Losing weight in 4 weeks.
Aerobic Dance Workout
“The body and mind are terribly homeostatic machines,” Grasso says. “They constantly search for comfort and consistency,” so deciding to make a slew of changes at once often leads to failure.
“Making minor amendments to your daily routine will fl y under the radar of your conscious thought and become positive habits.” In other words, if you start so gradually that you barely notice the change, you’ll be more apt to continue it and make more changes without them ever seeming daunting.
This isn’t asking a lot, so try to go at the same times every week. Get used to making appointments with yourself and keeping them. But if you don’t feel like working out, don’t. Just go to the gym, walk in, and leave if you want. The important thing is that you establish the habit of going. At the very least, change into your workout clothes when you get there—you can change back out of them and leave right away. In no time, you’ll be going to the gym and staying to train, and regular exercise will be a part of your life.
Want an easy way to tell if you’re performing your exercises correctly? Check your posture. The correct starting position for most exercises is shoulders back, chest out, standing (or sitting) tall, with your abs tight. Good posture, good form.
Perform the two workouts (Day 1 and 2) once per week, resting at least a day between each.
Time Needed: 35 min
How to Do It:
Perform the exercises marked with letters as a group. Do one set of A, rest, then one set of B, rest (note that some groups have an exercise “C”), and repeat until all sets are complete. Then go on to the next group. Perform three sets of 8–10 reps for each exercise.
By this point, working out has become part of your routine, and you look forward to it. If not, continue to at least show up at the gym (even if you don’t have the desire to go through with the workouts) until the habit sticks. Remember to continue adding healthy meals to your diet—you should be at two per day by now.
Although there are no sure-fire recipes for good health, the mixture of healthy eating and regular exercise comes awfully close. Most of The Nutrition Source is dedicated to singing the praises of a good diet. This is where physical activity gets its due.
Regular exercise or physical activity helps many of the body’s systems function better, keeps heart disease, diabetes, and a host of other diseases at bay, and is a key ingredient for losing weight. According to the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, (1) being physically active on a regular basis
If exercise and regular physical activity benefit the body, a sedentary lifestyle does the opposite, increasing the chances of becoming overweight and developing a number of chronic diseases. Despite all the good things going for it, only about 30 percent of adult Americans report they get regular physical activity during their leisure time—and about 40 percent of Americans say they get no leisure-time physical activity at all. Studies that measure people’s physical activity using special motion sensors (called accelerometers) suggest that self-reports of physical activity probably are over-estimated. . According to analyses by a team from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention, inactivity was associated with more than 9 million cases of cardiovascular disease in 2001, at an estimated direct medical cost of nearly $24 billion.Another CDC analysis suggests that because individuals who are physically active have significantly lower annual direct medical costs than those who are inactive, getting people to become more active could cut yearly medical costs in the U.S. by more than $70 billion.
Being a “couch potato” may be harmful even for people who get regular exercise. The Nurses’ Health Study, for example, is one of many, many studies to find a strong link between television watching and obesity. Researchers followed more than 50,000 middle-aged women for six years, surveying their diet and activity habits. They found that for every two hours the women spent watching television each day, they had a 23 percent higher risk of becoming obese and 14 percent higher risk of developing diabetes. Interestingly, it didn’t matter if the women were avid exercisers: The more television they watched, the more likely they were to gain weight or develop diabetes, regardless of how much leisure-time activity and walking they did. Long hours of sitting at work also increased the risk of obesity and diabetes.
More recently, studies have found that people who spend more time each day watching television, sitting, or riding in cars have a greater chance of dying early than people who spend less time on their duffs. Researchers speculate that sitting for hours on end may change peoples’ metabolism in ways that promote obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic conditions. It is also possible that sitting is a marker for a broader sedentary lifestyle.
In sum, a morning jog or brisk lunchtime walk brings many health benefits—but these may not entirely make up for a day spent in front of the computer or an evening in front of the television set. So as you plan your daily activity routine, remember that cutting down on “sit time” may be just as important as increasing “fit time.”
If you don’t currently exercise and aren’t very active during the day, any increase in exercise or physical activity is good for you. Aerobic physical activity—any activity that causes a noticeable increase in your heart rate—is especially beneficial for disease prevention. Some studies show that walking briskly for even one to two hours a week (15 to 20 minutes a day) starts to decrease the chances of having a heart attack or stroke, developing diabetes, or dying prematurely. (Brisk is a relative term; read more about exercise intensity.)
The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends that healthy adults get a minimum of 2-1/2 hours per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, or get a minimum of 1-1/4 hours per week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, or a combination of the two. To lower your risk of injury, it’s best to spread out your activity over a few days in of the week. (Read more about how to exercise safely.)
You can combine moderate and vigorous exercise over the course of the week—say, by doing 20 to 25 minutes of more vigorous intensity activity on two days, and then doing 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity on two days. It’s fine to break up your activity into smaller bursts, as long as you sustain the activity for at least 10 minutes. Adults should also do muscle-strengthening activities on at least two days for the week. Children should get at least 1 hour or more a day of physical activity in age-appropriate activities. Healthy older adults should follow the guidelines for adults.
Moderate-intensity aerobic activity is any activity that causes a slight but noticeable increase in breathing and heart rate. One way to gauge moderate activity is with the “talk test”—exercising hard enough to break a sweat but not so hard you can’t comfortably carry on a conversation. Vigorous-intensity aerobic activity causes more rapid breathing and a greater increase in heart rate, but you should still be able to carry on a conversation—with shorter sentences.
Keep in mind that what feels like moderate activity for one person may actually be very vigorous activity for another: A typical young marathon runner, for example, could walk at a 4-mile-per-hour pace without breaking a sweat. But this same pace would likely feel very vigorous for the typical 90-year-old person.
One way to gauge how hard you are exercising is to use the Borg Scale of Perceived Exertion. It’s a relative scale that matches how hard you feel you are working with numbers from 6 to 20. Exercise experts measure activity in a different way, using metabolic equivalents.
Walking is an ideal exercise for many people—it doesn’t require any special equipment, can be done any time, any place, and is generally very safe. What’s more, studies such as the Nurses’ Health Study. Health Professionals Follow-up Study, Women’s Health Study, Harvard Alumni Health Study, National Health Interview Survey, Women’s Health Initiative, Honolulu Heart Program,Black Women’s Health Study,and others (18, 19) have demonstrated that this simple form of exercise substantially reduces the chances of developing heart disease, stroke, and diabetes in different populations.
Though walking has health benefits at any pace, brisk walking (at least 3 miles per hour) is more beneficial than slow walking for weight contro. lAnd a recent report from the Nurses’ Health Study II suggests that bicycling offers similar benefits to brisk walking: Researchers followed more than 18,000 women for 16 years to study the relationship between changes in physical activity and weight. On average, women gained about 20 pounds over the course of the study. Women who increased their physical activity by 30 minutes per day gained less weight than women whose activity levels stayed steady. But the type of activity made a difference: Women who added bicycling or brisk walking to their activity regimens were able to curb their weight gain, but women who added slow walking were not.
Brisk walking may be challenging for some people, and bicycling (even on an exercise bike) may be a more comfortable option.In the Nurses’ Health Study II, for example, overweight women spent far less time walking briskly than normal weight women, but they spent about the same amount of time cycling. If you don’t like brisk walking or bicycling, any activity that makes your heart work harder will help you meet the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, as long as you do it long enough and often enough. Walking and biking are also green ways to commute to work—good for the environment, and good for you.
Watch a video discussion on the importance of bicycling and walking in preventing and alleviating hypertension.
Keep in mind that 2-1/2 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week is an excellent starting point, not an upper limit. Exercising longer, harder, or both can bring even greater health benefits. Also bear in mind that your 2-1/2 hours of activity should be in addition to the light activity that is part of everyday living. But moderate and vigorous lifestyle activities—dancing, mowing the lawn with a push mower, chopping wood, and so on—can count toward your weekly total, if they are sustained for at least 10 minutes.
If you’re looking to avoid “middle-aged spread,” physical activity is important, as is watching what you eat. But there’s no hard and fast rule as to how much activity you will need to keep your weight steady. Many people may need more than 2-1/2 hours of moderate intensity activity a week to stay at a stable weight, as well as to lose weight or keep off weight they have lost.
The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans are general recommendations aimed at the general population. The problem with guidelines is that they try to cover as many people as possible. In other words, they aren’t right for everyone. How much exercise you need depends on your genes, your diet, how much muscle and fat you carry on your frame, how fit you are, and your capacity for exercise.
A study of more 7,000 men who graduated from Harvard before 1950 suggests that older people, those who are out of shape, or those with disabilities may get as much benefit from 30 minutes of slower walking or other exercise as younger, more fit people get from the same amount of more-intense activity.
In other words, if an exercise or physical activity feels hard, then it is probably doing your heart—and the rest of you—some good, even if it doesn’t fall into the “moderate” category. If you are currently not active at all, it may be daunting to start out with 30 minutes a day of activity, five days a week. So start with a shorter, less-intense bout of activity, and gradually increase over time until you can reach or exceed this goal. This “start slow, build up over time” advice for physical activity applies to everyone, but it’s especially true for older adults, since starting slowly can help lower the risk of injury—and can make exercise more enjoyable.
Don’t get stuck in a rut, though. As your body adapts to exercise, you’ll need to push yourself more and more to get the same cardiovascular workout. Another way to know that it’s time to pick up the pace is if you see your weight or waist size start creeping up on you.
Exercise is one of those rare things where the hype actually meets reality. Next to not smoking, getting regular physical activity is arguably the best thing you can do for your health. Any amount of exercise is better than none. The more you get, though, the better. And remember: Cutting back on television-watching and other sedentary pastimes is just as important as becoming more active.
Avocado toast is basically the easiest thing in the world to make, and good for you thanks to avocado’s plentiful Omega-3’s. But it tastes so luxurious, you’ll feel like you’re cheating at life when you eat one. It’s also, BTW, very chic.
A simple avocadotoast is just toast (stick with whole grain for more fiber and nutrients) + avocado (sliced or mashed) + sea salt + red pepper. But that’s just the beginning; you can top it with an egg, a drizzle of nice olive oil, or try this avocado+feta +pomegranate toast for a sweet and savory mix. The options are endless. Go crazy. Run free.
Hot oatmeal on a cold morning is a winter survival necessity. It’s also a great way to stay full until lunch and an excellent source of soluble fiber, the kind that helps keep your cholesterol levels down. You can make it on the stove in the microwave or in a cooker In warm weather, you can make overnight oats in the fridge without lifting a finger. Get lots more smart oatmeal tips here.
If you think salads are for rabbits, you haven’t met the right one yet. A few tips: Use fresh vegetables — anything canned should be an add-on, not the main event, or you’ll end up with a soggy, sad salad. Add a little bit of protein like meat, eggs, beans, nuts, if you want the salad to be a full meal. Make sure you give yourself a good mix of crunchy ingredients, like raw cabbage, cucumber or nuts, and soft ones, like tomatoes, cooked vegetables or beans.
The most important step is to make your own delicious (and healthier) homemade dressing. A simple Dijon vinaigrette always works, but feel free to try something more adventurous , too. If you’re looking for a full recipe to get inspired, try this kale and Brussels sprout salad or this Asian chicken salad.
Hummus, which happens to be full of protein and fiber, is basically the perfect food. You can dip carrots or celery in it when you’re looking for a healthy snack, or spread it on a sandwich instead of mayo. You can also just dip your finger in it and eat it plain.
To make it yourself, you just throw a few basic ingredients (chickpeas, tahini, garlic, lemon juice and salt) in the blender and process. Get the recipe for classic, extra-smooth hummus here a stepped-up roasted red pepper version here, or a powerhouse protein edamame hummus recipe here.
When it’s cold out, a big pot of hot soup is literally the most beautiful thing in the world. You can make it with just vegetables or add in protein like chichen or beans.This recipe is mostly vegetables but uses a little bit of pancetta and a parmesan rind for flavor.
But you don’t really need a recipe. You can just chop up whatever vegetables you have around and sauté them in some olive oil in a big pot with the seasoning of your choice. (If you’re using chicken, chop it up, and sauté that first.) Add a can of rinsed beans and sauté for another minute or two. Add stock, bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer, cover, and allow to cook for about 20 minutes. If you want noodles, cook them separately and throw them in at the end. Ladle into (big) bowls and enjoy.
Roasting vegetables is one of the easiest, most reliable ways to cook them. Turn your oven up to 450°F. Chop your vegetables, with the harder ones, like carrots and potatoes, cut up into smaller pieces than soft vegetables like broccoli and squash. Toss them all with some olive oil and kosher salt. Spread on a baking sheet or two – don’t crowd! – and roast for about 30-40 minutes, or until they look and taste good.
Here’s a basic recipe to get you started. Once you’ve got roasted veggies, you can toss them in some pasta, a salad, put them on a sandwich, or obvs, eat them plain.
You don’t have to be a health nut to love quinoa. This little seed has tons of protein and the flavor is subtle enough that it can work in almost any dish. Make sure to rinse quinoa before you cook it to wash away any bitterness. After that, put it in a saucepan, add twice as much water or broth as you have quinoa, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the flame to medium-low, cover, and simmer for about 15-20 minutes, or until the water is absorbed. Remove from heat and give it 5 minutes to sit, covered, before you open it and give it a nice fluff. It’ll last about a week in the fridge and can be added to basically anything.
Stir-fry is what you make when you want something hot, healthy, and quick. It shouldn’t be complicated. Stir-fries are great with lean meats or tofu. (Tofu takes a little bit more time because you have to press out all the excess moisture, but it’s a healthy and inexpensive substitute for meat, and can be really delicious if you get it nice and crispy.) Whatever you decide to throw in, the basic idea is the same: Sear the protein, sauté the vegetables over high heat, and add sauce at the end. Serve over brown rice or by itself.
Check out these recipes for chiken, tofu and lean beef stir-fries. You don’t need to follow them exactly, but the techniques will work with a variety of vegetables and add-ons.
Standard chili calls for ground beef, but the truth is, you don’t need it. Beans will do the protein job just fine without bringing any saturated fat to the party. If you do want to add meat, try a recipe that calls for chicken or turkey. And definitely make extra: Chili freezes really well. Vegan bean chili recipe available here and white chicken chili recipe here.
Frittatas come in handy in many situations, including serving breakfast to large groups of people, using up leftover vegetables, and making a food you can eat for days. Frittatas can be made with any vegetables you have around, so use recipes for guidance more than specifics. You don’t have to use cheese (this onion and potato frittata , but if you do, goat cheese is great because it’s much lower in calories and fat than other cheeses. Use it with mushrooms and herbs or artichokes and herbs.
Don’t believe anyone who tells you pasta can’t be healthy. It can. And those who deny themselves the joy of pasta do not live their greatest lives. First, use whole wheat pasta because like brown rice, it has more nutrients and fiber. Second, add PLENTY of vegetables and some healthy protein. Third, limit your sources of saturated fats like cream, butter, cheese, and fatty meat.
Try this Whole Wheat Rigatoni with Roasted Vegetables and Pine Nuts, or this Linguine with Shrimp, Olives, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes. You can also tweak your favorite recipes to be healthier: Try making this fusilli with roasted broccoli and cauliflower with whole wheat noodles, half the pasta and cheese, and twice the veggies.
Grilled chicken is easy to make and lean, healthy meat, but it gets a bad rap for being bland. The key is to pair the chicken with big, interesting flavors. If you have the time (and forethought), go with a marinade. You can freestyle with these handy tips or use a recipe like this Grilled Chicken in Caramelized Onion Sauce. But you can also throw together a delicious grilled chicken on the spot, like this Garlic-and-Rosemary Grilled Chicken with Scallions.
Smoothies are an easy and delicious way to pack in a lot of nutrition at once. Whether it’s a green detox smoothie, a seasonal fruit smoothie, or a very simple three-ingredient smoothie, the key is to make sure that you have a combination of fruits, vegetables, and protein so it’s well-balanced AND tasty.
Feel free to have fun with the liquid you add. Water is great, but so is regular milk or non-dairy milks. Just don’t bother with recipes that call for added sugar, and be wary of juices, which are often high in sugar, and protein powders, some of which have been found to have high levels of toxins like arsenic, cadmium, and lead.
Kale chips were all the rage for a while, but they’re hardly the only non-potato that can be baked into a delicious, crispy chip. You’re basically just putting some oil and salt on thin strips of vegetables and baking them. Not very hard, but very delicious! Get lots of veggie-heavy, less oily ways to satisfy your crunchy/salty craving here.
Keeping some greens in your fridge at all times is a fail-proof way to make sure you always have an easy vegetable side dish at dinner. Greens like spinach and kale are some of the healthiest vegetables out there, packed with protein, vitamins and fiber.
Sautéing greens is as simple as heating some vegetable oil in a pan, adding chopped greens, and salting to taste. If you want to get a little fancy, start with some garlic, shallot or onion before you add the greens. You can also add lemon juice, vinegar or red pepper. This will work for spinach, kale, chard, mustard greens, or pretty much anything else you come across. Recipe here.
When you’re craving a salty snack, homemade popcorn is the perfect solution. It’s super-easy to make, can be flavored according to your whim, and it’s healthier and cheaper than the movie-theater or microwaveable kinds. In this recipe for stovetop popcorn, spritz some water on the popcorn instead of pouring melted butter over it, and then sprinkle with salt. It will still be delicious with a lot less fat. (And btw, you can also just make it in a paper bag in the microwave.)
Once you’ve mastered the basics, feel free to spice things up with different flavors. And if you’re a big snacker, consider making space in your kitchen for an air popper.
Most of us hear “salad” and think “lettuce,” but using grains as a base can be healthy, filling, and a really good way to use up all the extra brown rice you accidentally made last night. Throw in whatever veggies, cheese, beans, or meat you have on hand and top with your favorite homemade dressing. This Curried Spelt Salad is delicious, as is this Quinoa, Lentil & Feta Summer Salad, but feel free to improvise with whatever you have in the fridge.
You’ve probably heard it a hundred times: Fish is really good for you. It’s high in protein but also low in fat, making it an excellent alternative to pork or red meat. White-fleshed fish like tilapia is especially low in fat, while oily fish like salmon is extra high in Omega-3’s. However, some fish are higher in mercury than others, and a lot of species are at risk due to overfishing. The National Resources Defense Council has information here to help you make the best choice when you’re buying.
Even when choosing fish isn’t easy, cooking it can always be super-simple. One of the easiest and healthiest ways is to bake it in parchment paper, but broiling is another easy option for when you want something quick and crispy. For a quick, easy marinade, try mixing oil, soy sauce, garlic, Dijon mustard and scallions, with proportions according to taste. (The more mustard, the spicier, the more soy saucer the saltier, etc.) It will work on basically everything. Get a recipe for broiled salmon here.
You can eat French fries without betraying your arteries; just bake them instead of frying. Also: Leave the skins on. There are a ton of nutrients in there. (Okay, yes, this is essentially roasted potatoes, but the skinny wedge shape really makes a difference!)
Get an easy recipe here, baked sweet potato fries here, and if you really want to go wild, try these baked parmesan zucchini fries.
One of the biggest hurdles to eating more healthy food is cooking more healthy food. Sometimes you just don’t have the time or energy, and that is why God created slow cookers. They cook things slowly, with plenty of liquid, which means you won’t need nearly as much fat to keep things delicious. You just throw all the ingredients in in the morning, press a button, and come home later to a hot, healthy meal. Try this chicken enchilada soup, a root vegetable stew, or chicken provençal.
Don’t like stew? Try this lazy quinoa lasagna, or, if you’re willing to spend a few extra minutes with a skillet, this mushroom barley risotto.
There are tons of ways to make a great fruit salad, but it takes a little bit more thought than just throwing a bunch of fruit in a bowl and hoping for the best. First, you need good fruit. Choose what’s in season. Second, be mindful of the fruit combinations — more is not necessarily better. Third, add a simple but delicious dressing. A fail-safe dressing formula: citrus juice + fresh herb + honey or syrup. For more tips on making a perfect fruit salad, click here.
Chocolate. Is. Amazing. Don’t deprive yourself, just learn to enjoy in ways that are healthier than a Snickers bar. Chocolate pudding is the perfect solution, because there are so many ways to make it (secretly) good for you. Try this chocolate avocado pudding when you don’t have a lot of time, these chocolate mousse cups if you’re looking to trick someone (or yourself) into eating tofu, or a chia seed and date chocolate pudding if you’re looking for something a little funky.
When it’s hot out, dessert should be cold — but no one said it has to be ice cream. Making sorbet is a perfect way to use up fresh fruit that’s past its prime (or whatever happens to be in your freezer). Get a step-by-step guide here.
Recently my friend and fellow blogger Scott Young did a great post entitled, “New to exercise? Make workouts daily“. It was an excellent post, and perfectly timed as it mirrors my own recent efforts at making exercise a daily habit.
The problem with trying to make exercise a habit, and it’s something that we’ve all faced, is that you usually try to exercise 3 or 4 times a week … and that makes creating a new exercise habit difficult. The reason is that the more consistent an action is, the more likely it is to be a habit.
Therefore, as Scott points out, and it’s something I fully agree with, exercising every day is more likely to result in a habit — something that becomes almost automatic, and much easier, instead of a constant struggle.
I’ve been implementing this idea in my daily life recently, alternating every day between different exercises: running, swimming, biking and strength workouts, as a way of reaching my goal of completing an Olympic-distance triathlon this year. I’m going to continue this habit change into the month of May. I made daily running a habit last year, when I was training for my first marathon, but this year I stopped when I got sick, so I’m re-starting the habit formation.
If you’re going to make this a habit, do a 30-day Challenge, and by the end of the challenge your habit should be pretty well ingrained. Here are some practical suggestions I’ve learned along the way to help make exercise a daily habit:
Don’t skip a day. It’s easy to say, “No problem, I’ve been doing it for five days … I’ll just skip today!” But that will make your habit formation harder. Consistency is key, so try not to skip a single day. If you do, don’t beat yourself up, don’t judge, don’t feel bad — everyone messes up sometimes, and habit formation is a skill that requires practice. Just start your 30-day challenge over again, and try to identify the obstacle that led to your skipping a day and prepare for it this time.
Upper and Lower Body Workouts Using Super-Set / Pyramid Methods
Many people like to do calisthenics based workouts using pyramids and super set routines. In fact, with the right mix of exercises you can create a perfect workout that balances the entire body. Here is a question that prompted the following article:
“Stew, do you have any lower body workouts in the pyramid form? I would like to put together a program using your ‘The Best Twenty-Minute Workout’ and the pyramid program from the ‘USMC – Basic School Six Week OCS/TBS Program.’ Four days a week, 20 min workout on odd days and the USMC workout on even days.”
I love to do pyramids and super set workouts. In fact they are a great foundation builder as well as a proven maintenance method for calisthenics based programs. As you know, my workouts are primarily calisthenics based and supplemented by weights, stretching, running, swimming and biking for distance and speed. With the wide range of movements and exercises, you can work the entire body inside and out and create programs to improve fitness performance, athleticism, and overall health.
Some workouts, I recommend focusing only on the calisthenics or weights and do a cardio option later in the workout. For instance:
A Sample Upper Body and Lower Body Workout:
The Upper Body
Pick exercises that work well together like push-ups or dips, abdominal exercises, and pull-ups. Arrange them in a way that you can perform an “active rest” by doing another exercise to “rest” the previous worked muscles from the exercise before. For instance:
|Set #1||Set #2||Set #3||Set #4||Set #5|
|2 Pull-ups||4 Pull-ups||6 Pull-ups||8 Pull-ups||10 Pull-ups|
|5 Push-ups||10 Push-ups||15 Push-ups||20 Push-ups||25 Push-ups|
|10 Abs of Choice||20 Abs of Choice||30 Abs of Choice||40 Abs of Choice||50 Abs of Choice|
…continue on until failure or just before and repeat in reverse order
Some days I recommend mixing in some sprinting exercises into your workouts. This helps with training for the PFT transitions that must occur when doing upper body PFT and then running afterwards.
You can also mix in the same exercises in one of my favorite workouts that will help you reach max repetition in these exercises during fitness tests:
Repeat until you reach these numbers using max repetition effort each set:
Pullups – In as few sets as possible get 50-100 pullups by resting with:
– Pushups (max reps in one minute)
– Situps (max reps in one minute)
– Running 1/4 mile in goal PFT running pace (ie 9:00 1.5 mile goal = 90 seconds 1/4 mile)
Repeat this cycle until you reach your goal in pull-ups in the 50 -100 range.
For Lower Body Workouts using a Pyramid and Super Set:
Here is how I recommend creating a pyramid mixed with fast paced cardio:
Run / Leg PT
Repeat 5-6 times
– Run 1/4 mile at goal PFT pace
– Squats – 10, 12, 14, 16, 18 , 20…(increase reps each cycle for 5-6 cycles)
– Lunges 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20
You could make each set harder if you like the pyramid version or keep each set the same and basically make it a Super Set.
Two more leg workouts I recommend that are non-impact aerobics:
Life Cycle Pyramid Workout
Get on a Life Cycle stationary bike. Perform a bike / leg pyramid by going on manual mode and start off at level 1 for 1 minute. Each minute add a level of resistance until you cannot peddle anymore. Then repeat in reverse order. This usually takes 20-30 minutes depending on your fitness level and creates the perfect workout: a warm-up, max out, and cool down. That is one advantage to the pyramid: its simplicity and completeness.
Swim Workout with Fins
Another involves swimming with fins. Using any stroke, though the side stroke or combat swimmer stroke works best, swim across the pool until your feet / ankles start to feel the cramping sensation of first wearing fins. You may need to take some time to build up to 500-1500m of swimming with fins as it is stressful on the ankles and feet for the first few weeks.
But, if you want to really pump up your swimming workouts, try adding in a mix of leg PT / weights and pull-ups, dips, pushups, and abs in between 200-300m of swimming with fins. Of course this requires having a pullup / dip bar on the pool deck but our PT group donated this one to the pool we frequent and it packs a punch to a regular swimming workout.
Usually, we spend about 45 seconds rotating from exercise to exercise: Wood chopper squats, pull-ups, dips, abs of choice, and pushups – then swim for 4-5 minutes and repeat several times.