Training

How to Stay in Shape with No Equipment

The Holidays are here once again!  The time of year when fitness goals are often compromised and in some cases, disappear completely. Many people view their fitness as all or nothing and during the holidays this method of approach will only backfire. The holidays bring food (usually in ridiculous amounts), drinking (usually in similarly ridiculous amounts) and travel.

It’s a sinister recipe for undoing all your hard work in the gym and putting on a fair amount of weight. But it doesn't need to be this way. Follow these simple steps to enjoy the holidays and still stay in shape.

Diet

It’s Thanksgiving, Christmas, Chanukah and yes, you are going to eat food that is not on the diet plan. The world is not going to end. Consuming some simple sugar and gluten will not transform you into a carb-craving monster. Just make sure you don’t overindulge in the foods you love. Eat your holiday meal in all its glory but then get right back on your diet. Do not let the holidays become “holi-weeks” or “holi-months.”

A week before Thanksgiving and Christmas take seven days and make yourself a superhuman, eat extremely clean and exercise every day with no exceptions. Also during this time consume no alcohol and make sure you are getting plenty of sleep. This will help shed some body fat and drop a few pounds before you gorge yourself on stuffing and gravy. If you are unsure as to what clean eating looks like, please see my last article: Nutrition Hacks

Exercise

Make exercise a priority during the holidays, the more you move while cheating, the less weight you’ll gain. Regardless of travel or being with family and friends make sure to exercise at least once per day. I also recommend walks several times a day to ensure that your body is using up all the extra calories. Also, walking after meals aids in digestion and can be a fun, healthy way to hang with the family.

For those of you traveling for the holidays and without access to a gym, below are five workouts the can be done with zero equipment. Before performing any of the routines below please remember to practice your flexibility and mobility drills for 5-10 minutes. Do not just jump into one of these routines without properly getting your body ready for exertion or injury may occur.

Also keep in mind that when training, your focus should always be on producing quality movement, not trying to do as many half-ass reps as you possibly can in the allotted time. The emphasis is quality not quantity. If you are not familiar with the exercises listed below, please consult with a personal trainer before performing the routines.

Happy Holidays!  I wish you the best in your training.  If any of you have any questions regarding the movements or programming please feel free to contact me at any time.

Body Weight Workouts

Strength

A1. Single arm push up x1/1

A2. Pistol Squat x 1/1

X 10 sets

B1. HBH x 45sec. (hollow body hold)

B2. Bridge x 3@5sec.

X 5 sets

  • Take rest as needed between exercises and sets. This routine should take about 25 minuets to complete.
     
  • If the exercises become too difficult to perform with proper technique, digress to a more basic movement.

Conditioning

A.  Speed squats x 10 sets @ 40:20

B.  Push up x 10 sets @ 20:10

C.  Leg raises x 10 sets @ 30:15

  • This Circuit is based on the Tabata method, which means that there will always be a 2:1 work to rest ratio. After completing all sets of one exercise rest for 2 minutes before starting the next exercise.

Muscle Endurance

3 mile run: at every quarter mile perform 10 jumps squats and 10 push ups. Do not rest after completing the strength exercises, immediately start jogging again to reap the full benefits of this training protocol.

  • To minimize wear and tear on your lower body joints pay particular attention to how you foot strikes the ground. When striking the ground the foot should be totally straight and your weight should gracefully transfer from the ball to the heel of the foot.
     
  • If 3 miles is too aggressive a distance, this workout can easily be scaled. Simply subtract a mile or half mile

Abs & Glutes

A1. Single leg hip bridge x 10/10

A2. HBR X 20 (hollow body rock)

x 4 sets

B1. Cossack squat x 10/10

B2. Plank x 30 sec.

x 4 sets

C1. Donkey kicks x 15/15

C2. V ups x 10

x 4 sets

  • Use power breathing with the abdominal exercises for this workout. Always keep tension in the stomach muscles to protect the lower back and maximize the benefit of the movement.

Whole Body Blast

A1.Jump squat x 20

A2. Push ups x 15

A3. HBR X 20

A4. Calf raise x 15

A5. SL hip bridge x 10/10

A6. Panther crawl x 20 sec.

Repeat this routine AMRAP in 25:00 (as many rounds as possible), rest as needed

Working out on the Job – By Brian Zerega

I’m blessed in life to have a profession that keeps me on my feet.  I’ve only spent a bit of time behind a desk in my adult life.  So the times I have to spend long hours at the computer are excruciatingly difficult.  To all the Mr. and Mrs. 9-5 desk workers out there, I salute you.  You are an endurance champion beyond compare!

About five months ago my wife gave birth to our son, a healthy baby whose arrival marked the closing of one chapter and the beginning of a new one.  This new chapter no longer affords me the freedom to train in a gym whenever I want, so I’ve taken to training at home, usually in small bouts throughout the course of the day, with a couple of 20 minute sessions throughout the week.  

The practice is primarily bodyweight work and resistance band exercises, both of which are tremendous at keeping me in tune.  As far as load intensity goes things have been a lot lighter than usual but I’ve surprisingly seen a lot of improvement in my physique and strength.  One of the major reasons is the effect of sporadic training on the metabolic system.  A 60 - 90 second bout of muscular contraction increases the uptake of blood glucose into skeletal muscle, thereby decreasing the chances of it depositing as fat.  Imagine doing this 3-5 times a day as opposed to 3 times a week and you start to see the benefits this type of training has to offer.
  
I can’t over emphasize the value of a bodyweight practice for general strength, mobility, and the understanding of one's body.  But the focus for this article is resistance bands.  

Resistance bands continue to impress me as one of the most versatile tools for developing strength and flexibility of the upper body.  Weighing in at only a few ounces, the resistance band offers unmatched variations in application.  A light band can be stretched gently to activate stiff muscles or stretched intensely to challenge your strength.  The band can be doubled and tripled up to offer you extreme maximum effort challenges.  

Bands have a “toy like” quality and you can fiddle with them while at a desk, making it possible to relieve stress and improve your shoulder and wrist strength while you work.   Many of the best shoulder rehabilitation exercises use bands because they have variable and continuous resistance, which is the perfect combination for activating latent muscles, the ones that aren't doing their job.  

I’m referring in particular to the muscles that retract the scapula and rotate the shoulders. If these muscles are weak, their predisposition to disengage is a key component in upper back, neck and shoulder pain.  Your upper back musculature that’s severely lacking in development?  Resistance bands are absolutely perfect for targeting just this area!  Improving these muscles will prevent pain and injury of the neck and shoulders as a result of working at a desk.
    
So grab a cheap resistance band and start!  Get a light to medium one and begin with a few of my structured, tried and true movements.  After that feel free to use the bands however you desire.  The only limit is your imagination.

Exercise 1
  Ext. Rotation and Retraction:

  •  Hold the band face up in both hands shoulders width apart.
  • Locking the elbows and depressing the shoulders, send your thumbs to the back wall.
  • Continue to rotate your upper arms and forearms towards the back wall as you pull the shoulder blades together and down.
  • Relax and repeat to taste

There’s no right or wrong way to do this, but I recommend performing the movements slow and let your focus be on activating the muscles you are intend to work, flex them as hard as you can and then flex them even harder!

Exercise 2
Shoulder Dislocate

  • Grab the band shoulder width apart with palms facing down.
  • Lock out the elbows and spread the band apart to double shoulder width.
  • Now keeping this arm position and engagement pass the band over your head and take it down to your lower back.
  • Return the band to its original position, and repeat.

Exercise 3
Hand Cuff escape

  • Begin this movement on your last dislocate, with the band behind the back.
  • Wrap your arms up in the band a few times so your wrists are closely bound together.
  • Pull your shoulder blades back and down and externally rotate your arms as you pull your arms apart.
  • Begin this movement slowly and focus as much on stretching the shoulders as you are actually trying to split the cuffs and you will give the shoulders a great stretch as well as strengthen them in a rather disadvantageous position.

Take your time with these exercises when you first start them.  Get to know the qualities of your resistance band and you’ll find it a tool of great benefit to the upper body.