For the seasoned fitness enthusiast who is a regular at the gym, January can be one of the most frustrating months of the year.
As the crowds pile in and the lineups start building, your patience and precious time can fray pretty quickly. Now more than ever, you want to revamp your old routine and design one that will move you past those people waiting for the treadmill and straight into the training zone.
Here are a few pointers to help you maximize your time in the gym and get the most fat-burning effects from your training.
If you separate your weight training days from your cardio days, start combining the two together. This will save you time, but more importantly, will torch more calories and make for a more efficient and intense workout.
For example, when you plan out your weight lifting program, whether you’re focusing on particular body parts or creating a circuit for a full body workout, instead of taking the time to rest in between sets, incorporate some active recovery in the form of cardio to pump up the intensity and fat burn.
The easiest way to do this is to take a jump rope with you to the gym. After each set, grab your rope and crank out 30 seconds to one minute of jump rope exercises. Then without delay, continue on to your next set and repeat this pattern until you’ve completed the full circuit. Then take a much-deserved break of 2 to 3 minutes at the very end of the circuit to rehydrate and catch your breath before starting again.
To test this theory, scientists out of the University of California studied three groups of individuals during training:
- Group 1 = weight lifting only
- Group 2 = cardio only
- Group 3 = weight lifting plus cardio
Group 3 performed 30 seconds to one minute of cardio between sets and showed greater improvements in strength gains, muscular endurance, flexibility and fat loss.
This study involved 28 female college athletes who exercised for three days a week for a period of 11 weeks. The results were undeniably in favor of concurrent exercise and a program that combines resistance training with cardio:
“The results suggest synergy, rather than interference between concurrent strength and aerobic endurance training, support prescription of concurrent exercise under defined conditions, establish the importance of exercise timing and sequence for concurrent exercise program outcomes, and document a highly effective athletic training protocol” – Journal of Strength and Conditioning.
Mark A. Samuel
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University of California, Santa Cruz, USA (2008, September 22:1487-502). Concurrent training enhances athletes’ strength, muscle endurance, and other measures. J. Strength Cond. Res. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18714239