Tips to avoid the phantom gym session and be your own personal trainer.

It’s 6:45pm. You dump your sweaty gym bag in a testosterone cramped locker and take a hypercritical look in the mirror. You’re V is unmistakably evident. But of course, defying anatomical physics is not beyond you either. In the peripheral blur, protein bars change hands like candy cane in Vegas, and all that lays between you and the weights room is that guy that stole your chest the night before and left you with the one you’re now wearing.

A couple of BCAAs later, you’re stalking the bench press like a lion on heat. Counting the plates, sizing up your next p.b., and then, when the other, larger lions have had their fill, your workout begins. You lift three glorious sets, the bar bobs up and down like a helium balloon and you’re buoyed by your tenacity despite your size.

Your next station is the peck deck, but first you fetch a drink from the water cooler. On the way, you catch an eye full of yourself and adjust your post bench teeter to a defined swagger. Your arms return to the position you call the gunslinger, a feature you were sure would become permanent after your last pump left them paralysed at forty five degree angles.

When you return, you burn out a warm up set, then martyr yourself over the handles in a slump that screams overload to the unwitting passer by. A few minutes passes before your first working set and when you lift, you’re a little disappointed that you don’t make your p.b. But scratch that, you’ve already benched today, thats probably why you’re not firing. You squeeze out a few more flies, but your arms aren’t giving you the goods, and the deck doesn’t seem overly sympathetic to your cries.

Now you stare out over the expanse of industrial pulleys and levers and cold steel and wonder what might be next in store for you. The clock reads 7:15. A medium rare steak with a side of streaky bacon perhaps. You’re hungry. Some dips, followed by a some core work might do the trick.

After some awkwardly misunderstood hand gestures and an absolute minimum of eye contact, you find yourself chest to chest with another well hung buck by the dip station. Fearing you may cause damage to the lesser male in the ensuing clash, you decide to let him call first dibs. A testament to your evolution.

By the time you step back into the locker room, you debate the merits of a shower by measuring the olfactory snapback on a raised arm. After all, you barely broke a sweat out there.

Where did my workout go wrong?

There are several things to keep in mind when heading to the gym, and if you’ve ever subjected yourself to a personal trainer, you can probably relate to the following.

Training with purpose.

Have a plan when you hit the gym, know the areas you’ll work on today, and have a set of exercises that will achieve that. Making up a workout on the fly can be a time waster and you’ll more than likely find yourself working on the exercises you like (and don’t need), or at the stations that are free rather than completing the routine you intended.

Training the alternatives.

Know several alternative exercises for each that you intend to do at the gym. This enables you to carry on when a piece of equipment isn’t available. For example: You’re training triceps, and the tricep pull down station isn’t available, easy, get a bench and execute some skull crushers. There’s no benches? Easy, take to the floor and do some seated dips, or stand and do some overhead tricep extensions. The trick here is to keep your workout rolling.

Training time.

Know how long your workout is going to take and make it happen. A well executed routine should have you losing some sweat at the gym, and that requires discipline. That beat feeling you get from working with a personal trainer is because they pushed you hard for an hour and didn’t let up. You can do the same for yourself. Don’t cheat your rest breaks by adding an extra minute to ponder life while your body slips back into its leisure suit. Work to the clock, or use an interval timer to keep you honest, thats what the trainer is doing. Keeping you honest.

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Happy Training!

Five great bodyweight, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workouts.

Your body weight on its own can create more than enough resistance in your workouts to keep you trimmed, toned and muscular. Try some of these great bodyweight workouts you can do anywhere, any time, without needing a gym membership or owning expensive equipment. Remember to exercise safely and to your own ability.

Leave comments or suggestions below to let us know what you how you get on.

Full Body – 20 Minutes

By the time you get to the final rounds, the 40 second rest time will feel like it’s never enough. To make it more difficult try some advanced variations on burpees, or switch the mountain climbers for a spiderman crawl.

Exercise Interval Time Repeats
Squats 20 seconds x10
Burpees 20 seconds
Mountain Climbers 20 seconds
Jumping Jacks 20 seconds
Rest 40 seconds

Cardio – 30 Minutes

Running intervals can help you build speed and endurance. Warm up with a jog then intersperse with a 30 second run every two minutes. As you build your confidence, try adjusting the interval times to your ability.

Exercise Interval Time Repeats
Jog 2 Minutes x1
Run 30 seconds x10
Jog 2 minutes
Walk 2 minutes x1

Core – 15 Minutes

A fifteen minute workout to hit your core hard. Remember to breath while you’re exercising your core, a good exhale can increase the contraction of your abs and help with your oxygenation on the next breath.

Exercise Interval Time Repeats
Leg Raises 30 seconds x10
Bicycle Crunches 30 seconds
High Knees 30 seconds
Plank 30 seconds
Rest 1 minute

Arms, Chest and Back – 20 Minutes

For this one you’ll need a sturdy cross bar to do pull-ups and chin ups. You can probably find one of these at your local park. If you can’t sustain any of the exercises here for 20 seconds, when you’ve reached your limit, continue with negative reps until the interval is over.

Exercise Interval Time Repeats
Press-ups 20 seconds x10
Pull-ups 20 seconds
Seated Dips 20 seconds
Chin-ups 20 seconds
Rest 40 seconds

Legs – 15 Minutes

Your leg muscles, including the quadriceps, hamstrings and calves make up the largest muscle group in your body. When you work these, you’re going to burn calories. For the cone sprints, find a space that you can sprint back and forth for about ten good paces, touch your hand to the ground at each end, turn and explode into a sprint back to where you started.

Exercise Interval Time Repeats
Walking Lunges 30 seconds x10
Calf Raises 30 seconds
Jump Squats 30 seconds
10m Cone Sprints 30 seconds
Rest 1 minute