Tag Archives: bodyweight cardio

Your Fat Loss Plan for the New Year

Your Fat Loss Plan for the New Year

Posted on 29. Dec, 2009 by .

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Well, Christmas is over and no doubt you’ve probably gained a few happy pounds. I’m going to be honest with you…I did let my hair down during the holidays because it is a time of relaxing, having fun with the family, and eating good food. The only workout that I did was trying out my sister’s Wii Fit balance board which was a lof of fun. My mom even commented that I must be “off the diet” (no matter how many times I tell her that I’m not on any kind of diet – just a healthy lifestyle) because I’ve been requesting a lot of her great dishes. So, yes, I enjoyed a lot of feel good foods and then some more. This is also the reason why I didn’t write a “holiday fitness plan” article because I knew that no matter how many healthy eating articles you read over the holidays, you are bound to enjoy the holiday foods anyway – which you should because it does come around only once a year.

Alas, there’s no such thing as eating under a calorie deficit during the holidays. But, since the new year is just around the corner, I thought it would be great to write about how you can get back on track.

There’s no doubt that you will be plagued with many advertisements for diet pills, weight loss supplements, and useless fitness equipments. So, you should be very critical of what you see, read or hear on t.v., newspapers/magazines, radio, and other forms of media. If you are a regular reader of my blog, you’re probably a lot of steps ahead of the crowd anyway.

So, what’s your best fitness plan for the new year? My best advice to stick to the basics – the tried and true – the only way to lose the fat and win the battle of the bulge => eat less and exercise more.

Are you disappointed that I don’t have some crazy new idea for your fitness plan? Well, I’m not so much and this is why:

The Calorie Deficit

Having a calorie deficit is probably the most important factor when you’re trying to lose weight. You can workout as much as you want and eat the healthiest foods but if you are still eating way more than you’re supposed to eat, you will not lose weight. Violate this rule and your results will come to a screeching halt.

This should be good news to you because with all the ads for weight loss nowadays, this simplifies things a lot. When in doubt, go back to basics. Having a calorie deficit is the most basic rule out there but it works! The only way to accomplish this is to eat less and move your body more often. No weight loss supplement or “special” fitness equipment can give you the results that you’re looking for. Once you realize that you have to put in the hard work and not rely on magic pills, you will see results!

I am also not saying that having a calorie deficit is the be all and and all of fat loss. There are definitely other factors that come into play when you’re trying to lose weight but, most of the time, people then to lose sight of this rule because they’re always looking for a better pill or the next great fitness equipment. *Warning: rant coming…we can blame our age, our metabolism, our family, our stressful jobs, etc. but in the end, we usually don’t get results because we eat too much or not workout hard enough. *end of rant

Having said that, you still have to have a plan. So, here are a few steps to help you get started on the new year if you’re a complete newbie or just need a reminder of the basics:

  • Calculate your calorie deficit. If you don’t know it, you can read this article and get the Calorie Deficit Calculator
  • Write down short-term and long-term goals insted of new year’s resolutions. For example, lose 24 lbs by March 31 instead of just saying “lose 30 lbs.” Be specific!
  • Make strength training a priority and get a workout program that you can do at least 3 times a week. Make sure that you will enjoy your workout but choose a challenging one that will take you out of your comfort zone.
  • If you must perform some type of cardiovascular activity, make sure that it’s interval training or bodyweight cardio. I’m not saying that the elliptical or other cardio equipments are bad or inferior but if your body is used to them, you will not get much benefit from your workout. Same goes if you’ve been doing the same old workout for a long time. It’s time to change things up!
  • Find your motivation. For me, my motivation is knowing that I won’t need a crutch when I get old and I will still look like I’m 30 years old even though I am 80 (ok, maybe not that young but you’d never know).

Here’s a double kettlebell workout that will surely challenge you:

The leanest people I know have these rules down as habits. Make this the year that you are going to be a part of the lean people statistics and never look back. I heard this one good saying while listening to an interview earlier, “If it’s important, do it everyday.” The calorie deficit is important so if you’re goal is to lose weight this year, make sure to have it at least 6 days a week until you reach your goal.

I hope you have a great and healty new year ahead of you. Let’s look forward to 2010!

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Bodyweight Cardio and Abdominal Workout

Posted on 27. Feb, 2009 by .

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Last night was a non-gym day for me which meant that I was supposed to perform some type of light activity (I didn’t have to do it but I felt like I needed some adrenaline rush to put a nice end to the day). So, instead of hopping on the treadmill which meant I had to go to the gym and deal with the rain, I turned to one of Craig Ballantyne’s newest invention – bodyweight cardio.

Before I go into more details about last night’s workout, I have a question for you:

Are you a slave to the long, boring cardio?

If you are, you’re probably a part of about 90% of the people that I see on the treadmills, stationary bikes, ellipticals, stairmaster, and many other cardio machines available at the gym day in and day out. While there is nothing wrong with some of these machines, there is really something wrong with how people use them.

I was one of these people at one point. I used to run on the treadmill or climb the stairmaster for 40 minutes, 5 days a week because I thought that I have to reach a certain heart rate and stay there for a certain amount of time in order to effectively burn fat and calories – aaggghhhh… I badly hated those. It turns out that there’s an even more effective and fun way to achieve this. Besides the new form of cardio called High Intensity Interval training (alternating sprints and jogs) which I talked about in another post, there’s another form of cardio that is also a great alternative to long, boring cardio which makes use of your own bodyweight. So, you don’t need any equipment except your body and a little bit of space.

So, what is bodyweight cardio? It is basically a set of bodyweight exercises performed consecutively with minimal or no rest in between exercises. Some of the reasons (in my opinon) makes this type of training so tough and, therefore, effective and a better alternative to long, boring cardio are:

  • Bodyweight exercises – such as push ups, lunges, planks, etc. actually challenge your body because of the resistance/weight that your body provides. So, this workout is sort of a combination of strength and endurance training.
  • Little or no rest between exercises – this makes it an endurance type of training because, like running, your heart rate is always elevated since your’re constantly moving
  • Ab exercises – I actually picked out this workout from the new Turbulence Training for Abs Home Workout manual specifically because I wanted to target my abdominals a bit more on my “off” days. Because I’m performing compound movements along with ab exercises, I get a total body workout without worrying about shin splints or other running related injuries.

So, are you dying to know the details of my workout now?

Here it is:

Warm-up Circuit

Y-Squat – 12 repetitions (reps)
1-Leg RDL – 8 reps per side
Pushup – 10 reps
Prone Stick-up – 8 reps
(Repeated one more time)


Home Advanced Bodyweight Abdominal Workout

Superset #1
1A) Reaching Lunge – 12 reps per side
1B) Spiderman Pushup – 8 reps per side
No rest – repeated one more time

1 minute rest

Superset #2
2A) Close-grip Pushup – 20 reps
2B) Side Plank Leg Raise – 10 reps per side (these are tough!)
No rest – repeated one more time

1 minute rest

Superset #3
3A) Inchworm – 8 reps (even my puppy thinks this looks weird but this gives a good hamstring stretch
3B) X-Body Mountain Climber – 15 reps per side
3C) Stick up – 12 reps
No rest – repeated one more time

I added these, 3 times through:
Eccentric (lowering part only) Neutral Grip Pull ups – 2 reps x 10 seconds
Ab Curl Ups on Stability Ball – 20 reps

I got a really good workout out of this one and the best thing that I like about it is that I was done in 20 minutes! I never would’ve thought I can work my body this hard, have fun with it, and do it in so little time. It really does put a great ending to my day!

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