by Joe Giandonato, MS, CSCS
With an executive’s weekly workload often topping 80 hours, little time is leftover to get in a meaningful workout. The predominating assumption that more is better doesn’t hold much weight when it comes to getting results. So there’s no need to fret over not getting to the gym every day for a marathon workout.
DITCH THE DATED BODY PART SPLIT AND FOCUS ON MOVEMENTS, NOT MUSCLES
Movements such as squats, presses and rows evoke a far greater hormonal response than do isolation exercises, which are often performed on machines. More hormonal response equals more muscle. Challenging compound movements trigger higher production of testosterone and growth hormone than do machine based exercises. Free weight movements and body weight exercises also require more stability, which engages the core and smaller stabilizer muscles during their execution.
Body part splits, popularized by bodybuilding magazines of yesterday, primarily focus on muscle groups, requiring the trainee to hit the gym five days or more per week, which for most busy professionals isn’t feasible. Also body part splits usually lock the trainee into machines for a bulk of the workout, as to really focus on singular muscle groups, thus removing the stability component, which is critical to activities of everyday life and preventing injury.
A highly effective program may only require the trainee to work out twice weekly on nonconsecutive days, which not only saves time, but promotes recovery. The workouts could either be full body, or split up as one devoted to upper body, the other lower body. Alternatively, one day could comprise pushing movements, such as squats and presses, whereas the remaining day would include pulling movements such as deadlifts, rows, and curls.
KICK IT UP A NOTCH
Each workout, whether you’re lifting or doing cardio, should be kept under 30 minutes, especially when time is a valuable commodity. Many gym-goers who abide by the more is better mantra are wasting their time, according to Matt Wright, Director of Fitness and Coaching at Healthtrax Fitness and Wellness in Washington Township, NJ.
“Intensity is definitely lacking in most people’s workouts,” says Wright. “Research has proven that extended bouts of exercise aren’t as beneficial for the body as once thought. High intensity exercise keeps the trainee focused and creates a stimulus which dramatically raises caloric and fat expenditure.”
Wright also states that you should keep your heart rate at 65-85 percent of your maximum heart rate for at least 20 minutes, and reiterates the importance of utilizing full body exercises, such as free weight and body weight variations. “Focus on efficiency and you’ll not only have better results, but more time on your hands.”