Tag Archives: high intensity

FUN TOUGH SUMMER CIRCUIT

Here is an infinitely challenging but tremendously fun circuit that can help you develop lean muscle mass, athleticism, and cut down for the summer. It is a high-intensity exercise that can even be modified for HIIT if you are very goal-oriented. Otherwise, it is a great full body workout that contains some elements that are a little bit outside the box. The order of the exercises can be changed and some can be substituted or left out depending on what fits your needs best. Remember that there is no single workout that can help everyone equally. This is part of the reason that you will hear me constantly not recommending INSANITY or P90X or other similar products. Everyone’s body is different and requires different needs based on their strengths, weaknesses, injuries, goals, etc. But for everyone that is just looking for something a little strange that can still get your heart rate up and challenge you to push yourself… here is our FUN TOUGH SUMMER CIRCUIT.

The circuit is designed as six exercises with no rest between exercises. You run from one station to another and immediately begin the next exercise. After a set of all six, you then rest. I set it up for thirty-second rounds with a rest of 30 seconds after the full six exercises although you can play with these numbers depending on certain variables. Ask below if you are more curious about what I mean.

The goal is continue completing full sets until failure, which means you either give up mentally or physically. I would hope that your legs become jelly and you just can’t do it anymore, instead of getting hurt or giving up. I would shoot for five rounds although if you go all the way through twenty rounds I wouldn’t stop you. Just be careful, like always. Here are the exercises that are demonstrated and explained in the YouTube video linked above. (PLEASE feel free to like the video, comment, subscribe and share it with EVERYONE!)

1. Dynamic Ball Slams – This activates your upper body heavily, your core and your legs. Control the ball fully and dynamically lift it and slam it to the ground before picking it up and repeating. This will really help develop a strong back and shoulders.

2. Punching Bag Flurry – The goal is not to strike the bag as hard as you can or properly but rather to keep your body moving. In the video I use knees, elbows, shins, forearms, palms, fists and everything else. I keep it varied so I don’t get bored but too also activate different muscles. Don’t stop until that timer is finished so that you really challenge your body to push itself.

3. Jump Rope – Singles – Now we move away from the upper body somewhat and start to focus on our legs and getting our heart rate very high. You can absolutely do different jump rope techniques here although I used single jumps. Doubles, crosses, steps, and everything else is fine but keep moving. I will do a post on jumping rope at some point to give you more ideas.

You don’t need to jump this high

4. High Knees – This is a simple exercise but do it properly. Actually get those knees up towards the sky, through your chest. Explode off of the ground with all of your legs, including your hips. Once again, push yourself to continue until the timer ends and you feel those quads burning deep.

5. Over Jumps/Lateral Hops – Your legs probably feel like jelly after one round but you need to dig deep and find a groove. Most of these exercises are based on rhythm and mastering the motion. Complete full jumps with safe landings, absorbing the impact throughout your body. Watch your ankles on the lateral hops and avoids slick surfaces.

6. HULA HOOP – Really? Of course! This is a great way to take the stress off your upper and lower body as you use your core to keep the hula hoop off the ground. Then take some time to get a drink and REPEAT over and over again.

photo (17)

Again, watch it here on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZFnPqWTp8mk

For individuals that want a challenge, try doing this with ankle or wrist weights or even a weight vest. It can be a great workout for an athlete of any level! And it’s fun! Fun workouts are one of my favorite ways to stay hungry and fit!

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The Best Way to Cut Calories: Swimming

This post was inspired by an old swimming friend that has more recently gotten involved in lifting weights and trying to transform his body. He is an extremely experienced and skilled swimmer so he has a lot of tools at his disposal. He does not enjoy running or biking as a means to burn calories but he is interested in cutting for the summer.

Cutting is a term used in the fitness industry, primarily among physique based competitions, that refers to a stage after bulking where you lower your caloric intake and increase your caloric deficits in order to lose fat. Through this process of lowering body fat percentage, the muscles that a person developed and strengthened during their bulking phase will be more defined, visible and prominent. It has a certain aesthetic effect.

Not exactly your typical lap swimmer (it's Alana)

Not exactly your typical lap swimmer (it’s Alana)

Mr. M (we will keep his identity a mystery) asked me if swimming was a suitable substitute for cutting and the answer is yes. Anything that helps you achieve your caloric deficit amongst a cutting phase, with proper diet and rest, is a proper form or substitute for the classic “cardio machines.” Most professionals have ellipticals, treadmills, steppers or even bikes in their home gyms. There are a few reasons why swimming does not receive attention on the same level. Those reasons are primarily seen as a disadvantage and therefore complicate the process. However, there are certain advantages as well if you are cutting for your own reasons and not trying to be like everyone else. Here are the reasons why people do not use swimming to lose fat:

1. Most people do not know how to swim. That’s true, believe it or not. Beyond that, many people that do know how to swim don’t know how to swim properly. The number of people that can swim the four competitive strokes and various other safety strokes properly is extremely small. Many bodybuilders are among this population and are not interested in learning how to swim. However, for Mr. M, this is not a concern and with strokes such as backstroke, breaststroke, freestyle, and butterfly it is very easy to burn more calories than on a machine that plugs into the wall.

2. It is much harder to calculate burned calories while swimming. Machines that plug into walls have abilities to calculate these numbers, therefore making it extremely convenient for someone tracking these figures so strictly to hit their marks properly. This is not the case while swimming, as every stroke will burn a different amount of calories. Pacing yourself will also affect this greatly. Swimming a 100-yard freestyle on 55 seconds and following with a second 100 yard freestyle on 1 minutes and 15 seconds will result in different calculations that need to be made. If you are not extremely strict on your figures, then this is not an issue as you can estimate. You can also buy some new devices in the market that are waterproof and track your calories that are burned. Fit will be doing a post soon about these devices so keep an eye out for that.

3. It is generally more difficult to find a body of water, especially year round, that is safe. You can run and bike on land. You can run indoors in the winter no matter where you live. Finding a safe swimming spot is harder as it is a much more dangerous activity due to the medium of the water. In developing countries swimming is a luxury and something that the majority of the population does not know how to do. Overall, it is simply not as safe.

Despite these factors, I highly recommended Mr. M to swim in order to cut to achieve his goals. The best way is to use all the strokes that you know and incorporate them into a HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout. Switch up your strokes and change your pace consistently to challenge your body to work harder and burn more calories. Swimming for an hour at the same pace does not do much unless you somehow can maintain your full speed, or something close, for that whole time. I love to do 100 and 200 IMs (individual medley- butterfly, breaststroke, backstroke, freestyle) with the 100s being all out and the 200s being at a steady pace. I will do 5-10 of each depending on how I feel with minimal rest in between. It makes me feel good, keep my skills fresh and avoids putting extra impact on my heavy flat feet.

If you are interested in specific questions related to swimming or cutting calories please leave a comment below. And look forward to more entries in the Best Way to Cut Calories series. Use this to stay hungry and fit!

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BONUS KITTY PIC

Meow

Meow

15 Minute High-Intensity Workout — No Excuses

I don’t care how busy you are. You have 15 minutes. You do. Don’t lie to yourself. So if you don’t have time for your own full workout, try this one. Only 15 minutes. Extremely simple. All you need is a timer. You could use your phone if it has one too. You can get some of your family to do it with you–it will make it more fun (and entertaining) this way. Most everyone can do it, unless you have a significant injury. Just try it! It gets you working, your heart rate up, hopefully sweating, and your core/legs strong. So here it is…

  • 1 minute mountain climbers

  • 1 minute russian twists

  • 1 minute lunges

x5

Meaning, you perform 1 minute of mountain climbers, 1 minute of russian twists, then 1 minute of lunges. And REPEAT FIVE TIMES. Take as little rest as possible. If you do so, you will have completed a very efficient, high-intensity, muscle-burning workout.

With the mountain climbers, I want you to go as quickly as possible. Keeping the pace up is one thing, but you also need to try to get those feet as close to the hands as possible to complete a good exercise.

With the russian twists, make sure you are doing complete rotations. This means that it’s not just your hands moving side to side, but also your shoulders. You’re doing a complete twist from either side. Once you’ve mastered that rotation, try to get a solid speed going.

With the lunges, if you have enough room you can do moving lunges. Otherwise, place your hands on your hips, lunge forward with the right, bring it back to center, then lunge forward with the left. This way, you stay in the same spot, but still get the full extension of the exercise.

Good luck, work hard, and sweat often!