“The most effective exercise program is one that incorporates strength training and cardiovascular training coupled with sensible low-fat eating habits,” says Martin Lorenz Alido, senior coach of 360° Fitness Club in Quezon City.
Although aerobic exercise and dieting contribute to weight loss, Alido points out that the use of resistance, whether it’s lifting dumbbells or carrying our own body weight, is essential. “[W]ithout strength training, you’ll also lose lean body mass, which lowers your metabolism, so your body burns even less calories than when you started the diet in the first place,” Alido explains.
The workout utilizes eight moves that fall under four fitness focal points:
Core training increases endurance and stability; strengthen lower back muscles; and improves coordination of upper- and lower-body movements
Power exercises are intense and done at full speed, and excellent in fat burning. It’s defined by Alido as “the ability to exert maximum muscle force in the shortest amount of time (rate-of-force production). … [P]ower exercises recruit more muscle fibers—mainly fast-twitch fibers—more frequently which helps the fat-burning process. Recruiting your fast-twitch muscle fibers during your workouts will give you a [leaner], toned-looking body,” he explains.
Strength moves fire up your metabolism: The front squats strengthen the core and all major hip and thigh muscles; bent-over rows contribute to good posture; the deadlift helps improve balance and coordination; and push ups strengthen the upper body.
Finisher moves like jumping jacks are good for ending workouts according to Alido, because the calorie-burning continues and its intensity “will have a metabolic effect … boosting your metabolism for up to 24 hours after you've finished training.”
Expect to burn approximately 300 to 500 calories with Alido’s total-body workout. Done consistently three times a week on alternate days, you will see results in as little as four weeks, he estimates. All it takes is only 45 minutes or even less—depending on your fitness level and your recovery time between exercises—out of the 24 hours in your day.
Rest days in between workouts are important; it gives time for the muscles to recover and helps prevent injury. If muscles are overused, he explains, weight loss at a certain point will not occur due to plateau.
If you have diabetes, heart disease or any other medical condition, Alido recommends a medical evaluation and cardiac stress testing before beginning any exercise program.
The workout sequence
Warm-up for three to five minutes with jumping jacks or jogging in place then do all the eight exercises—core, power, strength, finisher—in the order shown over the next few pages. Cool down with stretches.
Do each exercise slowly and carefully. Alido, also known as “The Challenger” for motivating his clients to go further in their workouts, believes form must never be sacrificed and is the key to developing stronger muscles.
1. Lie on your left side with legs extended, right leg on top of left. Position yourself so your weight rests on your left forearm and the outside edge of your left foot. Your left elbow should be directly beneath your shoulder with your upper arm perpendicular to the floor. Place your right hand either on your right hip or left shoulder.
2. Lift your hips until your body is in a straight line from the neck to ankles. Hold the position for 30 seconds. Lower. Repeat the exercise on your right side. That’s one set. Do two sets for each side.
Rest for 30 seconds between sets.
1. Assume the push-up position while holding a dumbbell in each hand.
2. Pull the dumbbell in your right hand up close to your body. Pause then lower. Repeat the movement with your left hand. That’s one rep. Do two sets of 10 reps for each hand.
Rest for 30 seconds between sets.
1. Holding a kettlebell with both hands and in a squat-type base, bend your knees and move your shoulders forward so that your forearms are in contact with your inner thighs.
2. Drive the weight upward and out using the extension of your hips to move the load. Lower the kettlebell back to starting position. That’s one rep. Do two sets of five reps.
Rest for one or two minutes between sets.
Begin with Exercise 1A, rest long enough to catch your breath—about one to two minutes—then move on to Exercise 1B and rest for about a minute or two. Repeat this exercise-rest sequence until you have completed all sets for Exercise 1A and Exercise 1B. Afterwards, begin with Exercise 2A, rest long enough to catch your breath—about one to two minutes—then move on to Exercise 2B and rest for about a minute or two. Repeat this exercise-rest sequence until you have completed all sets for Exercise 2A and Exercise 2B.
1A - Dumbbell front squat
1. Place dumbbells on your shoulders by setting the flat ends onto your shoulders, keeping your thumbs down and palms facing in. Elbows should be held high and facing forward.
2. Keeping your torso as erect as possible, descend as far as you can while keeping heels flat on the floor. Return to starting position. Do two sets of 10 to 12 reps.
1B - Dumbbell bent-over row
1. Stand with knees slightly bent, back flat and hips back while holding dumbbells on your sides.
2. Lift dumbbells until they touch your lower rib cage. Return to starting position. Do two sets of 10 to 12 reps.
2A - Dumbell single-leg Romanian deadlift
1. Stand with feet together and hold a dumbbell in your right hand at your side or at arm’s length. Then, hinge at the hip as you bend your torso toward the floor and extend your right leg behind you.
2. Lower the weight toward the floor with your right arm hanging straight down from your shoulder. Your right arm and left leg should be perpendicular to the floor. Don’t hurry into this move; the key is to form a straight line. Remember that your left leg is working even though your right leg is moving. Also, you must feel the contraction in your left glute. Return to starting position. Switch dumbbell to your left hand. Repeat the exercise. That’s one rep. Do two sets of 10 to 12 reps per leg.
2B - Push up
1. Get into push-up position: arms straight down from your shoulders and perpendicular to the floor, feet close together, weight resting on your hands and toes, and your body is in a straight line from neck to ankles.
2. Lower your chest until it’s within an inch from the floor or your upper arms are even with your shoulder blades—whichever happens first. Then push back up to starting position. Do two sets of 10 to 12 reps.
Do this exercise based on this exercise-rest sequence: 15 seconds of doing the exercise and 15 seconds of rest. Do this for a total of eight rounds or four minutes.