Sneaking In The Shred

There have been times in my life where I have been fortunate enough to have ample luxury time to make training and recovery a high priority. 2 hours a day, 5 days a week… No problem.

There have also been times when life got so busy I had to find ways to make the training happen around it… Times when you have to make the choice between sleep and the gym. But if you have a goal and the passion, you find a way.

This article is about how I found that way when it came to shedding the pounds I needed to when I had almost no time to add to my gym activities.

Oh… And I hate doing cardio, so I needed to figure out a way to make it fun and worth my time.

Obviously getting and staying lean is a byproduct of a great diet, a brutal weight training program, and on top of that most of us non genetic freaks will have to incorporate some kind of cardio training to get those lower ab veins popping out.

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Well, I dont have the solution, but I have discovered some good ways to “sneak in” some extra work into your current plan, almost “time-free” … Most of the tips here will leave your workouts almost the exact same length.

 

It starts with the warm up

 

Back in my younger days I actually never used to have a warm up so this one might not be for everyone. But some of us older lifters need to get some blood flowing before we start clangin’ and bangin’

I developed this during a contest prep when I had 2 issues I needed to address; A nagging shoulder injury and I needed to shed that last little bit of fat.

To help with the shoulder I started doing “shoulder dislocates” as described by Dante Trudel, and to help with the fat loss I was doing a 10 minute, fairly low intensity treadmill warm up to all my workout… I noticed the shoulder dislocates took about 10 minutes as well and tried to combine them both one day.

Lo and behold it worked! The key is to keep the treadmill speed relatively slow, you don’t want to compromise the integrity of the shoulder dislocates. I found that by doing a high incline at a speed of about 2.5 - 3.0 I got a good mix of a cardio effect and I was able to do the shoulder dislocates without compromise!

shoulder-dislocation-stretch

 

Those of you without shoulder issues can use the technique for a variety of other things before a workout, while getting the bonus effect that the extra cardio gives you.

  • General arm / shoulder / chest stretching
  • “High Knees” and “Butt Heel Kicks” to get the joints and muscles in the legs ready
  • Bicep / Tricep stretching

 

Again, this technique is quite specific and not for everyone, but those of you who need it can benefit from it quite nicely.

 

Death To Rest Periods

Another concession I had to make was the post weight training cardio I was doing. I had been doing 15 minutes of HIIT on the Stair Mill, and knew that losing that activity 5 days a week simply couldn’t happen.

I also noticed that the time spent resting between sets during the later portions of my workout was essentially “waste” and could probably fit something in there. Recovering from cable flies just isnt a full body affair.

What I ended up doing was “supersetting” my isolation exercises at the end of my workouts with 60 second “sets” on the stair mill. This allowed me to do 3 exercises for 5 sets, AND get my cardio in. A workout would look like this:

A - Big Money Exercises ( Bench, Squat, Press, Dead)

B - 2nd Big Money Exercise ( Incline, Front Squat / Leg Press, Romanian Deads, BTN Press)

C1 - Isolation / Less Taxing Exercises (Curls, delt raise, flies, lat pull downs, machine work)

C2 - 30-60 seconds Cardio sprints

The caveat is that these have to be “low impact” exercises. Obviously you don’t want to superset Squats and Stair Mill sprints… Bad times. But almost anything else except for the heaviest of the heavy stuff can work pretty well actually.

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If your gym isn't set up so great, or you train at home and don’t have a treadmill / step-mill, these other things work as well:

  • Med Ball Slams
  • Jump rope
  • Burpees
  • Jumping Jacks

 

So if your gym is set up in a way that this can work, I really recommend it. Its a great way to keep your heart rate up, get your cardio in, shed some weight, and it doesn't add any time since you are doing it during the rest periods you would already be taking.

Outside The Gym

This gets a little extreme here, but remember I was in contest prep mode so sometimes getting a little extreme is necessary.

One of the other things I used to do was sneak in “mini workouts” that were just enough to get my heart rate up throughout the day. We are talking literally doing 10 squats, jumping jacks and pushups and then getting on with your life. I would pepper these in throughout the day just to stay active and keep my overall activity up. A single set doesn’t look like much, but if you do it at the top of every hour it comes out to several hundred reps at the end of the day.

Just like starting with a penny and doubling it every day for a month, it really does come out to some huge numbers.

Put In The Work

There you have it. Several strategies you can use to add in some bonus work for those of you with a busy schedule… Or those of you who just want to add it in because you hate doing cardio the traditional way. Either way, implement these strategies to get those pounds shedding with out running up the clock.

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