By Mike Whitfield, CTT
Author, Workout Finishers
Last night I played one of the most epic games of “Chase” with my black lab, Charlotte. I get her all riled up and knowing she’s not allowed to be on the bed, I purposely flip over on the bed to the other side so she can’t get me. She gets frustrated and it’s hilarious. She’ll start whining and growling, and when she finally gets to me, she just jumps on me.
Where is this going Mike?, you might be asking. I don’t know to be honest with you. I was hoping it would just come to me of how I can relate it to how you can get better results from your program, but nothing is coming to me. Weird. You should probably start
Here => You may think that if you’re not getting results from your workout and nutrition program, you should start a whole new approach. But you can actually make small tweaks to your current program and it could work magic for your results. I’ve done it myself as well as my clients and bootcampers.
Tweak # 1 – Switch to Single Limb Exercises
I learned this trick from John Romaniello. What this means is to switch from the squat to the Bulgarian squat or split squat. It’s more “taxing” on the system, taking more calories to recover from. Another good example is switching from the cable row or seated row to a 1-arm DB row.
Tweak # 2 – Switch One Starch to a Non-Starchy Vegetable
Let’s say your typical day looks like this:
Breakfast – 2 slices of wheat toast with peanut butter
Lunch – Grilled chicken and rice
Snack – Apple, protein shake
Dinner – Salmon and a salad
What you could do is then take out the rice at lunch and eat some non-starchy vegetables instead (like green beans, squash, etc., etc.). By making that switch alone, you will cut out around 150-300 calories (depending on how much rice you eat).
Tweak # 3 – Log Your Food and Take Notes
You can log your food intake in a journal or use www.fitday.com. It can be tedious, but if you do this for a couple of days during the week and on the weekend, you will find out your “trigger” spots. For example, in the mornings through mid-day, I don’t get too hungry. An apple and a protein shake hold me off for a while. For some reason, I would get really hungry at dinner time, so I would go bezerk (that’s a real word – look it up) and eat too much. By logging what I ate, I found out that simply “plugging in” a handful of pistachios or cashews along with a protein shake in almond milk a couple of hours before dinner helped reduce my dinner intake (as well as my cravings).
Another fine example is on Sundays during football season (love me some NFL), as soon as the games came on, I would reach for ANYTHING to eat. It was almost like a reflex. As soon as I looked at my notes and realized I was eating “just because” and was bringing in extra calories, I made the necessary adjustments. By the way, that adjustment was Wasabi Peas. They are freakin’ hot dude, and you can only eat 1-2 at a time. Don’t call me a wuss.
Tweak # 4 – Incorporate Metabolic Workout Finishers to Your Program
Metabolic finishers can jump start any fat loss program or help you break a plateau. The intensity required and short rest periods can accelerate fat loss and will force your body to burn substantially more calories than your current workout program alone. That’s the idea of finishers. Don’t think you have to spend an extra 30 minutes to complete a finisher, either. They are relatively short (some of them take only 2 minutes), but the afterburn lasts for hours. It’s time well invested.
Finishers combine the conditioning effects of interval training and the metabolic effects of strength training into one intense “mini-workout”. An example is the following:
Do the following superset, resting as little as possible. In the first superset, you will peform 10 reps of each exercise. In the next superset, you will perform 9 reps. Continue in this fashion until you complete 1 rep of each exercise.
1A) Lunge Jumps (10 ea leg, 9 ea leg, etc., etc. down to 1 ea)
1B) Pushups (10, 9, etc., etc. down to 1)
This workout finisher only takes minutes, but the results are increased calorie burning due to the heart pumping as well as hitting the upper and lower body muscles, creating a disturbance which takes calories being burned to recover from. Because of the little to no rest periods, your body has to work hard, burning more calories, to return to a normal state.
Making small changes in your current program like this can bust you through your plateau or even give you a strong start to your fat loss efforts. There’s no reason to bail your program entirely. Small steps can go a long way.
Mike Whitfield, CTT
Author, Workout Finishers