How often have we heard people say how many countless hours they spend at their local gym exercising? I must see at least 5+ Facebook statuses/week that say something like “Wow, 3 hours in the gym, got some much done today, I feel awesome.” Three hours? If you spend three hours supposedly training you are most likely doing too much at too low of an intensity to see any adaptation. It’s not that doing low-intensity is bad, it has its place as I have learned from Dan John and Joel Jamieson (recovery methods, aerobic systems training). What is the goal? It can be reached within anywhere from 45 minutes to no more than an hour and a half. However, in that time you have to make training efficient with an organized set approach. Here are a few simple ideas and tools that just about everyone should have and do.
#1 Some type of soft tissue tool:
- A foam roller, lacrosse ball, or tennis ball: If you do not do some type of soft tissue work pre or post workout, you are doing yourself a disservice and are behind the curve with training. Because of our horrendous sitting habits, overuse issues, and lack of movement we need something to break up dense nasty muscle tissue so that it allows our muscles to move easier, restore blood flow to restricted areas, and simply feel awesome. Only stretching doesn’t count. Roll then stretch. At PerformBetter.com they sell the foot-long roller for 8$ so you cannot make an excuse to not buy one. Also, Lowe’s or Home Depot has PVC pipes for 5$ if you are feeling a bit edgy
#2 Have a dynamic warm-up
- Jogging 10 minutes on the treadmill may increase blood flow or “break a sweat” but it does not prime your CNS for the lifting nor does it address the mobility restrictions at the ankles, t-spine, and hips (all common problem areas). Pick around 8-10 movements. Mobilize the commonly restricted area and then reinforce that new mobility with a full body movement.
One example would be performing a Wall Hip Flexor Mobilization –> body weight reverse lunges.
#3 Movement Selection Guide
- We only really have a few basic movements : upper body pushing (horizontal/vertical), upper body pulling(horizontal/vertical), core movements (anti-extension, anti-lateral flexion, anti-rotation, anti-flexion), hip dominant lifts (deadlift patterns), and knee dominant lifts (squat patterns). Choose an upper body, core, and lower body movement and pair them together. Pairing exercises together saves you time between sets and can keep away the chatty-kathies that come to talk to you between exercises.
Ex. A1) Push-ups 3 x 8
A2) 1-Arm DB Hold 3 x 20s
A3) Cable Pullthroughs 3 x 10
#4 Conditioning Mode
- Choose some type of conditioning whether it be treadmill, bike, or a slideboard (if you have access to one…we do) 🙂 and do rounds of intervals instead of 30+ minutes of jogging. Sprint/Pedal all out for 20-30s then rest/jog for a minute (or easy pedal on bike). Save the long steady state aerobic work like brisk walking or jogging for off days as a recovery method. It saves you time because you cannot do as much and better way to get conditioning done if time is limited. You can obviously vary the work:rest ratio and do times like…
20s on/40s off
30s on/60s off
15s on/45s off
#5 Nutrition Always #1
- Whether or not you believe it, your results are going to depend on how well you eat. Spending 3 hours at the gym is useless when you go to McDonald’s afterwords for a post-meal snack.
- Eat something that can be hunted (protein) and grown (vegetables/fruit –wait…eat lots of vegetables..) at every meal
- Drink water at every meal…a good rule of thumb is to drink half your body weight (in oz.) and any more is even better
- Get plenty of sleep 6-8 hours
- Try shooting for 4-6 meals/day for now
- Take a good post-workout supplement (Metabolic Drive is amazing)
- Take fish-oil (Carlson Labs is king..2-3 g of EPA/DHA/day)