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One of the most frustrating elements to exercise is knowing what to do.  You have the dedication to show up at the gym, but do you have the knowledge to know what to do when you get there?  

There is actually a bit of a science to building something that is both doable but will wear you out the way you want to be worn out.   So many different things come into play.  The equipment that you use versus body weight exercises.  Cardio versus weight training.  Do you work towards reps for time (RFT) or as many reps as possible (AMRAP) within a given time?  Does time even play a factor?  

A huge benefit in working out with a group of people is accountability.  If you slack off... people are watching you.   There is music in the room and an instructor to motivate you.  A big problem when working out at home is that there is no one to keep you motivated and hold you accountable.  You have to determine how you are motivated and what keeps you going.

Some tips...  

  1. Find a really great playlist on Spotify, station on Pandora, or make your own Playlist with a collection of sweet tunes
  2. Set some fatigue goals.  For example, you really want to tire out legs and upper back (Build a workout using: Squats, Dead Lifts, Lunges, Burpees, Rows, Reverse Fly)
  3. Set a time or a number of reps that you want to get in within your workout.  Easiest metric to measure is time.  "I have thirty minutes today and I really want to work up a sweat, so I cannot take long breaks".  So maybe you do 3 nine minute blocks (27 minutes of work). 

A key component to an effective workout is using compound moves. Compound moves engage multiple muscle groups, get your heart rate up and get you sweating quickly!

Compound moves involve movement in more than one joint.  Where a bicep curl only calls upon your elbow joint, a bicep curl to overhead press would involve both your elbow and shoulder joint.  A compound move.  When I build workouts, I like for each set to include what I call a "power" move or a super compound move.  A move that involves both lower body, core and upper body working together.  The best example of this would be a Thruster, the king of all moves and one that I LOVE.  In a thruster, you are working every last muscle, from your ankles to your wrists.

I would put together a set such as this...

1 minute per move - repeat 3x (9-minute set) catch your breath, but no breaks over 5 seconds.

  1. Jumping jacks/squat jacks 
  2. Thruster
  3. Overhead press or alternating arm, single arm overhead press

Dumbell clean and jerk or thruster heavy

This set is focusing on glutes/quads with the thrusters/squat jacks, core, and shoulders.  Next set may work some completely different muscles.  Jacks are a bit of a warm up move for the muscles you are going to be using, the second move is to really work up a sweat and get your heart rate up, the third move should bring your heart rate down a bit and just burn out a muscle group. Knocking out overhead presses after one minute of thrusters is HARD.  You will be ready and excited for that second round of jacks. 

I like to have timed sets.  The set described above is pushing you to get as many reps in within that one minute period.  When you know you have to do something for a given period of time it helps keep you motivated to keep pushing.  Alternatively... You could change this up a bit.  This one, seen below pushes you in a different way.  You are trying to get as many full sets in a given period of time. 

12 reps of each move - work for 9 minutes 

  • 12 Jacks
  • 12 Thrusters
  • 12 Overhead Press/Alternating single arm press 

With this particular workout... It takes no time to knock out 12 jacks, probably 30-45 seconds for the 12 thrusters and about the same for the overhead presses.  That said, you will likely get more full sets into your 9 minutes than you would in the first example.  However, it is hard to hold thrusters for a minute straight... they just push you differently. 

If you are REALLY looking to just wear yourself out... put together multiple compound/power moves. There is also a method to the madness below.

1 minute each move (five minutes) 3+ times through or until you are worn out.

  1. Wall Balls
  2. Slamballs
  3. Bosu Burpee
  4. Thruster
  5. KB Swings 

Pump the jam pump it up. 

Guest blogger Ivey Gaskin Baker, CFP® is the business development manager for a family owned asset management firm.  She has spent nine years teaching group fitness part-time in various studios across North Carolina from Appalachian State University to YMCA Charlotte.  Through Ivey Baker Fitness, she is now advocating wellness using various channels outside of the studio, teaching individuals how to exercise with minimal equipment out of their homes.

It is always recommended to consult with your physician before beginning a new exercise program.


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