I don’t know about you, but the last place I want to be spending my summer days (that will be gone before we know it) is inside at the gym. After all, I teach people how to feel good, look good and still have a life and being in the gym 24/7 is not synonymous with having a life, IMHO.
So, unless you are a professional athlete or fitness competitor whose job it is to stay in shape, there is no reason you need to be exercising for hours each day. If this describes you and you do not fall into one of the two above categories, ask yourself ‘Why?’
For one, it is excessive. Just think of how much else you could accomplish if you streamlined your exercise regimen so that you are in, out and done in less than an hour… dare I say half-hour? QT with the fam? Friends? Work? Relax? Creating your dream life? Sign me up!
For two, intensity NOT duration is what drives results in the gym… or wherever. It’s about working smarter, not longer. Because in terms of exercise, more is not always better; better is better.
Important is it to understand also that the caloric model of metabolism explains only part of the equation. Sustainable fat loss requires both caloric deficit and hormonal balance, the latter of which is often overlooked in talking about diet and exercise. How many times have you heard “eat less, exercise more” thrown around in conversations around losing weight? If you, or anyone you know is looking to drop some LBs, be forewarned that using exercise as the primary tool for weight loss is a slippery slope; the more we do, the more we’re going to have to do to get results. Real food nutrition is key in terms of sustainable fat loss.
What does this mean in terms of your training? Prioritize short-duration, high-intensity workouts over longer duration, moderate intensity types. By maximizing calorie-burn both during and after the workout is over (up to 24-48 hours assuming we make smart food choices!), this is efficient exercise.
It is worth mentioning here that there is nothing inherently wrong with steady-state cardio, hour-long group fitness classes and the like. If it’s something you enjoy, any of these things can have a place in a lifestyle of moderation, if you choose. But if fat loss is your primary goal, these options do not give you the most bang for your proverbial buck.
So, I’ve just told you that high-intensity exercise is where it’s at. Yes, but… Let it be known that “going hard” 24/7 is not the smartest choice either. High intensity exercise all the time is a surefire way to burnout, injury and not necessarily the results you desire i.e. not the fast track to washboard abs a la Barbie & Ken. It’s important to offset the higher intensity stuff (e.g. high intensity interval training, CrossFit, Metabolic Effect-type workouts) with restorative activities (e.g. leisure walking esp. in nature, some types of yoga, foam rolling, massage, light stretching). The lower intensity stuff actually helps the higher intensity stuff to work; it keeps the metabolism responsive.
Not sure what this looks like? Here’s a do-anywhere, no equipment required bodyweight workout for the next time you find yourself short on time, without gym access or whenever.
Perform the following movements circuit-style, moving directly from one exercise into the next using Metabolic Effect’s rest-based training (RBT) principles: Push as hard as you can, then rest until you can push hard again. Repeat for 20 minutes. As always, listen to your body and be safe.
12 walking lunges
*Options include treadmill walking, incline walking, running (also track, or just a straightaway), stairs, elliptical, bike, row or jump rope. Obviously, some of these require equipment, but you can also feel free to sub a plyometric movement (e.g. squat jumps, jumping lunges, burpees, bicycle crunches, mountain climbers, kettle bell swings etc.) to get your heart rate up.
In terms of post-workout nutrition, obviously real food is preferable. But if you’ve ever been busy, or find yourself constantly on-the-go, you know that real food is not always available or easily accessible. And so in those times, it’s important to have a real food convenience option (that you actually enjoy eating!) and we’ve done just that.
Post-workout nutrition does depend on you somewhat; your goals, metabolic tendencies, personal preferences and psychological sensitivities. In general, I recommend a clean source of carbohydrate and quality protein following an intense bout of exercise; also keeping dietary fat in this window low, as it can slow the absorption of the former two macronutrients, which are both essential to muscle repair and growth aka recovery.
*Bottom line: Living a life in which diet and exercise is a part is hugely different than one that is consumed by them. You do not need hours a day, crazy restrictive meals plans or fancy gym equipment to get the job done. All you need is purpose and commitment to this thing we at Vukoo call a lifestyle. Remember that with a diet, you are either ‘ON’ or ‘OFF;’ it’s a trap. Conversely, a lifestyle is a way of eating, training and living that you love and can do effortlessly, for life, and with results <=== the ‘perfect’ plan.
Don’t forget that if you can’t sustain it, you can’t expect sustainable results to match. As such, the best type of exercise is one that you will actually do. Do what you love, and if you love nothing, do the easiest thing: walk.
What’s your favorite way to sweat? How do you embrace this lifestyle? Let us know on our Facebook page, or snap a pic and tag us on Instagram (@vukoobar) - we love hearing from you! (and def be sure to let us know if you try this workout)