Monday, November 20, 2006

15 Minute Challenge

Somewhere along the line a time parameter was placed on how long one should exercise - totally disregarding the fact that it is the level of intensity or effort that someone works at which is what really matters. I had mentioned in a previous post (60 Minutes to Better Health) that 2 weekly high intensity strength sessions lasting approximately 30 minutes each could yield a decent, if not good level of cardiovascular fitness. There are however some who just can't break away to get those 2 sessions in so I am offering this 15 minute challenge. I realize I'm putting a time frame on what I just criticized in my opening line but I do this to emphasize the minimal amount of time really needed to have a productive workout.

So what is needed to have a productive workout? In my opinion, a persons workout is an individual endeavor - one that they should embrace as something that is truly theirs and theirs alone. They need to find exercises that are safe and enjoyable for them to perform as well as offer a challenge to their muscular and cardiovascular systems. Above all else they need to work hard and consistently for results to occur.

Here are just three ideas of what you can do in 15 minutes to elicit a positive physical and mental response to exercise:

* Run for 1/2 mile, stop and do as many pushups as possible, get back up and continue running for another 1/4 mile, stop and perform as many crunches as possible. Turn back around and run another 1/2 mile stop and perform as many bodyweight squats you can do then finish with an all out 1/4 mile effort back to your starting point.

* Perform as many pushups, bodyweight squats and chins or bodyweight rows as possible for 3 consecutive rounds. For example:

maximum effort pushups
maximum effort chins or rows
maximum effort bodyweight squats
repeat the cycle 2 more times

* The One-Weight Workout (as seen in the book "Dumbbell Training for Strength and Fitness")

Overhead Press - 1 x 15
Stiff-Leg Deadlift
Bench Row
Supine Press

Performance Points:

Use the same weight for all of the exercises (thus, the nickname of this workout is "The One-Weight Workout"). The weight that you use should be one that you can do for at least 15 repetitions in the overhead press (while standing). Your levels of strength and conditioning will dictate the number of repetitions that you do in the subsequent exercises. For this reason, no specific target repetitions are listed. Needless to say, this workout can be extremely challenging to the ego.
Try to keep your hands on the dumbbells for the entire workout. Take as little recovery as possible between each exercise. This workout is especially hard on your grip and overall musculature as well as your cardiovascular system.

These are just a couple examples of what can be done in a short amount of time so the excuse of "I don't have the time" isn't really a valid one in my opinion. Just get out and get it done!

"Train With A Purpose"

Fred Fornicola