Most of us hit the gym to get in shape, gain muscle and - yes - to look good. But follow this training regime and you'll also strengthen your organs and build bulletproof immunity to major illnesses
Words Brittany Kennedy Illustration Peter Crowther Associates
Working out is far more than just six-packs and showing off; it should leave you healthier, protect you from disease and generally make you happier. It should, in short, get you fit for life. And we mean for your life today, as well as investing in your physical state for the future. Research from the Harvard School of Public Health discovered that increasing your energy expenditure by just 1,000 calories per week can lower your risk of death from major illnesses by 20%. Which is a lot.
But there's more. By tailoring the style, structure, intensity and duration of your workouts, you can specifically strengthen your body's resistance to five of the biggest threats to your health and improve your overall wellbeing every time you hit the gym. Find out how (right) ,and then turn the page for a workout that builds all of these benefits into your lunch break training slot. It's the healthiest workout in the world. Can you afford not to do it?
1/LIFT BIG TO AVOID...
Smart men go heavy. The Alzheimer's Society reports a six-fold rise in the risk of developing the disease if you have high blood pressure and high cholesterol. while recent studies suggest regular exercise helps move LDL (bad cholesterol) from the blood to the liver. where it's expelled from the body. Brandeis University found that weightlifting circuits performed with a heavy load (6O% ofyour one-rep max and above) were the most effective exercise for boosting memory function.
2/RUN OFF YOUR RISK OF...
Regular vigorous aerobic activity cuts your chance of developing prostate cancer by 61%, according to a study by Harvard University. The research found that activities which multiply your resting metabolic rate by six, such as running, swimming, cycling, racket sports, rowing or high-Intensity circuits, create an Inhospitable environment for tumour growth. As an added bonus. they're not bad for shrinking your waistline, either.
3/PUSH YOURSELF TO DODGE...
Work hard against one of the fastest growing health concerns in the developed world. Research from the American Diabetes Association found a 46.3% increase in insulin efficiency when men lifted weights to the point of muscular exhaustion. that's because more fibres are recruited than during basic aerobic activity, allowing your body to better access and release glycogen stores. You should use 5O-8O% of your one-rep max weight and perform until failure.
4/START SLOW TO OUTSMART...
Warming up before working out is an investment in the future of your joints. A Nottingham University study found that you are 4.2 times more likely to develop osteoarthritis if you've had even a moderate injury to one of your joints. Warm-ups that include joint awareness, coordination and high-intensity upper and lower-body moves result in the greatest reduction in injury risk.
5/WORK MORE MUSCLES TO BEAT...
Exercising multiple muscle groups in one session maximises the oxygenated blood your heart needs. "The rhythmic contraction and expansion of arteries allows better dilation and more oxygen to get to the heart: says Professor Jonathan Myers of the Palo Alto Veterans Affairs Health System in California. Myers states that full-body exertion results in a 30% dip in C-reactive protein levels: a measurement used to predict your risk of coronary disease.
YOUR WORKOUT BEGINS HERE
This is the healthiest 45min of exercise you can do. By hitting all the major muscle groups, and working you hard, these three circuits-designed by fitness coach Olly Foster (thethirdspace.com)-will build muscle and burn fat while ticking off the full complement of life lengthening benefits.
But first, the warm-up
Prime your body with a 1,000m row. This will protect you from injuries and reduce your chances of arthritis, plus the coordination needed for rowing helps to cut your risk of Alzheimer's.
1. Lean forward with your arms straight and shins almost vertical. Press with your legs, lean back and pull with your arms.
2. Finish the stroke with your legs straight, upper arms by your torso and the handle at your abdomen.
You're going to push yourself to the point of failure at the start of your workout when you're strongest. Complete one set of each exercise in Circuit A with no rests. After the last exercise, rest for 60sec, then repeat the circuit twice more. Use heavier weights in the final set to maximise heart-strengthening potential.
PART A GUARD YOUR HEART
Start hard and fast with this gruelling disease- fighting circuit
1) Stand under a pull-up bar and reach up to grasp it with a shoulder-width, underhand grip.
2) Pull your body up until your neck is level with your hands, without allowing your body to swing. Then lower until your arms and shoulders are completely extended. Do as many as you can until failure.
1) Rest a barbell across your shoulders and assume a shoulder-width stance.
2) Bend your Knees while pushing your hips back and down. Stop when your thighs are parallel to the floor, then drive up to a standing position. Perform 8-12 reps using a weight you're comfortable with for safety.
|A3/Swiss ball dumbbell press
1) Lie on a Swiss ball and hold a pair of dumbbells either side of your chest with your palms facing forward.
2) With your elbows kept to the sides, press the weights up until your arms are fully extended. Lower them again slowly. Do 15 reps with as heavy a weight as is possible while maintaining good form.
1) With feet shoulder-width apart. squat down to grasp the dumbbells.
2) Rise up, keeping your back and arms straight, and pulling your shoulders
back at the top of the move. Return to the squat position and repeat 8-12 times. Use enough weight to make the final reps very difficult.
After the exertion of Circuit A, this series demands precise athletic movements which challenge brain function under duress. By this stage, the limited rest during the worKout will have taken you into the aerobic zone required to combat prostate cancer. Work hard and your health will bulk up.
PART B SLASH YOUR CANCER RISK
Maintain intensity, fire your neurons and put the squeeze onthe big C
|B1/Kettlebell press into calf extension
1) Hold a kettlebell at shoulder level. Dip your hips slightly and use the lift to help press the kettlebell up, rising onto tiptoes.
2) Hold for a second before lowering your heels and returning the kettlebell to starting position. Repeat 8-12 times and switch sides.
|B2/Bulgarian split squat with dumbbells
1) Carefully balancing with 8 set of dumbbells, lift your left foot onto a Step placed about two feet behind you.
2) Slowly bend your right knee and lower your thigh until it is almost parallel to the floor. Rise slowly back up. Perform 15 reps before
1) Mount parallel dip bars with straight arms, locking out to remain stable. Ensure your shoulders are directly above your hands and keep your hips straight below your torso throughout.
2) Bend your arms to slowly lower yourself until there is a 90-degree bend at the elbow, and push yourself backup until your arms are straight. Perform 8-12 reps.
|B4/Bent-over barbell row
1) Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Hold a bar with a wide, overhand grip and keep your back as straight as possible.
2) Slowly pull the bar to your upper waist without rounding your lower back, Pause, then lower the bar slowly to the start. Repeat 8-12 times.
PART C PROTECT YOUR JOINTS
Carve your core muscles, while preventing future injury, with this challenging finale
This final section worKs both as a warm-down for your larger muscle groups, to protect you from joint pain or injury, while also soaking up the last of your glycogen stores. Plus, it will chisel you some impressive six- piece armour plating to wrap around your new, healthier body.
|C1/Swiss ball knee tucks
1) Take up a press-up position with your ankles ona Swiss ball and your hands on the floor.
2) Maintain your balance as you use your feet to roll the ball into your body, stopping when your knees reach your chest. Slowly roll the ball back to the start and repeat 15 times.
|C2/Swiss ball crunches
1) Lie on a Swiss ball with your spine arched slightly backwards and your knees bent. Hold a weight on your chest with both hands.
2) Flex at the waist to raise your upper torso until you feel tension through your abs. Perform 15 reps.
|C3/Swiss ball plank
1) Rest your elbows on a Swiss ball. Keep your back straight and your feet wide for more stabitity, or closer for a greater challenge.
2) With your core engaged, hold the position for 30-60sec or until you can't maintain good form any longer.