Great Fitness Ideas for Everyone to Stay in Shape

Exercise benefits young and old, sedentary and athletic, and whether you do it in a 24 Hour Fitness with machines and eliptical trainers, or in your backyard with stones and rusting dumbbells, the results are pretty much the same. Train hard, train often, and watch your diet. You’ll feel great and you will be healthier. Chances are you will also build some muscle and burn off a little fat while you’re at it.

Unfortunately, research from the National Institutes of Health and a few other prominent organizations claim that two segments of the population, teens and seniors, are becoming less fit in general, with obesity and related diseases on the rise as a result.

Having seen the benefits of physical therapy and regular exercise work miracles on my 78 year old father after he took a fall in his house, I was inspired to write out some ideas for seniors to get up and moving. This was the final product:

Easy Cardio and Endurance Exercise Activities for Seniors

It is a basic outline of some simple and not-so-simple cardio, resistance and balance exercises seniors can do with little or no equipment. The article also offers some inspiration. How about a 100 year old woman who can put an 8.8 lb. shot almost 14 feet?

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Where I live, I see an abundance of healthy teens being very active;  playing soccer, skateboarding, riding their bikes and playing baseball and softball, to name a few. Very rarely do I see an overweight teen. But according to ‘the research’ there are a growing number of overweight teens every year. Considering that I loved going to the gym when I was a teenager (and doing anything active,) it is hard to imagine being sedentary as a teen.

Then again, when I was growing up we had 13 channels and Atari was the reigning video game console of the day. Still, I figured there must be a reason why there are so many teenagers who are uninvolved in physical activities. Just like everyone else, the key is probably to do a wide variety of things and continue doing those you enjoy. In other words, find something you like and it isn’t ‘working out,’ it’s FUN.

Here are my ideas for teens who want to get in shape but get bored with traditional workouts or just need some new inspiration:

How to Stay Fit Without Boredom for Teens

So check these articles out, and if you know (or are) a senior or a teen who could benefit from these, please pass them along. Suggestions welcome 🙂

Building Strength, Endurance and Muscle, High Intensity Interval Training Works!

 I tend to train for specific goals, rather than to look good for whatever reason. So long as I can fit into my pants and board shorts, I’m happy. .

That said, if I need to increase my strength, muscle mass, or to burn off some extra fat, the training protocol that gets the fastest results in the shortest amount of time wins. Even it hurts. A lot. Like HIT. A couple of brutal workouts a week of non-stop all out weight lifting, body weight training or both is highly effective. You will build muscle, you will burn fat. You will increase anaerobic capacity. (Allelujah!)

Why do I bring this up? Because after trolling (is it still trolling if I don’t leave comments?) a few six pack ab type videos this morning, it dawned on me: The majority of trainers/wannabe trainers and coaches posting these videos are doing bodyweight calisthenics and HIT training. 

This is good. Bodyweight routines such as

5 rounds of 10 each:

Burpees
Jump Squats
Tripod Switches
Hindu Pushups

are very effective at increasing anaerobic and aerobic capacity. You might even build some muscle and increase speed, agility and power. But if these folks are saying to build muscle with HIT in order to burn fat and look good, heavy free weights are a faster way (although you should always keep tons of bodyweight work in your program-stay in touch with your temple and all that.) and yes, the exercises I choose will also encourage six pack abs. Just don’t go out and chow down at Olive Garden afterwards…

So, to demonstrate this better way, I am challenging you to follow along with these workouts I post here, which may or may not be accompanied by my own or someone else’s (read: stolen) photos or videos.
Let’s start right now. I am actually going into my garage gym to do this after we’re done talking. Do a warm up of joint rotations and bar only or light weight for each exercise before you start hitting it for real. Use weights that allow 10-12 repetitions initially. This further prepares the muscles and allows you to make several drops to failure.
Per the HIT principles, go until you literally cannot go any more. If it is a deadlift, pull until you can’t get the bar off the floor at all. When you fail at one weight, drop some plates off and keep going. This will work much better with a partner, but if you don’t have one, move as fast as you can and get right back under/over the weight. When you can not lift even a light weight, your set is done, and so is that exercise.
So Workout 1:
Deadlift
Standing Military Press (to front)
Overhead Squats
An example deadlift set might be: 225# x10-12, drop to 205# for 8-10, drop to 185# for 5-8, drop to 135# for ?, drop to ? for ? These are just example weights and reps. Push yourself at a weight appropriate for you, whether that is 355# or 135#. Either way the poundage will go up quickly over the weeks.
So do the above three exercises, in order, without resting in between (except to drop weight) using the ‘one set to failure’ HIT principle on each. If you want to ensure a quick transition to each exercise, set up stations using barbells and dumbbells. For example, barbell deadlift, dumbbell standing press, bb, kb or db oh squat. Of course, then you need quick change dumbbells or lots of equipment, but it’s an option.

Although this is a simple routine, it is a great way to stimulate massive growth, especially in the lower body. Try keeping it simple for awhile, and keep the intensity high. Then mix it up after a few weeks with new exercises. The results will be phenomenal, if you can take the pain!