Welcome to week 3 of our Transform You 2020 series!
This week is focused on fitness… where it all started for me.
If you missed any of the previous weeks’ installments, you can find the very beginning of the series here: https://madisonbootcamps.com/2020/01/14/the-best-diet/
I want to kick it off this week by sharing what I still believe to be the single most effective fitness formula for just about everyone, especially if you have limited time.
Later this week I’ll share the the key things you need to do/keep doing to stay fit as you age, along with the ways in which my views on certain kinds of exercise have changed over the years. 😉
What is my fitness formula?
It’s pretty simple, really. And it’s the foundation of what I’ve always done to stay in shape, when I’m not training for a specific event.
Build strength first.
My top priority is strength training 3x/week for a minimum of 30 minutes.
Strength training is the single best way to build lean muscle, keep your metabolism going, increase your energy, and generally help you feel better. It also builds a strong foundation that will help keep you injury free and make it easier for you to do the things you want to do, whether that’s keeping up with your grandkids or climbing a mountain.
I recommend compound movements that will work many muscle groups at the same time. Deadlifts, squat-to-press, cleans, lunges with a press, pull-ups and rows are all great examples of this type of movement. Even if you don’t have any weights available, you can do single-leg squats, bulgarian lunges, push-ups, pull-ups, burpees, etc and still build plenty of strength.
Incorporate core work as well, using movements like planks, hollow holds, glute bridges, etc. You can easily add core work as part of either your warm up or cool down.
Add interval cardio next.
If you have time in your week for more exercise, add 20 minutes of high intensity interval training 2x/week.
You’ve probably heard of HIIT… it’s all the rage, for good reason. Combined with strength training, it is an amazingly effective way of increasing fitness, building lean muscle mass, and putting your metabolism in overdrive. It’s also a very efficient way of improving your heart and lung health, as long as you do it at the right intensity.
The key is to work HARD during your work intervals, then rest during the recovery intervals. A classic HIIT session would be :20 intervals of all out work (treadmill sprints, battle ropes, burpees, jumprope, etc), going as fast/hard as you can, then :10 rest. Repeat that cycle for 4 or 5 minutes for one round of HIIT. Recover with light movement for a few minutes then do another round. You should feel totally gassed at the end of each round.
If that is too intense, simply increase your recovery time. So instead of :20 on, :10 off, maybe try :20 of hard work and :40 seconds of recovery. But I would still go as hard as you can during your work intervals.
Add steady state cardio next.
If you have still more time for exercise in your week, then add in some steady state cardio, like running, biking, even a brisk walk.
I’ll talk more about this later this week, but things like running and biking really help build your overall endurance and can give you a big dose of endorphins… the runner’s high. Plus, if you do it with a friend, it can be a great social outlet. Overall, it is an awesome complement to strength training and interval work.
So that’s it–my fitness formula. It’s simple, and it works.
- 3x/week of 30 minutes of strength training
- 2x/week of 20 minutes of high intensity interval training, if you have time
- 2-3x/week of steady state cardio, if you have even more time
PS Stay tuned as later this week I’ll touch on some commonly held misconceptions about fitness. Click here to find the next installment of our series!