For many people, having a crazy busy schedule is often times the reason that they are not getting in regular workouts. The misconception is that you need an hour or two each workout to reap the benefits of exercise. This could not be further from the truth. Through my partnership with Equinox here in Toronto, I have done workouts with their highly trained staff in sessions ranging from anywhere between 30 minutes and 1.5 hours and believe it or not, I have worked just as hard, or sometimes harder in a shorter session than I have in a longer one.
In my personal opinion, the best kind of workout is the one that’s quick, engages your whole body, requires little to no equipment and makes you use your own body weight. I often times see people in the gym spending hours lifting the heaviest weights but yet they cannot sustain their own body weight when challenged to do chin-ups, push-ups nor have any cardiovascular endurance. Equinox Toronto instructor Julian Ho, teaches eight signature Equinox classes at both Toronto locations which include some of my favourites; METCON3, Shockwave and 3SUM and is also an avid athlete who rock climbs and competes in ultra marathons. This guy gets it. He’s super busy and understands the need to obtain the best results from a workout when you’re strapped for time.
Ho designed a 20 minute MetconBlitz workout that can be done anywhere and can be modified for different fitness levels allowing you to not only sculpt but also get the benefits of a conditioning session. I had a fun challenge putting myself through the workout outdoors this week. It’s effective because you speed up your strengthening with giant sets, meaning three or more exercises that target the same body part performed in a row. “giant sets can magnify the intensity by increasing the duration your muscles spend under high tension,” says Ho. “That quickens the onset of muscle failure, so you get more results in less time. The tempo varies, which forces your metabolic system to keep adapting without burning out.” claims Julian.
Perform each exercise for 1 minute in this specific order without resting in between. If you’re looking for the modified version…simply do each move for 45 seconds and recover for 15 seconds between each exercise. According to Ho, for best results, do this routine two to four times a week.
1. Prisoner Squat/Rear Lunge Combo: Stand with feet slightly wider than your shoulders and place your hands behind your head; squat. Rise up, take a big step back with right foot, and lunge. Step forward to starting position and squat again. Rise up and then lunge back with left leg. Return to starting position and repeat. Continue at a medium tempo, alternating legs with each lunge.
2. Power Lunge (shown below): Stand with feet a stride’s length apart, left in front of right, and bend knees into a lunge. Jump as you switch legs, landing in a lunge with right foot forward and left foot back. Continue as fast as possible, switching legs each time you jump.
3. Deep Olympic Squat: Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulders and raise arms overhead (as if you were holding a bar). Take 5 seconds to lower into a deep squat, then rise up and repeat.
4. Renegade Arm Extension (shown below): Get in a plank position with hands under shoulders. Raise right arm to shoulder height in front of you with palm facing left. Lower right hand to starting position and repeat with left arm. Continue at a medium tempo, alternating arms. For more of a challenge, lift the alternating leg with arm simultaneously.
5. Clapping Push-Up (shown below): Get in plank position (lower knees to the floor if necessary). Bend elbows, lowering chest toward floor; push up explosively and clap your hands together before returning to starting position. Repeat as fast as possible.
6. Negative Push-Up: Get in plank postiion (lower knees to floor if necessary). slowly bend elbows, taking 5 seconds to bring your chest toward the floor. Push up to starting position and repeat.
7. Lateral Skater (shown below): Stand with feet together, then jump to the left, landing on left foot as you tap right foot on the floor slightly behind you. Push off left foot as you jump to the right. Continue at a medium pace bouncing from side to side in a skating motion.
8. High Knees and Hot Feet: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and arms extended at sides. Hop up as you drive right knee toward your chest and bend left elbow (as if you were running). Immediately repeat on opposite side, raising left knee as you bend right elbow and extend left arm. Continue at a fast pace, alternating sides, for 30 seconds. Then stand with feet shoulder-width apart, bend knees and elbows, and quickly run in place (in a semi-squat position). Continue at a fast pace for 30 seconds.
9. Mount Everest Climber (shown below): Get in a plank position with hands under shoulders. Jump right foot forward, brining right knee toward your chest. Switch positions, extending right leg behind you as you bend left knee and bring left foot forward. Continue, alternating legs.
Photography by Nathalia Allen (amillionminds.ca) and all apparel courtesy of Nike Canada
10. The Mission Impossible (X Plank and Skydiver): Get in plank position with your feet wide apart, then walk your hands out to the sides and slightly forward so your body forms an X. Hold on for 10 seconds. Next, lie face down with arms extended over your head, palms facing the floor, and legs extended behind you. Raise your arms and legs as high as you can, then bring your arms out to your sides and behind you as you turn your palms toward the ceiling. Return to the starting position and repeat, keeping your arms and legs raised the entire time. Continue for 10 seconds. Repeat the sequence (X plank for 10 seconds and skydiver for 10 seconds) twice more.
For more information on Equinox, locations, class descriptions/schedules and how to join the best gym in the world head to Equinox.com.