We throw up a lot of self-imposed barriers to our fitness success. One of the most common refrains I hear is the “I don’t have time” excuse. I’ll concede that time is becoming ever more precious and that we all lead very busy lives. But the truth is that fitness takes a lot less time than you would think. You can get a highly effective fat-loss workout in the comfort of your own home in less than half an hour.
The fitness industry has us well conditioned to believe we need to fight our way through traffic to get to an overcrowded gym where we spend a ridiculous amount of time waiting for machines so that we can do exercises which are barely effective and certainly not time-efficient. I can understand how, given this circumstance, many people would be able to easily convince themselves that they don’t have the time to train.
But let’s set the record straight. Treadmills are not the most effective means of fat loss. Elliptical machines, stationary bikes and stair steppers are about the least time-efficient means of getting in shape. If you want fat loss in a hurry, put together circuits of resistance based exercise that quickly raise intensity levels to a high level for relatively short periods of time.
This approach is sometimes referred to as Metabolic Conditioning. It is a cousin of Interval Training, but isn’t a slave to running, biking and other “aerobic” conditioning methods. You can put these circuits together with anything. My favorite tools for this are Clubbells, kettlebells, sandbags and of course bodyweight exercises.
The advantage of using bodyweight exercise is the ability to take your workout routine with you wherever you go. Do you work long hours? Catch a workout in your office. Travel a lot for work? Train in your hotel room. Scared of people and hide in your apartment all day? You get the idea…
When setting up your training circuit, you’ll need to work with the Rate of Perceived Effort. Using a scale of 1-10 (10 being extreme effort), you should aim for an RPE of 8-10. This will get you into a zone where you are creating a metabolic disturbance. This means your body will be working for hours – or even days – afterwards in order to bring you back to your original state. This means continued fat burning after the session is done. You won’t get that with your traditional cardio. The minute you step off the treadmill the process is done.
You can set up your session in a hundred different ways, but here is one extremely simple example for you to try. Do the following 3 exercises one after the other without rest. You have one and a half minutes to do all the exercises and get some rest in before the next round starts. No matter what, when one and a half minutes is over, the next round starts. So, if it takes you 60 seconds to do all your reps, you get 30 seconds of rest.
Here is your circuit:
Pushups x 10 repetitions
Sit-ups x 10 repetitions
Bodyweight Squat Jumps x 10 repetitions
Repeat this circuit for 8 rounds and you’ll soon see that you can pack a very intense and simple exercise session into a very short 12 minute package.
This is an extremely simplistic example as far as exercise selection goes. But these are exercises that most people will be familiar with. In truth, the sky (and your imagination) is the limit as to the types and variety of bodyweight exercise that is available to you.
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