I've had a few people ask me about working out and fitness lately (summer must be just around the corner), so I thought I'd share the workout plan I've been using for the past couple of months as it's been extremely effective and requires very little time investment. The regimen is based around a little known study that was conducted at Colorado State University during the 70's. Tim Ferris, author of Four Hour Work Week, distilled the experiment down and provided a simple, easy to apply routine.
The first, and best, part of this workout is that it only requires two 30 minute visits to the gym each week. Each visit is comprised of a full body workout, as it is important to incorporate as many of the large muscle groups as possible (especially the legs) in order to illicit a maximum hormonal response, which helps to build muscle and burn fat. To further boost the number of muscles used, only compound exercises are performed. Another key to this plan is to use a very low cadence when lifting – 5 seconds in each direction. This will help to increase the amount of negative resistance placed on the muscles which is where a lot of the growth response comes from. It should be noted that if you are already working out and start doing this plan, you will probably need to drop the amount of weight you're used to lifting; don't worry, the strength gains will come very quickly. For mass gains, wait about 3 minutes between exercises; for toning and fat loss, rest about 30 seconds between exercises. Finally, only do one set of each exercise, to failure (should shoot for ~10 reps).
Here is a typical workout (after warming up for 5-10 minutes):
* Squats (if you're not comfortable doing squats, leg presses would be an acceptable substitute, although not as complete)
* Chest (e.g. incline, regular or decline bench. flyes, etc)
* Outer Back (e.g. lat pulldowns, wide-grip rows, etc.)
* Shoulders (shoulder press or raises)
* Inner Back (seated rows, bent over rows)
* If you've still got energy at this point (I rarely do), you could do one more chest/tri (flyes, dips)
To further speed fat loss, a couple light-medium cardio sessions a week could be added. Eating is always plays a role in fat loss/muscle gain. I had very good results following the guidelines in the Abs Diet; a slow carb would probably be effective, as well.
In the 2-3 months I've been doing the plan I've seen substantial gains (and my eating has been far from perfect). I've lost at least 3-4% body fat and added well over an inch to my chest and legs (a lot of my dress shirts are too tight across the chest, now). To successfully monitor progress, I would recommend keeping a journal of each workout (amount of weight, reps, etc).