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health talk:
Coach’s Corner

By: James Scott

I love to workout, but I am very busy with work, family and travel so it’s hard for me to get to the gym every day. How much (days per week and time per workout) do I really need to workout to stay in shape?

This is a great question. For most people, going to the gym and working out two hours a day four to six times per week is impossible. But 16 to 30 minutes a day, six days per week done at your home, in a hotel room or at a playground might be more realistic. By ‘cutting the fat’ off your workouts, you will be able to spend less time in the gym.

People always ask me if cardio or strength training is better for them. Well, we all need strength and we need some type of cardio fitness. So the easy answer is both. But, then they ask, "If I only have time for one or the other, then which one should I do?" My answer is do both at the same time with strength training done in an aerobic style.

Some call it circuit training, some call it cross training and others call it interval training. There are many ways to organise this ‘style’ of working out, but either way you will get the same adaptations – more strength, more calories burned and a better aerobic workout. This is arguably the quickest way to trim fat, increase strength and build aerobic endurance. This is a no frills, all business, get-in-get-out workout.

Workouts usually last anywhere from 16 to 30 minutes and there is no set number of reps – do as many as you can in the given time. Each time you do the workout, compete against yourself and try to do more reps. I challenge you to do this workout for a month. Keep a journal and see how many reps for each exercise you can do at the beginning of the month. After 30 days, compare your reps – you will be amazed at the increase in your strength and increase in cardiovascular endurance.

The following two workouts should be done every other day for three days followed by a day of rest then alternate the order. They are body weight exercise which can be done anywhere, anytime. This is only a template, so feel free to experiment with your favourite exercises.

Workout A

Tabata intervals consisting of four minutes each of squats, push ups, sit ups and punches.

Workout B

Ten circuit exercises of 40 seconds each followed by 20 seconds of rest: mountain climbers, push-ups with rotation, planks, lunges, swimmers, Spiderman’s, bicycle crunches, burpees, jumping jacks and lateral lunges. Start with two sets and work your way to three sets.

James Scott is the Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Shanghai Sharks. If you have a fitness question you’d like him to answer in a future column, please email him at [email protected].


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