Admittedly, I was a little surprised to receive the invitation to write an occasional post on Annie's new site. I have enjoyed reading her family blog and have supplied some back office support for her newest writing endeavor, but never anticipated putting my occasional life and training rants out onto the blogosphere.
I'm interested in the chance to occasionally jump in some areas where Annie gets questions. She seems to think that some people may enjoy reading my "off the cuff" training theories.
I have a slightly different, maybe more scientific background than Annie's, but we both are very passionate and sold on the value of physical fitness and the lifestyle that accompanies it. I've enjoyed the chance that we've had to be a part of each other's physical fitness lives since we met in graduate school. We always have enjoyed training together, planning meals and trying to demonstrate good habits for our girls.
That being said, Annie and I were talking on Saturday about the amount of people at the gym - as we were looking at more than double the crowd for a typical Saturday morning at the Y. A lot of gym-goers hate the first three months of the new year because the resolution crowd is at the local training center. I went through that phase at one point in my life, but I'm now on the other side of the coin.
I enjoy seeing and meeting some new people and maybe thriving a little bit on the new energy of the people who have all decided to make a change in their life for the new year. The gym's going to be crowded. Treadmills are going to be used. All the cool gadgets are going to be taken. It's a great time of year to do something different. If you're a treadmill runner, this is the perfect time to introduce yourself to the squat rack. If you always are a "Monday bench presser", maybe this is the time to switch your workout to doing pushing movements on Wednesday instead of Monday (like everyone else).
Over the course of my traning life, whether it be at my current local family YMCA, a college strength and conditioning center, a trendy suburban gym or the most hard-core basement training dungeon, usually the most effective equipment for true body modification are never being used. The advanced, trendy "butt-blasters," NASA inspired elliptical machines, or some $28,000 piece of Nautillus equipment will all have 30-minute wait times for use right now. It's now a great time to learn to create your own workouts with dumbbells, barbells or body weight. You can get the most efficient strength training and cardiovascular training done with a few simple tools.
As we move through this writing process, we'll start to throw out some specific circuits and workouts that may get you out of the local gym rat-race January through March. This week, do yourself a favor and instead of being a little mad because you can't get on the treadmill one morning, try to see how long it takes you to do the following simple circuit:
4 exercises, 4 sets of 20 each with a 30 second break after the end of the set
Body weight squats
Bent row (with barbells or dumbells)
Back step lunges
This circuit will work all major muscle groups, should get your heart rate up into the correct interval, fat-burning range, and you should sweat. These are all key factors in any good workout.
I once heard Dan Gable say that we as humans waste a tremendous amount of time and energy trying to figure out the easier way to do something. This happens all the time when we're at the gym. I challenge you this week to try to fight that urge instead of obliging it. Find those unused tools in the gym. Don't over-think and go to work!
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