High reps vs low reps for strength
We've all heard it. The "high reps vs low reps" debate - basically, the question of whether to perform a high number of repetitions of an exercise or do a low number.
Most of us that train on a regular basis have heard this one and have pondered the question in detail. And even if you don't exercise - chances are excellent that at some point, you've thought or heard talk about "pressing 300 lbs five times for five sets ", or "doing 10 consecutive pull-ups". Is it better do the pushups all at once, or do them in sets? And so forth.
I'll provide my thoughts in a minute, but first, let's shift focus slightly and take a look at two categories of people that are generally considered to be "strong" - laborers (or others that do heavy physcial labor as part of their daily routine - such as dockloaders) and Olympic powerlifters. Yeah, I know, it's a strange combination, but bear with me for a minute here.
The dock loader lifts heavy weights all day long, loads them, and repeats. The laborer does much the same thing, except maybe in a different manner to the dockloader.
The Olympic weightlifter (NOT bodybuilder) lifts a massive weight, puts it down, rests and repeats. He may do this once, or for a set number of repetitions - but he doesn't do this all day long. He then does another exercise where he again lifts (or pushes) a weight, puts it back, rests and repeats. And so forth.
Now, who is "stronger"? Who is more "powerful"?
The answer is, it's impossible to tell from the information given - which in this case is the exercise, and the number of repetitions performed. And similarly, it is virtually impossible for me to give you a clear cut "yes/no" answer to the question of low reps vs high reps. The only answer I can give you is that "it depends", and by that I mean it depends on a variety of factors too numerous to mention here.
For example, my own workouts often involve high repetitions, especially when I'm doing things like jumping rope and pushups. But I often concentrate on doing low repetitions of a certain movement - and still manage to get an EXCELLENT workout in. As a matter of fact, that is precisely what I did this morning - and I feel great now.
The key is to do SOMETHING. Do 5 reps if that is all you can manage, and pretty soon you'll be up to 15. And that's really as simple as it gets. As to the almighty question of "what is better - low or high reps", again - start doing something - and KEEP on doing something - and you'll soon see why there is no one size fits all answer here.
More on this topic later. In the meantime, if your looking for routines with both low and high repetition workouts, well, you've come to the right place, my friend. Click on over to Fast and Furious Fitness and get yourself a copy of the book that will change the way you think about fitness - forever.
Eat an elephant - one bite at a time
We've all heard the question, and know the answer - especially those of us in the corporate world, who probably hear it more often than we want to. A daunting task seems daunting - because that is what it is - daunting - but it seems a lot less daunting when broken down into small-sized "bites" or manageable chunks. And this applies to all aspects of your life - it applies to you whatever you do - and that includes your training as well.
This morning's workout was a combination of pushups, rope jumps and a few other things. I banged out 751 rope jumps and 151 pushups in this workout - and am feeling on top of the world now. And get this - I didn't do them all at once. I broke down the task into manageable chunks, and got my goals accomplished. 750 might sound like a huge number (an elephant) - 100 doesn't though. Do 7 sets of 100, and throw in 50 more - and voila, you reach your goal.
I cover this concept in more detail in Fast and Furious Fitness as well - but for now, let's shift focus to those of you that might be just starting out. Remember that what I've just said applies to YOU as well. Yes, I've been doing this a while - and 1000, or 1300 rope jumps (along with other things) in one single workout is an achievable goal for me - but it likely isn't if your just starting out. In fact, the rank beginner is often unable to do more than TEN repetitions of a single exercise - and that is perfectly fine. Set a goal of 50, and work up to there, and then improve from there.
You see what I'm saying - this little concept applies to everyone - beginner, intermediate or advanced, or any other category you can think of.
And some of you might be wondering "why 751" and not 750? Well, that's a personal quirk of mine - if I'm doing a 100 reps of something, I don't feel as if I've done 100 reps until I go slightly beyond 100. Could be 103, could be 108 - but I usually do a bit more than the target I set myself. And this is a powerful concept indeed - one that deserves it's own post - stay tuned!
Apply what I just said to your training - and watch your gains SKYROCKET.
PS: The best training program in the world is useless without a good diet plan - grab a copy of the Simple and Effective Diet NOW.
You don't need an hour
Caught the tail end of a conversation on one of the local radio channels this morning. this was about a "get people fit" sort of deal they've decided to promote for a while on their morning broadcasts - at least that was what I understood given I just heard the end of the talk. The "show" in question was being hosted by a couple of guys and a lady, and apparently the first candidate they've "selected" is a member of the local constabulary.
According to the hosts, this particular gentleman has NOT exercised for eons (if ever) and has unhealthy eating habits as well. Fried foods, unhealthy snacks, excess drinking, the list goes on and on. And this is nothing so unusual - a lot of folks these days are in dire need of a complete diet overhaul before commencing an exercise program. My Simple and Effective Diet routine would be a great place for them to start.
The lady on the show then piped up with something like "What are we getting ourselves into here? If he's really that out of shape, we're going to have to get him to run for at least an hour every morning, and then do other exercises". And so forth - that was the last I caught of it. Dropped my wife off at her workplace, went home - so that was my radio "fix: for today.
And the point of my telling you this is not to catch you up on my favorite radio shows - what I am trying to say here is that though the hosts of the show are doing a commendable job by trying to get folks fit - they are going about it the wrong way. You do NOT need one hour daily - in fact, if the gentleman in question is so far gone as they claim he is, even FIVE minutes of exercise would be enough for him - provided he exercises the right way.
Yes, thats right. Just FIVE minutes will do him a world of good - likely more so than pounding the pavement for hours, which would not be advisable anyway if he's that out of shape. In fact, my own "cardio" routine lasted for precisely SEVEN minutes today, and it wasn't a particularly easy workout either.
If it were me, I'd start the gentleman off with some gentle stretches and warm up routines - and then start him on some of the exercises I mention in Fast and Furious Fitness - at a beginner level. I'd tell him to clean his diet up, get enough quality sleep - and within a couple of week's I guarantee you he'll be ready for more. And all this without spending hours running daily and THEN doing other things.
Anyway, I commend the radio channel once again - as well as the gentleman in question. He's at least made the CHOICE to get into better shape, which already puts him ahead of 90% of the modern day world.
Now, what about YOU? The choice is yours, and yours alone - but if I were you, I know what I'd do.
All for now - if you train today, do it the FAST AND FURIOUS way!
PS: Grab your copy of Fast and Furious Fitness HERE - you'll never look at getting fit as a day long "chore" again.
PS#2: If you enjoy these newsletters, make sure your signed up so you receive them on a daily basis. The link to sign up is HERE.
15 minute fat blasters
Woke up around 9AM this morning, and did a couple of short workouts. Actually, it was ONE workout - but it got broken up in two since I did the first part at home, and the next one outdoors. And truth be told, either one of them would have been enough for most people to get a solid workout in.
Most people don't believe you can get in a decent workout without spending hours in the gym (most of which is spent wasting time) and without using the latest fancy machine or fitness tool advertised on TV. Can't really blame them either - we've been sold a "bill of goods" when it comes to getting fit, which mandates spending at least an hour in the gym daily, using the pec deck, "isolating" each and every muscle and working hundrerds of reps for each exercise. And of course, the usual gym chit-chat which is politely explained away by saying "it helps me enjoy the routine more".
NOTHING could be further from the truth.
My routine was simple, and not too tough by my standards - but I still managed to work up a pretty good sweat, and got a great workout in. And I did nothing but jump rope and do pushups the first time around - and did pull-ups and dips the second time around. Finished off with some gut and grip work, and that was that for the day.And I couldn't do anything else at this point if I wanted to - I'm too bushed.
And the point of my telling you this is that a) you CAN get a good workout in without spending too much time on it and b) you don't need a gym to get fit. Actually, chances are that all you need to do at this point is to start moving. Do something - ANYTHING - but start MOVING. It all begins there.
And don't stress out about how long you workout - instead look at the quality of the workout. Most beginners would find it hard to do a 10 minute workout the way I do, and that's perfectly fine. The key is to get moving - to get off your rump and actually START to move - and do what you can, and progress from there. This is something I repeatedly emphasize in Fast and Furious Fitness as well. Simple enough concept, but you'd be amazed at how it needs to be emphasized repeatedly.
And don't tell me you don't have time - everyone has at least 15 minutes to spare during the day. And if you truly don't have even that much time, then make some time for yourself. Remember, your health comes first - everything else is a distant second.
On a side note, some school kids saw me working my pull-ups hard, and tried doing them. These were skinny kids, probably weighing no more than 40 kgs (AT MOST) - and what was sad was that NONE of them could do a single pull-up. They were doing the "cheat" pull-ups that we see the musceheads do so often on TV. You know the kind, where the guy just sort of "jerks" himself up and down without a full range of motion in the exercise - or anywhere near it. The "bicep pumping" sort of thing that we've all seen on TV. And it's sad that kids are being brought up on that sort of thing these days.
Anyway, all for now. Get moving - do something daily - and you'll be amazed at how quickly you start to progress!
PS: If you're sick of the muscle media nonsense, Fast and Furious Fitness is just what the doctor ordered.
Do something different
This morning I was planning on doing a tough routine of mine that I do once or twice a week. It involves rope jumping, pushups and some other things - and take my word for it, the routine is TOUGH. It will have you panting in no time, and hits the entire body from head to toe.
But today, for whatever reason, I never got around to doing that routine. Started on it, but things just didn't feel "right". Perhaps it's because I did a tough routine yesterday, and my body needs the rest (though I'm not feeling extra tired), or perhaps it's just that I needed more of a break with regard to the cardio today. Not sure what the reason was, but there it is.
And you will have days such as this as well. Question is, how do you deal with them? Do you throw in the towel thinking you'll live to fight another day, or do you use your imagination, and do something different - and still get a great workout in?
My solution to this is to CHANGE things up a bit when you feel this way. If you are really exhausted, and need a day of rest, then by all means take one - but more often than not, you simply need to do something different. It can be something more challenging, or perhaps easier than what you've been doing. Or it could be more of a strength workout than purely cardiovascular, and thats fine as well.
Back to what I did - I ended up doing nothing other than a 100 pushups and a few stretches. And they took me approximately 35 minutes to complete. That's right - 35 minutes. LONG by my standards, given I was mostly doing pushups, and just a mere 100 at that.And why did it take that long? Well, one, because I tested myself on several different types of pushups that I haven't done in ages - as well as some stretches that I've not been doing as of late. And two, because some of the movements I did were SUPER TOUGH - so tough I could barely complete 5 repetitions without collapsing.
The bottom line though is this: - I did something different, and still made sure I got my workout in. Tomorrow, I'll revert back to my usual routine in all probability - but this combination today made for a great change, and super workout as well. And if your looking for more combinations of exercises (both easy and tough) then check out the sample exercises section in Fast and Furious Fitness.
So, do something different once in a while - your body will thank you for it.
And that's that for today. Over and out!
PS: Be looking shortly for a new course that will outline the correct diet you need to follow along with your training program. Follow what is written in that course, and you'll torch all unwanted fat off your body in record time. Stay tuned!
Is he even exercising?
Headed out for some sprints this morning, and was in the middle of my routine (a 10 minute one today) - when a couple walking in the park passed behind me.They were out for their daily walk, and had been observing me for a while - though doing so in a polite manner - and as they passed behind me, I heard the lady whisper to her companion "Is he even exercising"?
Now, this was an interesting comment, given I'd completed my 3rd sprint (at 100%). You'd think the couple hadn't been watching me all that closely, but actually, they had - and I still understand why they were saying what they did.
My sprints are SHORT and INTENSE bursts - and believe it or not, the workout actually "looks" like I'm resting most of the time. The couple going for their daily stroll likely missed a sprint, and caught the rest part - and that's fine - and perfectly understandable.In fact, that's precisely what I was doing when that comment was made.
But though it looks like I'm resting most of the time,I'm getting FAR more accomplished during my 10 minute routine than those "pounding the pavement" for hours on end. And thats how it's supposed to be - when you do things correctly.
I explain how to sprint correctly, as well as provide sample workout routines which you can incorporate into your routine in Fast and Furious Fitness - so if you have not done so already, grab a copy NOW!
Anyway, I finished up with some other bodyweight stuff, and feel GREAT now. Thats the best part about exercising - the FEELING you get after a tough workout done correctly. "An honest day's work accomplished", as they say!
Oh, and just so that there are no misunderstandings, I'm not knocking walking as a form of exercise - walking's great for overall health, and I walk at least a kilometer daily myself. And so should you!
And that's all for today. If you train today - make it an awesome one!
P.S. : To learn more about workouts such as these which get you fit QUICKLY (without pounding the pavement or grass for hours), lay your mitts on Fast and Furious Fitness and watch your body change before your eyes.
One repetition workouts
When it comes to workouts, we've all heard about doing X number of repetitions in a set, doing 5 sets of this exercise, followed by 2 sets of another - and so forth. We've all been schooled on the "do reps - get stronger" philosophy. And not entirely without good reason - doing multiple repetitions of an exercise (such as pushups, for example) is a time honored way that gets you stronger and fitter, and there is nothing wrong with this form of training. In fact, I wholeheartedly advocate this approach in Fast and Furious Fitness; the reason being that it WORKS.
But what if you were introduced to a form of training that would allow you to get stronger from performing just ONE repetition?
That's correct - ONE repetition of an exercise. If you want, you can repeat that one repetition, but that's all you do in one "set" - one repetition. And YES, you WILL get stronger by following this approach - provided you do so correctly.
Most people find this a hard concept to grasp. Yet, it works. Let me give you an example from my own training today. I did some sprints (more on that later) - and followed up with a brief 15 minute routine consisting of nothing but handstand pushups and pullups. And most of my sets in these consisted of ONE repetition of either a pushup or pullup; the only caveat being that I did them in a way that would be nearly impossbile for the average trainee to achieve.
And believe you me, that ONE repetition alone was a HARD set in itself. I was sweating buckets, and getting enough of a cardio workout (as if I even needed one after my sprints) - and this was after only two sets. I did five in all, then finished up with some grip work, and called it a day. Or should I say, HAD to call it a day - I had nothing left at that point!
And note that I've been doing handstand pushups and pull-ups for a long time, so these exercises are hardly new to me. So this way of exercising can give you a fantastic workout regardless of what level of training you are currently at - begineer, intermediate, or even advanced. Last, but not least, this type of training can be extended to virtually any exercise.
I don't advocate doing low repetitions DAILY; but it can be a very effective technique if used alongside your "regular" training routine (or maybe on days when your regular routine isn't going according to plan).
Give it a shot, and let me know how it works for you!
PS: If you enjoy training the way I do, Fast and Furious Fitness is just what the doctor ordered.
PS#2: If you haven't already signed up for our newsletter, do so HERE.
My hill workout from a different life
Yesterday, I spoke about the benefits of green tea, and how it helped me in China (where I learnt about, and started partaking of this amazing beverage). If you missed that one, it's up on my blog HERE. And today, I'll continue in a similar vein. Enjoy!
As you all already know, I was posted in China a few years ago. My last posting was in the U.S., and while I used to work out regularly in the US, and continued to do so when I came to China, for some reason, I wasn't getting the results I desired. And at the time, I wasn't sure why - I trained hard, did many of the same exercises I teach NOW, but I simply wasn't getting the results I wanted. Now, part of the reason was that I didn't know what I know now about fitness and diet, but it wasn't the entire story, and I didn't know it back then. I was still getting stronger, and wasn't fat - but I was beginning to put on more weight around the midsection than I'd have wanted to, and my stamina wasn't quite up to the mark. And the worst part was, I didn't have a clue as to how to improve.
(Side note: Fast and Furious Fitness is a must read if you are in a similar situation)
Anyway, one hot balmy evening, my (then) girl-friend introduced me to a nearby hill, something I'd always known was there, but for whatever reason, had neglected to visit. It was quite a famous "landmark" in the area, and quite a high hill, so we decided to climb that hill. Now, to give you some sort of an idea of how tall that hill was, it took about 20 minutes to climb up at a decent clip, and about 10 minutes or so to get back down. There were various routes up the hill - some with stairs, and some without. Anyway, so I figured it was no big deal, and we started to climb. And I still remember that first climb - I thought I was strong and in pretty decent shape, but boy was I WRONG. . .that was a TOUGH, TOUGH climb! I must have downed about a gallon of water after the climb, managed to stumble home, and onto the couch, and that was that for the night.
The next day, I felt like a train ran over me. My body was sore all over - especially my thighs, which felt like they'd been reduced to a pulverized mass of jelly. My back was sore - and I hadn't even done any pull-ups the day before. And my forearms were feeling it as well, which to me was the most mystifying of all. How on earth could my entire body be sore from just climbing up a hill?
Well, to cut a long story short, a few days later, I started to climb this hill daily (as part of my regular routine). I'd come home from work, climb, and then do my bodyweight stuff. I'd climb no matter what the weather was like, no matter how I felt - in short, nothing short of an earthquake would stop me from getting my daily climb in. Folks used to look at me as if I was crazy when I used to start my SECOND walk up the hill (after climbing and descending it once) - but I soon got used to it (and so did they).
And what results did I get? Within a matter of weeks, I had dropped TWO whole waist sizes - something I'd never been able to do even as a teenager. My chest was broader, and I felt a new strength in my back - this without doing anything out of the ordinary for those parts. And despite not doing a single rope jump, or squat, or other movement for the legs, they became pillars of strength - my thighs in particular. My resting pulse dropped from around 90 to 70 in a matter of WEEKS, and I felt like a new man. And ALL of this can be attributed directly to the hill climb.
Anyhow, my point of saying this is not to blow my own bugle or boast about my achievements - but to show you the immense potential of training on hills. My own workout gives you an idea of what hill training can do for you. Imagine what climbing a hill daily, or even three times a week would do for YOU?
I miss that hill - and always will. I don't have hills right now where I live, but make do with what I have (stairs, inclined surfaces etc) - but nothing can quite mimic a real, steep hill. So if you are lucky enough to have hills around where you live, then incorporate them into your routine - and you'll be hooked once you see what you can achieve via this form of training!
Gotta run for now - hope you enjoyed this little "blast from the past"!
PS: If you enjoyed this email, be sure and sign up for my daily newsletter here. It's FREE, so what are you waiting for?
PS#2: To learn more about training on hills, grab a copy of Fast and Furious Fitness HERE.
PS#3: Have a fantastic week ahead, and train hard!
Judge, jury and executioner
Regular readers of this blog will know that I suffered a nasty injury to my calf (and lower back) a week or so ago, mostly due to my own negligence. For those of you that missed it, visit this page and look for the "Listen to your body" post. This is a perfect example of me not doing the smart thing, and basically paying the price for it.
Anyway, took a week off my sprint training (and almost all other leg related training) due to this injury. Figured I'd give it at least a week to heal, so I can come back stronger. So, did that, about a week's passed, and the pain's abated to a great degree, so I thought I'd start to ease back into my sprint routine. Remember, I love training my legs - and sprints are one of my personal favorites, so you can imagine how frustrating it is for me to just have to sit back and not be able to even run, let alone sprint.
So, made it over to the park again this morning, and started to warm up in readiness for the sprint. Did a few "trial" runs, they didn't feel right though. Uh-oh, not good. . .Did my first "medium pace" sprint, and the calf started to complain again. Uh-oh, here we go again. . .Only this time, I'm a wiser person. I'm definitely NOT going to ignore my body's signals while "coming back" - so did a few brisk walks around the park instead (which I can do without any pain) and then did some other upper body exercises before calling it a day.
And that's what you need to do as well, when returning from injury (or if you're just starting out, or haven't exercised in ages). Listen to your body, and understand what it's telling you. It can be frustrating "sitting on the sidelines" not being able to do what you'd like, but as you can see from my experience, the consequences of ignoring your body's signals altogether aren't too pleasant.
You also need to judge your body's signals accurately. Not waking up on a cold morning to go running simply because "you cannot" is laziness despite what your body is telling you, but not running because of a genuine injury is reasonable and sensible, and you need to heed your body's advice on that one. Always remember that though your body's always telling you something, YOU are the ultimate judge here - and it is YOU that decides how to act upon those signals.
Do so wisely, and you'll ensure that you stay on the right track!
PS: Fast and Furious Fitness offers you many routines that will help you stay on track as far as your fitness is concerned.
Two twenty minute workouts
Woke up around 9AM on a cold Saturday morning. Drank some green tea, and proceeded to get my workout in. 40 minutes later, I was exhausted and soaked in sweat - despite it being a COLD day - and I'm STILL feeling the effects of the workout a few hours later.
My exercise routine was "longer" than it normally is - that is, if you can call a 40 minute workout (with a bit of a break in between) "long". But remember, this was my TOTAL workout time - including warmups, and I had worked my ENTIRE body by the end of it. And today's Saturday, which means a rest day tomorrow (Sunday) and therefore an extra solid workout today.
I did the first 20 minute routine at home, and hammered my chest, arms and back pretty well (the core and the legs were taxed as well). The second one was done at the local park. This was more of a back, core and grip workout - by the end of it I could barely clench my forearms to make a fist, and I'm STILL feeling the effects while typing this a few hours later.
And the fantastic part about all this is that I got a good cardiovascular workout in as well. Not quite as good as if I'd have been sprinting (that one's still out for me as I haven't recovered from my injury fully), but still a decent cardiovascular workout. And this is of paramount importance. Remember, your heart and internal organs are just as important, if not MORE important than your "strength", so work both equally hard and preferably together.
Now I'm at home, preparing to "make a run" to the post office to ship a couple of copies of Fast and Furious Fitness out - yes, I'm handling that part of the business personally for now. Life's good - especially more so when you add in regular hard workouts!
Enough for now. This email contains two, nay, several important tips - see if you can find them.