I am not a bells and whistles guy, simple and practical wins. So when the weather is foul or I only have a short time – I get my workout in 5-40 minutes with only a few pieces of equipment. Yes, you read that right – sometimes 5 minutes is the extent of my resistance workout. Countless authors are trying to distill the message of current research regarding the impressive metabolic benefits of a short, albeit intense, workout. And the big message is always the same, even a short time makes a huge difference in your metabolism. You won’t burn many calories in a five or ten minute workout, but you will maintain a more insulin sensitive body. I do like going to the gym, so much equipment and space to move around, but more often, the window for exercise is short and it must be convenient.
At home I keep a few pieces of equipment. I do all my exercises on one side at a time, this forces more core integration with the diagonal cross-core muscles involved in every effort, plus balance comes into play with weight on only one side of the body at a time. I must say, if I am only to workout for 20 minutes or less, it is pretty intense, with a heart rate that varies a great deal – it’s quite uncomfortable, but only for a few seconds on a few occasions. That’s the point though, it doesn’t last long. Interval training / circuit exercise is the goal, not slow and steady. The equipment at my home is pretty simple:
- 2 dumbbells of different weights: One heavy for chest press exercises and one lighter for overhead press and triceps exercises.
- 1 Band: I wrap this around the bed post and hold both handles at one time for more resistance.
- A ball to use for plank rolls and as a platform for one armed chest press
- A foam roller to prevent muscle spasm from settling into my legs or back. I find these to be a daily addition to my fitness
I use PerformBetter.com as a resource for fitness equipment, but this is pretty simple stuff to find.
Exercises are best individualized. Personally I have a genetic variant where I have an extra lumbar vertebrae, it is a called a lumbarization of S1. This makes me extra flexible on bending forward, but very unstable in the low back in every other direction of movement. Yoga, for this reason, did not help my condition, and I think could have made it worse, as I entered my forties. I have since had to personalize my workout routine, with the help of a skilled trainer, to create strength and movement that provide me a vibrant and remarkably pain-free body. You can do this too. It doesn’t matter if your knees hurt – everyone can do the “dead-bug” exercise with a dumbbell.
I have partnered with trainer Jeff Eckhouse in Portland Maine to provide a Metabolic Recovery Workout. The feedback has been tremendous. This video provides valuable instruction and guidance toward the workout that turns your meatabolism to one that burns rather than one that stores. With proper guidance, you should have few to no excuses for building a simple exercise routine. It only requires a few square feet and can be done in as little as five or ten minutes.
Don’t be afraid to find a coach, find a trainer and try something new. The Blood Code Fitness Principles should be understood by any trainer and are spelled out in The Blood Code book:
- Exercise on an empty stomach
- Exercise strenuously and vigorously
- Engage many muscle groups whenever possible
- Vary your heart rate throughout
Enjoy, except for those few seconds when you just need to endure. Then enjoy. – RM
I’ve a similar “over-flexible” issue. Kettlebell swings have really helped a lot.