Tag Archives: work ethic

How to Get in Shape by Working Out Less

I was never the best player on the team.  Ever.  I usually wasn’t even in the top 3 best on the team.  Someone was always quicker, faster, more aggressive or had a better first touch than I did.  But what I lacked in skills I made up for in my work ethic.

My work ethic was always something I took pride in, and I wasn’t about to let anyone out-work me.  Plus, I learned over the years that my work ethic got me noticed even if I wasn’t awesome, so that was all the more incentive to work my ass off. (yeah, I’ve got issues… but who doesn’t? ;) )

And on top of that, as athletes we were constantly judged by whether or not we were slacking off. Didn’t go up for the rebound or dive for that ball?  Slowed up during that sprint?  Well then we weren’t working hard enough and must not really want it. (um, NOT true!!)

Now hear me before I go on – I DO think that there is a time and a place when going all out is needed, however….

The problem comes when we think the ONLY way to get something is to
WORK REALLY HARD FOR IT.

Hard work is great.  It’s important.  But it’s not the only thing you need to succeed in whatever it is you’re doing.

And it’s definitely NOT the only way to get back into shape.

Too many people beat themselves up when they don’t lose weight because they think they aren’t exercising enough.  So they tack on another 30 min to their already 40 min long cardio sessions.  They end up on the elliptical in the so-called “fat burning zone” for over an hour in the mornings and a spin class after work.  And what do they get?  They’re starving with wild cravings later.  Their body starts chomping on the muscle they already have, and eventually they have to add MORE cardio because the body is smart and has adapted to what they’ve been doing. Not to mention that they don’t really have time for 2 hrs at the gym every day.  [I speak from experience here - been there.  Done that.]

The “just work harder” approach usually fixed the problems we faced as athletes (or so we thought…)  But it actually works against us – in fat loss and in life.  So what do we change if we want results?

Start working SMARTER.

Seriously, that’s the key.

Instead of working harder, i.e. spending 2 hours of your day at the gym, change your workouts so that they’re more effective, more efficient.

Dumbbells

What do effective and efficient workouts look like?  They incorporate weight lifting and intense cardio and they don’t last very long at all (think, 20 min of actual work).

They also incorporate Rest-Based Training (RBT) – the brainchild of the folks at Metabolic Effect.  The idea of these workouts is to “Push until you can’t, Rest until you can”

Basically, you work as intensely as possibly until you can’t do another rep or until the weight is too heavy or you can’t get your breath.  Then you STOP and REST!  You rest as long as you need until you can go all out again.  Then you pick up where you left off and continue the workout.

Honestly, at first I thought there was no way something like this would work.  Bc, duh, stopping for a breather is for wimps and slacker-faces.  …Oh how little I knew :D  Trust me, you pick up a set of dumbbells and run through the workout below WITHOUT PACING YOURSELF and you will get why RBT works.  You’ll be sweating like crazy, breathing heavy, your muscles will be burning and you’re using heavy weights (ladies, please avoid the 3lb set… remember your lifting sessions in college where you were piling the plates on the squat rack or leg press??  you can lift more than you think!).

The workout below is based on something Metabolic Effect designed called the “Spark” workout.  The movements are simple but effective.  It’s my go-to workout when I want an efficient and effective full-body workout that takes under 30 minutes.  (To learn more about what happens with your hormones in these kinds of workouts, read this ME article – especially the section on EPOC.  Awesome stuff!)  Here’s how it goes:

1.  Choose your dumbbells.  Start by taking the weight that you can perfectly curl 3 times, and 3 times only.  Then cut that # in half.  Use a set of dumbbells that weight.  If you’re between sets, I’d round up.  Example – I can do 3 perfect form bicep curls with a 30lb dumbbell (I break form if I try to do a 4th curl).  So then I cut 30 in half and use 15lb set for this workout.

2. Warm-up for ~5 minutes.  Get the heart pumping and blood flowing – jumping jacks, high knees, butt kicks, whatevs.

3.  Start a timer for 20 minutes.  Do 12 reps of each of the 4 exercises below in order.  Then repeat.  So –> 12 of A, 12 of B, 12 of C, 12 of D, then 12 of A, 12 of B…. you get the picture.  You should probably get through at least 3 rounds in 20 minutes.  If you get more than 5 rounds in 20 min, you’re not resting enough and should choose heavier weights next time.

4.  During the workout, DO NOT PACE.  Stop to rest as needed, then pick up right where you left off.  Remember-

PUSH UNTIL YOU CAN’T, REST UNTIL YOU CAN.

5.  Stop after 20 minutes.  Please cool down and stretch.  Go for a slow walk.  You’re not as young as you used to be ;)  JK, but seriously… stretch and walk.

6.  Enjoy the endorphins :)

Exercises
**Don’t forget, it’s time to rest if you can’t do the movement with proper form**

A – Squat into a shoulder press
B – On the floor – Chest press into a crunch
C – R leg Lunge – curl – L leg lunge – curl
D – Bent over row into a tricep kickback

That’s it!  If you have questions, ask away here or on my FB page (Once An Athlete, Always an Athlete).

Just leave a “Yup!” in the comments if you’re gonna give RBT a try this week and see how amazing it feels to stop working so damn hard and start working smarter!