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Max Benefit – Min Time Workout #1

Question #1 : Want to be healthier, fitter, leaner, sexier, etc?

Question #2 : Are you insanely busy?

If you answered yes to both questions, have I got good news for you.

Starting today, I am going to start posting a series of mini-workouts designed to:

  • improve fitness,
  • improve health,
  • burn fat,
  • build functional strength,
  • improve energy system function,
  • improve muscular endurance,
  • improve speed endurance
  • AND save you time.

Each post will consist of a single mini-workout. All of these mini-workout posts will be catalogued together to allow you to mix & match to create your own custom plan.

Here we go with…

Max Benefit – Min Time Workout #1

Exercises

  • Push-ups – modifying the angle of your body to suit your strength/fitness level (feet elevated, flat on floor, hands on bench, hands on counter, leaning against wall, etc)
  • Bodyweight Squats – modifying depth of squat to suit your strength/fitness level (ass to the grass, parallel to floor, 1/2 squat, 1/4 squat, etc)

Set/Rep Scheme

  • Alternate exercises (push-ups/squats/push-ups/etc…)
  • 1st Set – 20 reps, 2nd Set – 19 reps, 3rd Set – 18 reps….all the way down to 10 reps (Total of 11 sets)

Speed of Execution

Perform reps as fast as possible…with good form

Rest

Minimize reps between exercises – zero rest between sets is the goal

How to keep improving with this workout

The design of this mini-workout allows you to keep improving as you choose harder versions of the exercises and/or perform them faster and/or reduce the amount of rest between exercises

The Workout

  • Push-ups – 20 reps
  • Bodyweight Squats – 20 reps
  • Push-ups – 19 reps
  • Bodyweight Squats – 19 reps
  • Push-ups – 18 reps
  • Bodyweight Squats – 18 reps
  • Push-ups – 17 reps
  • Bodyweight Squats – 17 reps
  • Push-ups – 16 reps
  • Bodyweight Squats – 16 reps
  • Push-ups – 15 reps
  • Bodyweight Squats – 15 reps
  • Push-ups – 14 reps
  • Bodyweight Squats – 14 reps
  • Push-ups – 13 reps
  • Bodyweight Squats – 13 reps
  • Push-ups – 12 reps
  • Bodyweight Squats – 12 reps
  • Push-ups – 11 reps
  • Bodyweight Squats – 11 reps
  • Push-ups – 10 reps
  • Bodyweight Squats – 10 reps

 

That’s it for today. As I add new Max Benefit – Min Time workouts, I will include a link to a index page which will list all of workouts in one place.

 

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10 Ways to Workout Smarter….not Harder

Every day I go to the gym and I see the same people doing the same workouts.

  • Runners get on a treadmill and run
  • Yoginis perform their poses
  • Bodybuilders squeeze & flex their muscles
  • Powerlifters lift heavy stuff
  • Aerobicizers attend their group fitness classes
  • And the dude at my gym who wears Adidas soccer shorts from 1978 stretches out his hamstrings threatening to dislodge his “fellas” from their cotton prison (the horror…the horror)

And while all of these activities are laudable and are infinitely better for you than sitting on the couch eating chips and watching reality tv, they all have their limitations. And since it is a new year, I thought it was the perfect time to outline 10 ways to workout smarter…achieving better results, in less time, with fewer aches & pains.

Tip # 1 – High Intensity Interval Training aka HIIT

There is an ever growing body of evidence showing that HIIT workouts are superior to traditional cardio training in almost every conceivable way.

  • Less time required per workout – I never, ever perform more than 20 min on a HIIT workout
  • Reduced chance of overuse injuries – just ask a runner about their aches & pains
  • Faster & greater improvements to the cardio-vascular system
  • Increased fat loss due to increased levels of EPOC  (Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption)
  • Increased total body strength
HIIT sprints
Before HIIT – After HIIT

To recap, HIIT takes up less of your time, is easier on your body, is better at improving the function of your heart & lungs and will help make you stronger and leaner more efficiently than cardio training. Sounds pretty smart to me.

Here are a bunch of articles I have written on HIIT to get you started:

Next Page : Movements not Muscles…

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More proof that you should Just Say No to Cardio

  • You want to be healthy
  • You want to be fit
  • You want to be strong
  • You want to be fast
  • You want to be powerful
  • You want to look great naked

If this sounds like you, you need to stop doing boring old cardio workouts…

human hamster wheel

…and start combining strength training workouts with high intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts.

Here’s why…

In a study published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology, researchers examined whether a combination of sprint interval workouts and strength training workouts would result in compromised strength development when compared to strength training alone.

During this study, they also monitored maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max) and time to exhaustion (TTE) to determine if the HIIT workouts would improve aerobic performance.

The Results

After 12 weeks of 4x per week workouts, they researchers found that:

  • Upper & lower body strength improved in both groups with no difference between the strength training (ST) group and the combination HIIT-ST group.
  • VO2max improved in the HIIT-ST group but not in the ST group. Previous studies have shown that HIIT is equal or superior to traditional cardio in improving VO2max

Conclusions

  • Strength training without HIIT will make you stronger
  • Strength training + HIIT will make you equally as strong
  • HIIT improves VO2max as well or better than traditional cardio training

When you combine this new data with all of the previous studies + years of real-world experience that has shown that traditional cardio training reduces strength, power & muscle mass in favour of aerobic performance (VO2max et al), it all starts to become very clear.

It means that if…

  • You want to be healthy
  • You want to be fit
  • You want to be strong
  • You want to be fast
  • You want to be powerful
  • You want to look great naked

…you need to just say no to cardio and just start saying yes to HIIT + strength training.

Reference

How to Get Strong – The Science of Strength

In an earlier post, The Components of Physical Fitness, I divided physical fitness into it’s component parts and provided a brief introduction of each part.

In today’s post, I am going to focus on muscular strength…or as Google likes to say…how to get strong, how to get stronger, how to get brutally strong, how to get freaky strong, etc, etc, etc.

And if you plan on getting freaky strong, you’re going to need to understand the whys and hows behind getting strong. And those whys and hows are all based in science.

So….we’re going to look at some of that science to help you figure out how to maximize your own personal levels of “strong”.

Intro to Muscular Strength

How strong you are (and how strong you could be) depends on the performance of your body’s skeletal muscles.

Your body’s muscles are highly adaptable. They will react to the stresses that you place upon them.

  • Sit on the couch and they will atrophy.
  • Try and run fast and they adapt to produce faster contractions.
  • Lift heavy objects and they will increase their ability to produce maximum strength.

Muscular Strength can and has been categorized in a variety of different ways. In this article, I am choosing to divide Muscular Strength into four categories, based primarily on Newton’s Second Law.

vec F = m vec a (force is equal to the product of mass and acceleration.) Mass relates to how much weight/mass a muscle or muscle group can move. Acceleration relates to how fast that weight/mass is moved.

By using and manipulating force, mass and acceleration, we can force our muscles to adapt and become more efficient at generating…

4 Types of Muscular Strength

  • Maximum Muscular Strength
  • Maximum Muscular Power
  • Maximum Muscular Speed
  • Maximum Muscular Endurance

NOTE – Each of these categories has different characteristics with regard to mass and acceleration

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The Absolute Best Barefoot Running Shoe

Last year, I reviewed the Skora Base running shoe. In that review, I concluded that the Skora Base was an excellent barefoot/minimalist/natural running shoe. Excellent…but not perfect.

  • The soles were very durable, giving the shoe a very long life
  • Great ventilation = reduced stinkfoot
  • I received lots of positive feedback on how the shoes look…not important, but nice
  • Easy to slip on…way easier than Vibrams
  • A little on the heavy side for a barefoot shoe
  • Comfortable as heck
  • Designed to encourage “natural” walking/running gaits
  • A toe box roomier than standard running shoes but not as roomy as some uber-barefoots
  • Zero heel drop
  • Average sole thinkness – not super thin like Sockwa but way better than a lot of “barefoot” shoes. This give them decent ground feel.
  • And the unfortunate feature that when my cross-training workouts got a little hot & sweaty, I found that lateral stability became a significant issue. Not a big deal if you’re running around a track, but if you’re bounding through the woods or playing a little tennis, I found that I was almost sliding sideways out of my shoes.

So….when I heard that Skora has two new models for 2013, I was curious to see if Skora had addressed my personal issues with their kicks. And they have.

With two new models…. The Phase and the Core.

phase x skora

Here are the upgrades…

  • The toe box is roomier in both styles- I can now wiggle my toes while wearing both the Skora Phase and the Skora Core
  • The new for 2013 synthetic upper Phase is lighter than my synthetic upper Base shoes. 7.2 oz v.s. 7.9 oz
  • The new for 2013 leather upper Core is lighter than the previous leather upper Form shoes. 8.1 oz 8.2 oz (not much of a diff here)
  • Both of the new styles are using a new injection blown rubber outsole giving both the Phase and Core a “grippier” feel and an increased ability to feel the ground beneath your shoes. This new sole reminds me of the sole Leming uses.
  • And finally, both shoes have much improved lateral stability. This might be due to the new lamination process used to bond the upper materials and overlays without stitching. Skora claims “this results in a stronger, more durable upper with less seams to let in water or rub against the skin”. All I can tell you is that I am not sliding around in this shoe.

So, all in all, both of these new Skoras – the synthetic Phase and the goatskin leather Core get two great big enthusiastic thumbs-up from yours truly.

SKORA_CORE-M03_medial_34_3

If you want to learn a little more about the specifics of these shoes, please continue reading…

Review Criteria

  • Protection – If you’re not going to develop thick natural calluses by actually running barefoot, you need to wear a shoe that will protect you from the occasional sharp stone or chunk of glass.
Where my old Skora Base shoes have a 9mm Forefoot/heel stack height (sole 4mm, midsole 5mm), the new Skora Phases and Skora Cores have both been reduced down to 8mm while changing the sole material from a high abrasion rubber to a grippier injection blown rubber. Defintely an upgrade in my mind.
SKORA_CORE-M03_outsole_36_3
  • Proprioception – A bare foot provides immediate feedback to the surface it rests upon. A thick spongy sole…not so much. This can be crucial when it comes to avoiding ankle sprains and wiping out while trail running.

I can’t get over how much this shift to injection blown rubber has made on the proprioception capabilities of these new Skoras. As mentioned above, both the Phase and Base are 1 mm thinner. And unless you are the princess from the Princess and the Pea, I doubt you can tell the difference. But there definitely is a difference in ground feel with these new Skoras. It has to be the new rubber.

SKORA_PHASE-M03_top_59_3

  • Natural Foot Movement – Does the shoe allow or prevent your foot from flexing & spreading in order to distribute the load uniformly over the entire foot. This analysis will address shoe width (especially the toe box), arch support, shock absorption, etc…

Like the older model Skora Base & Form, this is where I believe Skora really separates itself from the rest of the barefoot/minimalist/natural shoe pack. Unlike some minimalist shoes which basically slap some rubber onto the bottom of a polyester sock, the Skora engineers have created an aysmmetric last shape with a curved bottom profile. And it’s that curved outsole which is supposed to mimic the natural foot shape and encourage a natural medial to lateral rolling motion which makes the Skora truly unique. And with the now wider toe box, there is absolutely nothing to complain about. Unlike any other minimalist shoe that I have ever worn, the Skora Base actually makes you run naturally. No more falling back into old patterns of heel striking.

All 4 models of Skora running shoes (Core, Form, Phase and Base) will have you landing midfoot and absorbing impact as your feet were originally designed. And while that may not be a huge deal for someone (me) who has spent years re-training their neuro-muscular system and suffering though freakishly tight calves and the converted their bodies to a minimalist style of running, it is a gigantic deal for someone who wants to start running ala barefoot put has spent years running heel-toe. For this one feature alone, I can’t say enough good things about Skora.

  • Weight of the Shoe – Who wants a heavy, clunky shoe?

Both of these 2013 models are lighter than their predeccesors – with the Skora Phase weighing 7.2 oz and the Skora Core weighing 8.1 oz. Not the lightest barefoot shoes on the market, but light enough that you probably will never notice the difference. Next page – the review continues…

Reebok Nano 2 Shoe Review

The Reebok Nano 2 isn’t your run of the mill athletic shoe. It’s equal parts…

  • Barefoot/Minimalist shoe
  • Running shoe
  • Gym workout shoe

And unlike most of the hybrid shoes I have beta-tested in the past few years, it does a great job at blending the best parts of these three very different styles of athletic shoe.

reebok-nano-2.0

  • It provides better stability than a pure barefoot shoe. This is important if you’re participating in activities that require rapid changes of direction – soccer, tennis, sprinting, fitness classes, football, Zumba dance fitness, ultimate frisbee, interval training workouts, etc.

Your foot stays in place when you’re moving from side to side or exploding from a dead-start into a full-out sprint.

  • Unlike most running shoes that have a built-up heel and force you into an unhealthy heel-toe running form, the almost completely flat profile of the Nano 2.0 allows you to adopt a natural “barefoot”  running style.

barefoot-running

  • But before you go thinking that the Nano is a true minimalist/barefoot shoe, we need to look at the sole of the shoe. Because, unlike most barefoot shoes, the Nano has a thicker sole & midsole designed to…
  1. Provide more cushioning for runners, and
  2. Provide a flat, stable base for weightlifting

As this shoe was designer for Crossfitters who do all manner of exercise, this was the most necessary design feature of the shoe. And in my humble opinion, Reebok has done a fine job of engineering.

I have been running in barefoot/minimalist shoes for years, and while I did notice the loss of “ground-feel” caused by the thickness of the sole/midsole, I had no problems going for a 30 minute jog prior to hitting the gym for a resistance training workout.

[box type=”note”]This rigid sole would be a drawback for trail runners who want to “feel” the ground conditions and run “naturally”. Due to this, I wouldn’t recommend the Nano 2.0 for trail running or for runners who require high levels of proprioception.[/box]

  • While the Nano doesn’t provide optimal proprioceptive feedback, it does provide one of the most important features of a barefoot shoe – natural foot movement

The wide toe box and “natural” foot shape allows your foot to move as it was designed to move. Unlike most fitness shoes with a narrow toe box and all manner of corrective technology, the Nano 2.0 doesn’t force your foot into any un-natural positions. And this is a very very good thing.

reebok-nano-2.0-top-view

 All in all, I am a big fan of this shoe. I have used them over the past month for a wide variety of workouts and I wasn’t disappointed by them once.

And I don’t think you will be either.

Brooks Pure Connect – Barefoot Shoe Review

Alright, I’m back again with another Barefoot / Minimalist shoes review and this time I’m looking at the Brooks Pure Connect running shoes.

Like the Reebok RealFlex, the Brooks Pure Connect is an attempt by one of the major running shoe manufacturers to expand upon it’s standard “heel-toe” style of running shoe and enter the barefoot/minimalist shoe universe (shoeniverse???)

And like the RealFlex, the Brooks Pure Connect attempts to maintain some aspects of their standard runners while adopting the qualities of barefoot running shoes that they feel are most vital.

Let’s see how they did.

Review Criteria

  • Protection – If you’re not going to develop thick natural calluses by actually running barefoot, you need to wear a shoe that will protect you from the occasional sharp stone or chunk of glass.

The Brooks Pure Connect protects your feet more like a traditional running shoe than the much thinner soles of most barefoot shoes. Note that this increased protection from sharp objects will result in a trade-off with respect to proprioception and stiffness.

Unlike their traditional runners, Brooks has attempted to create a more mobile sole by creating a split in starting just to the inside of your big toe and running towards your midsole. You can see how they are trying to straddle the fence by trying to blend the uber-flexibility of a minimalist sole with the protection and performance of a standard Brooks running shoe.
  • Proprioception – A bare foot provides immediate feedback to the surface it rests upon. A thick spongy sole…not so much. This can be crucial when it comes to avoiding ankle sprains and wiping out while trail running.

Compared to Lemings or Sockwas, the Brook Pure Connect has horrible proprioception. Compared to Nike Free and the Reebok Real Flex , the Pure Connect is equal if not superior. The split sole does not give the foot mobility that it claims, but all in all, there is more ground-feel than with the Nikes or Reeboks.

  • Natural Foot Movement – Does the shoe allow or prevent your foot from flexing & spreading in order to distribute the load uniformly over the entire foot. This analysis will address shoe width (especially the toe box), arch support, shock absorption, etc…

Unlike companies that specialize in barefoot/minimalist shoes, Brooks and other mainstream athletic shoe manufacturers are at a bit of a disadvantage when it comes to creating their barefoot shoes. They realize that this market niche is growing very quickly, but there is no way that they are going to abandon the technology of their standard running shoes and go 100% minimalist. Ain’t gonna happen. They sell way too many “standard” running shoes.

What Brooks has done is recognize that different runners like to run…differently. Brooks sees all of these runners as fitting somewhere along the line of their Float vs Feel continuum of running styles & shoes. This video explains the concept.

The Pure Connect is the most extreme example of a Brooks “Feel” shoe.

  •  To that end, Brooks has split the outer sole of the shoe to make it more flexible than their standard runners. And in that regard, they have succeeded. However, compared to shoes created by companies that specialize in barefoot/minimalist shoes, this shoe is much, much stiffer.
  • Brooks is also using an anatomical last that is less restrictive than their standard models. As well, the sock liner is removable…producing an even more natural feel.
  • They have also minimized the size of the heel to help new-to-barefoot runners adapt to a mid-foot strike. This design feature is similar to the one used by Skora.

[box type=”note”]One area of natural foot movement where Brooks really missed the mark is with shoe width.[/box]

This shoe is way too narrow.

  • My wife has a very narrow foot and she loves these shoes. LOVES THEM.
  • Me…wide feet – couldn’t even fit into them.
  • My third guinea pig – normal feet – could squeeze them in, but they were too tight and didn’t allow his feet to spread as he ran.
 Note – Brooks seems to have addressed this concern with their new-for-2013 shoe – the Pure Drift
  • Weight of the Shoe – Who wants a heavy, clunky shoe?

Mens – 7.2 oz  Womens – 6.5 oz…it’s a light shoe

Next page – the review continues…

Does Ketone Drink = EZ Weight Loss?

Oxford researcher, Dr. Kieran Clarke has created a new type of ketone-based endurance drink designed to…

  • Generate significant weight loss
  • Improve mental alertness
  • Improve cognitive function

…as well as treat, prevent or reduce the effects of…

In short, this supplement MAY make you leaner, smarter, healthier, faster, stronger and less prone to diabetes, alzheimer’s, parkinson’s, huntington’s, heart disease and metabolic syndrome.

Note that I say MAY.

The science is all very new. According to Doc Clarke:

“We are very excited about our research, which we think shows great promise. Our primary interest so far has been to understand how the body’s metabolism responds and makes use of our ketone drink.

We are a long way yet from showing meaningful benefits as a treatment for disease or in aiding athletes’ endurance, and while we think it is possible that the ketone drink may have benefits in slowing Alzheimer’s progression, no one has done much research on this as yet…although this remains of great interest to us.”

How great an interest???

Great enough to apply for a US patent.

Can you imagine how much money Dr. Clarke will make if this product lives up to it’s potential?

The Science

  • Previous research indicates that a state of elevated ketones may improve physical and cognitive performance.
  • Unfortunately, direct administration of ketone bodies is unpractical and potentially dangerous
  • Fortunately, there are ketone precursors that might give her the same effect without any of the downsides.

On of those ketone precursors is  (R)-3-hydroxybutyl (R)-3-hydroxybutyrate, the ketone monoester that Dr. Clarke has been administering in the form of a meal replacement drink to her healthy human volunteers.

In one pilot study, eight adults with type 2 diabetes to see whether the drink produced any effect. The volunteers had three ketone drinks a day for five days and had their weight, cholesterol, and blood sugar monitored. Their weight dropped an average of nearly two per cent (in 5 days), as did their levels of glucose, cholesterol and fat in the blood.

In another study, Dr. Clarke gave 22 elite rowers the ketone drink and monitored the distances they achieved in 30 minutes on an indoor rowing machine.

One rower broke a world record and five others beat their personal best.

Conclusion

I am thoroughly geeked-up about the potential of this supplement.

Fingers crossed people.

Reference

Stop Heart Disease with HIIT?

  • HIIT workouts are great for fat loss
  • HIIT workouts save your time
  • HIIT workouts are way more fun than slogging away the miles on a treadmill
  • HIIT workouts make you fitter faster

But…they sometimes scare the crap out of newbies….who wonder if such high intensity workouts are going to cause their de-conditioned hearts to explode inside their chest cavities.

And since I am not a cutting-edge cardiologist, I find it best to check with the experts before shooting my mouth off about the awesomeness of HIIT.

Luckily for us, some of the big brains at the Montreal Heart Institute have just published another study extolling the virtues of HIIT workouts for the rehabilitation of their patients with heart failure and reduced ejection fraction.

In this study, they compared the circulatory (hemodynamic) respones to:

  1. a 8 min HIIT workout
  2. 22 minute moderate-intensity continuous exercise (aka cardio) style of workout

Their findings?

  1. The HIIT workout was well tolerated by the test subjects and produced no significant ventricular arrhythmias and (or) abnormal blood pressure responses
  2. Compared with the cardio workout, the HIIT workout produced a similar circulatory response (blood pressure, stroke volume, etc) to the cardio workout
  3. Both workouts also produced similar C(a-v)O2 responses. This is a measurement of how much oxygen is absorbed from the arteries into the rest of the body.

Their Conclusion

HIIT may be an efficient exercise training modality in patients with heart failure and reduced ejection fraction.

What does this mean to you?

If the leading edge cardio researchers are looking at HIIT as an effective treatment for HEART DISEASE patients, then it might just be good for you too.

Reference

Is Nintendo Wii Boxing the Future of Fitness???

In a study published in the Cardiopulmonary Physical Therapy Journal, researchers found that “thirty minutes of Nintendo Wii Sports boxing provides a moderate to vigorous aerobic response in healthy young adults and can contribute to daily recommendations for physical activity”.

This study backs up another 2012 study which found “that Nintendo Wii Fit “Free Run” may act as an alternative to traditional moderate-intensity aerobic exercise in fulfilling the American College of Sports Medicine requirements for physical activity.”

And another study which found that “exergaming has the potential to increase physical activity and have a favorable influence on energy balance, and may be a viable alternative to traditional fitness activities for children of various BMI levels”.

Pretty cool…huh?

But before you cancel your gym membership and go buy some exercise video games, there are a few limitations to exercise video games.

  • These games are primarily upper-body dominant. In a 2011 study, researchers found that “current Wii and PlayStation Exer-Fit technology failed ACSM guidelines for cardiovascular fitness….but that a specially adapted lower limb controlled PS2 allowed participants to exceed the ACSM guidelines”.
  • In my experience, video game playing quite often includes copious quantities of Doritos and Coke. This may have a negative impact on the health benefits of Wii boxing
  • Gamers don’t play exercise video games – and exercisers like to actually exercise… in real life
The Top 10 Video Games of 2012…include one exercise-friendly game.
  1. Mass Effect 3
  2. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
  3. NBA 2K12
  4. Just Dance 3
  5. Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
  6. Battlefield 3
  7. Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City
  8. Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure
  9. UFC Undisputed 3
  10. Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

Of course…all of these pros and cons are technology dependent.

Who’s to say that in 5 years, we don’t have a fully virtual gaming experience where the movement of our avatar is directly related to the movement of of physical bodies in a much more accurate manner. If you want your character to sprint out of the line of fire…you have to sprint…same with jumping, diving, pushing, pulling, etc…

That would be pretty cool.

Reference

Skora Base – Barefoot Shoe Review

Alright, I’m back again with another Barefoot / Minimalist shoes review and this time I’m looking at a very different type of minimalist shoe – SKORA

Different in how they look…in how they are designed…in how they work…and in how they’re being marketed. But let’s leave that for the end of the article and get on with the analysis.

Skora has two different models – the Form & the Base. For this review, I chose to test the Skora Base (SB) as I was intrigued by the criss-cross velcro fastener. In a future review, I will be looking at the Skora Form – which has just been introduced for women.

Review Criteria

  • Protection – If you’re not going to develop thick natural calluses by actually running barefoot, you need to wear a shoe that will protect you from the occasional sharp stone or chunk of glass.
The outer sole of the Skora Base (SB) is 4mm of high abrasion rubber, the midsole is 5mm and the removable Ortholite insole is 4mm thick. This means that the total stack height of the SB is either 9mm or 13 mm depending if you decide to ditch the insole or not.

 

At first glance, this thickness might be enough to put off some minimalist running purists. Sure, it’s thinner than the Reebok Real Flex or a pair of Nike Frees, but for a shoe that promises minimal cushioning and a “natural” feel, the Skora Base is 2-3 x thicker than the ultra-thin Sockwa G2.

Note – before you banish Skora to the land of faux-minimalist sneakers, you need to slap a pair on your feet and go for a jog through the shoe store. Seriously, don’t stress about the thickness – If we’re going to get picky about sole thickness, I know a bunch of true barefoot runners who won’t even put up with the thinnest pair of Vibrams due to the loss in proprioception. 

  • Proprioception – A bare foot provides immediate feedback to the surface it rests upon. A thick spongy sole…not so much. This can be crucial when it comes to avoiding ankle sprains and wiping out while trail running.

The proprioception is superior to any of the big name manufacturers I have worn (Nike, Reebok, New Balance, etc) but not as good as it’s thinner-soled cousins (Sockwa, Vivo, etc). The high density rubber outsole (and the EVA midsole) are denser than industry standard improving ground feel. In short, the lack of squishiness improves proprioception.

  • Natural Foot Movement – Does the shoe allow or prevent your foot from flexing & spreading in order to distribute the load uniformly over the entire foot. This analysis will address shoe width (especially the toe box), arch support, shock absorption, etc…

This is where Skora really separates itself from the pack.

Unlike some minimalist shoes which basically slap some rubber onto the bottom of a polyester sock, the Skora engineers have created an aysmmetric last shape with a curved bottom profile. And it’s that curved outsole which is supposed to mimic the natural foot shape and encourage a natural medial to lateral rolling motion which makes the Skora truly unique.

Unlike any other minimalist shoe that I have ever worn, the Skora Base actually makes you run naturally. No more falling back into old patterns of heel striking. The SBs will have you landing midfoot and absorbing impact as your feet were originally designed.


And while that may not be a huge deal for someone (me) who has spent months re-training their neuro-muscular system and suffering though freakishly tight calves and the converted their bodies to a minimalist style of running, it is a gigantic deal for someone who wants to start running ala barefoot put has spent years running heel-toe.

For this one feature alone, I can’t say enough good things about Skora.

Note – in addition to the curved outsole, the SBs have a nice wide toe box and larger ball girth volume designed to let my Fred Flintstone-esque feet move as they should.

  • Weight of the Shoe – Who wants a heavy, clunky shoe?

At 9.1 oz, the Skora is on the heavy end of the minimalist shoe market, but as that weight comes mainly from the awesome sole design, I am okay with the extra 2-3 oz of weight.

Next page – the review continues…

Essential Fitness Gear – The Clean Bottle Runner

I like to think of myself as a pretty smart fella.

When I’m not advising the Mayo Clinic or the American Olympic Track & Field team, I’m helping researchers design cutting edge studies into human health & longevity*

But when the fine folks at Clean Bottle told me about the upgrade they made to their market leading product….I felt like a TOTAL IDIOT.

The idea for the new CLEAN BOTTLE RUNNER is so simple and obvious that I really should have thought of it and sold it to Nike and retired to my island paradise

But I didn’t.

Nope…just like that Dyson guy with his new-fangled “vacuum with balls”, Clean Bottle Dave beat me to it…and has created a sports bottle holder that:

  1. Locks your hand in place around the water bottle, eliminating the possibility of ever dropping your Gatorade while running backwoods trails.
  2. Is built to give you easy access to your smartphone – calls, music, running apps, etc
  3. Has straps designed to give you quick access to running Gu
  4. Has a pocket for keys, bank card, etc
  5. Is locked in place by the removable bottom cap
  6. And is guaranteed for life

When you combine this with the general awesomeness of the Clean Bottle itself…

…you end up with an essential piece of fitness gear.

Now if only Clean Bottle had an affiliate deal with bloggers, I could make a little bit of money referring all you fine readers over to their website.

 

*BTW, I’m not really that smart  😦

Best Body Workout – 2012 – Week 8 – Day 1

This is how you should look after finishing your leg extensions...exhausted

Today’s workout is a repeat of last week….focusing on a bunch of timed HIRT supersets with short rest periods.

I’m asking your muscles to be explosive over and over and over without giving them much rest. It’s a wicked calorie burner that pushes your anaerobic energy systems very hard and helps make you a faster athlete…even if you don’t consider yourself an athlete.

WORKOUT WARM-UP

Circles – Starting with the ankles and moving all the way up to your neck, gently make circles with all of your joints – 10 revolutions each joint in each direction

Dead Bug – Push your lower back into the floor and articulate your arms & legs as in the video. 1 set of as many reps as possible with your lower back pushed into the floor. When your back starts to arch…STOP

1 Arm Swing Snatch – 25 reps per arm  – Dumbbell or kettlebell – choose a light weight – the goal is to warm-up

THE WORKOUT

Superset #1 

1 Leg Leg Presses

  • 5 Minutes – Set your timer
  • 5 reps per leg, alternating left, right, left, right…
  • Choose a weight, you could perform 15 – 20 reps with
  • While keeping proper form, perform this lift explosively
  • Minimize rest between sets
  • After 5 minutes, wipe off the leg press machine and move onto Superset #2
Note – if you don’t have access to a leg press, substitute 1 leg squats

Superset #2

1 Leg Hip Thrusts – bodyweight, barbell or Smith Machine

  • 5 Minutes – Set your timer
  • 5 reps per leg, alternating left, right, left, right…
  • Choose a weight, you could perform 15 – 20 reps with
  • While keeping proper form, perform this lift explosively
  • Minimize rest between sets
  • After 5 minutes, get your ass off the floor and move onto Superset #3

Superset #3

Bulgarian Split Squat – bodyweight, dumbbell, kettlbell or barbell

  • 5 Minutes – Set your timer
  • 5 reps per leg, alternating left, right, left, right…
  • Choose a weight, you could perform 15 – 20 reps with
  • While keeping proper form, perform this lift explosively
  • Minimize rest between sets
  • After 5 minutes, wipe off the leg press machine and move onto..

Superset #4

Single Leg Leg Curl – machine, band, bodyweight with a stability ball

  • 5 Minutes – Set your timer
  • 5 reps per leg, alternating left, right, left, right…
  • Choose a weight, you could perform 15 – 20 reps with
  • While keeping proper form, perform this lift explosively
  • Minimize rest between sets
  • After 5 minutes, wipe off the bench and move onto Superset #5

Superset #5

1 Leg Leg Extension – machine, band

  • 5 Minutes – Set your timer
  • 5 reps per leg, alternating left, right, left, right…
  • Choose a weight, you could perform 15 – 20 reps with
  • While keeping proper form, perform this lift explosively
  • Minimize rest between sets
  • After 5 minutes, wipe off the bench and move onto Superset #6

Superset #6

Single Leg Stability Ball Leg Curl  – machine, band

  • 5 Minutes – Set your timer
  • 5 reps per leg, alternating left, right, left, right…
  • Choose a weight, you could perform 15 – 20 reps with
  • While keeping proper form, perform this lift explosively
  • Minimize rest between sets
  • There is a good chance you will need to put the non-working leg on the floor with this exercise. I did this workout last night and part way through my core was fatiguing thanks to my tired legs…end result: my lower back started to ache. I dropped the non-working leg to the floor and finished off the 5 min. No point in hurting your back
  • After 5 minutes, wipe off the bench and go flop onto a mat and stretch out those leg muscles.

You’re done for the day.

Notes 

  • If you find that you can’t complete 5 reps on any of the sets, I would rather you drop the reps and keep good form, than get sloppy.
  • Try to keep rest periods as short as possible – it’s key to the fat-burning effect

Best Body Workout – 2012 – Week 7 – Day 2

Today’s workout follows the same model as Monday’s workout.

We’re asking your muscles to be explosive over and over and over without giving them much rest. It’s a wicked calorie burner that will make drastic changes to your fitness.

WORKOUT WARM-UP

Circles – Starting with the ankles and moving all the way up to your neck, gently make circles with all of your joints – 10 revolutions each joint in each direction

Dead Bug – Push your lower back into the floor and articulate your arms & legs as in the video. 1 set of as many reps as possible with your lower back pushed into the floor. When your back starts to arch…STOP

1 Arm Swing Snatch – 25 reps per arm  – Dumbbell or kettlebell – choose a light weight – the goal is to warm-up

THE WORKOUT

Superset #1 

  1. Wide Grip Pulldowns / Assisted Chins supersetted with
  2. Overhead Shrugs (barbell or dumbbells)
  • 5 Minutes – Set your timer
  • 5 reps per exercise per set
  • Choose a weight, you could perform 15 – 20 reps with
  • Keep proper form – I would rather see you use less weight or perform fewer reps
  • Minimize rest between sets
  • No partial reps – full range of motion
  • If you can’t complete 5 reps on a set, lower the weight for the next set
  • After 5 minutes, wipe up your sweat and move onto Superset #2

Superset #2

  1. Narrow Grip Pulldowns (or assisted Narrow Grip Pull-Ups)
  2. DB Waiter Walks
  • 5 Minutes – Set your timer
  • 5 reps per exercise per set
  • Choose a weight, you could perform 15 – 20 reps with
  • Keep proper form – I would rather see you use less weight or perform fewer reps
  • Minimize rest between sets
  • No partial reps – full range of motion
  • If you can’t complete 5 reps on a set, lower the weight for the next set
  • After 5 minutes, get your ass off the floor and move onto Superset #3

Superset #3

  1. Face Pulls on Pulldown Machine (or bands)
  2. BB or DB Front Raises (or bands)
  • 5 Minutes – Set your timer
  • 5 reps per exercise per set
  • Choose a weight, you could perform 15 – 20 reps with
  • Keep proper form – I would rather see you use less weight or perform fewer reps
  • Minimize rest between sets
  • No partial reps – full range of motion
  • If you can’t complete 5 reps on a set, lower the weight for the next set
  • After 5 minutes, mop up your tears and move onto Superset #4

Superset #4

  1. Single Arm Dumbbell Side Lateral Raise – dumbbell, kettlebell, band
  • 5 Minutes – Set your timer
  • 5 reps per arm, alternating left, right, left, right…
  • Choose a weight, you could perform 15 – 20 reps with
  • Keep proper form – I would rather see you use less weight or perform fewer reps
  • Minimize rest between sets
  • No partial reps – full range of motion
  • If you can’t complete 5 reps on a set, lower the weight for the next set
  • After 5 minutes, stagger on over to Superset #5

Superset #5

  1. 4-Way Neck Flexion – (replace machine resistance with hand reistance ONLY)
  2. Straight Arm Pulldowns – (cable or band)
  • 5 Minutes – Set your timer
  • 5 reps per exercise per set
  • Choose a weight, you could perform 15 – 20 reps with
  • Keep proper form – I would rather see you use less weight or perform fewer reps
  • Minimize rest between sets
  • No partial reps – full range of motion
  • If you can’t complete 5 reps on a set, lower the weight for the next set
  • After 5 minutes, have faith that you’re almost finished and move onto Superset #6

Superset #6

  1. Straight Arm Pushdown – (cable or band)
  2. DB Shoulder Press – (DB, KB or band)
  • 5 Minutes – Set your timer
  • 5 reps per exercise per set
  • Choose a weight, you could perform 15 – 20 reps with
  • Keep proper form – I would rather see you use less weight or perform fewer reps
  • Minimize rest between sets
  • No partial reps – full range of motion
  • If you can’t complete 5 reps on a set, lower the weight for the next set
  • After 5 minutes, you’re DONE

Go stretch for 15 minutes, grab a shower and stagger out of the gym.

Just kidding…you’ll feel fine in a few minutes 🙂

Notes 
  • If you find that you can’t complete 5 reps on any of the sets, I would rather you drop the reps and keep good form, than get sloppy.
  • Try to keep rest periods as short as possible – it’s key to the fat-burning effect

Exercise Reduces Appetite

Researchers from UMASS have found that 60 minutes of exercise on a cycle ergometer reduced the neuronal responses in the part of your brain consistent with:

  1. Reduced pleasure of food,
  2. Reduced incentive motivation to eat, and
  3. Reduced anticipation and consumption of food.

In essence, exercise prevents your brain from telling you to eat.

So, how come I know a ton of people who exercise 5 days a week and still can’t manage to drop their extra body-fat?

Because scientific research ≠ real life.

  • Scientific research has to be precise.
  • Real life is anything but precise. It involves emotions and peer pressure and hormones and tv commercial for stuffed crust pizza and a whole bunch of other stuff designed to make you eat and eat and eat.

So, what can we take from this study?

If you’re feeling hungry and you want to squash that hunger, get up off your butt and go for a brisk 20 minute walk. Odds are, you’ll get those neurons working in your favor and your hunger will fade away.

And even if it doesn’t, the exercise will do your body good anyway.

Reference

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Best Body Workout – 2011 – Week 46 – Day 3

Week #46 – Day #3

Last lifting workout of the week

I want you to move as quickly as possible between sets, keeping rest periods to a minimum

 

WORKOUT WARM-UP

Circles – Starting with the ankles and moving all the way up to your neck, gently make circles with all of your joints – 10 revolutions each joint in each direction

Dead Bug – Push your lower back into the floor and articulate your arms & legs as in the video. 1 set of as many reps as possible with your lower back pushed into the floor. When your back starts to arch…STOP

1 Arm Swing Snatch – 25 reps per arm  – Dumbbell or kettlebell – choose a light weight – the goal is to warm-up

 

THE WORKOUT

HIRT Superset #1

  • 3 Exercises
  • 5 sets per exercise
  • 30 reps per set of Shuffle Lunges (or a similar effort level of skipping, burpees or jumping jacks)
  • 10 reps per set of Toes to the Sky
  • 10 reps of Overhead Shrugs  – using a resistance that you can perform 20 reps with (20RM)

Exercise #1 – Shuffle Lunges (or a similar effort level of skipping, burpees or jumping jacks)

Exercise #2 – Toes to the Sky  

Exercise #3 – Overhead Shrugs – barbell, dumbbells, kettlebells

 

No rest between sets – Maximum 5 minute rest between supersets

 

HIRT Superset #2

  • 4 Exercises
  • 5 sets per exercise
  • 30 reps per set of Shuffle Lunges (or a similar effort level of skipping, burpees or jumping jacks)
  • 10 reps per set of Standing Cable Rows – using a resistance that you can perform 20 reps with (20RM)
  • 20 reps per set of Lateral Squats (10 reps per side)
  • 10 Reps per set of Tricep Pushdowns  – using a resistance that you can perform 20 reps with (20RM)

Exercise #1 – Shuffle Lunges (or a similar effort level of skipping, burpees or jumping jacks)

Exercise #2 –  – Cable Row – 2 hands – use tricep pushdown rope

Exercise #3 – Lateral Squats

Exercise #4 – Tricep Pushdowns


No rest between sets – Maximum 5 minute rest between supersets

 

HIRT Superset #3

  • 4 Exercises
  • 5 sets per exercise
  • 30 reps per set of Shuffle Lunges (or a similar effort level of skipping, burpees or jumping jacks)
  • 10 reps per set of Rolling Abs
  • 10 reps per set per arm of  Slide / Drag Curls per set – use DBs
  • 20 reps per set of DB Swings  – using 1 of the DBs from the Slide/Drag Curls

Exercise #1 – Shuffle Lunges (or a similar effort level of skipping, burpees or jumping jacks)

Exercise #2 – Rolling Abs

Exercise #3 –  Slide / Drag Curl

Exercise #4 – Dumbbell or Kettlebell Swings

 

No rest between sets – Maximum 5 minute rest between supersets

HIRT Superset #4

  • 4 Exercises
  • 5 sets per exercise
  • 30 reps per set of Shuffle Lunges (or a similar effort level of skipping, burpees or jumping jacks)
  • 10 reps per set of Push-Ups – at an intensity that would allow you to perform 20 reps (20RM)
  • 40 reps per set of Body-Weight Hip Thrusts – feet elevated or on floor
  • 30 Seconds Prone Bridge per set

Exercise #1 – Shuffle Lunges (or a similar effort level of skipping, burpees or jumping jacks)

Exercise #2 – Push Ups

Exercise #3 – Body-Weight Hip Thrusts – feet elevated or on floor

Exercise #4 – Bridge / Plank

 

No rest between sets – Maximum 5 minute rest between supersets

.

That’s it, you’re done for today.

Stretch and Go home

Tomorrow, do some cardio or  HIIT sprints & stretching (lots of stretching)

Starting Monday…. it’s back to the weights

Best Body Workout – 2011 – Week 46 – Day 1

Week #46 – Day #1

Not including warm-up exercises, this workout is made up of 4 HIRT circuits.

I want you to move as quickly as possible between sets, keeping rest periods to a minimum

 

WORKOUT WARM-UP

Circles – Starting with the ankles and moving all the way up to your neck, gently make circles with all of your joints – 10 revolutions each joint in each direction

Dead Bug – Push your lower back into the floor and articulate your arms & legs as in the video. 1 set of as many reps as possible with your lower back pushed into the floor. When your back starts to arch…STOP

1 Arm Swing Snatch – 25 reps per arm  – Dumbbell or kettlebell – choose a light weight – the goal is to warm-up

 

THE WORKOUT

HIRT Superset #1

  • 3 Exercises
  • 5 sets per exercise
  • 5 reps per set of Ab Wheel Roll-Outs
  • 10 Push-ups per set at an intensity that would allow you to perform 20 reps (20RM)
  • And a 1 Minute Squat Test (video is a 10 min test)

Exercise #1 – Ab Wheel Roll-Outs

Exercise #2 – Push-Ups

Exercise #3 – One Minute Squat Test

No rest between sets – Maximum 5 minute rest between supersets

 

HIRT Superset #2

  • 2 Exercises
  • 5 sets per exercise
  • 5 reps per set of Pulldowns/Chins – using a resistance that you can perform 10 reps with (10RM)
  • 20 reps per set of DB Swings – using a resistance that you can perform 50 reps with (50 RM)

Exercise #1 – Pulldowns or Chins

Exercise #2 – Dumbbell or Kettlebell Swings

No rest between sets – Maximum 5 minute rest between supersets

HIRT Superset #3

  • 3 Exercises
  • 5 sets per exercise
  • 10 reps per set of Pallof Presses facing one direction – with a 20 RM weight (20RM)
  • 40 steps per set of Overhead Waiters Walk (reasonably heavy DBs)
  • 10 Reps per set of Pallof Presses facing opposite direction – same weight
  • 10 Push-ups per set at an intensity that would allow you to perform 20 reps (20RM)

Exercise #1 – Pallof Presses

Exercise #2 – 2 Hand Waiters walks

Exercise #3 – Pallof Presses – opposite side

Exercise #4 – Push-Ups

No rest between sets – Maximum 5 minute rest between supersets

HIRT Superset #4

  • 4 Exercises
  • 5 sets per exercise
  • 40 steps of Cable Sled Drags / Truck Pulls per set (count steps raising & lowering cable stack) – control lowering stack – if you don’t have access to a “dipping” belt, attach a “tricep pushdown” rope and use your hands (good for grip strength)
  • 30 Seconds Prone Bridge per set
  • 10 Cable Rows per set at an intensity that would allow you to perform 20 reps (20RM)
  • 10 Push-ups per set at an intensity that would allow you to perform 20 reps (20RM)

Exercise #1 – Cable Sled Drags

Exercise #2 – Prone Bridge

Exercise #3 – Cable Row – 2 hands – use rope or belt from sled drags

Exercise #4 – Push-Ups

No rest between sets – Maximum 5 minute rest between supersets

.

That’s it, you’re done for today.

Stretch and Go home

Tomorrow, do some cardio or  HIIT sprints & stretching (lots of stretching)

Wednesday, it’s back to the weights

Best Body Workout – 2011 – Week 39 – Day 3

Same general workout as Day 1 & Day 2

Pick 5 new groups and pick all new exercises.

Overview

These workouts are based on a model I often use for clients who are going on holiday.

It’s simple, can be printed on one page and yet it forces them to make some decisions for themselves.

This last point is pretty important to me as a big part of my “real world” training is education. While I love all my clients, I don’t want to keep training them year after year. Kind of like a mama bird, I teach them what they need to learn and when they’re ready…I shove ’em outta the nest.

  • These workouts will require bodyweight and resistance bands only
  • They focus on muscular and anaerobic endurance
  • Are great fat-burners as long as you keep the intensity level turned up to 11
  • Allow you to get out of the gym and enjoy the weather before the snow starts to fly

The Workout

Warm-Up as per usual

After completing the warm-up, I want you to choose 1 exercise from 5 of the 7 groups listed below.

  • Complete the required reps as quickly as possible, minimizing rest periods.
  • How you organize the sets is up to you
  • Move quickly but with good form

Have fun.

GROUP A

BW Squat – 100 reps

1 Leg Squat (standing on bench) – 60 reps total both legs

Jumping Squats – 60 reps

GROUP B

1 Leg Deadlift – 100 reps – 50 per leg

Hip Thrust with feet or body elevated (lying on ball OR with feet on chair) – 100 reps

Hip Thrust – floor – 150 reps

GROUP C

Shuffle Lunges – 200 reps

Burpees – 60 reps

Hill Sprint – 6 x 10 sec sprint

GROUP D

Band Bicep Curl – 100 reps

BW Skullcrusher – 60 reps

1 Arm Band Shoulder Press – 80 reps total – 40 per arm

GROUP E

Horizontal Band Woodchop – 80 reps

2 Arm BW Row – 120 reps

Vertical Woodchop with band or Med Ball / Big Rock Slam – 80 reps

GROUP F

2 Arm Band Chest Press – 100 reps

1 Arm Band Chest Press – 100 reps – 50 per arm

Push-Up – 40 reps total

sorry about the music

GROUP G

Toes to the Sky – abs/core exercise – 100 reps

Ab Wheel Roll-Out – 100 reps

Rolling Like A Ball – 200 reps

In between work sets, use Standing Band Bridges to catch your breath

Your Best Body Workout – 2011 – Week 39 – Day 2

Same general workout as Day 1

Pick 5 new groups and pick all new exercises.

Overview

These workouts are based on a model I often use for clients who are going on holiday.

It’s simple, can be printed on one page and yet it forces them to make some decisions for themselves.

This last point is pretty important to me as a big part of my “real world” training is education. While I love all my clients, I don’t want to keep training them year after year. Kind of like a mama bird, I teach them what they need to learn and when they’re ready…I shove ’em outta the nest.

  • These workouts will require bodyweight and resistance bands only
  • They focus on muscular and anaerobic endurance
  • Are great fat-burners as long as you keep the intensity level turned up to 11
  • Allow you to get out of the gym and enjoy the weather before the snow starts to fly

The Workout

Warm-Up as per usual

After completing the warm-up, I want you to choose 1 exercise from 5 of the 7 groups listed below.

  • Complete the required reps as quickly as possible, minimizing rest periods.
  • How you organize the sets is up to you
  • Move quickly but with good form

Have fun.

GROUP A

BW Squat – 100 reps

1 Leg Squat (standing on bench) – 60 reps total both legs

Jumping Squats – 60 reps

GROUP B

1 Leg Deadlift – 100 reps – 50 per leg

Hip Thrust with feet or body elevated (lying on ball OR with feet on chair) – 100 reps

Hip Thrust – floor – 150 reps

GROUP C

Shuffle Lunges – 200 reps

Burpees – 60 reps

Hill Sprint – 6 x 10 sec sprint

GROUP D

Band Bicep Curl – 100 reps

BW Skullcrusher – 60 reps

1 Arm Band Shoulder Press – 80 reps total – 40 per arm

GROUP E

Horizontal Band Woodchop – 80 reps

2 Arm BW Row – 120 reps

Vertical Woodchop with band or Med Ball / Big Rock Slam – 80 reps

GROUP F

2 Arm Band Chest Press – 100 reps

1 Arm Band Chest Press – 100 reps – 50 per arm

Push-Up – 40 reps total

sorry about the music

GROUP G

Toes to the Sky – abs/core exercise – 100 reps

Ab Wheel Roll-Out – 100 reps

Rolling Like A Ball – 200 reps

In between work sets, use Standing Band Bridges to catch your breath

Your Best Body Workout – 2011 – Week 39 – Day 1

These workouts are based on a model I often use for clients who are going on holiday.

It’s simple, can be printed on one page and yet it forces them to make some decisions for themselves.

This last point is pretty important to me as a big part of my “real world” training is education. While I love all my clients, I don’t want to keep training them year after year. Kind of like a mama bird, I teach them what they need to learn and when they’re ready…I shove ’em outta the nest.

  • These workouts will require bodyweight and resistance bands only
  • They focus on muscular and anaerobic endurance
  • Are great fat-burners as long as you keep the intensity level turned up to 11
  • Allow you to get in and out of the gym tout de suite

The Workout

Warm-Up as per usual

After completing the warm-up, I want you to choose 1 exercise from 5 of the 7 groups listed below.

  • Complete the required reps as quickly as possible, minimizing rest periods.
  • How you organize the sets is up to you
  • Move quickly but with good form

Have fun.

GROUP A

BW Squat – 100 reps

1 Leg Squat (standing on bench) – 60 reps total both legs

Jumping Squats – 60 reps

GROUP B

1 Leg Deadlift – 100 reps – 50 per leg

Hip Thrust with feet or body elevated (lying on ball OR with feet on chair) – 100 reps

Hip Thrust – floor – 150 reps

GROUP C

Shuffle Lunges – 200 reps

Burpees – 60 reps

Hill Sprint – 6 x 10 sec sprint

GROUP D

Band Bicep Curl – 100 reps

BW Skullcrusher – 60 reps

1 Arm Band Shoulder Press – 80 reps total – 40 per arm

GROUP E

Horizontal Band Woodchop – 80 reps

2 Arm BW Row – 120 reps

Vertical Woodchop with band or Med Ball / Big Rock Slam – 80 reps

GROUP F

2 Arm Band Chest Press – 100 reps

1 Arm Band Chest Press – 100 reps – 50 per arm

Push-Up – 40 reps total

sorry about the music

GROUP G

Toes to the Sky – abs/core exercise – 100 reps

Ab Wheel Roll-Out – 100 reps

Rolling Like A Ball – 200 reps

 

In between work sets, use Standing Band Bridges to catch your breath

Strength Training for Tough Guy / Tough Mudder Adventure Racers

Today’s post is for people who:

  1. Want to compete in a Tough Mudder-esque adventure race
  2. Already have a strong cardio/running base
  3. Need to get stronger if they’re going to dominate the obstacles.

The plan involves making you strong, powerful and agile without adding a lot of muscle mass. To do that, I am going to prescribe two resistance training workouts per week. Depending upon your current level of strength, these workout will be either:

  1. Two strength workouts (if you need a lot of help)
  2. One strength and one HIIT/HIRT workout (you have some strength, but need to get more explosive)
  3. One HIIT/HIRT and one agility/obstacle workout (you’re strong enough and want to dominate)

These two workouts are to be performed in addition to your running workouts, so you will have to make adjustments to ensure adequate recovery time.

STRENGTH WORKOUTS
.
The last thing a Tough Mudder wants from their strength workouts is that they cause the growth of big, bodybuilder muscles. What you want is increased strength/power with minimal weight gain.
.
And that’s what you’ve got with this workout.
.
Note: a 20×0 tempo for bench press = lowering the bar to your chest for a count of two, no resting the bar on your chest, “xploding” the bar off your chest as fast as possible and no resting with arms extended

.

The Are You a Tough Mudder Strength Training Workout

Day 1 – Chest, Back & Abs/Core

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Tempo

Rest

Weight

Chest Press

8

3

20×0

120 sec

5 RM

Ab Wheel

4

15-20

4020

60 sec

20 RM

Chin-Ups

8

3

20×0

120 sec

5 RM

Hanging Leg Raise

4

15-20

4020

60 sec

20 RM

Day 2 – Arms, Shoulders & Core

Exercise

Sets

Reps

Tempo

Rest

Weight

Dips

8

3

20×0

120 sec

5 RM

Cable Rows

8

3

20×0

120 sec

5 RM

Overhead Press

8

3

20×0

120 sec

5 RM

Cable Woodchops

4

15-20

4020

60 sec

20 RM

  • PDF version – incl blank copy for exercise modification
HIIT/HIRT WORKOUTS
.
If you already have a solid strength base, you can replace one of your strength workouts with a HIIT/HIRT workout.
.
These are designed to take your strength and combine it with speed and anaerobic endurance to make you a more powerful athlete that can sprint and climb and jump all day long.
.
Instead of re-inventing the wheel, I want you to choose from 3 of the HIIT/HIRT workouts I have posted as part of the Best Body workout series.
AGILITY/OBSTACLE WORKOUTS
.
At this point, you’ve built up a solid strength base and are blasting through the HIIT/HIRT workouts like an enraged wildebeest. It’s time to prepare for the obstacles you’re going to face during your challenge. Unfortunately, seeing as how every race is a little different, I can’t give you specific exercises.
.
Here is a sampling of the challenges you will face:
.
Rope walking, rope climbing, cargo net climbing, electrical shocks, muddy hill climbs, tire carrys, running through fire, log carries, spear throwing, belly crawls, jumping over stuff, climbing under other stuff, crawling through tunnels, crawling through underwater tunnels, sloshing through ponds filled with freezing cold water, 10 ft wall climbs, 40 ft wall climbs, etc…
.
Not to mention running 10 miles while soaking wet and freezing cold.
.
Have fun.
.
Resources

Is High Intensity Exercise the Fountain of Youth?

In a study presented today at European Society of Cardiology Congress, researchers have made a bold claim.

If you want to live a nice long healthy life, the intensity of your workout is more important than the duration.

During their research, they found that men who cycled with fast intensity survived 5.3 years longer than slow cyclists. Average intensity male cyclists survived 2.9 years longer than the slow cyclists.

For women, the averages dropped to 3.9 years for fast cyclists and 2.2 for average speed cyclists.

For both sexes, these numbers were even more pronounced for coronary heart disease mortality.

According to Dr. Peter Schnor, “this study suggests that a greater part of the daily physical activity in leisure time should be vigorous, based on the individuals own perception of intensity”. And it’s not just cycling. Dr. Schnor has published similar results for all-cause mortality in relation to walking.

So there you go….another great reason to cut back on mindless treadmill workouts and embrace my  HIIT and HIRT workouts.

Reference

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Your Best Body Workout – 2011 – Week 31 – Day 3

Today’s workout is a completely different workout from the rest of the week.

It’s combination of HIIT sprints and body-weight exercises designed to improve muscular endurance and boost caloric burn.

WORKOUT WARM-UP

Circles – Starting with the ankles and moving all the way up to your neck, gently make circles with all of your joints – 10 revolutions each joint in each direction

Dead Bug – Push your lower back into the floor and articulate your arms & legs as in the video. 1 set of as many reps as possible with your lower back pushed into the floor. When your back starts to arch…STOP

1 Arm Swing Snatch – 25 reps per arm  – Dumbbell or kettlebell – choose a light weight – the goal is to warm-up

THE WORKOUT

HIIT sprint #1

6 x 10 second sprints @ 100% intensity

Exercise is up to you – bike, rowing machine, versa climber, skipping rope, BW squats, Bench Step-Ups

Rest periods are up to you

  • 20 second rest periods
  • 50 second rest periods

OR

The Best HIIT Workout Of ALL Time

  • Sprint full out for 10 seconds
  • Rest 10 seconds
  • Sprint full out for 10 seconds
  • Rest 20 seconds
  • Sprint full out for 10 seconds
  • Rest 30 seconds
  • Sprint full out for 10 seconds
  • Rest 40 seconds
  • Sprint full out for 10 seconds
  • Rest 50 seconds
  • Sprint full out for 10 seconds
  • Done

Muscle Endurance #1

60 seconds of Push-Ups – as many reps as possible

HIIT sprint #2

6 x 10 second sprints @ 100% intensity

Exercise is up to you – bike, rowing machine, versa climber, skipping rope, BW squats, Bench Step-Ups

Rest periods are up to you

  • 20 second rest periods
  • 50 second rest periods

OR

The Best HIIT Workout Of ALL Time

  • Sprint full out for 10 seconds
  • Rest 10 seconds
  • Sprint full out for 10 seconds
  • Rest 20 seconds
  • Sprint full out for 10 seconds
  • Rest 30 seconds
  • Sprint full out for 10 seconds
  • Rest 40 seconds
  • Sprint full out for 10 seconds
  • Rest 50 seconds
  • Sprint full out for 10 seconds
  • Done

Muscle Endurance #2

60 seconds of BW Rows – as many reps as possible

HIIT sprint #3

6 x 10 second sprints @ 100% intensity

Exercise is up to you – bike, rowing machine, versa climber, skipping rope, BW squats, Bench Step-Ups

Rest periods are up to you

  • 20 second rest periods
  • 50 second rest periods

OR

The Best HIIT Workout Of ALL Time

  • Sprint full out for 10 seconds
  • Rest 10 seconds
  • Sprint full out for 10 seconds
  • Rest 20 seconds
  • Sprint full out for 10 seconds
  • Rest 30 seconds
  • Sprint full out for 10 seconds
  • Rest 40 seconds
  • Sprint full out for 10 seconds
  • Rest 50 seconds
  • Sprint full out for 10 seconds
  • Done

Muscle Endurance #3

60 seconds Handstand Push-Ups – as many reps as possible

HIIT sprint #4

6 x 10 second sprints @ 100% intensity

Exercise is up to you – bike, rowing machine, versa climber, skipping rope, BW squats, Bench Step-Ups

Rest periods are up to you

  • 20 second rest periods
  • 50 second rest periods

OR

The Best HIIT Workout Of ALL Time

  • Sprint full out for 10 seconds
  • Rest 10 seconds
  • Sprint full out for 10 seconds
  • Rest 20 seconds
  • Sprint full out for 10 seconds
  • Rest 30 seconds
  • Sprint full out for 10 seconds
  • Rest 40 seconds
  • Sprint full out for 10 seconds
  • Rest 50 seconds
  • Sprint full out for 10 seconds
  • Done

Muscle Endurance #4

60 seconds Pull-Ups / Chin-Ups – max reps – aim for 60+

Assisted, Jump, Regular or Weighted

.

Repeat as many sets as possible in 30 Minutes

Exercise Increases Metabolism for 14 Hours

For years and years, I have been using  a variety of HIIT & HIRT workouts to help clients get fit, strong and really, really lean.

And it’s not just the calories burned during the workout that helps melt off the blubber.

It’s the high number of calories burned in the hours after exercise that really does the trick.

run bulls motivation

 

Here’s why:

A recent study has shown that EPOC,  (a measurement of how quickly or slowly your metabolism (BMR) returns back to normal after exercising), allows exercisers to keep burning calories at an increased rate for up to 14 hours post workout.

In this new study, researchers found that 45 minutes of exercised performed at 57% of their maximum effort resulted in:

  • 519 calories burned during the workout, and
  • an additional 190 calories burned during the next 14 hours.

And though they didn’t test for it in this study, my personal & professional experience has shown that higher intensity exercise has an even greater effect on EPOC levels.

Conclusion

Increasing the strength & duration of post-exercise EPOC is a powerful tool in the battle against the bulge.

Reference

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A Solution for Skinny – Fat Runner Syndrome

In spite of two major knee reconstructions, I love running long distances.

Even though I am built like an hypermuscled Clydesdale, I still love throwing on a pair of shoes, hitting the trails and watching the world slow down as I ground out the miles. Aside from the numerous health & fitness benefits, I love how I “feel” when I run.

So, I can understand why a LOT of runners:

  • Focus exclusively on running
  • Ignore the other components of physical fitness
  • Allow muscle mass to waste away
  • And end up with a Skinny-Fat body

But…it doesn’t have to be that way.

It is possible for long distance runners to hold onto a decent amount of muscle mass and avoid looking like a anorexic Hollywood actress

Here’s how.

Nutrition

  • The Paleo Diet should form the base of your eating plan. The high nutritient : calorie ratio makes it the best choice for repairing muscular damage brought on by your workouts.
  • Fish oil and a quality green food are two base supplements that I recommend to all clients – runners or not.
  • While Paleo is your best choice throughout the day, when it comes to your pre & peri-workout nutrition, Paleo carbs (except for fruit juice) aren’t going to work. Too much fiber, slow digestion, full belly. Not good when you’re running for miles & miles.
  • What you need is Sugar and BCAAs before, during & after each work – cardio & resistance.
  • Buying tip – My favorite BCCA supplements are Scivation XTEND and Biotest Surge Workout Fuel.
  • Supplement daily with Creatine. Improved ATP storage. Improved muscle cell hydration. Better looking muscles. What else do you want?
  • Buying tip – Choose a micronized creatine powder from a reputable brand

Training

Here’s where we stimulate muscle growth.

And we’re going to use either of these two programs to do that.

But, we’re going to make some modifications:

  1. You’re going to do a maximum of two weightlifting workouts per week. You pick which bodyparts you want to work on.
  2. You’re not going to do the leg workouts during your running season.

I have tried to have clients do both and it almost never works. Without a pile of performance enhancing drugs, your legs won’t recover from the combination of weight lifting & running.

Post Workout Recovery Techniques

  • Post-Workout Carb/Protein Shake
  • Hot/Cold Contrast Showers
  • Fish Oils
  • Meditation / Sleep
  • Epsom Salt Baths
  • Ice
  • Massage
  • TENS
  • Chiropractic / Acupuncture
  • Traumeel

Sleep

GET 8 HOURS SLEEP!!!!

And consider switching to a “barefoot” running technique

Ever since I switched to…

  1. running in barefoot / minimalist shoes and
  2. landing on my forefoot / midfoot instead of using the standard “heel-toe” running gait

…my knee pain & shin splints have disappeared.

Well, there you go.

A solution for Skinny-Fat Runner Syndrome.

Follow the plan and within no time, you’ll be a lean-muscular runner.

 

 

Your Best Body Workout – 2011 – Week 28 – Day 2

“The Athlete” by Howard Schartz and Beverly Ornstein

Week #28…Day #2

More Tabata

For all of you who are new to Tabata, it’s very simple.

  • 1 exercise per Tabata set
  • Each Tabata is 4 minutes long
  • Each Tabata set is made up of 8 mini-sets
  • 20 seconds of work per mini-set
  • 10 seconds rest between mini-sets
  • 100% effort

Weight selection can sometimes be tricky with Tabata workouts. If you go too heavy, you run out of gas and stop partway through the 20 seconds of work. Go too light and it becomes an aerobics class.

What I ask my clients to do is:

  • If you normally like to push heavy weight…I want you to cut back significantly during Tabatas and focus on the number of reps per set.
  • If you normally train lighter and do high rep workouts..then I want you to jack up the weight and drop the # of reps

The success of this program depends on you being willing to break out of your comfort zone.

We’re going to do 2 weeks of these workouts, then back of for a week with some bridge workouts and then back to Tabata for another 2 weeks.

You might hate me during the workouts, but you’ll thank me when you see yourself in the mirror.
.

Also helpful to these workouts is an interval timer. Staring at a clock while doing Tabatas is a real pain.

 

WORKOUT WARM-UP

Circles – Starting with the ankles and moving all the way up to your neck, gently make circles with all of your joints – 10 revolutions each joint in each direction

Dead Bug – Push your lower back into the floor and articulate your arms & legs as in the video. 1 set of as many reps as possible with your lower back pushed into the floor. When your back starts to arch…STOP

1 Arm Swing Snatch – 25 reps per arm  – Dumbbell or kettlebell – choose a light weight – the goal is to warm-up

THE WORKOUT

Tabata #1

Smith Machine or Barbell Hip Thrust

  • Flex those glutes for 20 seconds
  • Rest  for 10 seconds
  • 8 sets of Hip Thrusts
  • 4 min total
  • Perform as many reps as possible per set

Lay on the floor & catch your breath.

When you can breathe “normally”, I want you to do a short HIIT sprint session consisting of

3 x 10:50 sec sprints.

If you’re in a gym – use an exercise bike, outdoors – sprint up a hill, in your home – use the bottom step of your stairs as a cardio-step machine.

  • 10 seconds sprinting
  • 50 seconds rest
  • 3x

Lay on the floor & catch your breath.

When you can breathe “normally”, we’re going back to Tabata.

Tabata #2

Incline DB Chest Press

  • Press the DBs for 20 seconds
  • Rest (DBs on chest) for 10 seconds
  • 8 sets of chest presses
  • 4 min total
  • Perform as many reps as possible per set

Catch your breath.

When you can breathe “normally”, we’re doing HIIT sprints again.

HIIT #2

3 x 10:50 sec sprints.

If you’re in a gym – use an exercise bike, outdoors – sprint up a hill, in your home – use the bottom step of your stairs as a cardio-step machine.

  • 10 seconds sprinting
  • 50 seconds rest
  • 3x

Lay on the floor & catch your breath.

When you can breathe “normally”, we’re going back to Tabata.

Tabata #3

Pulldowns – vary grips as needed

Pulldown for 20 seconds
Rest for 10 seconds
8 sets of pulldowns
4 minutes total
Perform as many reps as possible per set

When you can breathe “normally”, it’s HIIT time again.

HIIT #3

3 x 10:50 sec sprints.

If you’re in a gym – use an exercise bike, outdoors – sprint up a hill, in your home – use the bottom step of your stairs as a cardio-step machine.

  • 10 seconds sprinting
  • 50 seconds rest
  • 3x

Lay on the floor & catch your breath.

When you can breathe “normally”, we’ve got one more Tabata.

Tabata #4

Cable Woodchops

Woodchop in one direction for 20 seconds
Rest (standing) for 10 seconds
Repeat in the other direction
Rest (standing) for 10 seconds
8 sets total of Woodchops – 4 per direction
4 minutes  total
Perform as many reps as possible per set


That should be enough for today.

At this point, you have done 16 minutes of HIIT/HIRT/Tabata work + another 9 minutes of HIIT sprints

If you are a total freak of nature, feel free to repeat some of the sets. Use your ability to recover your breath as a guide. If it’s taking longer & longer to breath normally between sets, call it a day.

Alternately, you can throw in 20 minutes of cardio….stretch and go home

.

Tomorrow, do some easy cardio & stretching (lots of stretching)

Wednesday, it’s back to the weights

..

 

Your Best Body Workout – 2011 – Week 26 – Day 2

Week #26 – Day #2

This week’s workouts are bodyweight workouts.

So, go find yourself a kids’ playground or a soccer/football field or one of those fancy-schmancy outdoor gyms.

Note – If you have a body suspension trainer or bands or a kettlebell, feel free to bring them along and modify the workout. You can also workout indoors.

OVERVIEW

  • This workout will focus on a variety HIRT supersets – 2 or 3 exercises per superset
  • Rep schemes will vary based upon muscle groups & exercise difficulty
  • Rest periods will be short between sets
  • Rest periods will be longer between supersets to allow you to recover, lay in the shade, drink some water and do some joint mobility work for your tight hips & shoulders.
Remember to slap on some sunscreen, bring lots of water and respect the sun & heat. 
And if you find it too hot to exercise outside, this workout can be performed indoors.

 

WORKOUT WARM-UP

Circles – Starting with the ankles and moving all the way up to your neck, gently make circles with all of your joints – 10 revolutions each joint in each direction

Dead Bug – Push your lower back into the floor and articulate your arms & legs as in the video. 1 set of as many reps as possible with your lower back pushed into the floor. When your back starts to arch…STOP

Bodyweight Squat – 1 set – 30 reps  –

THE WORKOUT

HIRT Superset #1

  • 5 minutes
  • 2 exercises – alternating back & forth with as little rest as possible

Exercise #1 – 1 Leg Squats

  • Bodyweight only
  • 5- 10 reps per leg per set

Exercise #2 – Chin-Ups / Pull-Ups

  • Bodyweight only
  • Assisted Chins if required
  • 5-20 reps per set

REST 5 MINUTES  –  stretch your lats & hip flexors

HIRT Superset #2

  • 5 minutes
  • 2 exercises – alternating back & forth with as little rest as possible

Exercise #1 – Handstand Push-Ups

  • Bodyweight only
  • 5-10 reps per set – go for max reps (with good form) per set
  • Safety first people


Exercise #2 – Lateral Squat

  • Bodyweight only
  • 20-50 reps (total both sides)

REST 5 MINUTES – stretch your chest and rear shoulder muscles 

HIRT Superset #3

  • 5 minutes
  • 2 exercises – alternating back & forth with as little rest as possible

Exercise #1 – Reverse Hyperextension

  • Bodyweight only
  • 10 – 20 reps (with good form)
  • Squeeze those glutes

Exercise #2 – Burpee, Jumping Jack or Bench Step-Up

  • Bodyweight only
  • Burpee – 10 reps
  • Jumping Jack – 20 reps
  • Bench Step-Ups – 10 reps per leg (20 reps total)



REST 5 MINUTES – stretch your hips & glutes

HIRT Superset #4

  • 5 minutes
  • 2 exercises – alternating back & forth with as little rest as possible

Exercise #1 – Rolling Abs

  • Bodyweight only
  • 5-20 reps per set – go for max reps (with good form) per set

Exercise #2 – 2 Leg Hip Thrust

  • Bodyweight only
  • 20-50 reps

..

NOTE – As written, this workout should take 35 min. Given the high intensity of the HIRT supersets, that should be enough for most people. However, advanced trainees can feel free to repeat supersets.

I would suggest repeating Supersets #3 & #4 before repeating #1 & #2.

.

After completing all of your supersets, don’t forget to Stretch out the muscles that you just pounded on.

.

Tomorrow –  you can either do a HIIT sprint workout OR do some cardio & stretching (lots of stretching)

Friday is the last lifting session of the week.

Reebok RealFlex – Barefoot / Minimalist Shoe Review

Reebok‘s RealFlex running shoe marks Reebok’s initial foray into barefoot / minimalist footwear.

Evolving out of an earlier concept for “collapsible shoes“, the RealFlex isn’t a pure barefoot shoe.

Reebok RealFlex Running Shoe

Designed for the mainstream market, the RealFlex is being promoted as being a better than barefoot shoe. Their Head of Advanced Innovation says that RealFlex combines the best aspects of barefoot/minimalist footwear with the protection of a modern running shoe.

They claim that you get all of that healthy foot movement & proprioception without all of those nasty impact forces caused by running on concrete sidewalks.

Sounds pretty convincing to me. Which is not surprising when you consider that they’re trying to sell you a pair.

How about an unbiased review?

Review Criteria

  • Protection – If you’re not going to develop thick natural calluses by actually running barefoot, you need to wear a shoe that will protect you from the occasional sharp stone or chunk of glass.

Compared to all of the other barefoot / minimalist shoes I have been beta-testing, these shoes offered the best protection against the stones, glass and small woodland creatures I encounter while trail running. This is thanks to the RealFlex’s thicker sole & foam padding.

  • Proprioception – A bare foot provides immediate feedback to the surface it rests upon. A thick spongy sole…not so much. This can be crucial when it comes to avoiding ankle sprains and wiping out while trail running.

Compared to every pair of Nike Frees that I ever owned, the RealFlex offers much improved proprioception. Compared to the average running shoe, there’s no comparison. The RealFlex lets you feel the ground better than any other big name athletic shoe that I have ever worn.

However, when we compare to every other barefoot / minimalist shoe that I have been testing, the RealFlex is like walking in Moon Boots. The relatively thick layer of foam padding creates a noticeable barrier between your feet & the ground.

And that’s the big trade-off – Protection for Proprioception

  • Natural Foot Movement – Does the shoe allow or  prevent your foot from flexing & spreading in order to distribute the load uniformly over the entire foot. This analysis will address shoe width (especially the toe box), arch support, shock absorption, etc…

The RealFlex offers no motion control technology. The minimalist upper lets the foot spread out against the fabric with minimal resistance. However, since it is shaped like a standard running shoe, us wide footed runners tend to spread our feet out and over the edge of the sole.

Not exactly like bare feet.

The toe box is average width. You don’t notice your toes being pinched, but compared to some barefoot shoes, there is less room to wiggle.

Regarding shock absorption, the RealFlex’s foam padding is designed to protect the runner from impact on man-made surfaces.

This is most noticeable with the RealFlex’s built up heel design. This is a major design difference between the RealFlex and other barefoot / minimalist shoe makers.

Instead of letting the runner alter their body position and center of gravity  to continue running on his mid-foot while going downhill, the RealFlex provides foam protection and a high-heel stance in order to promote a heel-toe gait. Big difference.

  • Weight of the Shoe – Who wants a heavy, clunky shoe?

The RealFlex is very light. Lighter than some barefoot / minimalist shoes…heavier than others. But, definitely, definitely lighter than just about every athletic shoe you will find on the wall of your neighborhood sporting goods store.

  • The Drop – Most conventional running shoes raise the heel 22-24mm off the ground while lifting the front of the shoe only 10-15mm off the ground. This difference creates a forward leaning slope which changes your posture and leads to a heel-toe gait which leads a bunch of problems. Long story short, a flat shoe is more natural.

As I mentioned above, the raised heel of the RealFlex is a significant difference between it and the other barefoot/minimalist shoes on the market. Barefoot runners adapt to running downhill by shifting their center of gravity and perhaps slowing down. The Reebok RealFlex wants you to shift your gait from a midfoot strike to a heel-toe running gait when you are bombing down hills.

Major difference in philosophy.

  • Shape of the Sole – As your foot spreads, does the protective sole continue to protect your foot from physical damage?

The RealFlex is shaped like a traditional running shoe. As such, runners with wide feet will find their feet spreading out and over the width of the sole

  • Comfort – Do they feel good on your feet?

They are super comfortable. My “normal” running shoes felt like big, clunky shoe-boxes on my feet after wearing the RealFlexes.

  • Ease of Use – Are they easy to put on?

The reduced material in the uppers means that you can’t just shove your feet in a pair of RealFlexes without untying them or using a shoe horn. Deal with it.

  • Appearance – Do you look like a freak wearing them? Do you care?

The RealFlex looks like an ordinary runner. Unlike almost all of the other test shoes, you won’t look weird wearing these shoes.

Major selling point if you want to market to the mainstream.

  • Ventilation – Vibrams are notoriously stinky shoes…what about the RealFLex?

So far so good. But then again, I don’t have stinky feet. My wife is a lucky woman.

  • Durability – Will they stand up to some pounding?

So far, so good. It’s only been a couple of months, but there is little to no wear.

  • Price – Due to my Scottish background, cost is always a factor.

At $90, the RealFlex is cheaper than some barefoot shoes, and more expensive than others. They’re also way cheaper than most pairs of high end “normal” running shoes.

  • Application – Is the shoe applicable for everyday use, running, sports, yoga, weight lifting, water sports, beach sports, etc?

The RealFlex is the most unique barefoot / minimalist shoe that I will be testing.

  • It doesn’t look like other barefoot shoes
  • It looks like a “normal” running shoe
  • It doesn’t work like other barefoot shoes….
  • But, it doesn’t work like a “normal” running shoe either

So, what is it?

What the Heck Is the Reebok RealFlex?

IMHO, the Reebok RealFlex is either:

  1. A transition shoe for runner who want to transition from heel-toe running to barefoot running.
  2. A hybrid shoe that provides the best aspects of barefoot / minimalist shoes with the best aspects of heel-toe running shoes.
  3. An attempt by Reebok to capture the buzz of barefoot / minimalist shoes without scaring away the mainstream buyer who would never buy a pair of shoes with toes.

Conclusion

I highly recommend the Reebok RealFlex to my clients.

I believe that a switch from heel-toe running to barefoot / midfoot running is a great thing to do for your body. However, the switch from a pair of New Balance running shoes to a pair of barefoot / minimalist slippers can be brutally painful.

The RealFlex makes that transition much, much easier.

Whether they transition from a RealFlex to a true barefoot shoe is another question altogether. Perhaps they use the RealFlex on rocky terrain or during a race. Perhaps they graduate from the RealFlex to a pure barefoot shoe. Perhaps they go all the way and ditch running shoes altogether.

Either way, the RealFlex is a good shoe. It’s not for the Barefoot / Minimalist purist. But then again, the purist is the customer Reebok is looking for. Reebok is looking for the millions who want to run without people staring at their feet.

 

Your Best Body Workout – 2011 – Week 18 – Day 3

Week #18 – Day 3

It’s time for another bridge week to allow your muscles & nervous system a chance to fully recover and get ready for week #19.

Week 19 is going to be all new stuff. Not just a modification

Majoring on fat loss with a minor in athleticism and firm (not bulgy) muscles


The workout listed below is for those trainees interested in adding muscle to their physiquesand who are not exhausted from the past few weeks of workouts.

If that isn’t you, skip these workouts and go do a yoga or pilates class or do a week of cardio.

Nothing too strenuous and hopefully something you enjoy doing.

Week 6 is going to be tough and I would prefer to see you rested up a little bit before we dive back into it.

Alright, let’s get on with the…

WORKOUT WARM-UP

 

1.  Circles – Starting with the ankles and moving all the way up to your neck, gently make circles with all of your joints – 10 revolutions each joint in each direction

.

2.  Dead Bug – Push your lower back into the floor and articulate your arms & legs as in the video. 1 set of as many reps as possible with your lower back pushed into the floor. When your back starts to arch…STOP

.

3.  1 Arm Swing Snatch – 25 reps per arm  – Dumbbell or kettlebell – choose a light weight – the goal is to warm-up

and now for the….

.

WORKOUT

Exercise #1

Your choice..either Pulldowns or Pull Ups

warm up with some sets of 10 reps..building up to a weight that you could perform a max 15 reps

* Choose the weight that you could perform 15 reps with
* Then do 25 reps by…

* banging out those first 15 in normal fashion…rest for a few seconds – drawing in 4 big breaths…and then bang out a few more reps (1-5),,,rest again…lift again…rest again…until you get to 25 reps

Rest 5-10 minutes, and then do the same thing with

Exercise #2

Bodyweight Skullcrushers

  • Warm up with a couple of 10 rep sets
  • And then try to get between 20-60 reps

* banging out those first 10 or so in normal fashion…rest for a few seconds – drawing in 4 big breaths…and then bang out a few more reps ,,,rest again…lift again…rest again…until you get to (50-80) reps
Rest 5-10 minutes, and then do the same thing with

Exercise #3

Shoulder Press (barbell, dumbbell, machine)

* Choose a weight that you could perform 15 reps with
* Then do 25 reps by…

* banging out those first 15 in normal fashion…rest for a few seconds – drawing in 4 big breaths…and then bang out a few more reps (1-5),,,rest again…lift again…rest again…until you get to 25 reps

That’s it, you’re done for today.

Go home

Tomorrow, it’s cardio & stretching (lots of stretching)

New workout for Monday

.

Cure for Adolescent Obesity

Believe it or not….the latest medical research shows that adolescents (aged 15-19) who enrolled in a 12 month program of:

  • Aerobic training combined with
  • Resistance training

were able to significantly improve their levels of:

  • Body Mass
  • Body Mass Index
  • Fat Mass
  • Visceral Fat
  • % Obesity
  • Total Cholesterol
  • Waist Circumference
  • Blood Glucose
  • Adiponectin

fat kid boy teen boobs-1

 

Conclusion

This ain’t rocket science. If your teenager is overweight & out of shape, they NEED to exercise. And cleaning up their diet wouldn’t hurt either.

BTW, this advice doesn’t just work for adolescents.

Reference

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As well, you also get access to the series of Supplement Reports that I am publishing this year.

button subscribe

.

Your Best Body Workout – 2011 – Week 15 – Day 1

Alright!!! It’s week #15.

It’s time for another bridge week to allow your muscles & nervous system a chance to fully recover and get ready for week #16.

The workout listed below is for those trainees interested in adding muscle to their physiques and who are not exhausted from the past few weeks of workouts.

If that isn’t you, skip these workouts and go do a yoga or pilates class or do a week of cardio.

Nothing too strenuous and hopefully something you enjoy doing.

Week #16 is going to be tough and I would prefer to see you rested up a little bit before we dive back into it.

Alright, let’s get on with the…

WORKOUT WARM-UP

Circles – Starting with the ankles and moving all the way up to your neck, gently make circles with all of your joints – 10 revolutions each joint in each direction

Dead Bug – Push your lower back into the floor and articulate your arms & legs as in the video. 1 set of as many reps as possible with your lower back pushed into the floor. When your back starts to arch…STOP

1 Arm Swing Snatch – 25 reps per arm  – Dumbbell or kettlebell – choose a light weight – the goal is to warm-up

THE WORKOUT

Exercise #1

Leg Press

Warm up with some sets of 10 reps..building up to a weight that you could perform a maximum 15 reps

Then, using the weight that you could perform 15 reps with, I want you to perform 25 reps!!!

Impossible???

Nope

* Start by banging out those first 15 in normal fashion…rest for a few seconds – drawing in 4 big breaths…and then bang out a few more reps (1-5),,,rest again…lift again…rest again…until you get to 25 reps

Once finished, your legs and lungs should feel like you just ran a marathon

Rest 5-10 minutes, and then do the same thing with

Exercise #2

Seated Machine Row

Warm up with some sets of 10 reps..building up to a weight that you could perform a maximum 15 reps

Once again, I want you to get 25 reps!!!

Start by banging out those first 15 in normal fashion…rest for a few seconds – drawing in 4 big breaths…and then bang out a few more reps (1-5),,,rest again…lift again…rest again…until you get to 25 reps

That’s it, you’re done for today.

Stretch and Go home

Tomorrow, do some easy cardio & stretching (lots of stretching)

Wednesday, it’s back to the weights

.

 

Your Best Body Workout – 2011 – Week 13 – Day 3

“The Athlete” by Howard Schartz and Beverly Ornstein

Welcome to Week 13 – Workout 3.

There are two major differences between the last two weeks and this week.

Difference #1

Instead of 6 sets of 8 reps, we’re switching to 8 sets of 6 reps.

Difference #2

We’re going to make some minor changes to exercise selection.

  • Calves & biceps are switching days. Calves move to Day 1 & Biceps move to Day 3.
  • I am also going to change a couple of exercises.

Note – Switching up the exercises is a minor tweak. If you feel that you prefer the original program, feel free to ignore this change.

But, you still need to make the switch to 8 sets of 6 reps.

.

PHASE 1

Warm-Up

Feel free to mix things up during the warm-up.
The goal is to warm up your muscles and to get your joints lubricated. I like the following warm-up exercises, but as long as your muscles are getting pliable and your joints are feeling “loose”….feel free to do your own thing…as long as it gets the job done.
.

5 Minutes of the following 4 Mobility Exercises:

.

1.  Circles – Starting with the ankles and moving all the way up to your neck, gently make circles with all of your joints – 10 revolutions each joint in each direction

.

2.  Rolling Like A Ball

.
3. Shin Box
.

4.  Lateral Lunges

.

5 Minutes of the following Muscle Warm-Up Exercises

I am going to list a bunch of exercises. You choose which ones you want to do….remembering that the goal is to warm up the muscles and make them pliable and ready to handle the following workout

  • 1 Arm Swing Snatch – Dumbbell or kettlebell – choose a light weight – the goal is to warm-up
  • Bodyweight Squat
  • Step-Ups
  • Burpees
  • Push – Ups
  • BW Rows
  • Jumping Chins
  • Shuffle Lunges
.

PHASE 2

The HH Quasi Bodybuilder/Athlete/Freak of Nature Workout ver 1.0

Superset #1

  • 2 exercises per superset
  • 8 sets per exercise
  • 6 reps per set
  • 30 seconds rest between sets
  • Choose a weight that will challenge you to just get the 8th rep on the last set
  • If you make 6 reps on set #8, increase the weight a little bit the following week
  • Perform the “work” part of each exercise as quickly and powerfully as possible
  • I recommend that before each set of Exercise #1, you do a 2-5 reps of a light weight, explosive exercise which works the same muscles as the work set (ex. jumping up & down before doing squats)

This will get your nervous system all charged up and help you perform better on the work set.

.

Exercise #1

Sissy Squats, Front Squats, Goblet Squats or Bulgarian Squats

  • 8 sets
  • 6 reps per set
  • BW, Dumbbell, Kettlebell, Barbell

For the neural activation warm-up exercise, I would recommend Jumping up and down like a spaz

Exercise #2

Leg Press

  • 8 sets
  • 6 reps per set

.

Superset #2

  • 2 exercises per superset
  • 8 sets per exercise
  • 6 reps per set
  • 30 seconds rest between sets
  • Choose a weight that will challenge you to just get the 8th rep on the last set
  • If you make 6 reps on set #8, increase the weight a little bit the following week
  • Perform the “work” part of each exercise as quickly and powerfully as possible
  • I recommend that before each set of Exercise #1, you do a 2-5 reps of a light weight, explosive exercise which works the same muscles as the work set (ex. jumping up & down before doing squats)

This will get your nervous system all charged up and help you perform better on the work set.

 

Exercise #1

Single Leg Deadlift

  • 8 sets
  • 6 reps per set
  • Dumbbell/Kettlebell or Bodyweight

For the neural activation warm-up exercise, I would recommend 4 reps of Explosive Broad Jumps

Exercise # 2

Leg Curl Machine

  • 8 sets
  • 6 reps per set

Any leg curl machine is okay

.

Superset #3

  • 2 exercises per superset
  • 8 sets per exercise
  • 6 reps per set
  • 30 seconds rest between sets
  • Choose a weight that will challenge you to just get the 8th rep on the last set
  • If you make 6 reps on set #8, increase the weight a little bit the following week
  • Perform the “work” part of each exercise as quickly and powerfully as possible
  • I recommend that before each set of Exercise #1, you do a 2-5 reps of a light weight, explosive exercise which works the same muscles as the work set (ex. jumping up & down before doing squats)

This will get your nervous system all charged up and help you perform better on the work set.

 

Exercise #1

Preacher Bench Curls – wide grip

  • 8 sets
  • 6 reps per set
  • Barbell

For the neural activation warm-up exercise, I would recommend 6-10 reps of Explosive Shuffle Lunges.

Note – if you don’t have a preacher bench, you can use a stability ball instead. (thanks Brit)


Exercise # 2

Drag Bicep Curls

  • 8 sets
  • 6 reps per set
  • Barbell
  • Drag the barbell right up the front of your body as high as possible – instead of the bar moving away from the front of your body, it sticks to your torso and your elbows travel back

.

PHASE 3

Stretching – minimum 10 minutes

Focus on the muscles you just worked, plus the ones that are tight on just about everyone….hip flexors, calves, hamstrings, chest, neck & traps

.

NOTE

  • All 3 workouts will be posted on Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday.

If you’re interested in gaining some size, perform each of these workouts 2x per week
It all depends on your goals

Instead of repeating these workouts, you can perform them a single time only – Mon, Wed, Fri and perform some other exercise on Tues, Thurs, Sat.
For example:
  • you can perform Neural Recharge workouts on Tues/Thurs/Sat –Here is a sample workout
  • If you want to improve your cardio, do cardio
  • If you want to improve your flexibility, take some yoga classes or stretch
  • If you want to have fun while exercising, take a class, play a sport, etc…
  • Or, mix & match

You can also rest on those off days. These 3 workouts are pretty intense and will do a lot on their own.

.

All of the Best Body workouts are available here.

.

 

Your Best Body Workout – 2011 – Week 13 – Day 2

“The Athlete” by Howard Schartz and Beverly Ornstein

Welcome to Week 13 – Workout 2.

There are two major differences between the last two weeks and this week.

Difference #1

Instead of 6 sets of 8 reps, we’re switching to 8 sets of 6 reps.

Difference #2

We’re going to make some minor changes to exercise selection.

  • Calves & biceps are switching days. Calves move to Day 1 & Biceps move to Day 3.
  • I am also going to change a couple of exercises.

Note – Switching up the exercises is a minor tweak. If you feel that you prefer the original program, feel free to ignore this change.

But, you still need to make the switch to 8 sets of 6 reps.

.

PHASE 1

Warm-Up

Feel free to mix things up during the warm-up.
The goal is to warm up your muscles and to get your joints lubricated. I like the following warm-up exercises, but as long as your muscles are getting pliable and your joints are feeling “loose”….feel free to do your own thing…as long as it gets the job done.
.

5 Minutes of the following 4 Mobility Exercises:

.

1. Circles – Starting with the ankles and moving all the way up to your neck, gently make circles with all of your joints – 10 revolutions each joint in each direction

.

2.  Rolling Like A Ball

.
3. Shin Box
.

4.  Lateral Lunges

.

5 Minutes of the following Muscle Warm-Up Exercises

I am going to list a bunch of exercises. You choose which ones you want to do….remembering that the goal is to warm up the muscles and make them pliable and ready to handle the following workout

  • 1 Arm Swing Snatch – Dumbbell or kettlebell – choose a light weight – the goal is to warm-up
  • Bodyweight Squat
  • Step-Ups
  • Burpees
  • Push – Ups
  • BW Rows
  • Jumping Chins
  • Shuffle Lunges
.

PHASE 2

The HH Quasi Bodybuilder/Athlete/Freak of Nature Workout ver 1.0

Superset #1

  • 2 exercises per superset
  • 8 sets per exercise
  • 6 reps per set
  • 30 seconds rest between sets
  • Choose a weight that will challenge you to just get the 8th rep on the last set
  • If you make 6 reps on set #8, increase the weight a little bit the following week
  • Perform the “work” part of each exercise as quickly and powerfully as possible
  • I recommend that before each set of Exercise #1, you do a 2-5 reps of a light weight, explosive exercise which works the same muscles as the work set (ex. jumping up & down before doing squats)

This will get your nervous system all charged up and help you perform better on the work set.

.

Exercise #1

Scapular Depression Chins or Pulldowns

  • 8 sets
  • 6 reps per set
  • BW or cable pulldown station or bands

This is a chin / pulldown which doesn’t use your arms – same back movement – no biceps

For the neural activation warm-up exercise, I would recommend Explosive Band Pulldowns or Jumping Chins

Exercise #2

Standing Cable Rows – High to Low

  • 8 sets
  • 6 reps per set

A band can be substituted for the cable

.

Superset #2

  • 2 exercises per superset
  • 8 sets per exercise
  • 6 reps per set
  • 30 seconds rest between sets
  • Choose a weight that will challenge you to just get the 8th rep on the last set
  • If you make 6 reps on set #8, increase the weight a little bit the following week
  • Perform the “work” part of each exercise as quickly and powerfully as possible
  • I recommend that before each set of Exercise #1, you do a 2-5 reps of a light weight, explosive exercise which works the same muscles as the work set (ex. jumping up & down before doing squats)

This will get your nervous system all charged up and help you perform better on the work set.

 

Exercise #1

Skullcrushers

  • 8 sets
  • 6 reps per set
  • Dumbbells/Barbell or Bodyweight

For the neural activation warm-up exercise, I would recommend 5 reps of Explosive Close Grip Push-Ups

Exercise # 2

Cable Pushdowns

  • 8 sets
  • 6 reps per set
  • Dumbbells

Stretch bands can be substituted for the cable stack

.

Superset #3

  • 2 exercises per superset
  • 8 sets per exercise
  • 6 reps per set
  • 30 seconds rest between sets
  • Choose a weight that will challenge you to just get the 8th rep on the last set
  • If you make 6 reps on set #8, increase the weight a little bit the following week
  • Perform the “work” part of each exercise as quickly and powerfully as possible
  • I recommend that before each set of Exercise #1, you do a 2-5 reps of a light weight, explosive exercise which works the same muscles as the work set (ex. jumping up & down before doing squats)

This will get your nervous system all charged up and help you perform better on the work set.

 

Exercise #1

Stability Ball Plank

  • 8 sets
  • 30 seconds per set
  • Ball & BW


Exercise # 2

Stability Ball Crunch or Tuck/Pike

  • 8 sets
  • MAX reps per set – with GOOD form
  • Stab Ball & BW
  • On crunches – crunch up towards the ceiling rather than curling like a jelly-roll
  • When your form isn’t perfect – move back to planks

.

PHASE 3

Stretching – minimum 10 minutes

Focus on the muscles you just worked, plus the ones that are tight on just about everyone….hip flexors, calves, hamstrings, chest, neck & traps

.

NOTE

  • All 3 workouts will be posted on Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday.

If you’re interested in gaining some size, perform each of these workouts 2x per week
It all depends on your goals

Instead of repeating these workouts, you can perform them a single time only – Mon, Wed, Fri and perform some other exercise on Tues, Thurs, Sat.
For example:
  • you can perform Neural Recharge workouts on Tues/Thurs/Sat –Here is a sample workout
  • If you want to improve your cardio, do cardio
  • If you want to improve your flexibility, take some yoga classes or stretch
  • If you want to have fun while exercising, take a class, play a sport, etc…
  • Or, mix & match

You can also rest on those off days. These 3 workouts are pretty intense and will do a lot on their own.

.

All of the Best Body workouts are available here.