Short on time, but need to lose weight fast? Don’t have access to a gym, but enjoy the challenge of a tough resistance workout? Perhaps it’s time to ditch those hour-long treadmill sessions, scrap the 1-2 hourly weights workouts, and get ready to cram as much effort as possible into 20 minutes of intensive functional work – all while reaping the many benefits of outdoor training.17, 18, 20, 26, 27
One of the biggest misconceptions in fitness training concerns the amount of time that’s required to get big, lean, aerobically fit, and functionally strong – the total fitness package. The belief that our workouts must take place in a gym, include many different movements and variations, and run for an hour or more perhaps does more to turn people off training than it does to encourage exercise adherence over the long term.
While longer sessions do have their place for many and can produce impressive results when properly structured, such sessions are far from mandatory when wanting to improve performance and physique.
Indeed, much of what we do in the gym could be considered wasteful. From resting too long to redundantly incorporating an unnecessary number of movements and sets to applying insufficient effort in general to checking social media every two minutes: it can be easy to clock-up an hour or more in the gym, and still feel like we haven’t worked hard enough. What’s more, the time that’s wasted with such unnecessary effort is time that most people simply do not have in the first place.
The time-poor among us (i.e., almost all who live in today’s fast-paced world) for whom optimal prioritization remains the key to a well-balanced life. In the following you’ll be given the real key to training success (whatever the training system) along with a 12-week outdoor training plan that’ll have you working for around 20 minutes per session; that’s right 20 minutes!
But don’t be fooled: these 20-minute workouts will have you working harder than ever, all while shaving valuable hours off the time it would normally take to achieve similar results (in fact, as mentioned, you’ll probably improve faster than ever). By following the plan below you’ll not only come to know the true meaning of hard training but you’ll begin to appreciate the importance of keeping your training short and intense.
- Pick a cardio schedule of your choosing (to be completed before breakfast in a fasted state following one serving of AMINOCORE).
- Do not skimp of supplementation: follow the above stack exactly as outlined. Due to the intensive nature of the training to follow you will need all the performance and recovery fuel you can get. Whole foods alone cannot fully address these crucial requirements.
- Intensify. This is not your average training plan. It is certainly not for those accustomed to coasting. As such, in order to stimulate progress given the short training timeframe, it’s imperative that complete muscular failure be achieved on each set. Thus, select a weight that will make it impossible to complete the prescribed number of reps; rest for 1-2 seconds; then, continue until all reps are completed (this rest-pause method remains the most effective way to circumvent failure and push past the pain barrier when training alone).
- Rest between sets: 30 seconds on all sets (including supersets). One-minute of rest between movements (or movement sequences).
- SS = Supersetted
- TS = Trisetted
- Stop watch: for timing rest between sets and movements.
- A selection of variously-weighted dumbbells (DB).
- Variously-weighted Medicine Balls (MB).
- Access to a park gym: with chin/pull-up bar and a park bench for dips.
- Wide Push-Ups SS with Chin-Ups: 3 sets, each movement taken to complete failure (as many reps as possible).
- Narrow Push-Ups SS with Inverted Rows: 2 sets, as many reps as possible for each movement.
- Crab Walks SS with Burpees: 2 sets, as many reps as possible for each movement
- DB Curls SS with Bench Dips: 3 sets, 15 reps to failure for Curls; as many reps as possible for Dips.
- Bear Crawls SS with Sprinting: 2 sets, as many reps as possible for Bear Crawls; 15 seconds of Sprinting
- Close-Stance Squats (holding 10kg MB overhead) SS with Star Jumps: 2 sets, as many reps as possible for both movements
- Lying Leg Raises SS with Crunches: 3 sets, as many reps as possible for both movements.
- Bent Over DB Rows SS with Seated Russian Medicine Ball Twists: 2 sets, 15 reps to failure for Rows; as many reps as possible for Twists.
- Wide Push-Ups SS with Lateral Raises: 2 sets, as many reps as possible for both movements.
- Walking Lunges (holding 15kg DB) SS with Sprinting: 3 sets, as many reps as possible for Lunges; 15 seconds of Sprinting.
- Wide-Stance Squats (holding 15kg DB) SS with Mountain Climbers: 2 sets, as many reps as possible for both movements.
- Bench Dips TS with Two-Arm DB Triceps Kickbacks and DB Hammer Curls: 2 sets, as many reps as possible for Dips; 15 reps for Kickbacks and Curls.
- Close-Grip Pull-Ups TS with Inverted Rows and DB Rows: 3 sets, as many reps as possible for Pull-Ups and Inverted Rows; 15 reps for DB Rows.
- Pike Shoulder Push-Ups SS with DB Presses: 2 sets, as many reps as possible for Push-Ups; 15 reps for dumbbell presses.
- Bear Crawls SS with Burpees: 2 sets, as many reps as possible for both movements.
- Crunches SS with Seated Russian Medicine Ball Twists: 3 sets, as many reps as possible for both movements.
- Crab Walks TS with Two-Arm Overhead Triceps Extensions and DB Curls: 2 sets, as many reps as possible for Walks; 15 reps for Extensions and Curls.
- Squat Jumps SS with Walking Lunges (holding 15kg DBs): 2 sets, as many reps as possible for both movements.
- Close Push-Ups SS with Wide Push-Ups: 3 sets, as many reps as possible for both movements.
- DB Front Raises TS with Lateral Raises and DB Shrugs: 2 sets, 15 reps for Front Raises and Laterals; 50 reps for Shrugs.
- Inverted Rows SS with Chin-Ups: 2 sets, as many reps as possible for both movements.
- Crab Walks TS with Bear Crawls and Crunches: 3 sets, as many reps as possible for each movement.
- Curl-Overhead Presses (combined) SS with Bench Dips: 2 sets, 15 reps for Curl-Presses; as many reps as possible for Dips.
- Lying Leg Raises SS Seated Russian Twists: 2 sets, as many reps as possible for both movements.
- Wide-Stance Squats (holding 10kg MB overhead) TS with Walking Lunges (holding 15kg DBs) and Sprinting: 3 sets, as many reps as possible for Squats and Lunges; 15 seconds of Sprints.
- Jump Squats SS with Burpees: 2 sets of as many reps as possible for both movements.
- Dead Bugs SS with DB Punches: 2 sets, as many reps as possible for both movements.
- DB Curls SS with Two-Arm DB Triceps Kickbacks: 3 sets, 15 reps per movement.
- Close Push-Ups TS with Chin-Ups and DB Overhead Presses: 2 sets, as many reps as possible for Push-Ups and Chins; 15 reps for Presses.
- Lateral Raises SS with MB Slams: 2 sets, 15 reps for Raises; as many reps as possible for Slams.
- Mountain Climbers SS with Star Jumps: 3 sets, as many reps as possible for both movements.
- Crunches TS with Burpees and DB Punches: 2 sets, as many reps as possible for each movement.
- Pike Shoulder Push-Ups SS with Crab Walks: 2 sets, as many reps as possible for each movement.
- Narrow-Stance Squats (holding 15kg DB) SS with Walking Lunges (holding 15kg DB): 3 sets, as many reps as possible for both movements.
- Dead Bugs TS with Seated Russian Twists and Lying Leg Raises: 2 sets, as many reps as possible for both movements.
- Bear Crawls SS with DB Row-Press (combined): as many reps as possible for crawls; 15 reps for Row-Press.
- Pull-Ups SS with inverted Rows: 3 sets, as many reps as possible for both movements.
- DB Rows SS with Wide Push-Ups: 3 sets, 15 reps for rows; as many reps as possible for Push-Ups.
- Lying Leg Raises SS with Crunches: 3 sets, as many reps as possible for each movement.
- Mountain Climbers SS with Dead Bugs: 3 sets, as many reps as possible for each movement.
Repeat Weeks’ 1 and 2 for 12 total weeks
While the 12 workouts to follow are short in duration, they are big on intensity. Thus, to optimize performance across each session’s full 20 or so minutes, the right combination of key performance products is a must. By consuming the three recommended products featured below you’ll be able to push further when previously your body will have wanted to quit.
Because each workout is designed to enhance recovery does not mean full restoration will automatically ensue. That’s why we’ve also included the top-two recovery products to enable your physique to respond to your training efforts and be ready to again take on an equally intensive challenge the following day (as will be expected in the program below).
- IMPACT IGNITER
ISOFLEX (when to take: take one serving immediately after each workout)
A muscle’s ability to respond to a training stimulus is limited to the degree to which full recovery between sessions can be achieved. It’s here that a superior Whey Isolate with high bioavailability can provide the building blocks for continued muscle growth.15
Touted as having the ultimate taste and being the ultimate in quality, ISOFLEX is today’s most trusted Whey Isolate. Utilizing cutting-edge Hybrid Ratio Isolate (HRI) Ion Filtration Technology to retain seven unique whey protein isolate fractions, this product provides an exceptionally high protein yield and is as pure as it gets.
Taken post-training, ISOFLEX – which contains no filler substances and zero whey concentrate – gives the muscles exactly what is needed to commence the growth process.
AMINOCORE (when to take: one serving immediate before and one serving during each workout).
Quite simply the best BCAA product for both increasing intra-workout muscle protein synthesis and helping to energize the toughest session. As well as boosting muscle growth via the all-important protein synthesis process, AMINOCORE serves as suitable backup fuel for advancing continued anaerobic output (here, Leucine boosts energy production by providing fatigued muscles with more ATP to enhance muscular contraction).10
So tightly packed with the BCAAs Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine is AMINOCORE (a total of 8.18g per serving) that by taking it before and during each workout, the anabolic effect necessary for ongoing lean muscle gains can instantly be achieved. To this end, a trigger response initiated by the stimulation of the mTOR pathway (the principal cellular signaling mechanism for engaging muscle protein synthesis) primes the muscles for growth.3, 4
Without the right ratio of BCAAs circulating in muscle tissue, muscle may be broken down for energy purposes. By topping up with AMINOCORE before and during training, the requisite anabolic state needed for muscle maintenance and continued growth can be achieved to the fullest possible extent.
CARBION+ (when to take: one serving immediately before each workout)
The one thing all hard training lifters and other strength athletes need before taking to the iron is a sustained energy source that also provides the perfect ratio of key electrolytes to offset dehydration and optimize physical and mental performance.9, 11, 12, 14 With CARBION+, both of these objectives can most efficiently be achieved.
Great tasting and easy to digest, this uniquely beneficial formula provides a steady release of medium-chain maltodextrins and specially engineered carbohydrates to keep the body well-fuelled through a workout’s entirety. Unlike most sports drinks, which contain simple sugars or long chain carbs and are thus absorbed too fast or improperly digested (making them unsuitable pre-event or workout), CARBION+ provides the perfect solution for those who want the power to perform, without any bloating or sugar crashes.
In addition, CARBION+ features bicarbonate and citrate forms of four key electrolytes – Sodium, Potassium, Magnesium and Calcium – for proper absorption and assimilation, making this formulation perfect for training in all conditions.
IMPACT IGNITER (when to take: take one serving immediately before each workout)
With AMINOCORE AND CARBION+ you’ll have the fuel to sustain the toughest workout. With IMPACT IGNITER you’ll be mentally charged up to do whatever is necessary to push your muscles to complete exhaustion and beyond.
Considered a potent pre-workout stimulant and energizer, IGNITER does much more besides: as well as firing up the senses and boosting motivation and feelings of wellbeing, this product enhances muscle pumping to increase growth and performance while also breaking down and burning bodyfat through its powerful thermogenic and lipolytic effects.
In addition to its full listing of stimulant and pump-friendly ingredients, IGNITER also provides a selection of some of the best nootropic compounds to enhance cognition, to get you in the training zone, and keep you there for longer.21, 23, 24
C-VOL (when to take: take one serving immediately after each workout).
Whether a workout is on the shorter or longer side, the post-workout period remains crucial to enhancing recovery and maximizing future performances. Certainly, nutrient assimilation is most efficiently maximized at such times.2, 5, 16 As such, serious lifters have taken to loading up on recovery and performance-enhancing ingredients such as Creatine, Beta Alanine, L-Carnitine L-Tartrate, Taurine, and Betaine.
Rather than taking inferior versions of the above ingredients separately, there’s a better way to ensure that each compound is maximally absorbed and assimilated to speed recovery while setting the stage for the following day’s session: C-VOL.
The undisputed importance of saturating muscle tissue with high-grade Creatine is not lost on countless lifters for whom such a strategy provides seemingly unlimited energy reserves, volumizes muscle tissue, and improves muscle growth and power output.6, 13, 25 With C-VOL, the lifter receives three unique and fast-acting forms of Creatine combined with an absorption matrix to speed its delivery to muscles primed for ready uptake.1
Along with the formidable payload of Creatine, the user also gets equally highly bioavailable and potent versions of Beta Alanine, L-Carnitine L-Tartrate, Taurine, and Betaine, to fully enhance recovery by addressing muscle damage and priming the body for further intensive sessions.
If we are going to sacrifice that most valuable and irreplaceable of assets (our time) to get in a great workout, we want to be sure that it’s time well spent. Rather than spending hour upon hour grinding through work that’s simply not necessary, we’ll instead be looking to have you train with the highest amount of intensity in one-third of the time it would normally take to complete a typical session.
While we are not discounting the reality that some people enjoy working out longer or downplaying the unique advantages longer training approaches may provide (greater endurance capacity, sports specific adaptations, feelings of accomplishment…), a good argument could nevertheless be made for short and intense training being a more efficient and effective way to maximize results.7, 8, 19, 22
Training in such a way can be time saving; easier on the joints and soft tissues; better for recovery and tissue healing; a good way to maximize the afterburn effect (by raising excess post-exercise oxygen consumption for up to 48 hours post-session, meaning more fat calories can ultimately be burned in a shorter period of time); and the best solution for those who want superior results, fast (it encourages us to train harder by reducing the likelihood of muscular fatigue, the rationale being that longer sessions use more nutritional resources while also creating greater inroads into recovery).
Indeed, it’s the last point that really sells short and intense training as a viable solution for those who want the best results in a timely fashion: by limiting rest and emphasizing intensity of effort, we stimulate the body to become larger and stronger, and we free up more time to rest and regenerate damaged tissues.
It’s been said that a lifter can train hard or long, but not in the same session (hard being relative to a specific training objective – in this case, building muscle and getting lean). The key variable here is intensity of effort. True intensity – where the body is pushed to the absolutely limit in hopes of thoroughly overloading a muscle – is seldom witnessed in most gyms. While most people do train hard, few summon the energy to go to complete muscular failure.
In fact, due to the massive amount of stress that’s placed on the body, such efforts are difficult to sustain for any more than 1-2 sets per movement (think multi Mr. Olympia Dorian Yates and his famed High Intensity workouts). While we are not advocating a strict Heavy-Duty approach to training (it’s not suitable or safe for all populations), we must concede to the fact that ultra-intense training completed over relatively short periods remains one of the most effective ways to achieve advanced body-transformation results (the workouts to follow are premised on such an approach).
- Antonio, J. (2013). et al. The effects of pre versus post workout supplementation of creatine monohydrate on body composition and strength. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 10:36
- Annuzzi, G. et al. (1991). Increased insulin‐stimulated glucose uptake by exercised human muscles one day after prolonged physical exercise. Eur J Clin Invest, 21: 6–12.
- Apro, W. et al. (2010). Influence of supplementation with branched-chain amino acids in combination with resistance exercise on p70S6 kinase phosphorylation in resting and exercising human skeletal muscle. Acta Physiol (Oxf). Nov;200(3):237-48.
- Blomstrand, E. et al. (2006). Branched-chain amino acids activate key enzymes in protein synthesis after physical exercise. J Nutr. Jan;136(1 Suppl):269S-73S.
- Borghouts, L. B. et al. (2000). Exercise and insulin sensitivity: a review. Int J Sports Med. Jan;21(1):1-12.
- Buford, T. W. (2007). et al. International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: creatine supplementation and exercise. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition4:6
- Campbell, L. et al. (2010). The effects of intermittent exercise on physiological outcomes in an obese population: continuous versus interval walking. Journal of sports science & medicine, 9(1), 24–30.
- Clark J. E. (2016). The impact of duration on effectiveness of exercise, the implication for periodization of training and goal setting for individuals who are overfat, a meta-analysis. Biology of sport, 33(4), 309–333.
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- Ispoglou, T., et al. (2011). Daily L-leucine supplementation in novice trainees during a 12-week weight training program. Int J Sports Physiol Perform. Mar;6(1):38-50.
- Jeukendrup, A. E. et al. (2004). Carbohydrate intake during exercise and performance. Jul-Aug;20(7-8):669-77.
- Knuiman, P. (2015). Glycogen availability and skeletal muscle adaptations with endurance and resistance exercise Nutr Metab (Lond). 12: 59.
- Kreider, R. B., Effects of creatine supplementation on performance and training adaptations. Mol Cell Biochem. 2003 Feb;244(1-2):89-94.
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- Lonnie, M. et al. (2018). Protein for Life: Review of Optimal Protein Intake, Sustainable Dietary Sources and the Effect on Appetite in Ageing Adults. Nutrients, 10(3), 360.
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