Weights Then Cardio Gym Workout – And Why it’s Beneficial

This is a great workout I got in the other day and wanted to share. I completed 2 supersets, followed by a short HIIT circuit. Both types of circuits keep your heart rate elevated, increasing your calorie burn and muscle utilization. This workout got me thinking about how so many people do cardio before weight training. Unless it’s just a 10 minute warm-up to get your heart rate up, consider doing a cardio session after a weight training session.

The first part of my workout was 2 supersets. In each superset, I complete the exercises back to back and rested briefly between rounds. I made sure that my weights and machines are near each other, so that my rest time between exercises was limited.

The second part of the workout was a high intensity interval training circuit. I just threw this in because I wanted a little extra burn…but there’s a reason I got in my cardio post resistance training.

So…why weights before cardio?

Many people assume to do cardio before weight training, but that actually can be counterintuitive. If you knock out an intense cardio workout, you won’t have the glycogen stores to get an effective weight training circuit in.  If glycogen levels are low, it affects our energy levels. If you use up that energy, it won’t be available when you need to lift heavy weights, making a goal of building muscle, increasing strength, or maximizing calorie burn through weight lifting compromised. Increased fatigue during weight training can also lead to injury.

Lengthy cardio also lowers the blood’s pH, because exercise causes increased levels of lactic acid. This acidic environment causes muscular fatigue and, in turn, performance drops. So besides using the energy you need for heavy resistance training, doing cardio first also makes it harder for you to contract the muscles…which is counter-productive.

So if you’re looking to build muscle and burn fat, consider hopping on that treadmill after resistance training, if you do decide to do cardio and weight training sessions both in one day. However, at the end of the day, the most effective workout is the one you will stick with.

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So…here’s my workout

Complete each move in a superset back to back without rest. Rest 1-2 minutes between each round. Take a 2 minute rest and get your bosu ball and mat set for the HIIT circuit.

SUPERSET 1: 4 rounds

Lying Leg Curl Machine (10 reps) – Be sure to position the pad so that it is at the bottom part of your calf. *if you don’t have access to this machine use the sitting leg curl machine

Stiff Leg Deadlift  (12 reps) – Use a moderately heavy weight. Increase your weight if you aren’t maxing out near the end of your reps..

Leg Press (10 reps) – I used 160lbs (80lbs on each side), but start at a manageable weight and work up with each round.  Be sure to push through your heels, but not to lock your knees out. If you are more comfortable, or are a beginner, use the seated leg press machine with adjustable weights attached instead of a free-weight leg press.

SUPERSET 2: 4 rounds

Weighted Back Hyperextension (10 reps) – Hold a weight plate at your chest as you lower and raise, being sure not to over-extend at the top of the movement. When you bend forward, the pad should be at your hips, so that your lower body is stabilized. As you bring your body up, keep a straight back and stop when your body is at neutral. Use a weight that is comfortable and does not cause you to strain your back, and allows for a fluid movement.

Weighted Side Bend (12 reps/side) – Grab a moderate weight in one hand and hold it straight down at your side. (I used the same 25lb weight plate I used for the previous exercise). Place other hand on your hip and bend to the side so that you’re lowering the weight toward the ground. Come back up just past neutral and repeat. Complete reps then switch sides.

Standing T Bar Row (10 reps) – Adjust the leg height so that your upper chest is at the top of the pad. Lean against the pad and grab the handles. You can use a palms down, palms up or palms in position depending on what part of your back you want to work more. Extend your arms completely to start. Slowly pull the weight up and squeeze your back at the top of the movement. Do not lift your body off of the pad. Lower and repeat. If you don’t have access to this machine, you can straddle a barbell and grasp the end of it. With back straight and arms outreached, pull the end of the barbell up toward your chest.

HIIT Circuit: 2 rounds – 45 seconds work, 15 seconds rest (ALL OUT!!)

Bosu Ball Mountain Climbers – Balance on a bosu ball with hands placed on the sides of the flat end. Quickly alternate bringing knee to chest.

Reverse Curl and Extend – Lay on your back with legs straight and arms at your sides. Bring knees to chest and then extend your legs straight up and slightly back, lifting your hips. Reverse the movement, bringing legs straight out in front but lifted slightly off the ground. Do these as quickly as you can.

Bosu Ball Low Side Steps – Place a bosu ball flat side down, and stand to the side with one foot in the the middle of the ball. Squat slightly, and remain low as you hop and bring the other foot to meet the foot on the ball, and stepping the other foot on the ground on the other side of the bosu ball. Repeat alternating sides, and keeping your body low.

Bicycles – Perform traditional bicycle crunches, keeping a steady but controlled pace.

Bosu Rope Climbers – Place a bosu ball flat side down, and sit in the middle of the ball, legs in front and knees slightly bent. Lean back slightly and lift your feet off the ground. Hold this positions and you alternate extending each arm up and down in front of you, as if you were climbing a rope. Keep feet elevated throughout.

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My Workout Playlist

Jay Z – Moment of Clarity

Eminem (feat. Kendrick Lamar) – Love Game

Lil Wayne (feat. Rick Ross) – John

Eminem – W.T.P

The Neighbourhood – Sweater Weather

Jay Z – BBC

Chris Brown (feat. Usher) – New Flame

BANKS – Waiting Game

Ed Sheeran – Don’t

Drake – 0 to 100

Maroon 5 – Animals

Kanye West – Clique

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Does Your Health and Wellness Need a Revamp?

I’m hosting an event this Monday on the products I use that have improved my energy and workout performance, have helped me to gain lean muscle, and have actually changed my life. It has been an amazing vehicle for reaching goals for so many people on so many levels.

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Battle Ropes Workout

Why Battle Ropes?

Battle ropes can look a little intimidating. They’re a set of these giant heavy ropes anchored down that you see people tossing and waving around. Well, you need to pick them up and give them a try! There are many benefits to tossing these beasts around. They have a huge metabolic impact that increase work capacity and help create some great muscle.

Benefits of battle ropes:

  • It’s a full-body workout
  • You burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time by quickly elevating your heart rate.
  • It’s low impact on your joints
  • Works the core muscles in ways that few other training tools can by both utilizing your shoulders, hips, and abs and also forcing you to brace your core and stabilize your spine during explosive movement.
  • It will increase your strength, power and endurance.
  • They’re something different…and kind of fun

Tips:

  • Relax your shoulders and grip on the ropes. Tensing up can lead to quick exhaustion.
  • Breathe! This goes along with relaxing. Try to match your movement with your breathing. These are all output exercises, so do not hold your breath.
  • Utilize your entire body. Keep your core tight, and use your shoulders and legs together to move the rope. Keep a good solid stance with a bend in the knees, and avoid standing stiffly.

Battle Rope HIIT Workout

For the workout, we will be splitting up HIIT moves with battle rope workouts. This is great for beginners, allowing for a break between battle rope exercises. Because, I promise you, the battle ropes will wear you out!

Complete entire workout with 30 seconds work – 10 seconds rest

Battle Ropes – Double Waves

Deadlift + Row (Right)

Battle Ropes – Alternating Waves

Deadlift + Row (Left)

Battle Ropes – Burpee Rope Slam

Squat + Side Leg Lift (Right)

Battle Ropes – Reverse Grip Double Wave

Squat + Side Leg Lift (Left)

Battle Ropes – Reverse Grip Punch Wave

Oblique V Roll

Battle Ropes – Hip Toss

Flutter Kicks

Battle Ropes – Lateral Waves

Reverse Crunch w/ Hip Raise

Exercise Descriptions

Double Waves: Gripping each end of the rope firmly with both hands, start swinging your arms up and down at the same time to create a parallel wavelike motion with the rope. Maintain the velocity and flow of the waves. Keep your feet planted and knees slightly bent.

Alternating Waves: Use the same technique as double waves, only alternate the up and down movement of each arm. Remember to keep your shoulders down and to use power from your core and legs.

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Burpee Rope Slam: Grip ropes firmly in each hand and in a large motion bring your arms up and down forcefully, like you were throwing a ball down as hard as you can. Drop down with your hands on the ground and hop your feet back and lower into a push-up. Jump feet forward as you grab the ropes. Come back to standing and repeat with another slam.

Reverse Grip Double Wave: Reverse your grip on the ropes so that you grab them from the outside and palms face up. You will use more force than in the the double wave. It will be a happy medium between a slam and a wave. Swing both arms up and down simultaneously, using your legs to move the rope.

Reverse Grip Punch Wave: Using the same reverse grip, alternate punching each arm up and across your body, using a slight pivot in your legs.

Hip Toss: Keep feet grounded and pivot torso from side to side as you toss the ropes over your hip as if you were throwing them to the floor on each side of you. This movement should also create a wavelike motion with the ropes.

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Lateral Waves: Using a normal stance and grip on the ropes, move your arms from outside to inside, similar to a pec fly, crossing the hands over one another in front of your body and back. This is a great finishing exercise because it really torches those shoulders.

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Deadlift + Row: Holding a barbell or set of weights in front of you, balance on one leg and hinge forward at the waist into a single leg deadlift with the weight outreached below you. Pause and perform a row (still on one leg) by pulling your elbows back and bringing the weight toward your chest. Lower, then come back to start and repeat, trying to remained balance on one leg. Complete time for each leg.

Squat + Side Leg Lift: Hold a barbell or dumbbells on your shoulders and stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Squat down and as you come up lift one leg straight up and out to the side. Lower to start and repeat. Continue lifting the same leg after each squat. Complete time for each leg.

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Oblique V Roll: Lay on the ground balanced on your tailbone. Roll to the right onto your right hip and leaning on your right arm, as you bring your left hand behind your head and crunch your knees up toward your elbow. Straighten legs, keeping them lifted, as you roll onto your left hip and arm, crunching your knees to your right elbow. Be sure to keep your legs lifted and your core engaged throughout.

Flutter Kicks: Lay on the ground with your arms at your sides and legs straight out in front of you. Lift legs of the ground slightly, and keep them up and straight as you quickly lower and lift your legs, in a short scissor-like movement.

Reverse Crunch with Hip Raise: Lay on the ground with your arms at your sides and legs straight out in front of you. Bring your knees to chest and then straighten your legs straight up to the ceiling, lifting your hips off the ground. Lower hips and bend knees, reversing the movement back to start. When you straighten your legs out in front of you, keep them elevated off the ground, and repeat.

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Supersets Workouts: Tips….and a Workout of Course

Doing supersets circuits is a good way to get a quick but extremely effective gym workout in. You are performing more work in less time, which is great for building muscle. I’ve found my arms respond really well to superset workouts. They  burn-out and get great definition, especially when combined with my pre-and post-workout shakes consisting of high-quality whey protein. Supersets are a set of 2 exercises done with a heavier weight back to back without rest, for a certain amount of reps and sets. You generally rest 1 minute to 90 seconds between sets. You want to limit rest in order to maximize your muscle utilization.

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There’s a variety of supersets you can do. And you can do multiple types in one workout.

Antagonist Supersets: This is when you pair opposite muscle groups into a superset. For example: biceps and triceps, chest and back, quads and hamstrings. These are great because you stretch and loosen one muscle group as the antagonist/opposite contracts. (i.e. when the biceps are contracting, the triceps are relaxed.)

Compound/Agonist Supersets: This is the opposite of antagonist, and you are pairing 2 exercises of the same muscle group together. For example: chest exercises of bench press and dumbbell flyes, or quad exercises of leg extensions and squats. These are great for maxing out/burning out a muscle. These can also be intense for amateur weight lifters since heavier weight is generally used for supersets.

Unconventional Supersets: These are using 2 exercises that work completely different muscle groups. For example: triceps and back, quads and calves, biceps and chest. This is ideal if you’re new to supersets or weight training. It will still save you time and allow for more variety in your workout.

Now, if you really want to get technical with your supersets you can also try the following methods of supersets:

Pre-Exhaustions Sets: This is where you do an isolated movement of a muscle group followed by a more compound exercise. You exhaust the muscle with an isolated movement (i.e. leg extensions) and then work it hard with a compound movement (i.e. squats). Expect to feel like a sally with this one, because your muscle will already be pretty tired by the time you get to the compound movement. But this method is very effective for shaping muscle.

Post-Exhaustion Sets: This is the opposite of pre-exhaustion sets, and you start with a compound movement (i.e. squats, bench press) followed by an isolation movement. This is a tough method because your muscle fibers are completely worked to the max when you finish with an isolated movement.

Compound Sets: This is when you perform 2 compound movements of the same muscle group (i.e. bench press and incline bench press). This is recommended only for those who have experience with lifting a lot of weight. Remember, you’re dealing with a heavier weight, and doing 2 big movements back to back on the same muscle group is very challenging.

Isolated Sets: This is when you perform 2 isolation movements of the same muscle group (i.e. barbell bicep curls and hammer curls). These are effective because you’re doing double the work on one muscle group in a short amount of time.

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Superset Workout

Here’s a sample superset workout. These will be antagonist supersets, working different muscle groups with each different superset. Remember to use a challenging weight that will bring your muscle close to failure. If you are unsure about a movement, look it up prior to completing the workout. Form is very important for these types of workouts.

Complete 4 sets of each superset before moving onto the next. Rest 1 minute between sets/supersets.

Superset 1:

Dumbbell Flyes – 10 reps (on incline bench)

Bent-Over Row – 10 reps (barbell overhand grip)

Superset 2:

Full Squats – 10 reps

Stiff-Leg Deadlift – 10 reps

Superset 3:

Weighted Tricep Dips – 10 reps (use bench and place weight on your quads)

Barbell Bicep Curls – 10 reps

Superset 4:

Russian Twists – 15 reps (each side = 1 rep)

Leg Raises – 10 reps (decline bench or flat)

Bicycle Crunch – 30 reps (each side = 1 rep)

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