Function Over Flash

Practical advice on no frills resistance training

I have always been a gym person. Over the years I have been fortunate to have been able to associate myself with some very knowledgeable fitness professionals. I also acquired  personal training and weight room certifications from The Aerobics & Fitness Association of America simply to broaden my knowledge base and to help me better understand my own body’s response to training. The core blueprint of my philosophy on weight training is a direct byproduct of the methods and principles that are  taught at Main Line Health & Fitness by Roger Schwab and his staff where I trained for a couple of years.

Although there is room for interpretation and personalization, there are a few universal truths, or at least universal understandings. I can sum up that universal understanding as follows “train hard, train brief”. It’s that simple. Schwab has rehabbed or prevented countless injuries over the years with his sensible and effective approach on how to wring out the last possible drip of benefit from every second spent working out. But he does so safely and sensibly. Schwab has often addressed the age old debate of which is more effective – free weights or machines and that debate will never have a clear winner. But the tie breaker is the fact that you can get stronger simply by lifting a sack of rocks if you do it properly.

But what happens when you can’t get to the gym? I am a pretty busy guy and am often needing to shoe horn in different workouts into the oddest times and places. I’ve learned to get creative over the years and I have also learned to always keep a bag packed in the trunk of my car because I just never know when I might be able to sneak something in.

Yesterday I headed out for a noon time run and realized that I wasn’t going to get to the gym in the evening so I needed to make the workout really count. So I called an audible and completely changed my destination and plan. Instead of a 5 mile loop that I had intended on running, I ran a brisk mile to a small park along the Brandywine River not for from my office. Then I got creative and quickly pulled together a workout that would accomplish a couple of goals. I ended up getting a nice resistance workout without lifting a thing – except myself. It was fun. It was brief. And since the weather was brisk, it was quite energizing.

Once I hit the park, I immediately jumped into great workout that combined resistance training, stability, flexibility, and core work that went like this:

2 @ 100 crunches
2 @ 25 left leg lunges
2 @ 25 right leg lunges
2 @ 25 squats
2 @ 60 seconds wall sits

2 @ 10 pull ups
2 @ 25 push ups

5 minutes of stretching

After my little impromptu routine, I headed back up the hill to grab a shower and return to work. It was a great workout that required very little time investment. I was able to workout, shower, grab a fast bite, and be back at my desk in just under an hour. You have more time in your schedules that you realize. You just need to look for it and WANT to find it. And you need not spend a fortune at a glitzy gym to get in a good workout.

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