Going to the gym takes motivation, money and time. If you want a program that will last, it has to be effective and it has to fit in with the rest of your life. If every visit to the gym takes 2 or 3 hours, it is bound to put a strain on other areas of your life, not to mention your motivation.
The next time you go to a gym, take a look around and decide how you want to do your work outs. Do you want to be the guy who stands around for ages after each set checking out other gym members, chatting on their cell ‘phones and trying to look like they are not looking at themselves in the mirror? Or do you want to be the guy who gets in there, works hard, gets it done, and gets out?
The truth is that a shorter, more intense workout is more likely to yield results than the lengthy semi-social sessions that last hours. They tend to be more focused and you are in and out in a short time, so that you can get on with the rest of your life. Unfortunately, many people concentrate too much on bench press and arm curls. The bench press station is popular in the gym, and you will see gym users walking up and down around the bench, resting for minutes and minutes so that they can lift what they regard as a respectable weight. Similarly, there are usually lines of guys in front of the mirror doing arm curls while the chin up bar is left to gather dust. And the squat rack is seldom if ever used by the majority of gym goers. Now, don’t get me wrong, bench press, and even arm curls, might have a place in your program, but they are not everything.
To get the most out of your session, check your ego at the door and resolve to get in there and do whatever is best for your goals, regardless of what anyone else thinks. Concentrate on the compound movements such as pull ups, power cleans, bench press, shoulder press, squats, dead lifts and rows. These exercises work the larger muscles which have a greater effect on your metabolism and tend to produce more natural testosterone than isolation exercises such as curls. Always train with good form, and only rest as long as it takes to be recovered for the next set.
The “shorter is better” principle can also extend to cardio exercises. Rather than plugging away on the treadmill for ages, throw in some high intensity interval training (known as “HIIT”) instead. HIIT consists of short but full on bursts of activity, with short rest periods in between. A HIIT workout can last anything up to 12 minutes with your warm up and cool down included. For example, try a 3 minute jog warm up followed by 4 intervals of 10 seconds sprinting with 30 second rest intervals. 3 minutes jog to warm down. As you get used to HIIT, you can increase the length and number of intervals, but remember they are sprints. HIIT has been shown to very useful in fat burning, as the effect that it has on your metabolism is such that you will continue to burn fat long after you have finished the work out. Although a HIIT workout is short, it is arduous, so break yourself in gently, and if you are in any doubt (as with any form of exercise), consult with your doctor first.
Short work outs are not only more convenient, they work, too. If you follow these principles, you will not only have more time to deal with life outside of training; you will have a program that is highly effective and efficient in building lean muscle, and in burning fat.
Keep Lifting, Stay Fit !!!
Winner of New Year Lean Body Challenge 2008