If you read , then you know just how important it is to add resistance training to your weekly workout. After all, lean muscle is the key to a sexy, toned physique.
The question is how can you sculpt and tone your body this summer without spending hours sweating it out in the gym? To get answers (and insider tips on creating the perfect workout), I went to the expert.
Meet Nick Hankes.
Nick, a Certified Personal Trainer from Braintree with the experience, clientele and… well… body to back it up, clearly knows how to whip someone into quick shape for the summer.
“Every day I see people working against their goals in the gym”, he says. “It’s not necessary to train for two to three hours. Your body only supplies a certain amount of ATP (the body’s form of energy) at a time. Overtraining leads to a loss of lean muscle and a slower metabolism.”
Instead of long, painful workouts lifting heavy weights, Nick takes his clients through a fat blasting, full-body circuit routine. The best part? His circuit workout burns fat, tones and adds sexy lean muscle in only 30 minutes.
“You don’t need a lot of fancy equipment or heavy weights to get results,” he says. In fact, often he uses only a step (like the one that’s been collecting dust in your basement since the 80s), 5-pound dumbbells, medicine balls, a mat and his client’s body weight for resistance.
And though Nick customizes each workout to his client’s unique goals and physical capabilities, he did pass on a sample routine that he promises will tone and firm the entire body. Ready?
Nick recommends starting with a two to three minute warm up climbing the step. “The majority of your blood is located in your torso when you begin your workout," he says. "A good warm up will help your blood flow to your extremities and prepare your muscles."
He suggests following the warm up with a handful of exercises to target different areas of the body. For example, he’ll have his clients start in a semi-squatting position to target the lower body while performing one set of overhead presses with light dumbbells for 18-20 reps. Why so many reps? According to Nick, “A lighter weight with a lot of reps will activate the muscles without breaking them down. This helps you to avoid the bulky look.”
He immediately follows the same protocol (one set of 18 to 20 reps each) with exercises like a full or modified push up (yes, it’s okay for your knees to be on the floor), lunges or dead lifts, bicep curls, then planks and crunches for the core.
Nick recommends going through the circuit two to three times beginning with the step warm up, for a total of 30 minutes. The end result? A fat burning, metabolism-boosting workout guaranteed to tone your entire body. Nick supplements his client’s twice weekly circuit workouts with three to four days of cardio.
So, how often should you switch up the exercises in your circuit workouts? “Every two to three weeks,” says Nick. “The nervous system adapts quickly to a routine so it’s important to continually experiment with new exercises. But it’s okay to rotate or go back to a previous workout from say, six weeks ago. The key is to keep challenging the body.”
My next question for Nick was a big one: Who should work with a personal trainer? Nick, like me, thinks that everyone should work with a professional if only for a few sessions to learn proper form and technique, help to avoid injury and avoid wasting time with the wrong exercises.
So how do you single out the good trainers from the well… not so good ones? Nick says that it’s important that you choose a personal trainer that “walks the walk." A good trainer aspires to live a healthy lifestyle and is in the kind of shape you want to be in too.
He does warn however to “Avoid the trainer with the super tight tank top who is too busy flexing in the mirror to notice you. This guy cares more about himself than he does his clients, and that’s a problem.”
In addition, he says that someone with a “welcoming presence” who will push you while still making sure that you are comfortable is a good sign.
And lastly, beware of the trainer with the “tunnel vision mindset." An experienced personal trainer has the skill set to create diverse workouts that are specifically designed for you, not his or her entire clientele.
The bottom line: You don’t need to spend countless hours in the gym to get a “beach body." A quick, 30-minute circuit workout will do the trick. After all, wouldn’t you rather be at the beach?
Want your own custom beach body workout? Nick Hankes, a Certified Personal Trainer and Braintree resident, trains clients in their homes and works at Quincy Athletic Club and Planet Fitness in Stoughton.
He can be reached at email@example.com.