This is an email reply to a question I received from someone who attends my classes.
The questions was in a nutshell, if someone can only attend classes twice per week, what are some other things they can do at home (strength? Cardio?) to reach a goal of looking lean and toned.
This person has some common fitness equipment at home, such as dumbbells and an elliptical for example.
Here is my un-edited (don’t expect professional writing) reply.
I think in order for most people to look lean and fit (like oh wow I can definitely tell that person works out) strength training or some form of a strength workout (could be HIIT, which I mention below) needs to be incorporated 4 days per week minimum.
I am not a fan of long cardio (not just because of scientific reasons) I just don’t find it enjoyable.
When people love to run or cycle I usually say to them than keep it up!
But if someone wants to look fit and toned, I would prefer for them to do as little cardio as they have to (unless as I said before they find it enjoyable, and if you love to do something than defiantly please do it).
Strength training will spark more protein synthesis to give the body a more ‘fit’ look. Better shape for sure.
If you came to class on Tuesday and Thursday for instance, you could strength train at home either Friday/ Sunday, or Saturday/ Sunday, just to give an example.
If you ever do a back to back workout, I would focus the 2nd day on doing exercises that work muscles that are least sore from the day before.
So if you work out in my class on Thursday, and we did squats, leg press, lunges, and the sled, chances are your quads should rest 24 – 48 hours, that doesn’t mean you can’t go home and the next day do a workout for your glutes and hamstrings (exercise like glute bridges, stiff leg deadlifts, etc). If your abs aren’t too sore, you can throw in some core work). Then, focus on how your upper body feels. If we did chest presses in Thursday’s class, and your chest can use some recovery, you can always do dumbbell clean and presses at home the next day or bent over rows, etc.
Based on the example above, you could workout with me in class Tuesday and Thursday, and then workout at home right away the next day on Friday, and perform a workout or a circuit workout that includes glute bridges, abs, planks, stiff leg deadlifts, clean and presses, and bent over rows.
Than your second workout at home would focus on some other stuff you don’t feel are sore anymore, so maybe going back to front thighs, side planks, pushups or chest exercises, biceps, triceps, inner thigh, etc.
Now all of a sudden you have a flexible yet and effective 4 day split. Where you work out with me 2 days, and workout at home for 2 days.
Now, even though I don’t like cardio, I still do use cardio to help burn extra fat, I just use it in the form of high intensity interval training (HIIT). So you can finish off your at home workout by crushing 8-18 minutes of intervals (maybe 30 seconds all out on the elliptical and 60 seconds slow, repeat 5 times, or/plus 15 jump squats, rest 10 seconds, 10 dumbbell wood chops per side, rest 10 seconds, 10 burpees, rest 30 seconds, repeat 5 times. Now all of a sudden with HIIT, you are getting in fat burning cardio, but it isn’t going to take 30-60 extra minutes.
You could also simply do HIIT training on off days, and may be able to stretch it up to 24 minutes. And again, if you really don’t mind cardio, you could do typical cardio for 30-60 min, but I find it takes too long for my mind to stay into it, and isn’t any necessarily more effective than HIIT.
Keep in mind this is not the only way, some people get super fit by other means as well. Usually one thing all plans have in common is a way of eating that leads to results.
Keep up the great work everyone!
Joe ‘JEZ’ Zamojski