The Full-Body Workout
I get it, time is never on our side and it is seldom we have enough of it free to hit the gym for a satisfying, invigorating, and body-shaping workout.
But time shouldn’t stop you from reaching your fitness goals. If time is of the essence, you should aim to do at least one full-body workout per week. Full-body workouts increase your metabolism due to the amount of muscle mass you’re targeting. Working out multiple muscle groups at once will subsequently free up more downtime to handle your daily obligations and its great for muscle recovery.
Here is a series of functional exercises you can follow to get you started:
Morning cardio on an empty stomach is the optimum time for burning fat. While you sleep your body eats away at your energy reserves (also known as glycogen stores). This eliminates the two step process of burning glycogen then burning fat, and instead attacks the fat right away. They say fasted cardio allows you to burn up to 300% more fat. Of course, a clean diet, sans alcohol and sugar, also helps.
Certain circumstances (like intense cardio) call for active rest depending on the nature of your workout. The purpose of resting periods between exercises is to get your heart rate down and to reduce the buildup of blood lactate. Recovery periods start at 20 seconds but shouldn’t exceed two minutes. A full and complete stop during your workout is never an ideal choice. The 15-20 seconds it takes you to re-rack your weights or get from one station to another is your active rest.
Posture and technique are the most important factors when doing pushups. Your body should form a straight line from your head down to your ankles. If a stick were placed on your back, it should make contact with your head, upper back, and butt. Keep your body in that alignment the entire time to avoid throwing your spine out of alignment and to decrease your chances of injury. While the exercise is called a push-up, the lowering portion of the move is equally involved in strength building. It is important not to let gravity do the work for you. At the top of the pushup, with the palms directly beneath your shoulders and your elbows tucked close to your sides, pretend to grab the floor with your fingertips. This turns on your lats (the largest muscle in your back) which you will use to pull your chest towards the floor and power back up to the top.
It is easy to tone your triceps with a basic body-weight exercise that doesn’t require much equipment. Simply position your hands (shoulder-width apart) on a secured bench or stable chair with your legs extended out in front of you. Straighten your arms and slowly lower your body toward the floor until your elbows are at about a 90-degree angle. Keep a little bend in your elbows at all times to keep the tension on your triceps and off your elbow joints. Once you’ve reached the bottom of the movement, press down into the bench to return to the starting position. This completes one rep.
If you’re ready to step it up to the next level, try these full-body circuit sets:
SET 1: 15 pull-ups (targets arms), 15 push-ups (targets chest), 15 squats (targets butt) and 30 crunches (targets abs)
SET 2: 15 incline presses (targets chest), 15 bent-over rows (targets back), 15 reverse alternating lunges (targets legs), and 30 plant twists (targets abs).
Sidebar note: be sure to google each exercise to ensure proper posture.
The trick is devising a quick and efficient full-body workout that you can complete in the time it takes to shower and shave. Once your routine is in place, you want to go through these exercises at a fast pace, completing as many reps as possible in a short amount of time. Good luck!
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