One of the questions we’re asked time and time again is how to achieve that cover-model look. You know the one – ripped, popping abs and single digit body fat. For the lucky few amongst us, achieving that sort of physique comes after hours and hours of training and a nutrition that is spot on. For the rest of us, that look is simply unrealistic as the demands for achieving such a look are incompatible with the modern busy lifestyle. Now, this is no reason for not looking your best, toning up, getting leaner or putting on muscle growth, so the new series of blog articles we will write will address just that.
The current focus of the next few blog pieces will be on metabolic resistence training (“MRT”) – a term used to cover exercises involving high-intensity, CV and strength training. Think of it as a combination of weight training and CV – together! Not only is MRT functional, exciting and versatile, you don’t need to be in the gym slaving away for hours upon hours. MRT, when done correctly, will also give you that post-exercise burn where your body continues to burn calories even when you’ve left a gym. Very few other methods of training provide such a feat, so MRT is not to be sniffed at – even for the most seasoned of gym veterans. If you’re looking to google the reason why, searc hfor Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption, which will dramatically increase due to MRT. MRT is also ideal for pre-work or lunch-time training – 45-60 minutes is perfect and you need go no further. In fact, you probably won’t feel like if you get the intensity correct.
With MRT, you will see rapid results over a period of 4-6 weeks. You’ll be working your entire body including the biggest muscles, i.e. your legs, so you’ll not only build muscle, but you’ll strip excess body fat (especially around the face, abdominal area and lower back) as well as gaining strength. You will also increase your lactate threshold, the point at which lactic acid accumulates in the muscles and gives you that burn that makes you want to stop and put those dumbbells down. By increasing this threshold, you’ll enhance muscle growth and start to notice an increased level of endurance and intensity in your weight lifting. What we have done is provide a sample of a perfect MRT workout. We will provide more over the coming weeks, but here’s one to get you started. First though, we thought it would be useful to provide some further information on MRT so you know what you’re getting yourself in for – it’s all good : )
1) Higher intensity and more reps. You will be working to 15-20 reps per set (or alternatively, 30-45 seconds at a time). Ideally, there should be minimal rest between sets. This is not easy, but the key to success. Don’t wait until your heart rate has fallen back down to a resting rate – training at a high intensity will “feel” different and your heart will be beating faster throughout your workout as you peak it during exercise and let it fall sufficiently during recovery.
2) You’re going to lift lighter, but not too light. Experiment, but try to lift around 50-60% of your one rep max. If you’re easily getting to 15-20 reps without breaking a sweat, it’s too easy. But if you are failing in your first or second sets, drop the weight. A good guide is to get close to failure each time, with the last set being hard to accomplish.
3) Total body exercises are key. You’ll want to work the major muscles in each session, since the metabolic cost of an exercise is a function of the muscles worked. Use multi-body part exercises since they use up more energy and are more taxing. Big compound moves such as clean and presses, squats, deadlifts, press ups, lunges, pull ups, dips are perfect. Isolation exercises such as dumbbell curls, tricep kickbacks are not (although they do have their place, just not in this type of workout). 4) Slow down the reps. Use a moderately high tempo, but don’t go too slow or too fast. You want to feel the contraction/resistence when you perform your routine, but you want the exercises to be controlled. Especially as many of the exercises work your core hard, for the first few times you try these exercises, you may feel wobbly as your core struggles to stabilise. This is normal and most likely to be encountered in an exercise such as barbell lunges or something similar where you will encounter your body has one side better than the other!
Sample exercise. Try this for starters and let us know how you get on. Warm-up – 0.5-1km row, followed by 20 body weight squats with arms extended to loosen your legs off.
Perform 3-4 sets of each of these exercises, with minimal rest:
Exercise number 1: Clean and press / press-up combination
15-20 clean and press with a barbell followed by 15 press-ups. Rest for 1 minute and repeat 3 times.
Exercise number 2: Lunges (barbell behind shoulder or dumbbells in hand)
15 lunges on each side
Exercise number 3: Plank (we like to call this one active recovery)
1 minute plank followed by 5-10 press-ups, repeated 3 times
Exercise number 4: Box jumps
Set your step box up to a comfortable height, then jump onto the box (in a squat-like position) and back off – 15-20 times. Rest 1 minute and repeat 3 times. By the end your thighs will be burning, but think of the results : )
Exercise number 5: Standing barbell shoulder press
15-20 bar bell presses above your shoulders. Again, 15-20 should be difficult, but pick a weight that gets you there. Repeat 3 times after sufficient rest but keep it to a minimum.
Exercise number 6: Burpees
15 burpees, followed by 1 minute rest, and then 3 more times and you’re done.
Well done if you got this far in your workout. It’s challenging, hard work but effective. For the first few times, get used to how your body feeds back the effort you are putting in. This won’t be easy, but will get progressively easier. Make sure you replenish glycogen stores immediately after – we recommend Athletes Fuel Whey Pro: Recovery which is a fast acting 2:1 carb protein ratio recovery supplement.
Check back soon for more workout guides, but in the meantime, let us know how you get on by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org or sending us a message through Facebook or Twitter.
Good luck and enjoy : )