It’s another rainy, Spring day in New York City, but in eight weeks it’s July 4th Weekend and summer will be in full swing. Time to move the jackets and sweaters into the bottom drawers and the backs of closets and move the tank tops and box cuts to center stage. No more hiding under layers of clothes. Time to show some skin and get some sun. And along with all of this comes the immediate desire for dramatic physical change.
At Empower Fitness, we’re busy helping our clients do exactly that – from our fashion models and celebrities, to our “soccer moms” and business executives - everyone’s mindset seems to have shifted to “lets do this NOW”.
I’m here to help. This is the third week of Empowering tips on nutrition and exercise to get you fitting into that tight Speedo by the time you’re invited to the first pool party of the summer. Follow the tips in my 10-Week Program and you’ll be ready for the beach - whether your “beach” is pier at Christopher Street, the pool at the Soho House or the white sands of Fire Island Pines.
If you have been following along, you should have the nutrition down pat by now. You should have more energy throughout the day and avoid those mid-afternoon “crashes” to which so many people are prone. And if you started your exercise program last week, you should be feeling stronger. Along with all of this, your metabolism is starting to increase, so you should be burning more calories all day long. This is all a very good start.
By now, you should be lifting more weight than when you started. Good job. Getting stronger and building lean muscle tissue is always the first step of a good exercise program if the goal is the lean, defined body that almost all of my clients tell me that they want.
Now it’s time to take it up a notch. While last week, you performed one set of twenty repetitions for each of the exercises in the program, this week you will be doing two sets of fifteen repetitions. You will still do a warm-up set for the first two exercises using half the weight you plan to use for your first “working set”.
For your first working set of each exercise, you will increase the weight by one increment from the weight you used in your most recent workout (unless you REALLY struggled to complete the twenty repetitions or if you were not able to complete twenty - in that case start with the same weight and go up one increment in the second set). Complete both sets of each exercise before going on to the next exercise. Rest one minute between each set.
In order to ensure that you are lifting efficiently and reaching a point of fatigue that will give you the most potential for strengthening and adding new muscle tissue (Maximum Intensity), follow this rule of thumb: If you finished the fifteen repetitions in the first set and you could have completed AT LEAST three additional repetitions, go up one increment in your second set. If you could not have done so, then keep the same weight for the second set.
I know that this is all VERY specific information, especially with regard to how to progress your weights. It is also VERY important to follow it as exactly as possible. This program is really simplified so as to give you the very best results you can get in the most efficient manner. Because of this, it is only by following the instructions very closely that maximal results will be achieved.
It is also important to note doing this exercise program without following the nutrition from the first week will also not be as effective. The components are meant to work together and provide a synergy so that the whole will be greater than the sum of the parts. It really is very hard to “out-train” a poor diet. Eating in the supportive way suggested will give your body the nutrition it needs to add lean muscle tissue and begin to stoke the metabolism.
If you have become accustomed to eating only two or three meals each day, eating in the way that I’m suggesting can be difficult. Sometimes it is helpful to add a meal replacement shake for those busy times when you are unable to eat within three to three-and-a-half hours of your last meal. Also, if you want some help with getting maximal returns from your workouts, adding a specifically formulated shake for pre- and post-workout can really make a difference.
As we go forward, I want you to know this: Every day that you make a positive change to your nutrition, every day that you work hard on the exercise program, your body is changing. By the end of this week, you will continue to have more energy and you should start to feel that your body is tightening up. It is unlikely that you will be lighter on the scale, but recognize that this is because you’ve added muscle to your body, and muscle is heavier than fat. Think about it this way - if your weight stays the same while you add a few pounds of muscle, then you have lost the same number of pounds of fat. Actual weight loss on the scale will come later as we “flip the switch” and use the metabolism-increasing muscle you have added, along with specific nutrition tricks we’ll learn later, to really ignite your furnace and change the focus of the program to burning away the excess fat.
You are off to a great start. I will be updating the workout each week for the duration of this ten-week blog on getting in shape for summer. You will notice that each element builds on the previous one, giving you a complete program, a road-map, for getting from where you are to where you want to be. After we focus the first three weeks on adding some muscle to your body and revving up your metabolism, the nutrition and exercise program will change dramatically with a new focus on shedding fat (and weight) as summer approaches. I hope you will stay with me. I am looking forward to hearing about YOUR ten-week success story.
Greg Rothman, MS PT, is a fitness professional, author and the owner of Empower Fitness Studios in NYC. He received his Masters Degree in Physical Therapy from Columbia University and has twenty years of experience in the fitness and rehabilitation fields. He believes that absolutely anyone can have the body of their dreams once they understand how to eat and exercise in a way that supports their goals. It is his mission to Empower as many people as possible to do just that. Greg is happy to hear from you if you have questions about any topic related to fitness or nutrition, and can be found at www.GetEmpoweredFitness.com.
Greg Rothman, MS PT, is a fitness professional, writer and the owner of Empower Fitness in NYC. He received his Masters Degree in Physical Therapy from Columbia University and has twenty years of experience in the fitness and rehabilitation fields. He believes that absolutely anyone can have the body of their dreams once they understand how to eat and exercise in a way that supports their goals. It is his mission to Empower as many people as possible to do just that. His “Recession-Proof” Fitness Programs are an affordable way to find dramatic physical change over the course of 10 weeks. Greg is happy to hear from you if you have questions about any topic related to fitness or nutrition, and can be found at www.GetEmpoweredFitness.com.