“If you look in the mirror and you don’t want the body you see, you will actually be attracting more of what you don’t want. If you want great body, you need to think about having a great body.”
When I began working with Amanda (a super busy corporate executive and mother of 4) to design an exercise program to go with her new approach to nutrition I discovered that what she’d been doing before coming to see me was to concentrate on aerobic exercise for ninety minutes a day, seven days a week, while she spent only one session a week on strength training.
Amanda had been obsessed with the elliptical cross-trainer to the point where one day she was on it for so long that it actually rebelled by blowing a fuse. Amanda is far from unique in her obsession with cardio training. Go to any large gym any day of the week, and you’ll find the cardio machines occupied by people who are there when you begin your workout and still there when you finish.
What I was able to teach Amanda is exactly what I’ll be teaching you in this manual: spending hours on the cross trainer, treadmill, or stair-climber, will never get you in shape. You need to do a combination of strength and cardiovascular training, for a reasonable amount of time, and your strength training always needs to precede the cardio segment of your workout.
Shift Your Perspective on Fitness
What I’m asking you to do is no different from what I asked Amanda. I want you to consider fitness from a new perspective. Instead of mere body consciousness, I’m asking you to approach fitness from the point of view of mind and body consciousness.
This is what I call mindful fitness or InnerFitness®. It is the only way to achieve what you truly desire.
If you go to the gym and turn off your brain while your body performs a routine, you’ll be gaining only half the benefit of what you’re doing. Being aware of where you are and what you’re doing at every moment means that you are not only concentrating on the exercise being performed but also remembering the purpose of doing it. Perform every movement and every set of every exercise as if your life depended on it. By remaining mindful of what you’re doing and why you’re doing it, your routine will be not simply goal-oriented but process-oriented; in other words you’ll be moving from “doing” to “being.” So, the most important thing you can do for your body as you begin the exercise program in this manual is to keep your mind present and focused. Since your body takes its instructions from your mind, a lack of focus results in a lack of effectiveness. And when you make each moment of your workout mindful, you’ll spend less time at the gym because you’re getting more out of every exercise.
Seek Quality, Not Quantity
One of the first questions clients always ask me is, “How much is enough?” And my answer is always the same: “Spending more time working out is not necessarily better.” The key is to do the right routine with the right amount of focus and intensity. That ought to be really good news if you’ve been using the number one excuse for not exercising: “I don’t have enough time!”
Throughout my entire career as a pro-athlete, I never worked my body for more than an hour a day, and even then I split my workout into two 30-minute sessions. The program I’m offering you here requires only 24 minutes a day, 5 days a week, of focused and effective exercise.
When it comes to exercise there’s a scientific reasoning why more isn’t necessary better. Cortisol is used by the body to break down muscle protein for energy, and cortisol levels begin to rise after about an hour of training. Since you don’t want to break down muscle tissue, and you don’t want to stress your body by raising your cortisol levels, you shouldn’t work out for more than an hour at a time.
In addition, research has shown that working at greater intensity for a shorter period of time is more beneficial for fat loss than working longer at lower intensity for a longer period of time.
The purpose of the 12/12/x 5 Workout Plan is to keep yourself moving by taking only short breaks between exercises. You’ll be working your body aerobically while still challenging your strength, which will maximize fat loss and increase your muscle tone. You could spend a lot more time in the gym chatting and socializing, but that would only make your workout less rather than more effective.
How Does it Work?
Like my nutrition plan, it’s as easy as 1,2,3!
- Do 12 minutes of upper-body (chest, back, shoulders, triceps, biceps, upper abs and waist) strength training followed by 12 minutes of cardio training on days 1 and 4.
- Do 12 minutes of lower-body (quads, glutes, hamstrings, adductors, abductors, calves, lower abs and waist) strength training followed by 12 minutes of cardio training on day 2 and 5.
- Do 24 minutes of cardio training only on day 3.
Simple Schedule (book it in your calendar):
Day 1: 12 minutes upper body strength training + 12 minutes cardio training
Day 2: 12 minutes lower body strength training + 12 minutes cardio training
Day 3: 24 minutes cardio training only
Day 4: 12 minutes upper body strength training + 12 minutes cardio training
Day 5: 12 minutes lower body strength training + 12 minutes cardio training
Day 6 & 7: Rest!
Be Mindful Before You Begin
One of the most effective tools I can give you for getting the most out of your exercise program is to do what I always did when I was training for competition. Before you begin each session, visualize each moment. Actually see your joints moving and your muscles working. See yourself completing the session with perfect form. By doing that, you are imprinting the movements on your subconscious, and your body will seek to replicate what you have created in your mind.
Now visualize how you look when you’ve achieved the body you want to have. See your muscles chiseled and strong. See you waistline slim. Concentrate on your success in order to create the same sense of excitement and the energy you felt when you first dis- covered your true core desire.
The next 24 minutes are going to be all about you, so begin by focusing positively on yourself.
Warm Up Your Body Along with Your Mind
Just as you “ warm up” your mind with visualization before you begin to workout, you need to warm up your muscles so that they’re prepared to perform the tasks you’ll be asking of them. You can do this by walking in place while swinging your arms or, if you’re in a gym, using any cardio machine, such as the treadmill, set at a moderate pace for five minutes.
Warming up allows your heart rate to increase gradually and produces the blood flow required by your muscles during exercise. Working out without the proper warm-up can lead to unnecessary injuries.
Excerpt of Avtar Exercise Plan: The Ultimate 24- Minutes Strength & Cardio Workout Plan
Nordine is an internationally acclaimed high-performance coach and wellness expert, bestselling author of Mind Over Body and Keynote Speaker fluent in English, French and Italian. He developed and led the revolutionary fitness program at Miraval Resort, a world-class destination spa in Tucson, Arizona for 10 years where he conducted over 10,000 individual coaching sessions with celebrities, high-performance athletes and executives.