One of my goals for 2017 was to start exercising regularly.
Not hard, mind you, just regularly.
Trim Healthy Mama has made my mind and body feel better than I have in years, but to be honest, I got a little burnt out by cooking too many complex meals (and desserts!) and constantly making sure that my meal was an S, or E, or FP. Trim Healthy Mama really works, but I wanted a break from it while still continuing my health and fitness journey.
I actually got started working a out a little before the new year, the day after Thanksgiving, doing the 12-week Shortcut to Size Program. I haven't written a full review of it yet, but it's in the works, complete with pictures, measurements, and tons of helpful tips for this awesome free workout program.
But now that I'm done with Shortcut to Size, I've decided to start it's (harder) sister program: Shortcut to Shred. It is free as well, but it's half as long – 6 weeks – and much harder!
Quick Intro to Jim Stoppani's Shortcut to Shred:
Designed by Dr. Jim Stoppani, the nerd of the fitness world, Shortcut to Shred is an intense, six-week training program that claims to help you torch fat, built muscle, and boost your strength. The workouts are built on reverse linear periodization, cardio acceleration, and a precise three-phase nutrition plan. And yes, it's free.
First up, Cardio Acceleration:
Cardio Acceleration has been proven to fire up your fat-burning furnace, because it combines High intensity cardio with resistance training. Instead of resting between lifts, you do cardio between every single set. Cardio replaces your rest periods.
Doing this small amount of cardio might seem strange, but over the course of the workout, those short bursts will add up to 20-30 minutes of high-intensity intervals per workout, and those minutes will burn far more fat than the same time spent running or walking like in traditional cardio exercises.
Second, Strength Training:
Periodization, the training system, calls for changes in the number of reps, and the weight of what you're lifting each week. This is one of the best techniques for increasing muscle strength and size. It's also the method Shortcut to Size was based off of , and I saw signiicant muscle gains and fat losses during that program, so I have no reason to believe that it won't work during Shred as well!
Third, The Program:
Now, this is where I'm making changes. Shortcut to Shred is BRUTAL. It calls for 6 workouts per week, working each muscle group 2 times per week. During the first 3 workouts, I'll train with multi-joint exercises, and the second 3 workouts I'll train single-joint exercises.
Now, because I don't have time (or the stamina) to run a 90-minute workout marathon 6 days a week, I'm going to do at least 4, possibly 5 workouts per week. This will put my program at 8-9 weeks, although I'm shooting for 8. In reading a lot of review and looking at results from this workout, I'm finding that lot of people do fewer workouts, eat right, and still see amazing results. Also, I know my limits and if I try to and push myself to do 6 workouts per week and can't, I'll get frustrated and quit, so I'm sticking with what I KNOW I can do.
Now, for my thoughts:
During Shortcut to Size, I lifted lots and lots of weight. I went from squatting #0 to #100 consistently. And, while I only lost 10 pounds during the 12 weeks, I also lost 8% body fat and so many inches. But, more to the point: during Size, I rested between reps, generally 30 to 60 seconds, depending upon how hard the exercise was, how heavy I lifted, and how many reps there were.
Shortcut to Shred flips that training mentality on its head, and instead of resting between reps, you do 30-90 seconds of HIIT such as running in place, kettlebell swings, running stairs, jumping jacks, plyo squats, etc.
If you don't know what HIIT is, it is High Intensity Interval Training designed to skyrocket your heart rate and work your body really hard for short bursts of time. Some call this type of training Tabata training, but the methodology remains the same. Science has shown that giving 100% of your effort for short bursts of time not only burns more fat in less time, it increases your strength and afterburn far more than doing traditional cardio alone.
But it's hard.
In Shortcut to Shred I'll be going from heavy lifting straight into HIIT and then right back into lifting.
There is no rest.
And the workouts take about 90 minutes each.
But that's why I did Shortcut to Size first, before doing Shred. I hadn't been working out at all, and was so weak and out of shape that there would have been no chance of me completing Shred without getting frustrated and giving up. So I took on the easier program first, and am now attempting the harder program!
Now, a word about diet:
There is a diet that accompanies Shortcut to Size, and to be honest, it's brutal. You're supposed to really focus on protein, eating between 1 – 1.5 grams of protein for every pound of body weight. And trying to cram all 200+ grams of protein in an 8-hour Intermittent Fasting window? Yeah, it's insane.
But you'll never be hungry, and if you can stick with it, you'll be eating cleaner than ever, eating more than ever, and dropping weight like there's no tomorrow.
The app has helpful sample meals plans that should work for many body weights and types. If you like discipline, this meal plan and workout regimen is for you.
But that doesn't mean it's easy. Your body will feel like you ran a marathon, mentally, it will be a struggle, but with big effort you get big rewards (or so they say).
I started Shortcut to Shred on 4/14, but then took a few days off for Easter, so I'm writing this intro post now, and a Week #1 wrap-up post will be coming soon!
In the meantime, you can check out the Shortcut To Shred overview, download the free PDF, or even get started with the app.
Stay tuned for the Week #1 updated, and my results post when I've made it through!
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