Fat Loss Warm Up Structure

How to Stop YEARS of DOOM with This 10 Minute ‘Trick’

I say ‘trick’ very very lightly. You see, you should be doing this on every single workout. And I don’t mean swapping cardio for metabolic resistance training. Or alternating free weights with barbells.

In fact it’s much simpler than that. It should be routine. But it’s not.

Far too many people miss out this essential part of a workout and more often than not never return to normal.

By normal I mean before the injury.

Look, if you’re not doing this then I suggest you start yesterday.

What am I talking about?

Warm Ups.

There are plenty of reasons people choose to miss the warm up out. Lack of time, not appreciating the power of a properly structured warm up (more on that in a second) or just plain laziness.

I know, it’s not a trick at all. If you were someone that always played sport in school you probably had it hammered into your head from a young age that you must doing a warm up before any sort of physical exercise.

Some people don’t do any warm up’s while others will take a half hearted attempt at warming up.

In a way, if you’re someone who falls into either of the two categories above, it’s not really your fault. I mean, all it takes is a simple search on Google, to see how many conflicting pieces of advice there are.

Some say running on a treadmill for 5-10 minutes is good enough before you start your workout. Some say, use a lighter weight on the exercises you will be doing in your main workout and increase the weight as your body warms up.

Others say no static stretching.

What the heck are you meant to follow?

It’s not just in warming up that you’ll see conflicting theories. It’s rife in the fitness industry. An unknown ‘scientist’ in the middle of the Himalayas will release his research to the world and everyone jumps on the bandwagon forgetting everything that was said in the past.

It happens all the time. Which is one of the main reasons why so many people find it hard to ‘lose weight’ (burn fat).

Time after time, people will follow the shiny new object and never actually see results, and in this case do more harm than good.

If you don’t warm up, you will not only put yourself at a massively high risk of injury, but you’ll also be potentially killing your fat loss efforts.

Think about it this way, you don’t warm up before you workout, and then one day you get a ‘twinge’ in your shoulder after completing a set of presses.

You think nothing of it and continue to do the same workouts without any prior warm up. Eventually things are going to go a bit ‘Pete Tong’ (wrong!).

You will end up with an injury.

You then go to the doctors and he tells you to take it easy for a while. Just do some light cardio he says.

‘Just do some light cardio’ says the Doctor….Yeah, if you want to GAIN weight. 

Before you know it, your workouts are less effective (much less effective of course) and your weight starts to pile back on again.

Even worse, you put more weight on than you previously had. YIKES!

All that super effective metabolic resistance training you have been doing for months, has made your body go into starvation mode when you jump back on the ‘light cardio’, causing you to eat more, exercise less effectively and ultimately look worse than you did before you started.

What a waste of time.

All because you couldn’t do a simple 10 minute warm up before every workout?

Not worth it.

Warm Up Injury Cycle

Okay, so I think you get the point now, but why do we actually need to warm up.

 

Back in my early days as a kids football (soccer!) coach, I remember another coach saying he had overheard one of the academy coaches at the football club saying that he doesn’t do warm ups.

“How many kids under the age of 12 do you see pulling up with a hamstring injury?”

‘Great point’…I remember thinking.

So off I went on my little research geeky mode and it hit me. How wrong was that academy coach? Yes, he had a very good point. Not many under 12’s pull up with any injuries let alone a hamstring one, HOWEVER he missed one VITAL ingredient.

The psychological aspects of a warm up.

Physiological factors play a massive role in both kids AND adults. We’re all humans at the end of the day.

From that day forward nearly ALL my sessions, both with kids and adults, across various sports stressed the importance of the psychological factors in a warm up (and in sport / fitness in general)

When you warm up, you get focused. When you get in the ‘zone’ you become unbeatable. It’s a good time to mentally prepare yourself by clearing your mind, reviewing your skils and movements and how your going to get to where you want to be. Ie. The end of the workout.

Another technique that I use with the kids I work with is mental imagery. It has helped me immensely in my own life.

I get the kids to close their eyes and think about their task in hand – whether that be simply kicking the ball or more complex movements such as individual skills. You can do the same thing with specific exercise movements – you’ll be amazed at how well it works. 

Never underestimate the psychological factors of a warm up.

Obviously, as well as the mental benefits of a warm there are also the physical benefits.

This should really go without saying, but for the purpose of this post, and  the fact there are so many mainstream fitness magazines out there trying to convince you of other things, here are some of the physical benefits of a warm up;

  1. Increases blood temperature – The increase in body temperature will reduce the likely hoods of any muscle and tissue injuries. A ‘cold’ body is far more susceptible to injuries
  2. Improve flexibility: Increased Range of Motion (ROM) and flexibility will greatly reduce the risk of injury – especially for exercises such as dumbbell flies. 
  3. Increase fat burning & Hormonal Changes: Elizabeth Quinn over at About.com says your body will increase the amount of hormone production which is directly responsible for energy. As you warm up, your hormones make more carbs and fatty acids available for energy production.

 

There are of course plenty of other benefits to warming up but I think you get the point that we should ALL be spending 5-10 minutes warming up before each and every workout.

So what’s next?

Well, creating your warm up of course.

I think it’s important to talk quickly about the length of duration of a warm up. If you’re an elite performer then spending 20-30 minutes warming up isn’t uncommon.

Most of you who are reading this are NOT elite performers. You just simple want to stay fit and healthy and avoid injury. Whether that’s in fat loss, bodybuilding or any lower level participation within a sport.

So with that in mind, you need to be realistic with yourself. Do you really need to spend 20-30 minutes warming up?

I wouldn’t. However we don’t want to spend too little time either.  What I’ve found is depending on the activity you’re about to undertake a warm up lasting anywhere between 5-10 minutes will be enough.

If your workout / training session involves lifting heavy weights, lots of reps (over the whole workout) and maybe has some explosive power exercises in there as well, then I would say you’ll need to aim for the top end of 10 minutes warming up.

However, on the other end of the scale if you’re just about to perform a short high intensity bodyweight workout (such as those found within Home Workout Revolution) then aiming for a warm up in the 5 or 6 minute region will be enough.

 

With that said here are the key components for a properly structured warm up.

General Warm Up

Start with whole body and compound movements. Bodyweight squats, push ups and more ‘cardio’ specific movements such as jumping jacks and mountain climbers are the sorts of exercises you can use here.

For those of you who are at a slightly higher level than a beginner, you can incorporate other movements into your general exercises.

Take the push up for example. To add an extra movement you could perform the push up as normal, and once you reach the starting position again open up your chest and activate your upper back muscles by lifting your left arm up, opening your body up to the left, balancing your weight on your right hand. Make sure you raise your hand as far up as possible to engage the back muscles. Then repeat again after the next push up, but this time using your right arm.  

20-30 seconds per exercise repeated 2-3 times.

Stretching

This is where there are A LOT of conflicting theories. Some say dynamic stretching only, some say only static, and some say both.

The different between the two is that dynamic stretching is opening and stretching the muscle under movement whereas static stretching is where a stretch is held for a period of time, like holding it for 30 seconds for example.

I would recommend you do both depending on your circumstance.

If you feel as if there’s muscle that hasn’t quite been stretched out in the general warm and it still doesn’t after using a dynamic stretch then it may need 20-30 seconds static stretch to open it up. You may even want to use a foam roller here, but I would generally wait until the end of a workout to get that bad boy out. 

Be sure to focus on the muscles you will using within your workouts.

Workout Specific

After you’ve done your general warm up and dynamic stretching it’s time to move onto specific exercises. This is where we will be warming the muscles up we will be using in workout. So for example if our workout comprises of performing a chest press, then it would be highly beneficial to warm the chest muscles up.

 

Once you have those 3 or 4 areas done you’ll be more than ready to do your workout. Again anywhere between 5-10 minutes is enough for fat loss workouts, however any less than that, and in some cases none at all will increase the probability of you picking up an injury.

Pick up and injury and you can kiss goodbye to work you’ve done over the last few weeks, and potentially, if serious enough waste years of training.

Again, everyone should already know most of the physical benefits a warm up gives us, but many people underestimate the psychological factors of a warm up.

Warming up before your workout will allow your brain to get in-sync (NOT NSYNC!) with your body and consequently help you stay motivated.

In the end the intensity and legth of the wartm up will depend on the specifics of the main workout. Be sure to warm up individual ‘body parts’ as well. Stay related to the workout your about to do, stay within the 5-10 minute time frame and add in a little bit of specific stretching and you’ll be all good to tear the roof of the building with a super effective workout. 

Go out and tear that roof down my friend. 

 

Take Care, Keep Focused, Stay FRESH!

Chris

ps…..Not a treadmill in sight 😉 

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