These days, I’m looking for evidence. This evidence is collected from good quality data with ample population size, minimal bias, and reproducibility. The more I dive into my workouts, the more I want to know! I sometimes wish I majored in nutrition and sports science in college! More recently, I’ve been looking into workouts that give the best bang for the buck = shortest amount of time. I personally do NOT like spending an hour at the gym. I haven’t done that since residency almost 10 years ago. These days (and especially with COVID), I’m appreciating home workouts that are 30 minutes or less — but they must have maximum benefit. Additionally, the more I looked into science-based workouts… the more I found workouts catered toward men. This didn’t initially come to light until I read In The Flo where a big fundamental difference between men and women come down to hormones. This got me thinking…
Where can I find science-based workouts geared toward women that are effective?
Unfortunately, the LP is not the best time to be overeating. Progesterone independently promotes fat storage via its effects on lipoprotein lipase in fat tissue, and it decreases fatty acid concentrations in the blood, which can increase cravings for fatty foods. There’s also some (conflicting) evidence that insulin sensitivity may be slightly lower during the LP.
I’m currently on Week 8 of PWR at home by Kelsey Wells of BBG Sweat app. It’s a resistance/strength training program that’s 12 weeks long. I started it as soon as I got the thumbs up from the OB to workout again post-partum. I started with PWR at home beginner then moved my way to the PWR at Home 1.0. It’s a great workout to be able to do at home while the kids nap. The program is divided into chest/triceps, arms and abs, legs, back and shoulders. Basically, the goal is to do 5 resistance workouts/week with 3 LISS workouts and 1 HIIT. Well, in a busy world, it’s tough to fit in 5x/wk workouts.
So, it got me thinking and researching: What are the best evidence-based workouts out there?
Being a science-driven person (thank you med school!), I dug into the science looking for journal articles and browsing the thoughts of experts in the field. Here is what I found….
PWR at Home from BBG/Sweat is a Bro-Split program: Training each muscle at least 2x/week results in significantly greater muscle growth than training each muscle just once per week as you do in a bro-split. The main drawback of the bro split: it focuses on one muscle group on each day of the week. Training muscles more than once a week can cause significantly greater hypertrophy.
Fierce from BBG/Sweat appears to be a fullbody workout 3x/wk.
Just know that workout volume and consistency are the most important factors, so focus on those two variables and you will see positive results regardless of the split you use.
2 sets, 8-15 reps, want to go to failure. Little rest as possible bt sets and exercises.
Dumbbell Lateral Raise
Barbell Bench Press
The more I started reading about strength training, the more I came across articles and blogs about CALISTHENICS. I’m still a bit confused as to what it is, but it seems like the gist of it is to use your own bodyweight and for full body exercises that can be done anywhere.
High to Low Chest Cable Flies: 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps
Dumbbell frog pump- 2 sets, 30 reps, 8 RPE
Sledgehammer Swings x 30-60 seconds each side/Oak Tree Stepouts x 30-60 seconds each side
Banded Pulldowns x 30-60 seconds
Plank Punchouts x 30-60 seconds/Plank Pushaways x 30-60 seconds
Kris Home Workout Full Body C (with abs and glutes)
TransparentLabs.com: The Best Science-Based Workout Routine For BeginnersWorkout Instructions: Perform 12-15 reps Use weights that create fatigue, but not to create failure, (if you can’t complete 12-15 reps, reduce your weight). Complete one set of each exercise, moving from the first to the second, to the third, etc. Transition to the next exercise without a break
I’m four weeks postpartum. Back at work full time. The First week completed with Alexia Clark!! It was a great workout!! For the most part, I stuck to the home 30 minute workouts. When I had extra time, I did the home 60 minute workouts. I am NOT disappointed. It’s great that she incorporates full body exercises and her workouts keep my heart rate up (despite what my heart rate watch says!). Update to follow…
Three months have flown by since Arden was born. I started doing Classpass about a month ago to get back into pilates. During my experimentation with Classpass, I found barre classes to be quite tough and intriguing. From the various barre studios around me, I found Studio Barre to be fun, encouraging, girlie, and upbeat. For a good cardio burn, both Cycle Bar and 9 Round were great at keeping my heart rate up!
In about a week and a half, I have to go back to work. Right now, I have mixed feelings about this as I’ve enjoyed my time with Arden. I think the first week will be tough. It’ll be the first time I’ve been away from her for any length of time. Our hospital did a roll out of Epic, which is an electronic medical record — I’m nervous as this will be my first time using it when I go back. I haven’t given an anesthetic in 3 months… this means I need to dust off the cobwebs and put my thinking cap back on. I can only imagine I will be drained with the early mornings and late nights and plenty of mental stimulation. It will be a different kind of tired vs. child-induced tired.
I want to put myself in the best place to handle these stresses. Despite my current passes at my various studios, I will need a home workout to do when I can’t get out of work in time. This led me down a rabbit hole last night of searching for various home workouts and reviews.
I’ve done plenty of home workouts as evidenced here and I appreciate everything it provides. However, how do you keep the workouts fresh and non-repetitive? The P90X series is awesome for a tough cardio and sculpting workout in 30 minutes with great results. But there’s only so many times I can do the same exercises over and over again. Then, I went to Sweat/BBG by Kayla Itsines. This app/workout program got me wedding dress ready in 3 months! This was a fabulous workout that had plenty of cardio, jumps, squats, upper/low/full body, weights, etc. But I had the same problem of repeating workouts. I was getting great results, but I couldn’t stay motivated to do the same workouts over and over again.
Searching for a constantly changing workout regimen led me to Alexia Clark. There was just a little bit on her website describing her workouts, but I wanted more info.
After reviewing all this information, I decided Alexia Clark’s program is the way to go. My classpass/barre pass ends at the end of May. I’m pulling the trigger to start Alexia Clark on June 1. My husband watched a bit of the review video with me and says he would start with me. Now how’s that for motivation?
And this nifty little macro calculator was just what I needed to help me get my diet on track.
Do you have any recommendations or workout programs I should check out?
For someone who is always on the go or doesn’t have a ton of time to drive across town and head to the gym to compete with everyone for workout machines/weights…. the DVD home plan is a great option! But, there’s so many products out there!! Ultimately, you have to find what works best for you and what goal you’re trying to meet. If you want easy (meaning, you follow the nutrition plan and workout plan stated and can put a DVD into a DVD player), Beachbody products are the EASIEST, no-nonsense way to a great workout!! If you’re one who wants bulk and definition, P90X is incredibly successful! If you like dances and miss your cheerleader days, Turbo Jam and Turbofire are terrific!! If you want pure cardio to build endurance, Insanity and Turbofire are your best bets.
Timeout! There’s too many options already…. you’re giving me a headache!
Beachbody DVD workout breakdown:
For the beginner:
P90. This is one of the first videos in the Beachbody mega-workout library from Tony Horton. It’s a low impact solid workout that alternates cardio andsculpting with ab work. It’s relatively short 30-45min and will make you sweat. The reason why it’s for beginners…it teaches you basic form and is low impact. It’s a great way to get that initial calorie burn to be able to step up your workouts!
TurboJam. This workout has positive energy and great dancing routines! You’ll forget that you’re actually working out, but don’t worry…you will sweat and lose goo! Chalene Johnson is the mastermind behind this workout.
Now to step up your game!!
Turbofire: This is a killer CARDIO workout (there are a couple of sculpting DVDs as part of the deluxe set). It has “routines” that you will need to learn first, but do not worry b/c Chalene does a great job of breaking down the set so you can get the moves. If it’s still too fast, there’s an option on the DVD (New to Class) that will breakdown everything so learning the moves doesn’t get in the way of a great calorie burn. This workout incorporates High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) where you keep your heart rate up for a maximal time and take smaller, shorter breaks for maximal benefits in a shorter time. The DVD titles include the length of time for the workouts and range from 15 min to 1 hour. It’s a high-impact great workout!
Insanity. This is the ultimate cardio workout that will knock you on your booty! The warmup is incredibly challenging!! This is not a workout for the faint of heart! Shaun will bust you all throughout the workout if you’re not giving it your all. You’ll notice that some of the participants in the DVD are struggling to keep up and give it 100%. But, that’s the nature of this workout. I think it’s kind of like a bootcamp (in a good way). Shaun will push you past your limits… maybe it’s likened to a short marathon. This is extremely high-impact and based on HIIT physiology. Most of the workouts are 30-45minutes.
Chalean Extreme: Chalene adds her positivity and great energy to this full body sculpting workout. This is an outstanding workout!! You will see results in as little as 2 weeks if you follow Chalene’s workout and nutrition guide. The workouts are shorter (roughly 30 minutes) but incorporate upper and lower body combination exercises for maximal benefit. One of my faves!
P90X: The ultimate workout. Tony Horton did his homework when he created this workout plan. It will get you in the most incredible shape of your life! Just follow Tony’s eating plan and workout plan and you cannot go wrong! Workouts are roughly 1 hour. It includes both cardio and weight training that’s scheduled according to Tony’s workout guidebook. If I was looking for something guaranteed to sculpt and lean me up…. this would be my go-to program. Hands down.
BEST OF BOTH WORLDS
P90X3: This has been my favorite workout yet! It’s packed with total body cardio and weights all in a 30 minute session. Tony pushes you through arms, legs, core, everything…from head to toe!! He does a fantastic job of using all your muscles and cardio to get you great results. The beautiful thing: it’s only 30 minutes. But it’ll be a grueling, sweat-producing, bodyaching 30 minutes that will make you wonder how you could’ve ever spent more than an hour at the gym or studio. It’s a beautiful thing that both yoga and pilates are incorporated as well. This is my go-to morning workout bc I feel so much better when I’ve tackled my workout and can better tackle my day without the excuse of being tired or busy in the evening.
Now that you have the breakdown of the DVDs that I enjoy, what is the best workout program? The best workout program is one you will STICK WITH and continue to do!! Everyone’s situation will be different. Think about your situation and how you will get the most out of the time you have. I’m extremely busy, so I need a workout that will give me the most in the shortest amount of time. 30min to 1hour is a doable time frame for me…but in that time, I want maximum sweat potential.
So, by doing these DVDs at home:
I can wear whatever I want
I remove the drive to and from the gym
I remove time wasted on waiting for equipment to become available
I actually decrease my germ-exposure (not everyone wipes down their gym equipment!).
I’m not spending $40-80/mo on a gym membership (these DVDs are fairly inexpensive compared to the annual expense of gym membership).
These are all terrific benefits…for me. When I get bored of doing these workouts, I simply change up my routine by going for a run, yoga/pilates, golfing, or playing a round of tennis…just something different (Class Pass or Wild Fire)!
Key things to consider when starting a workout program:
Get the ok from your doctor that you’re ready for the increased activity
Have adequate equipment (shoes, towel, water, etc.)
Stick to the nutrition plan (this is key!)
Schedule your workout and do it (try an AM workout!)
If you fall off the wagon… don’t worry, get back on. It’s never too late!
Find a workout buddy to hold each other accountable
Can’t find a local buddy? Try blogging or twitter… there’s tons of people out there who are going through your same situation, workout, etc.