MAXIM fitness guru ALEXA TOWERSEY has some essential top tips on staying fit during your silly season summer sabbatical…
It’s that time of year again. The most dedicated and hardcore lifters are using their holidays to go to the gym for two hours a day, six days a week, while the rest of you social butterflies are facing a time-crunched, often unavoidable four-to-six-week period packed full of shopping with girlfriends, family get-togethers, parties with mates, even more shopping with girlfriends, more parties and epic hangovers (hopefully not while shopping with girlfriends).
The mistake most guys make during the holiday season is trying to fit their regular workouts into their busier, more unpredictable holiday schedule. This never works. You’re just setting yourself up for failure. So, this year, commit to taking a more proactive approach and make a conscious decision that for a couple of months at the end of the year, you’re going to work with your lack of time, space and equipment. That way there are no excuses – aside from the fact that you’re a pussy.
You don’t need fancy equipment to do an effective workout
Tabata is the name of a Japanese researcher who discovered an interesting way to increase both anaerobic and aerobic pathways at the same time – in layman’s terms, to get fit as f–k! It’s one of those strange training programs that seems to translate across disciplines: cycling, powerlifting, shredding. It all comes down to exercise selection. This training method is so simple, yet so incredibly difficult, that people tend to try it once, acknowledge its greatness and then vow to never speak its name again. What is it? It’s simple: take one exercise and perform it in the following manner:
- For 20 seconds do as many repetitions as possible
- Rest for 10 seconds
- Repeat seven more times
That’s right. Eight sets of “as many reps as you can get done” followed by a brief 10-second rest. You’re done in four minutes! And here’s the other thing – all those excuses about not being able to get to a gym can be thrown out the window because all you need for this workout is yourself and enough room that you can lay down for a nap afterwards.
Now, I’m going to assume that if you’re actually reading this you’re looking for a full workout. So, we’re going to expand on this concept and give you a full body session – 5 sets of Tabata back-to-back for potentially the longest 20 minutes of your life. Perform each of the following exercises for the full eight sets, before taking a one to two-minute rest and moving on to the next.
Record your numbers and aim to beat them every time.
TOP TIP 1: INTRODUCING “ACTIVE REST”
If you’re already fit AF, then this sneaky little addition could be the ticket. Instead of taking the 10-second rest between sets, why not try an “Active Rest” and perform an isometric hold. Welcome to Tabata From Hell!
Squats: hold the bottom position
Push-up: hold a straight arm plank
Sit-up: Hold a hollow rock
Mountain Climber: hold an elbow plank
Burpee: alternate between the bottom of the squat and the straight arm plank
NB: If you do happen to make it to the gym, you can use equipment with this protocol. Try Thrusters, KB Swings, Pull-ups, Dead Ball Slams and Sleds – you’re looking for the biggest bang for your buck exercises.
TOP TIP 2: MAXIMISE YOUR GAINS BEFORE YOU LEAVE
If you’re planning a getaway, amp up your training stress significantly for the last phase of your program leading into the holidays by increasing the overall training volume by at least 50% whilst maintaining the same intensity. You can do this by increasing the number of sets per exercise or by increasing the number of training sessions per week. The goal here is to create a state of accumulated fatigue so the holiday becomes more about the body recovering as opposed to regressing.
TOP TIP 3: EATING IS NOT CHEATING
We’ve all heard about “functional training”. So, this is where I introduce you to “functional eating”. No more mainstream “drink more water” or “carry some celery sticks around with you at all times” tips. If we think in a truly paleo sense of emulating our hunter-gatherer descendants, life was all about eating less during the day while we’re active and having a veritable feast at night while socialising and relaxing. This approach has lost its way in modern times because we’re told that if we eat too much at night it will make us fat. But it’s not eating big at night that makes you fat – it’s eating too many calories for the entire day.
So, my advice is to eat light during the day and FOCUS ON THE FEAST. That way you not only get to truly enjoy your food and the company you’re with – which is what being on holiday is all about – but knowing that you have something to look forward to will keep your hand out of the cookie jar beforehand. Good luck!
For the full article grab the February 2019 issue of MAXIM Australia from newsagents and convenience locations. Subscribe here.