If you’re familiar with the classic business technique, 80/20 analysis, then you know its goal is to make you focus on the 20% of things you can do to reap 80% of your gains. In other words, it forces you to focus on the largest impact drivers in achieving the desired goals. This method can be used in virtually anything and it really should be if you are trying to consistently get better, smarter, more profitable,…etc.
How can we use this analysis for fitness? More specifically, how can we look great for the beach or pool? For the last 5 years, my fitness focus has been on efficiency. I am obsessed with getting the most out of my workout with as little time as possible. I’ve used this method to grow muscle size very quickly and usually within a 30 minute workout a few days a week. I’ve also used this method to maintain size during prolonged time away from the gym like vacation.
So what is the 80/20 analysis of getting a summer body? Well, a lot depends on what shape you are in from the start. Someone who is a little pudgy will have different priorities than someone who struggles with putting on weight. For the purpose of simplicity, let’s assume the client we’re training is out of shape and on the pudgy side.
The first thing the client should do is to concentrate on the diet. We want to shred down the body fat to a healthy looking level. The simplest diet regimen I give clients is this: No carbs, added sugar, diary, or alcohol. This essentially boils down to meat and vegetables. This may sound hardcore, and that’s because it is. We have a short amount of time to get the client in shape so we want to maximize gains as much as possible. If you don’t want to be this hardcore or your goals aren’t as urgent, then I would say limit the four things I listed above.
The next priority is to get to the gym at least four days a week. Again, this depends on your urgency. Four days a week is fairly conservative if the client has a high level of urgency. These four days are focused on weight training and the muscle groups to focus on are chest, abs, shoulders, back and arms. Aka the beach muscles. Here are the exercises I will have the client doing:
- Bench Press
- Inclined Dumbbell Press
- Machine or Cable Fly’s
- Declined Sit Ups
- Straight Leg Raises
- This exercise may need some explaining. Most ab exercises only focus on the upper abs. With this exercise, we are targeting the lower abs. This sets apart the men from the boys. To do this, lay flat on any workout bench on your back. Grab the bench portion under your head with your hands. Then while keeping your legs straight, lift them up to a 90 degree angle then back down to just below the level of the bench. That’s one repetition.
- Barbell Shoulder Press
- Dumbbell Side Shoulder Raises
- By keeping your arms extended with the dumbbells starting at the sides of your waist, lift the weights up until your arms make a 180 degree angle across your body.
- Dumbbell Side Shoulder Raises
- Barbell Shoulder Press
- IMPORTANT: Only perform deadlifts if you’ve had proper training or if you have an experience lifter with you. It’s easy to hurt yourself with bad form here.
- Seated Row Machine
- Barbell Bicep Curls
- Cable Triceps Extensions
- Use ropes and/or a V – bar
That covers the lifting portion. The schedule of what areas to lift is ultimately up to the client. That is not as crucial as doing the lifts themselves. For each weighted exercise, it’s important to lift heavy. Find a weight that forces you to fail by the 8th repetition. This is the most important step for muscle growth. Lifting until failure then holding it for about 5 seconds is the most important step in the muscle growth process. If you are not pushing yourself then gains will be slow. That’s where they get the saying, “No pain, no gain.” For the body weight exercises like pushups and pull ups, incorporate the same lift until failure method, but have no repetition limits. For exercises like these, the client should be trying to do as many of the lifts as possible, until failure. Your goal should be to do all of you day’s lifts within 40 minutes. If you’re doing more than 40 minutes than you must not be lifting to failure or taking too much rest in between lifts. If you follow the ‘lift until failure’ method, you should be burnt out by 40 or even 30 minutes into the workout. Look at working out as trying to burn your muscles out as quickly as you can. And the client can achieve this by lifting until failure and trying to push through that failure.
You may think that these are just beach muscles. If you’re wondering that you need to re-read the title because that is our goal here. Lifting for overall wellbeing is much different than lifting for a beach day that’s a month away.
In addition to the weight training days, the client will do two days of cardio. One of the cardio days should be strictly running. The other cardio day is more flexible and could be playing a sport, going for a bike ride, going on a hike, and so on. Find a way to sweat and get your heartrate up for the second day of cardio. But also feel free to run as well.
If you stick to this structured workout, then there is no doubt the client will see some significant gains in just a few weeks. It is hard work, but not when you stop and realize that the client is only lifting for 40 minutes max, then it becomes less of a burden. You’ll not only see gains in the mirror, but more importantly you’ll feel the gains you made and realize the confidence you have with your shirt off.
Feel free to reach out to me with any questions. Best of luck.