I’m quite lucky in that there is nothing I love more than being in the gym and training. For many people, training is a chore. Something that has to be done out of a self-imposed obligation to try stay fit and healthy, but which brings plenty of pain and no pleasure. As we all know, trying to stick to something which is no fun, whether learning a new language or getting in shape is very difficult indeed, and more often than not doomed to failure.
I like to think that I can make training a bit more fun and interesting for the majority of people. It is undoubtedly easier to motivate yourself to do something if you have someone to push you or are in a group than alone. However, I appreciate the fact that exercise is just not everyone’s cup of tea.
One area I feel that a lot of people make things harder for themselves is by utilising exercise routines that are long and complicated. You don’t need to run for an hour, or get on an eliptical machine for 45 minutes to lose fat or improve fitness levels. In fact, you can get much better results in 10-15 minutes if you use movements that challenge not only the cardiovascular, but the muscular system. Not only is this more efficient, it is far less boring and dare I say it, fun.
Calisthenics (push-ups, pull-ups, squats, lunges etc) are perfect for this type of training. Simple to perform, no equipment necessary and you can be done in 10-15 minutes.
Here are a couple of videos I made a while back demonstrating some simple movements that can be used for this type of training.
Each video shows the basic exercise along with progressions to make them easier or harder.
If you want to lose fat and improve basic strength levels, there are a myriad of ways you can pair these movements together to get a great workout.
Some examples could be:
Perform 15 squats, 10 push-ups and 5 pull-ups. Repeat 3 times and see how long it takes.
Set a timer for 6 minutes. How many times can you complete a circuit of 10 lunges and 10 sit-ups in that time?
If you are feeling really ambitious, add in some sprints. A circuit of a 200-300 metre run plus 15 push-ups repeated 5 times will test your cardiovascular and muscular system to a level you might nit have thought possible. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
The point of these routines are that they are high in intensity. The higher the intensity, the shorter amount if time you can sustain that type of workload. That is why 5-15 minutes is more than enough. Once your body adapts to the stress of a workout, that stress needs to be increased in order to force the body to adapt. In order to keep challenging yourself, try to repeat workouts and finish them in less time, or add repetitions. That, in a nutshell is smart training – continued progress driven by increased stimulus.
This type of training really switches the focus and mindset of the session. Once again, be warned that high intensity sessions can be brutally hard, but in terms of bang for your buck, they are the only way to go.