tagHow ToHow to Make the Most of a Workout

How to Make the Most of a Workout

byBOSTONFICTIONWRITER©

Ah, yes, spring is in the air. The birds are singing, the sun is shining, and the women are dieting to fit in their itsy bitsy bikini. It's time to get rid of that bulky sweatshirt and head for the beach.

You can't? Why not? My God, your gut is huge. If you weren't a man, I would have thought you were pregnant.

How the Hell much weight did you gain over the winter? You're kidding, that much? Well, maybe, I can help you lose some weight and build some muscle mass at the same time.

Weightlifting is what you need to do to not only burn more of those beer calories but also to build muscle mass. The more muscle mass you build, the more calories your body can consume without gaining ugly fat weight. Sure, you might even gain a few pound from lifting weights, but that's okay, since muscle weighs more than fat. Yet, even if you put on a few pounds, by changing the symmetry of your body, you'll look much slimmer and attractively appealing to the ladies, I might add.

Moreover, did you know that weightlifting, unlike aerobic exercises will burn fat as you sleep? Yep, it's true, so, go ahead and get a good night's sleep because you'll be looking more like Arnold in the morning, that is, not the way he looks now, the way he used to look when he played Conan the Barbarian.

For those of you who are older and/or who have never seriously worked out before, always check with your doctor first to make sure that you do not have any medical conditions that prevent you from lifting weights.

If you don't have any stored in the garage or collecting dust in the basement, what you need are some free weights, at least a couple hundred pounds and a bench, preferably a bench that has a leg apparatus for doing leg lifts. Cast iron weights will give you the best workout. Don't bother buying those plastic weights filled with water or sand because you really can't fit enough of those plastic discs on a bar to give you a proper workout, especially when working the major muscle groups, back, chest, and legs.

Dumbbells instead of barbells will give you a great workout, too. Dumbbells will give you better flexibility than will barbells. For best results, I recommend using both in your workouts. Mixing it up is always good.

For those of you who are older, those who may have a bad back or knees, and are concerned about being injured lifting weights, and I don't blame you, buy a Bowflex. Granted Bowflex machines are pricy, but they will last forever and have a great resale value. I sold the one that I bought 9 years ago for nearly half what I paid for it new. Then, when I ordered my new machine, because I was in the Bowflex computer, they gave me a thousand dollars discount towards the purchase of a new machine.

With a Bowflex, you can work with a little as five pounds of resistance in each hand to as much as 410 pounds of resistance. I bought the Bowflex Ultimate 2 and I love it. It does everything. Yeah, it was a bitch putting the thing together. It was delivered in 9 boxes and I had to tip the UPS guy twenty bucks to help me carry it inside, but it's a great machine.

Although a Bowflex won't give you the pump that free weights will give you, it will certainly tone you and give you more strength, flexibility, and muscularity. Bowflex, especially the newer models can do nearly 100 exercises and everyone in the family can easily make use of the machine without having to break down the apparatus every time you want to do a different exercise. Also, because it is a machine, you can quickly move from one exercise to another without having to breakdown weights, and the power rods are guaranteed to last the life of the machine.

Also, when you remove the bench, the seat becomes a rowing machine, a neat feature. The rowing machine is great for your legs and back while being an aerobic exercise, as much as it is a strength building exercise. After lifting free weights for years, I appreciate being able to workout at home and get a gym quality workout without having to go to a gym. Further, unless you do something really dumb, like falling off the bench, it's virtually impossible to hurt yourself on a Bowflex machine, something that you can't always say when lifting free weights.

Now, without further ado, whether you use free weights, barbells, dumbbells or a Bowflex machine, I have the perfect routine for those who don't have much time and who want to get the most from out of every exercising minute. It's called the push/pull routine. Those weightlifters out there who are familiar with the push/pull routine, already know the benefits of it.

One day you do push exercises and the next day you do pull exercise. Yes, I realize that this is a more advanced routine but it works well with beginners as well as you gym rats. The key ingredient is to start slow with one set of as many repetitions as you can comfortably do, up to ten repetitions, instead of doing three sets of ten repetitions. That comes later.

Monday, Wednesday and Friday are your push days and Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday are you pull days.

Now, since you don't have a lot of time, I'm going to concentrate on the major muscle groups being those found in the chest, back, and legs. I do include some exercises for the arms, biceps and triceps, with a couple for the shoulders.

Every push day, you do a flat bench press, deep knee squats, behind the neck shoulder press or military shoulder press, your choice, triceps pushdown, and hopefully, if you have a leg machine at the end of your bench, a quad push. After you are finished lifting weights get down on the floor and do as many pushups as you can, the slower the better. I recommend pushup handles for maximum effort and concentration on the required muscle areas, that being the pectorals and deltoids.

By the way, if you have no idea what any of these exercises are, you can Google push pull and/or any specific exercises. There are plenty of photos and diagrams on the Internet of all these exercises.

On the pull days you do bicep curls, lat pull downs, leg curls, front and side shoulder raises, and dead lifts. After you've finished lifting weights get down on the floor and do as many crunches as you can with your legs off the ground. You want to emulate a pair of scissors while tensing your stomach and holding each repetition for a few seconds. You could add side to side movement with the crunches to target the oblique area. Now, for those of you who have a chin up bar, that is a great strength builder to add to your pull days.

These five exercises each day, ten different exercises in all, over a period of six days a week will only take 15 minutes a day, and as conditioning develops, no more than 30 minutes a day.

Start out by doing one slow, perfect set of each for 4-10 repetitions. When you can comfortable do ten reps in perfect form, rest a minute and then do a second set. When you can do two sets of 10 in perfect form, add a third set with a minute rest in between each set. Once you can do three sets in perfect form, increase your weight or resistance on each of the exercises.

For those who are already in shape and want to build more strength, lower the repetitions from ten repetitions to four to six repetitions and add more weight. For those of you who want to lose weight, increase your repetitions from ten to twelve to fifteen and lower the weight. For those of you who want an overall general conditioning, eight repetitions are perfect for doing just that.

You should see a significant difference in your body after only a few weeks of faithfully following Freddie's fast fat burning routine. After 12 weeks following the push/pull routine, you should adopt a different routine with different exercises, as your body will get comfortable enough with this routine that it will not grow as much muscle mass as you would if switching to a different workout routine with different exercises.

The more you can shock and surprise your body and trick it by not allowing it to get too comfortable with a routine, the more muscle mass you will grow. Some tricks you can do to accomplish this shock to your system is to change exercises, change weight or resistance, and/or by changing the amount of repetitions. Of course, you also can surprise your body by even changing the times of the day that you exercise.

Form is very important. Find out how to perfectly do each exercise before actually doing it. If you follow form perfectly, you will never hurt yourself.

You want smooth and fluid movements rather than forced and jerky movements. Also, you want to maintain control of the weight or resistance because if you cannot control the weight or resistance throughout the exercise then you need to lower the weight or resistance. Form is always more important than how much weight you are lifting and resistance you are exerting against.

Lastly, remember to always breathe. Breathe out with the exertion of exercise and breathe in when relaxing before the exercise. Also, after completing each workout, eat some protein, peanut butter, tuna or a piece of chicken. This will insure that your muscles will build new muscle instead of just tearing down the muscle that you already have.

Now, for those who want to take your workouts a step further, in addition to the weightlifting, you can jog, skip rope or buy a heavy bag. Heavy bags will give your entire upper body a great workout. I highly recommend them. Only, make sure you buy hand wraps, wrap your hands, and wear bag gloves.

Start out slow punching the bag, for those who have never hit a heavy bag. It's easy to break your forearm if you just wail away at it. You want to punch with your shoulder, back, and legs and not with your arm. It takes a bit of practice, but if you are doing it correctly, you will notice the difference immediately.

Now, on the most important day, the seventh day, Sunday, what do you do then? You read and vote for my stories, of course.

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