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5 Small Gym Changes For Big Results


Ben Isaacs on the gym tweaks that will result in a chest of iron

You spend plenty of time in the gym, right? But you’re still doughy round the middle? A small change to each of your routines could make a huge improvement to the way you look. Shaun Stafford, a two-time world fitness champ, provides us with the tips we need to look like him. A bit. 

1. Ditch LISS for HIIT

“When you see most people slogging it out on the treadmill, they are is usually doing Low Intensity Steady State [LISS] cardio. It typically gets the heart rate up to about 60-65 per cent of your maximum, for 40 minutes to an hour. High Intensity Interval Training [HIIT] not only saves you time but it also burns more fat. Jump on a bike and power your legs as hard as you can for 10 seconds, before taking 5 seconds to recover. Do this 8-15 times in a row.”

2. Drop the weight

“It’s a mistake I see in every gym: people rushing through each rep, with a weight that is too heavy to control the range of motion or technique. Drop the weight and slow every rep down, squeezing the muscle at the peak of the move, and control back down through a full range of motion. This is the best way to stimulate the muscle you are trying to work and it reduces the risk of injury.”

Shaun Stafford

3. Start compounding

“Rather than focusing on single joint ‘isolation’ exercises, such as bicep curl, try swapping them for a big, multi-joint, compound move, such as a squat, deadlift, pull-up or bench press. Any exercise that uses more than one joint, and therefore more than one muscle, will have a higher metabolic impact.”

4. Get things in order

“Resistance training or free weights are better than cardio for burning fat and building lean muscle. This means you should attack the weights while you are fresh and save the cardio until the end of your workout.”

5. Take your time

“If you are lifting heavy weights, to improve strength at 1-5 reps, then rest periods of two minutes are needed. If you are working in the 6-12 rep range, that should drop to 60-90 seconds. If focusing on endurance, and your reps are 12-15+, then your rest periods need to be 60 seconds. This will keep your heart rate high, and will allow your workout to be more metabolically focused.”

Shaun Stafford is a director at City Athletic (cityathletic.co.uk) and an ambassador for Optimum Nutrition (optimumnutrition.com)

(Image: Gabriel Guzman for Optimum Nutrition)



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