The LEAN BODY BASICS
Get a Lean, Strong, Healthy, Well-Toned Body
Whether you are brand new to exercise, or just want to refresh what you've been doing, today's post will help you design your ideal weekly exercise program, so you make sure you are focussing on the right sort of cardio and strength training techniques that will actually get you lean without wasting time, money and effort. Are you ready for maximum success? ...read on.
As you probably already know, strength training is the bread and butter of a perfect exercise program. Well it's, the meat and fat, if you follow the nutritional advice on this blog. If your goal is to live in a lean, strong, healthy, and well-toned body, then weight training is an absolute must. When performed regularly and at the appropriate intensity, it increases your lean muscle mass, which in turn raises your metabolism and helps you to burn fat all day long and even while you're asleep! Strength training even increases your bone density, so it's a great way of protecting and supporting your body for the long-term.
Designing THE IDEAL Training Program
The ideal program includes a minimum of 3 days of stength training, and up to 5 or even 6 cardio sessions. These sessions should be 40-60 minutes. No less, and certainly not more.
There are many approaches to strength training, and I'm not going to get into them all here.
If getting lean is your goal, then one of the best approaches is to superset (2 exercises back to back ) between upper and lower body exercises. This efectively stimulates the release of muscle building and fat burning hormones. Rest time after each superset should be 60-90 seconds. If you're pushing yourself hard enough, you'll have your heart racing, and your nose dripping sweat.
Circuit Training is also excellent for fitness and fat loss. This requires 3-6 exercises, ideally targeting different body parts, and all performed back to back. Rest for around 2 minutes (less if your recovery is good), and repeat 3-4 times.
WANT RESULTS LIKE THESE?
Always prepare for results by performing The Parameters Sequence TM. Then warm-up by performing the first set of each exercise with no or low weight, and cool down by stretching and performing The Complete Breath TM after each session. It goes without saying that you should only choose exercises you are comfortable with, and confident that you can perform correctly.
This is an activity that is easily forgotten, particularly if you're someone who loves intense training. Personally, 'in the old days' I used to think of stretching as a waste of time. In my early twenties I ran competitively, and I'd train for it day in and day out. Mile after mile, uphill, downhill, indoors, outdoors ...there wasn't a challenge I'd turn down. Unfortunately, my approach to stretching and recovery was nonchalant, and I paid the price for a time with constant knee and hamstring pain. Because hard training naturally puts a strain on your muscles, joints, and ligaments, warm-up and cooldown stretching will help prevent strains, pulls and injuries. And while some people are more limber than others by nature, and can 'get away with it', all of us definitely need some flexibility work.
I'd recommend at least 10 minutes for every 45 minutes of tough training.
If you can't motivate yourself to stretch, or aren't sure where to start, then do what I did and commit to a stretching class of some type. With a yoga studio on nearly every street corner you really don't have an excuse. I recommend, as you move into the stretch, breath in, as you 'feel' the stretch activation, then gently breath out as you move into and 'enter the stretch zone', then hold the posture as the body releases it's elasticity. Hold each stretch for 10-60 seconds, while breathing slowly and gently.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
It's up to you to decide which days best suit you for training, and how many days each week you can commit to working out. Always remembering you need at least 1 or 2 days off from super tough training (sometimes, I stretch on my days off, other times, I make it a total nothing day, but I always perform The Complete Breath TM to start my day, and once again to start my evening).
Here's an idea of what a typical week might look like:
Monday 45 minutes weights, 15 minutes interval cardio, 10 minutes stretch
Tuesday stretch class
Wednesday 45-60 minutes weights, 10 minutes stretch
Thursday 20 minutes interval cardio, 10 minutes stretch
Friday off, or stretching at home
Saturday 45 minutes weights, 10 minutes stretch
EXCEPTION: If have an exceptionally slow metabolism, or have been been doing regular cardio sessions and are not happy with your progress, I recommend you perform The 20 minute high intensity, interval Program for 2 weeks to reset your Cardio Receptor Thresholds. Keep in mind, I don't know your particular goals and exercise history, so the above is really just an outline. You may find it completely unrealistic to put aside that much time for exercise, in which case I'd recommend you start with whatever you can fit in. Your progress may be slower, but trust me, you most definitely will be progressing even if you're only investing 10 minutes of quality exercise each day.
While I do believe that the above outline is ideal, I also know that it's better to start with some exercise and build up, rather than wait for the time when life gives you the freedom to do whatever you'd like.
If the above weekly exercise schedule looks very familier, then well-done!
If you'd like to add more training, start with 1 or 2 additional strength sessions, and a maximum of 1 more cardio session of around 15-20 minutes. You might also like to try setting a day aside for a sport or outdoor activity. Exercise doesn't have to be 100% structured, and many people find the greatest enjoyment comes from challenging themselves with something new outside the gym. My 'outside the gym' activity of choice is Karate.
I hope today's post has helped you dis-cover more of your potential
If you have any questions about further fine-tuning your exercise program, or would like to suggest some tips for how best to incorporate regular exercise into a busy life, then please comment below. In fact -
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