becoming a sports commentator and was faced with the decision of……..

                                            “What am I going to do for a living?”

Lucky for me, I started to join the dots.

I didn’t have a Green Card and couldn’t work, to kill time I became a regular at the local YMCA.  I’d been lifting weights on and off for the better part of ten years. I found it a great way to blow off steam plus there was the benefit of being able to eat guilt free burgers.

I was following routines out of magazines and books.  I thought I could write my own. I began to dabble in writing workouts.  I was also giving workout advice to fellow gym goers when they asked.

A few years and I had two baby boys who were about to start preschool and the same decision was staring me down. What the heck am I going to do for a living?

When I took stock of my life and I came up with this:

  • I like to work out
  • I like to tell people what to do (dangerous territory when you’re married)
  • I like to write exercise programs
  • I like to live in tracksuit pants
  • I am addicted to coffee
  • I want to keep getting better
  • I want to keep up with my kids

Once I combined these ingredients I could see this was a recipe for a career in the fitness industry.  My passion was lifting weights, getting better and helping people to become better.

Wearing tracksuits pants was the icing on a very delicious cake.

cake

I’d found my why.

Have you found yours?

 

 

Not sleeping? This will help

You’ve been eating right and been putting in time at the gym. However the scale is not budging. Quick question. When’s the last time you had a good night’s sleep?

sleep 3

Sleep and the scale can go hand in hand. Not getting enough sleep also messes with our hormones, in particular Cortisol. Cortisol, which is produced in your adrenal glands, is naturally high in the morning to help you wake and low in the evening to help you sleep.

WTF

Lack of sleep and stress will keep cortisol levels elevated thought the day and night. This can cause

  1. Muscle breakdown– Cortisol’s main function is breaking down substances for energy. That includes your hard earned muscle.
  1. Weight gain– A study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that lack of sleep impacts your brain in such a way that it pushes you towards the pantry, not away from it. Only one night of fewer than six hours sleep triggers areas of your brain that is involved in your need to eat.

But don’t despair; you only need to make a few small changes to help you get that good night’s sleep you have been craving:

  1. Timing your food intake– Eating the majority of your protein in the morning/afternoon and have your dinner with some carbohydrates (fruit/vegetables, not sugar) which should aid in maintaining a proper Circadian rhythm.
  1. Manipulate light exposure- Manipulating light exposure for brighter white/blue/green lights in the morning and dimmer red/pink lights (or just darkness) at night definitely does helps in maintaining a proper sleep cycle
  1. Supplement with Melatonin– This is a naturally occurring substance in the body, but supplementing melatonin can help to reduce the time it takes to fall asleep. I take this every night with no side effects, and it works for me. (Since the FDA does not regulate supplements, there may be inconsistencies in brands, so if one doesn’t seem to help, you might try another brand.)

Wrapping up

So, help your waistline and your mood by using the three methods above to get more shut eye. If you still need more assistance, schedule an appointment with your doctor or with the Clinical Center for Sleep and Breathing Disorders at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

Your family and friends will thank you since a rested person is less irritable person. Right?