Strategize Your Workout


After a long and awesome kick-boxing class, I realized that this is happening more and more throughout the gyms everywhere - multitasking your workouts. Americans have gotten so used to multitasking on the daily routines: operating a vehicle, cell phone to their ear, coffee in their hand, trying to have a simultaneous conversation with a clerk lady through the drive-thru window. It's insane how much brain power we need to fuel two conversations at once and think about which road we are going to turn on next or which train we need to catch. So, why not apply the same concept when it comes to toning your body?

We strategize throughout the day without even realizing it ... how to get the most value out of the least amount of time. We want to accomplish so much in a day and still have the energy to come home and be able to cook dinner, talk to our significant others/roommates or/and friends.

Multitasking usually keeps you fired up throughout the day, but you may be drained by the evening. You might think a lot gets done when you multitask, but a study conducted by Stanford researchers Eyal Ophir, Clifford Nass and Anthony Wagner says it isn't so.

The researchers are still studying whether chronic media multitaskers are born with an inability to concentrate or are damaging their cognitive control by willingly taking in so much at once. But they're convinced the minds of multitaskers are not working as well as they could.

"When they're in situations where there are multiple sources of information coming from the external world or emerging out of memory, they're not able to filter out what's not relevant to their current goal," said Wagner, an associate professor of psychology. "That failure to filter means they're slowed down by that irrelevant information."

So even though when it comes to texting, reading a book, watching TV and trying to pay attention to a conversation might be a bad idea, when it comes to exercising, it's beneficial to multitask throughout your workout. The multitask workout includes the moves that combine muscles in the upper body and lower body simultaneously, while putting you a little off-balance for core strengthening. Then you can add cardio intervals between moves for a total body workout.

These moves will cut your work-out time in half.

1) Leg Lunges and Bicep Curls

Start with 15 right leg lunges forward (be sure to step far in front, landing heel-then-toe and keeping the right knee directly over the ankle as you lower.) It becomes a multi-tasker by adding front bicep curls when you come back to a standing position. Use weights heavy enough for you to feel challenged after 15 reps. Keep your abs tight. Lower the weights as you lunge forward again.

2) Leg Lunges and Tricep French Press

Do 15 left leg lunges forward while lifting one or two heavy weights overhead into a tricep french press. You do this by bringing your weights together overhead and bending the elbows. The weight is now behind your neck. Lunge forward. As you bring the left leg back to stand tall, lift the weight back overhead by extending the elbows. Be sure to keep the arms right next to your head and elbows pointing forward, not out to the sides.

3) Plea Squat Shoulder Press

Assume a plea squat position by standing with feet wider than shoulder width apart and toes pointed out to the sides. Bend knees at a 90 degree angle so that your knees are directly over the heels and your waist is almost at knee level. Engage your abs, start a shoulder overhead press with the weights in your hands, palms facing forward, in line with your ears. Straighten the elbows and press weights to the ceiling as you straighten the legs. Bring weights back down and end at your ear level, as you squat back toward the floor, taking care not to bounce weights into your shoulders. Do the plea squat shoulder press for 15 reps.

Do one minute of jumping jacks or simulated jump rope between each numbered move. Repeat 1-3 for a total of 3 sets. You will work quads, glutes, triceps, biceps, shoulders, inner thighs and abs.

4) Outer-Thigh Lift and a One-Arm-Outside Bicep Curl

The first move is an outer-thigh lift and a one-arm-outside bicep curl. Balance on your right leg, lift the left straight leg to the side, this gets the hip abductor working.

At the same time, lift the right hand holding a heavy weight to the side for an outside bicep curl. Feel the abs engage. Do 15 reps and repeat on the other side.

5) Upperback, Abs and Outerthighs

The next move works upperback, abs and outerthighs. Get down on your hands and knees. Use medium-sized weights and balance on them. Lift your right arm out to the side while lifting your bent left leg out to the left side (we call this the hydrant, get it?).

Do 15 this way, then switch and lift the left arm and right leg at the same time. Notice how your abs have to contract as you lift.

6) Bench Press

Finally, lay on your back with heavy weights in your hands, elbows bent at 90 degrees. Align your wrists directly over your elbow, getting ready for a bench press. (Your arms should look like goal posts.) You'll simply straighten the arms to lift the weights towards the sky, and then bend the elbows back to 90 degrees, keeping the wrists above the elbows. At the same time.

Bend the legs and put your feet flat on the floor. As you lift the weights for a chest press, you will engage your glutes, quads and abdominals to lift the hips as high as you can off the floor. Lower hips and hands at the same time. Do 15 reps.

Finish with another set of jumping jacks or jump rope!

You can really get creative and strategize your workout to fit your needs. If you have your own favorite upper body exercises, mix them in with you not-so-favorite lower body moves, so the good will offset the bad. By the end of the workout, you might realize you actually LIKE what you didn't before. Your brain will not be so focused on the not-so-favorite while you are mixing in the fun moves.

Have a blast!