Workout Styles

There are a few decisions to make when planning your workouts.  First of all, it is helpful to know how often you will be exercising, to determine which muscles to target in each workout.  One option is a full body workout that will incorporate most major muscles.  This workout style is ideal if you’re beginning an exercise program and/or not working out daily (as it gives the muscles a chance to recover).  Another option is to split your workouts into upper body (chest, back, shoulders and arms) and lower body (quadriceps, hamstrings and calves).  This allows you to workout several days in a row by only focusing on a few muscle groups at a time.  There are other variations of a body part split routine, such as a three-day split (e.g. legs, chest & back, and shoulders, arms & abs).

Once you have chosen which muscle groups you are targeting, you need to choose your workout style.  Below are a series of different styles that focus on different goals, including strength and cardiovascular conditioning.  You will see that some workouts are time-based, which can be ideal if you are in a rush.  It is a good idea to vary the type of workout style you choose every so often, to avoid plateaus and boredom and to continue making gains and challenging your muscles.

Workout Styles:

5-Rep Challenge

For the 5-Rep Challenge, you pick an exercise that you can do drop sets with (i.e. decreasing weight/difficulty). Next, you pick a certain number of reps, which will be your goal on each set.  For each set that you undertake, you must achieve your rep goal (i.e. 5 reps).  If you achieve your rep goal, mark down a check mark in your fitness log. If you get less than your goal, your set doesn't count. You move through the sets, doing the required number of reps. You progress to an easier weight when you can no longer achieve the rep goal, or if you are getting tired and decide to move down voluntarily.  See as an example.

Accelerated Results (AR 7)

With this workout style, you choose three exercises and perform seven sets with 7 reps each, followed by six sets with 6 reps each, followed by five sets with 5 reps each.  Our variation is to do this circuit-style, rather than completing one exercise before moving onto the next.

Circuit Training

Circuit Training involves any number of exercises that you choose, most commonly between five and eight.  You complete one set of each chosen exercise as a series, rest, and then typically repeat for a total of three circuits. 


With this workout style, you perform two or three exercises back-to-back in a mini-circuit, followed by a short period of rest. You repeat the sequence three times, before moving onto the next group of exercises. This is an example of super-setting an exercise by performing back-to-back movements with little to no rest.


With a countdown workout you can choose any number of exercises and reps.  For example, with a 300 Countdown workout, you can choose 5 exercises.  Then you complete 100, 80, 60, 40 and 20 reps of those chosen exercises (i.e. adding up to 300 total reps). The goal is to do each exercise with as few sets as possible. You can either focus on finishing one exercise at a time, or switch between them (this may allow for shorter rest periods).  You may wish to reserve the harder exercises for the smaller rep goals – i.e. 20 reps.

Density Training

Density workouts incorporate the idea of super-setting exercises (i.e. back-to-back activities). The way we do our density training is by picking 10 exercises, then dividing them into five pairs. You then alternate between those two exercises in a pair, performing them for five continuous minutes. At that point, you have earned a two minute rest. Then repeat. With this style, you can do a full, very intense workout in 33 minutes (excluding any rest period post-workout).

We should note that you need to modify the number of repetitions you do in your density training, to avoid burning out in any one set. For example, if I can normally do 10 reps each for exercises A and B, I will only do 5 at a time so that I can keep going back and forth, with minimal to no rest, for a full five minutes

Fight Gone Bad (FGB)

An FGB workout is a very intense circuit of five exercises, performed for one minute each, with no rest in between. There is one minute rest in between each circuit (i.e. after five minutes of work).  The FGB style mimics the pace and rhythm of a UFC mixed martial arts fight, where fighters will go through five minute rounds with only one minute rest in between.  You can perform an FGB workout for three rounds (17 minutes total excluding rest post-workout), or do a more challenging champion’s version for five rounds (29 minutes total).

Interval Training

Interval training alternates high-intensity bursts of work, interspersed with periods of low-intensity training or rest to allow for some level of recovery.  The high-intensity interval should be performed at or close to maximum exertion (e.g. sprints between jogging/walking breaks).  This type of training involves cardiovascular conditioning and can also be applied to many sports like running, biking and rowing. Tabata-training is a particular example of interval training (see Tabata Training below).  In our experience, interval training is much more efficient and effective than steady-state cardio (e.g. jogging) for fat loss and cardiovascular conditioning.

Tabata Training

Tabata-style training was developed by Izumi Tabata for high-performance Olympic athletes to improve their aerobic capacity.  It generally involves 6 different exercises that can either have a strength or cardiovascular focus.  One interval consists of 20 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated 8 times (for a total of 4 minutes). You then take 2 minutes of rest and repeat with the next 5 exercises.  The entire program is completed in 34 minutes, plus any final rest needed.              

Timed Training

Timed training is similar to Tabata, in that you select certain activity and rest periods, interspersed with each other.  However, this type of training can be applied more creatively.  We have tried various timings, such as 40 seconds of exercise and 20 seconds of rest.  Play around with different combinations to challenge yourself and determine your favourite time patterns.

Traditional (Bodybuilding Style) Training

Traditional training typically involves choosing five to eight exercises and then completing one at a time.  Each exercise usually includes two to three sets (with lots of rest between each set), followed by more rest before moving onto the next exercise. In our experience, this style of training takes significantly more time per workout, which can be explained by the longer rest periods between sets.