Equipment-Free Workout! ‘Punchy Likes To Squat’

22 07 2009

Try this one out at home or anywhere you have a few feet of space to work with. Seriously, you could do this one in a phone booth (do those even exist anymore?):

Take up an orthodox boxing stance; left foot forward, feet shoulder width apart, weight evenly distributed between the ball of your back foot and your front foot, abs tight, hands up, chin down (but look up).

Throw a 1-2 combination; fire your left lead hand first, followed by your right rear hand. Breathe out with every punch and twist your body. Remember, your hip, knee, and toe all need to be pointing in the direction of your target so this means you’re really going to have to rotate those hips (which makes this a fantastic exercise for trimming your waist line, among other things).

After your 1-2, perform 2 striker’s squats. Weight on the heel of the front foot and on the ball of the back foot, back straight, abs tight, looking forward (I like to pick a spot on the wall and focus on that). Bend your knees and squat down as low as your comfortably can.

After your two squats, throw 4 straight punches. Lead hand – rear hand – lead hand – rear hand, keeping in mind the same things from the 1-2. As the workout goes, you’ll just keep adding 1-2s together.

Now perform 2 more striker’s squats, then 6 straight punches. Then 2 more squats, and 8 straight punches. Keep going all the way up, in increments of 2, until you get to 20. Then, come back down in increments of 2.

Now here’s the fun part: switch to a southpaw stance and do the whole thing again. To form a proper southpaw stance, just do everything from your orthodox stance in reverse. It will be humbling to your ego to throw punches (or do most everyday tasks this way) but that is why we do it. Don’t let your ego chase you away from doing something because you’re not good at it the first time out. If you really want to do your body and mind a favour, start this drill with your non-dominant side. The ability to throw a good, hard punch from any stance, or in any position is something that everybody should carry with them and hope that they never have to use.

If this is too much for you, just scale it back. Work your way up to 10 punches and back. If you know what you’re doing, mix in some of your other strikes: uppercuts, hooks, palm heel strikes, hammer fists, elbows, knees! String them together in different combos to keep it interesting for yourself.

Be sure to shake out your legs afterward and do a little running in place, or a few jumping jacks just to help cycle out the lactic acid that you’ll have built up from doing those squats.

Here’s another helpful tip: keep some water close by. It’s super important to stay hydrated while you train. Adding a pinch of sun dried sea salt to your water will also help with your hydration, and it’ll make your water taste great – just don’t use too much!


Band Training: One Arm Chest Fly

1 05 2009

Our band training series continues. If you haven’t bought your bands yet, go DO IT! Seriously, for less than 50 bucks you’ll have a total body gym that you can take with you anywhere. And as long as you keep checking out this blog, you’ll never run out of ideas for how to use ’em!

Another Tough Plank Variation

30 04 2009

This exercise is most certainly not for everyone. But, if you’ve got a super strong core and are confident in your overall fitness level, try it out with some decent-sized weights.

Jon’s Personal Workouts

21 04 2009

I often get asked about what I do during my own workouts, so I thought I’d take some time and space here to shed some light on it. As with my clients, my philosophy is to train for health and function first, and aesthetics will come after that (no, there’s nothing wrong with wanting washboard abs and big biceps, it’s just important to look beneath the surface in your quest for them). The other thing I’m a stickler for in my training is FUN. I have always enjoyed working out, but have really hated gyms. Bicep curl machines and treadmills just don’t do it for me. I consider myself pretty disciplined when it comes to fitness, but I couldn’t run on a treadmill everyday. It’s too boring, and there’s no real mental stimulation there for me. I just couldn’t do it.

With The Body Temple, Alayna and I tried to create the type of environment that we would love to workout in ourselves. That environment didn’t really exist elsewhere, so we had to create it. I look at our equipment as fitness toys, and when it’s time to train, that’s playtime!

So let’s get down to the actual workouts. First off, it’s a rarity if I go a full hour with my training. Most workouts are about half an hour to forty minutes, with little rest as I go. By keeping the intensity high, you can get a lot more out of shorter workouts. You’ll be breathing heavy, sweating, feeling a little weak-legged, but the advantage is that after you’re done, you’re done. None of this going and ‘lifting’ for an hour, then hitting a treadmill or elyptical for 45 minutes. That seems like madness to me, and that way of training never yielded the results I wanted. When I hear people boasting about spending 2 hours + at the gym, I have some real questions about what they’re actually doing in there (unless they’re a serious athlete).

The next thing I focus on is doing big movements that get as much of the body involved as possible. Stuff like squats, pull-ups, burpess, and push up variations. This taxes my body much faster than isolating one muscle at a time, and my body gets the benefit of learning how to function as a whole. Isolation training simply won’t provide you with that benefit.

As far as structure goes, sometimes I’ll set up circuits. A sample circuit may look something like:

10 Bulgarian bag thrusters

10 push ups

10 pull ups

10 knees to elbows

1o kettlebell swings

10 rounds of that with as little rest as possible, and when Ido rest, I make sure to do it in between rounds.

Other days I like to do what I call a ‘stay busy’ workout. For these, I’ll set up the interval timer with either 12 three minute rounds, or 5 five minute rounds. The whole gym is up for grabs, and my only requirement is that I stay busy. So, I’ll swing a sledge hammer, do some laps on the monkey bars, plank with weight transfer, slug it out with the floor bag, do band work; whatever I feel like doing, I do. When the round is up, no matter where I’m at in the workout, I stop and bring my heart rate down and just rest. I’ll sip on either water or coconut water. Never sports drinks like Gatorade. These workouts are usually my favourite because they’re as fun as you want them to be. It’s in the middle of these that I come up with some of my coolest training ideas.

Other days I’ll focus on more traditional lifts like bench and squat, and we’ll go pretty heavy on those days. Those, however, do not make up the bulk of my training. The rest of my exercise comes from working with clients. Trust me, holding the focus mitts for a talented striker (or even a not-so-talented one) for a few five minute rounds is a crazy workout all by itself!

None of the stuff I do is really all that hardcore, and the beautiful part about The Body Temple is that we can set up workouts for any fitness levels. From the super unfit, to the elite athlete, this place has a little something for everyone. If you think it’s too much for you, think again.

The next time you’re at the gym, doing your usual routine, ask yourself if what you’re doing is truly challenging your body. I’ve had more than one client come in here and tell me that they’re not used to sweating so much when they train. Push yourself!

You, and only you, have to suffer through the pain of tough training; but you, and only you, get to reap all the rewards. An investment in your own health is one that no one on Bay Street or Wall Street can ever take away from you. The government can’t foreclose on your body. Keeping yourself fit, agile and healthy is the ultimate way to prepare yourself to handle anything that the future may hold.

A healthy human body is an amazing gift. Don’t squander it.

Bikini Bodies Part 1 – The Moves: Heel Reaches

10 04 2009

Check out Alayna demonstrating one of the exercises from her Bikini Bodies Part 1 – Heel Reaches: