If you want an amazing body, you need an amazing workout. Simple as that.
Your workout might be hard and intense, but is it really getting the best results? Does it match the goals you want to achieve and target every single aspect from strength and size gains to fat loss?
Sean Hyson, CSCS — training director for Men’s Fitness and Muscle & Fitness magazines — stops by to share some of his best tips on building the best workouts and the biggest mistakes guys make. We also chatted about his newest book 101 Best Workouts Of All Time and how it can help you transform your fitness.
What separates amazing workouts from mediocre ones?
Intelligent programming. Almost anybody—I mean anybody!—can write up a workout that leaves you tired and sweaty and sore. But it takes an education in exercise science and some real experience training to know how to create a program that yields impressive results. Especially over the long term.
What are some of the biggest mistakes people make in their workouts?
Doing too much volume. Choosing exercises that are easy or only using ones that they know they’re already good at. If you’ve got twice as many pushing exercises as pulling ones, or a lot more sets that hit your quads than your hamstrings, you’re going to end up out of balance and with injuries. And you don’t have to try to follow every trend at once or use every exercise you know in a week. Shorter, more basic workouts work best and you need to focus on one goal at a time.
What inspired you to create 101 Best Workouts Of All Time?
Fitness professionals are always asked, “What workout should I do?” Or “What are the best exercises?” The answer always depends on what equipment you have available, how long you’ve been working out, how much time you have to train, and what your goals are. We wanted to create a book that offered workout options for everyone, so we did. No matter where you find yourself or how impossible you might think it is to do the training you want in the time you have, we have a workout for you that will accomplish amazing things.
So it looks like Arnold Schwarzenegger gave your book a testimonial. Wow, praise from The Terminator…
Oh yeah! I’m very proud of that. When your fitness book raises Arnold Schwarzenegger’s eyebrows, you know you’ve got something special.
There are so many experts in this book: Who are some of the names that shared their best workouts?
I’ve prided myself on assembling a great stable of trainers over the years who contribute to Men’s Fitness and Muscle&Fitness. All of our experts have years of experience working with all kinds of clients, including many celebs and high-level athletes. 101 Best Workouts is a who’s who of great trainers Confitdent readers probably know well. Joe Dowdell, Ben Bruno, Jason Ferruggia, CJ Murphy, Jim “Smitty” Smith, Zach Even-Esh, Nick Tumminello, Lee Boyce… and the list goes on.
So it’s like having the top fitness experts as your personal trainer?
Exactly. You can pick and choose routines from the best minds in the business to create your own program. Honestly, these workouts could last you years and years.
But what if I only have 20 minutes?
No problem. We show you how to set up a workout that can be done in 20 minutes or even five minutes. We have cardio and weight routines—and cardio/weight routines!—that are doable anytime, anywhere.
What if I don’t have any equipment?
Body-weight training is very popular now and it works fine. We have four different full-body workouts alone, plus body-weight options for every part you can think of, including the butt! (Ladies like a strong ass.)
What if I’m new to lifting weights? How should I start?
Keep your reps fairly low—below 8—so you can learn good form. Doing high reps gives you more opportunity to get tired and let your form break down, which ingrains bad habits. Focus on getting stronger with just a few exercises and you’ll see the muscle pile up fast.
Your favorite workout:
Hahaha. They’re all my “children” so it’s hard to pick one. I like the one Arnold chose as his favorite, #80. It’s old-school bodybuilding at it’s best. Most of these workouts are very simple to follow and don’t take long—that’s how you know they work! If they were super complex, they’d be hiding something.