Monthly Archives: January 2012

How to go from overweight to awesome

We all know that while fat loss is simple, it isn’t really easy. Ok screw that. Fat loss is hard and it sucks big time! Who likes to eat under control? Be it controlling quantity or quality, it sucks. As animals we are naturally gluttonous and the act of watching what you eat truly sucks. As humans we are naturally greedy and the thought of ‘having your cake and eating it too’ is very appealing as much as the reality of ‘there’s no such thing as a free lunch’ is appalling. Nothing profound here. We all know this. And there is an entire industry that lives off of our tendency to get fat, greed to not make any compromises and fear to deal with reality. As a result, we use fat loss strategies that help us reach our goals quickly without having to really hate life.

But these strategies that are aimed at fast results don’t apply to everyone and things are different for the bigger guys and gals among us.

Firstly

I really don’t want to get into the humane and morality side of the argument so I’ll throw in some disclaimers up front.

– This is applicable to anyone who is overweight by 20 kg (45 lb) or more.

– I realize that you may have hormonal imbalances or a genetic disposition to be overweight/obese, but that doesn’t change anything that I’m going to say here.

– I’m in no way being mean. I’m just not being artificially nice (read: fake) like most people you meet possibly are. So if you can’t deal with reality delivered in a no-BS tone, maybe this isn’t for you.

– Be sure to talk to your doctor before making any of these changes ‘cos your health is going to get so much better and he/she may mistakenly take credit for it.

But you have to be nice, Raj!

Ask any of my clients and they’ll tell you I’m full of love… tough love, but love nevertheless. Make no mistake – I will do anything and everything possible to help you reach your goals, but never do anything that even closely resembles sugar coating and hand holding. Why? ‘Cos you’re not stupid! Like one would expect you to take action if you’re running out of money to feed your family, I expect you to take action if your health is deteriorating rapidly. You need reality and I never think twice before giving it to you.

But the truth is – I’m nice. Very very nice actually. I care about you enough to not let you fail. And I do that by being mean real. Don’t get it?

Listen. According to you success is making that number on the scale drop. According to me, success is making you aware of your true situation, feeding you with knowledge about fitness, nutrition and health, moving your thoughts from ‘Where is that bloody magic pill?!’ to ‘This needs work but I know can do this!’ and, finally, pointing you towards the path to sustainable long term health and, hence, happiness.

But you have to be ready to work, buddy!

As far as I’m concerned, there are two types of people – the type that does what it takes to reach their goals and the type that does whatever it takes to reach their goals.

If you are obese or grossly overweight, you better learn to become the type that does whatever it takes to reach your goals! Effort is not what you think it is and don’t ever come to me saying ‘I put in all the effort but I see no results!‘ until you have understood and done everything that is mentioned below.

Your don’t want a diet. You don’t want fat loss. Diets and fat loss are for people who have a couple of kilos to shed. You want lifestyle changes. You want a transformation. A transformation is like going to school or getting a degree. It is in many ways a graduation! It requires time, consistency and effort. Working out well one day or eating one good meal is like doing well in one class test. It is worth a pat on the back but not much more. You need to be able to consistently do what(ever) is required for however long it is required for you to get to where you want to be.

It isn’t going to be quick. I took you decades to get to where you are today. It will take you a significant amount of time to get to where you call yourself fit. Understand that and get ready for the ride. And don’t forget to pack a few thousand gallons of patience ‘cos you’re going to need all of it and possibly more.

It isn’t going to be easy. You are going to be unhappy with either what you eat or how much you eat or both. Lunch will not be ‘Living life king size’ anymore. Choco-whatever-nonsense won’t feature in your life other than in the line “No choco-whatever-nonsense!”. But you had your fun all these years. Don’t try and make it easy. Harden the f*ck up and grab the bull by the horns!

You need to eat right... today, next week, next month, next year and for the rest of your life.

– Stop constantly telling yourself that you’re making sacrifices or compromises. This is your new way of life… the healthy way of life. Don’t resist it. Embrace it. This is the right thing to do!

– Eat real food! Base 90% of your diet on vegetables, meat, eggs, fruits, lentils and dairy. Supplement with non-allergenic starches (potatoes, rice etc.) and stay the hell away from potentially allergenic foods! Special mention – stay away from wheat and any gluten containing foods. Move from vegetable and seed oils to ghee, coconut oil, lard and butter. But, irrespective of what oil you use, reduce oil consumption to ~ 2 tbls per day. Read more about why and how to eat real food here.

– Keep the math out of it. Food isn’t just about calories. Eat below appetite. But don’t starve yourself and don’t eat to fullness.

– Have a legit food log. Write down anything and everything that goes into your mouth. This will help you truly understand how much (and what) you actually eat.

– Learn to cook! Understand recipes and find multiple ways to cook per these guidelines. ‘Boring food’ is a phrase that doesn’t exist. It generally means ‘I don’t know how to cook’ but in my world it means ‘I lack commitment’.

You need to stay active… today, next week, next month, next year and for the rest of your life.

– Move! This could mean regular walks or playing a sport or even zumba classes for all care. But find a place to move. Find a way to move. Find a reason to move.

– Add some form of resistance training. Push, pull, displace and carry some weight 2-3 days a week. No other details matter right now.

– Mobility is a need. A lot of overweight/obese people lose plenty of weight and find themselves (relatively) skinny but can’t seem to be able to move through their full/optimal range of motion which limits them majorly in performing optimally in life. If focused mobility work is not an option, incorporate functional mobility drills into your daily life (more on this later).

You need to get your sleep… enough of it.

– I understand you’re busy. I understand you have a taxing job. I understand you want to stay up late and watch some TV. But do you understand that the lack of sleep is messing with your health? Do you understand that the lack of sleep is stopping you from progressing towards your goals?

– Chronic sleep deprivation (i.e. sleeping a little less over years) causes weight gain, irritability, hypertension, irregular heartbeat, increased stress hormone levels, compromises immunity etc! Read more about the importance of sleep here at The Harvard Medical School and here at Chris Kresser’s 9 Steps of Perfect Health.

You need to reduce stress.

– You need to not be obsessive.Worrying constantly about numbers on the scale or whining about giving up that dessert or complaining about having to make changes, isn’t doing you any favors except making you chronically more stressed.

– Chronically elevated stress levels (due to lifestyle or work or obsession) stalls fat loss without doubt and puts you at a much higher risk of cardiovascular diseases, obesity, memory impairment and more. Read what the awesome Robert Sapolsky says about stress and it’s physiological effects and to understand more about how stress destroys you and how to keep it at bay, knock here at Chris Kresser’s door once again.

Stay sane. Stay strong. Before you say ‘No I can’t eat that cake’ with puppy dog eyes that are ready to burst into tears, say no to pity and say ‘f*ck no’ to self-pity! The act of saying no to that cake is NOT a sacrifice. It is NOT a compromise. It is an act of awesomeness that is slowly but steadily helping you walk towards a goal that is larger than life!

The world is a mean messed up place filled with tasty junk food, cushy chairs and sedentary solace! I’m not complaining. I made it that. You made it that. And it is awesome the way it is as long as you’re not a total idiot. I’m just saying you need to be aware of this and be prepared to deal with every obstacle life throws at you.

I understand this is a lot of work. Definitely more work than any of your friends or colleagues or relatives would ever need to put in. But I want you to understand that you have a lot more to gain out of this!

Now get ready ‘cos this is a challenge and this absolutely calls for a fight! But whats life without a challenge? Whats life without a fight?

Peace out!

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Strength, fat loss, endurance and mobility in 15 minutes

Can you get strong, lose fat, gain endurance and improve your mobility in under 15min? Abso-fuckin-lutely! But stop being greedy and stupid ‘cos these 15 minutes are not a walk in the park or on the treadmill. These 15 minutes will be the most grueling 15 minutes of your day and will require you to stay motivated, focused and push (almost) till you drop. In short, this isn’t for the slackers. This is for fighters!

If you’re ready to work, let’s get this show on the road.

Why will this work?

Let make make this clear. This is not a scam. This is not the ‘Look and feel awesome in just 3 minutes a day’ bullshit. This is not ‘Why choose hard when easy works’ nonsense. This is legit. This involves progression. This involves hard work. And this works only if, brace yourself, you actually do it!

– In order to get strong you need to strength train. I’ve spoken about this in detail multiple times earlier, but I’ll summarize again. Getting strong(er) is achieved only by linear progression i.e. starting off with a load you are comfortable with and very gradually increasing that load in as small increments as possible. So irrespective of what the exercise or workout is, be sure to start off light ‘cos if you stick to the progression for even a couple of months, you will find yourself working with much more weight than when you started. Starting off too heavy will only result in ugly reps and plateaus too soon into the game.

– To lose fat, it isn’t enough that you momentarily burn some calories. To lose fat effectively and consistently, you need to rev up your basal metabolic rate. Traditional cardio doesn’t quite help with this (wrt efficiency and sustainability) and short duration high intensity conditioning work is the best way to achieve this. Read more about this here.

– To gain endurance you need to challenge your anaerobic (and aerobic) threshold and this is best done by improving work capacity which directly relates to improving endurance. In other words, by increasing the amount of work you can do in a given period of time, you increase your endurance, power generation capability, coordination, fatigue threshold etc. In some other words, endurance also known as sufferance is your ability to fight through stress (exercise) over a given period of time and the more sufferance you are capable of, the fitter you can be.

– And finally, to improve your mobility, you need to consistently move through the full range of motion during every rep of every set of every workout.

So can all this be done in a 15 minute workout? Definitely. But only if all aspects of strength, conditioning and mobility are taken into account when designing the workout.

Here is one way to do it.

Raj’s full body strength & conditioning sequence

Perform a standard 5 minute warm-up with squats, lunges, pushups, leg swings, arm circles etc. and then do as many rounds as possible of the following in 10 minutes ensuring each move is done flawlessly and each rep is solid and strong. No ugly reps. No grinding out reps.

  • Clean two kettlebells.
  • Do a thruster.
  • Drop weights down and bear walk for 5-10 meters (preferably to a pullup bar).
  • While still on all fours, do a pushup.
  • Jump to a squat position.
  • Do a jump squat and (if you are at a pullup bar) grab the bar and do a chest-to-bar pullup.
  • Bear walk back to the kettlebells.

Here is the video.

Note:

  • Each round took me about 30 seconds but as I got tired it took me much longer and I ended up with about 15 rounds in 10 minutes.
  • I used 20kg KBs but feel free to use lighter/heavier ones based on your capability.
  • Cleans, thrusters, squats and pullups are all awesome multi-joint compound moves that demand plenty of muscle usage thereby making the sequence extremely energy hungry.
  • Technique is paramount irrespective of what the exercise is. So dedicate some time to learn technique if you aren’t familiar with these exercise.
  • I’ll post more workouts which have a similar output i.e. strength and conditioning in under 15-20 min in the future. Be sure to mix and match.
  • We workout at Bamboola Play School after coaching The Quad’s BootCamp. This was filmed at the end of my workout today and had to be done ASAP before the kids start pouring in. So pardon the lack of solidity at the start.

But I can’t do this because…

When you can come up with excuses to not walk on a daily basis, I’m sure you can come up with a bunch of excuses to not do this. So here are some modifications –

  • If you don’t have kettlebells, use dumbbells or barbells. If you don’t have kettlebells or dumbbells or barbells, use sandbags. If you don’t have kettlebells or dumbbells or sandbags or barbells, use a backpack/school bag. The point is to lift a weight from the floor to your chest and then squat thrust is overhead. No equipment isn’t an excuse.
  • If you don’t have a place to do pullups or can’t do pullups, well, don’t do them. Finish with a max height squat jump.
  • If you don’t have enough space to do bear walks, do 20 mountain climbers instead.
  • If you’re not ready to suffer through it, then get back to your treadmill and stay weak.

Peace out.

The beginner’s guide to getting strong & looking awesome

If you are truly interested in getting fit and/or looking awesome, there are a couple of things you need to do –

  • Stop asking about fitness, fat loss and health on FaceBook forums filled with idiots who think they know nutriton ‘cos they eat and fitness ‘cos they flail around a couple of dumbbells.
  • Shut up, open your mind and listen when I talk.

If thats cool, read on. If not, thank you for stopping by.

Linear Progression

Strength is the foundation of fitness. Period. The sooner you realize that and start working towards get stronger, the faster you will get to your goals. So then what is the fastest, safest and most effective way to get strong?

Arnold - Strong is awesome!

In the world of strength training, the world in which people are strong as hell and look awesome as heaven, the concept of linear progression is a very familiar concept. The awesomeness of this concept is that it applies equally to both the beginner who wants to look and perform well in life and to the fitness enthusiast who is looking to continue climbing up that fitness ladder.

Linear progression is, in all honesty, nothing more than continually progressing linearly. This refers to progress that is continuous and linear without any sharp jumps or drops during the (training) cycle. And if you understand the concept of linear progression, you will realize that it is the only sure shot way to fitness and success in general. Don’t believe me? Think about it for a second.

Why do you start school at grade 1 and make your way up to grade 12 before moving on to college/university? Why do you start off as a subordinate and slowly make your way to the managerial positions? Why are you asked to start off with the empty bar (wrt barbell work)?

The point is, linear progression works and it works so well that, as long as you stay the course, success is a given! Let me explain.

Have you heard of Milo? No. Not the sugary junk that is marketed as health food. I’m talking about Milo of Croton – a wrestler from the 6th century BC. Heard of him? If not, check this out. Definitely an interesting read. Among many of his feats of strength, the following is applicable to what we’re talking about.

Legends say he carried his own bronze statue to its place at Olympia, and once carried a four-year-old bull on his shoulders before slaughtering, roasting, and devouring it in one day. He was said to have achieved the feat of lifting the bull by starting in childhood, lifting and carrying a newborn calf and repeating the feat daily as it grew to maturity.

See what he did there? He started off by lifting and carrying around a newborn calf and then he continued to lift and carry around the same calf each and everyday. In a few years, the calf was no longer a cute little thing that weighed a few pounds but a fully grown monster bull that weighed as much as a dozen men! And, Milo, grew strong enough to lift and walk around with a fully grown bull!

Myth? Maybe. Maybe not. But the point is that you start with a load (resistance) that you can comfortably handle and every progressing day (or week), you increase the load by the smallest possible increment. Ideally, you want to increase the load in such small amounts that you hardly even notice the added resistance. That, my fine folks, is the holy grail of getting strong and there is no denying it!

What about beginners?

Here is a question for you – Before we get all fancy with loads and reps and increments and rest periods, can you control your own bodyweight? Are you strong enough to move your body under total control? If you said no, then read carefully.

Let me make this very clear.

  • If you can’t do 25+ proper full ROM bodyweight squats, you have no business trying to squat a load or sitting at the leg press machine.
  • If you can’t a 120+ sec plank you’re pretty far away from a 6-pack or washboard abs. Period.
  • If you don’t have 25+ legit pushups (chest touches floor), the bench press station means nothing to you.
  • If you don’t have a single pullup, you are only making yourself look like a douche curling those 25lb dumbbells.

I can go on and on, but I’m sure you get the message.

Folks, seriously – walk before you run. Bodyweight training before weighted training. As a general rule when you work with a particular weight, move on to the next weight, ONLY when you have truly dominated this weight!  So work up to a good number of reps of each bodyweight exercise before you even consider adding extra poundage or touching them machines.

How do you do that?

1. Simplify your training. Understand that a fitness program isn’t a compilation of a bunch of random fancy looking moves. Fitness is the capability to do things and there isn’t much things you can do if you haven’t mastered the basics. So instead of doing 30 different exercises for no sensible reason, focus on the very basic movements – squat, pushup, pullup and plank.

2. It might sound like common sense to learn to do something right before doing it over and over again, but common sense isn’t so common these days. So learn the right way to do these basic moves.

3. Once you have learnt the right way to do things, practice them! Strength is a skill and unless you practice strength (moves) over and over again, you’re never going to get good at it i.e. you’re never going to get stronger.

4. If you see that you’re not strong enough to perform the basic moves as is, look into beginner variations. Mark Sisson has some awesome videos that explain beginner progressions for the various basic moves. Check them out here – SquatPlankPushup and Pullup.

5. Work towards satisfying the following requirements before adding any kind of weight to your movements.

  • Squat – 25+ repetitions with perfect form
  • Pushup – 25+ repetitions for men (5+ repetitions for women) with perfect form
  • Pullup – 10+ repetitions for men (1+ repetitions for women) with perfect form
  • Plank – 120 sec+ elbow plank

Be it the random trainer at your neighborhood gym or the extremely experienced CrossFit level 1 trainer or Mark Rippetoe himself. I don’t care who tells you what. The bottom line is – if you aren’t strong enough to satisfy the above requirements, you have absolutely no business doing anything other than these 4 basic movements.

I’m not a beginner anymore! What now?

If you don't know what this is and/or which book this is from, you're still a ranked beginner

So I’ll assume you laid the foundation as stated above and you’re now an advanced beginner or an intermediate i.e. someone who satisfies the above requirements and is aware of the proper technique to do the basic moves. Here is what you need to do.

1. Simplify your training. Choose a squat (back squat, front squat, KB squat etc.), a push (OH press, pushup, dip etc.), a pull (pullup, row, inverted row etc.), a hinge (KB swing, Rack-pulls , Deadlift etc.) and a isometric hold (plank, L-sit, L-hang etc.). Forget everything else. Seriously.

2. Do 2 sets of 5 reps of each of these moves every other day or 3 days a week. For eg. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Rest as required between sets.

3. Each progressing training session, increase the number of repetitions by 1. Once you get strong enough to perform 12 solid repetitions, increase the weight by the smallest possible increment. Continue progressing.

4. Eat slightly above appetite and sleep as much as you can.

5. Don’t do anything else. And by that I mean, don’t f*cking do anything else! No running on off days, no basketball in the evenings, no extra ‘weights’ at the gym, no more nonsense. More is not better. Better is better and it doesn’t get better than this.

What about women?

Yeah. What about women? Won’t we get big and bulky? Ummm no, you wont. Don’t believe me? Look at Neghar Fonooni. Is she big and bulky? Or is she strong and awesome? You tell me.

Neghar Fonooni – Strong is awesome!

How does she train? Well, here is a sample.

Summing up

Whether your goal is to get fit or look awesome or both, do what been said, and only whats been said, till you get strong enough to back squat 2 x BW (1.5 x BW for women), deadlift 2.5 x BW (1.75 x BW for women), do 15+ pullups (6+ for women) and hold a 3min plank.

And then we’ll talk. We’ll talk about variety and macros and six pack abs and training frequency and rest periods and tempo and what not. Until then, shut up, open your mind and listen when I talk.

Peace out.

Why no cardio, Raj?

My honest answer…

1. I only like to do stuff that makes sense.

2. I stay away from doing anything that is counter-productive.

3. My time is very valuable and I’d rather spend it on something I enjoy than on a stupid machine which spits out random numbers.

While such an answer sounds cool, it is of no good to anyone interested in the topic. So, in this post, I’ll try to be less of a smart-ass and actually explain why I recommend against ‘doing cardio’.

Before we get on with the post

Allow me to clarify a couple of things.

1. Most people “do cardio” in order to lose ‘weight’ and/or to improve their cardiovascular health. These people are, for the most part, found running on treadmills or dominating the EFX/stepper and are driven by numbers (calories burned, total time etc.) that appear on the screen. These people don’t really understand fitness and do it for the sake of doing it. These awesome peeps who believe in ‘ignorance is bliss’ are referred to as ‘cardio junkies’.

2. Runners or dancers or swimmers or cyclists who do what they do ‘cos they enjoy it and people who train towards endurance goals (triathlons etc.) are not considered cardio junkies and what they do isn’t considered ‘cardio’ but is considered training or enjoying an activity.

Doing cardio vs. working the cardiovascular system

You see, cardio, as it is affectionately called by bodybuilders and elliptical-loving-fatties alike, actually means any activity that works the cardiovascular system and anything that raises your heart rate, from skiing to sex, can be considered as “cardio”. The benefits of cardiovascular exercise, as normally proclaimed, are –

  • The heart muscle develops more muscular walls and becomes stronger
  • The heart beats at a slower rate when resting.
  • The heart is able to squeeze a greater volume of blood out per contraction.
  • Recovery after exercise is enhanced.
  • The heart becomes more efficient (ie delivers more blood with less effort).
  • The lungs become more efficient at delivering oxygen.
  • Increased elasticity of the arteries thus improving circulation.
  • Increased numbers of capillaries within muscles, improving circulation.
  • Our blood volume increases enabling greater uptake and delivery of oxygen to our bodies.
  • Blood Cholesterol Levels decrease.
  • Endorphins may be released causing us to feel happier and healthier.
  • Increased calorie expenditure and higher metabolic rate (the rate at which your body burns calories).

While I agree that the effects of cardiovascular exercise are pretty awesome, I disagree that you need to “do cardio” to reap these benefits.

The thing is, the act of optimally working the cardiovascular system is extremely beneficial with respect to fat loss and cardiovascular health. No question about that. But, unfortunately, “doing cardio” the traditional way is not the optimal way to losing fat or improving cardiovascular health. If you have read my article, The Cardio Conundrum, you’d know why traditional cardio is ineffective and, actually, detrimental to both fat loss and cardiovascular health. If you haven’t read it, well, read it now. It is a simple read which will answer most, if not all, of your questions.

Adding sense to fitness – Strength training

While the benefits of strength training range from better bone mineral density to washboard abs, I like Rip’s reasoning to strength train…

Stronger people are just harder to kill.

This being the case, I think it is obvious that, in order to train completely and optimally towards fitness and health, one needs to work both the muscular and neuromuscular systems (strength training) and the cardiovascular system (cardio) in order to produce not just superior health, but also, the body of his/her dreams.

I know what you’re thinking –

So this means I need to strength train and do traditional cardio right? So how about I do resistance training 3 days a week and then spend 60-70 min on the treadmill/elliptical for the other 4 days? Should I do cardio first thing in the morning and strength training in the evening?

Stop the mind chatter and listen up!

Strength training is cardio!

While trying out new workouts is always fun, Arvind and I realized that, the constant effort to novelty resulted in lack of focus and too much time investment. So in order to restrict ourselves from drifting away from our personal goals we made a decision. We said all our workouts need to be completed within 40 mins + stretching. Warm-up was not an issue ‘cos we workout right after coaching the The Quad’s BootCamp.

So last morning, we set the timer to 40 mins and got to work. This is what I got done…

  • Quick dynamic full-body warm-up & mobility work
  • Weighted pullups: BW + 16 kg x 4
  • Weighted pushups: BW + 34 kg x 8
  • Squats jumps: BW x 11
  • Weighted pullups: BW + 16 kg x 4
  • Weighted pushups: BW + 34 kg x 8
  • Squats jumps: BW x 11
  • Weighted pullups: BW + 16 kg x 4
  • Weighted pushups: BW + 34 kg x 6
  • Squats jumps: BW x 11
  • Weighted pullups: BW + 10 kg x 6
  • Weighted pushups: BW + 34 kg x 10
  • Squats jumps: BW x 11
  • Weighted pullups: BW + 16 kg x 5
  • Weighted pushups: BW + 34 kg x 12
  • Squats jumps: BW x 11
  • Sprints: 15 sec @ 90% intensity; 45 sec rest x 5
  • Core work: 20 sec hollow hold, 20 sec rest x 8
  • Close-grip chinups: BW x 12
And this is what Arvind got done…
  • Quick dynamic full-body warm-up & mobility work
  • Kettlebell clean & press pyramid @ 16kg – 1, 2, 3, 4 on left
  • Kettlebell clean & press pyramid @ 16kg – 1, 2, 3, 4 on right
  • Easy set of 8 chest-to-bar pullups
  • Kettlebell clean & press pyramid @ 16kg – 1, 2, 3, 4 on left
  • Kettlebell clean & press pyramid @ 16kg – 1, 2, 3, 4 on right
  • Easy set of 8 chest-to-bar pullups
  • Kettlebell clean & press pyramid @ 16kg – 1, 2, 3, 4 on left
  • Kettlebell clean & press pyramid @ 16kg – 1, 2, 3, 4 on right
  • Easy set of 8 chest-to-bar pullups
  • Kettlebell clean & press pyramid @ 16kg – 1, 2, 3, 4 on left
  • Kettlebell clean & press pyramid @ 16kg – 1, 2, 3, 4 on right
  • Easy set of 8 chest-to-bar pullups
  • Max KB swings in 5 min @ 24 kg
  • Core work: 20 sec hollow hold, 20 sec rest x 8

We got all this done in 40 mins and we were real close to throwing up! Anyone who has strength trained will know how taxing a heavy set of squats or pullups or presses or pushups are and for those who haven’t, let’s just say, a death set can leave you gasping for breath and blacked out all at the same time. Not the only sign of a good workout, but a sign of pushing beyond limits and definitely an optimal, efficient and effective method of working the muscular, neuromuscular and cardiovascular systems.

So, from a cardio perspective, what really happens when you do a whole lot of heavy multi joint compound moves in a short period of time with minimal rest periods without ever going to failure? You crank up that heart rate acutely, let it recover and repeat this multiple times for the duration of the workout. In this particular case, I did it about 21 times. In other words, I had 21 intervals during which my heart rate was elevated to my max (i.e. 192 bpm or more) and then allowed to recover. In some other words, I had 21 short intervals of max effort and the same number of longer intervals of rest.

Sounds familiar? It should ‘cos this mechanism is the exact same as…

Interval training is a type of physical training that involves bursts of high-intensity work interspersed with periods of low-intensity work. The high-intensity periods are typically at or close to near-maximum exertion, while the recovery periods may involve either complete rest or activity of lower intensity.

Why is this awesome? 

Because such a well structured training session as this is your one stop for all things fitness! Such workouts when performed at reasonable frequency…

1. Make you stronger with a higher metabolism, stronger bones, reduced risk of injury and much better body composition due to the focus on resistance training.

2. Produce better results with respect to fat loss and heart health since this is truly HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) which works the cardiovascular system better than traditional medium intensity cardio does.

3. Is time efficient since you get both strength training and cardio done at the same time and hence need lesser number of training sessions per week to get and stay fit.

4. Is more sustainable due to the limited time investment.

5. Is what awesome people do!

If fitness or fat loss or heart health or joint health is your goal, why waste time doing cardio and hurt yourself in the process, when there is a much more optimal and effective way to reach your goal? If you can get more bang for your buck, why not take it?

This, my fine folks, is why I recommend against cardio and why we do what we do at The Quad and why my clients get amazing results with under 3 hours of training per week!

Stay away from BS machines. Stay aware of true fitness.

Peace out.

3 Workouts, 4 Weeks, Guaranteed Results – Can you stay consistent?

Listen. This stuff works. I’ve tried it myself and have had clients try it too. If you can suck it up for the next 4 weeks and do these 3 workouts per week, you will find yourself in a much better fitness level than right now. Question is, can you stay consistent for these short 4 weeks?

If you said yes, read on ‘cos you’re about to surprise yourself with 4 weeks of effort. If you said no, don’t waste your time reading this. Please continue your eternal search for the magic pill.

– – – – – – – – – – x – – – – – – – – – –

You’re an intermediate if…

  • You can comfortably perform 25+ legit pushups and 10+ solid pullups/chinups.
  • You (at least) know what ‘linear progression’ means.
  • You are aware of proper technique in most lifts and are capable of learning new moves fairly quickly.
  • You have done one or more of my previous workouts.

You’re an enthusiastic beginner if…

  • You understand you are a beginner and are ready to put in the work required to move up the fitness ladder.
  • You have no ego and are open to modifying moves to suit your fitness level.
  • You are not an idiot and are open to learning technique and fixing your movement patterns before jumping up in weight.
  • You don’t hesitate to comment and ask for modifications and/or ways to work around your injuries, constraints etc.
You need…
  • A pair of dumbbells and a chinups bar/ledge/door
  • A 6ft x 3ft patch of ground
  • About 3 hours of time per week
  • A no-excuse no-BS mindset

Warm up

Do the following in as many sets as required. Take breaks as required. The point is to “warm-up”, so don’t over do it and get wasted.

Intermediates

  • 100 Jumping jacks
  • 40 Lunges (10/leg)
  • 40 Squats
  • 20 Broad jumps
  • 60 Arm circles (30/side)
  • 40 Pushups
  • 60 Hinges

Beginners

  • 60 Jumping jacks
  • 20 Lunges (10/leg)
  • 20 Squats
  • 10 Broad jumps
  • 60 Arm circles (30/side)
  • 40 Knee-pushups
  • 60 hinges

Workout 1

Intermediates

  • Weighted jump squats: 5 sets of 8-12 reps (Goal is to use a weight that allows you to clear the ground comfortably for the entire set. No ugly reps.)
  • Weighted pushups: 5 sets of 8-12 reps (Use a weight that allows you to push off the ground explosively for the entire set. No grinding out reps.)
  • Chinups: 5 sets of max reps (but not going to failure in any set.)

Beginners

  • Do only 3 sets per move.
  • Modify. Do bodyweight squat jumps, do pushups or knee pushups instead of weighted ones and do let-me ins instead of chiups.

Workout 2

Intermediates

75 Weighted burpees (Rest as required. Explode in each pushup and each jump. No blurpees. Only solid strong burpees.)

Beginners

  • Do 40-75 regular burpees based on your fitness level. If you can 10+ pushups, do 6-step-burpees, else stick to 4-step burpees.
  • Explode in each pushup and each junp. No blurpees. Only solid strong burpees.

Workout 3

Intermediates

  • One-arm clean and press: 15 sets of 2 reps per arm (Choose a dumbbell you can press only 5 times. Clean the dumbbell violently and press it twice. Drop, rest 30 sec and repeat on other arm.)
  • High knees in place or wall sprints: 4 sets of 15 sec max intensity sets. (Get crazy with it! Nough said.)

Beginners

  • Do the following instead of the clean & press – Choose a weight that you can press only 5 times. While maintaining a straight back, pick up the heavy dumbbell from the floor with both hands and bring it up to your chest. Press the weight twice overhead with both hands. Place the dumbbell back on the floor. Rest 30 seconds. Repeat this for a total of 15 times.

Notes

  • Do these 3 workouts consistently for 4 weeks. Do them on alternate days ensuring you have at least 1 off day between two workout days. So a mon-wed-fri or a tue-thur-sat type schedule works well.
  • Each week try to increase the weight you use by a reasonable about (~ 2kg) while still performing the move with good form.
  • Eat real food. If your goal is to gain some mass, eat 3 good meals a day with at least one meal being above appetite. If your goal is to lose fat, eat 2 good meals a day skipping breakfast or 3  small meals a day with all meals being slightly below appetite.
  • Bonus: Maintain a diet log and you’ll be surprised at how big an effect that has on your nutrition.

If you do these they way I have laid them out and eat real food, again, per the recommendations, you WILL see results. Period.

Peace out.

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