This is the time of year when you're looking for a revamped workout program, or want to start a brand new one from the beginning. But what you really want with your fitness resolutions is results – and results as fast as possible.
That’s the idea behind Black Fire, a 60-day online fitness program created by The Biggest Loser trainer Bob Harper. It’s filled with short, dynamic, high-intensity workouts complete with a nutrition plan. You can almost think of it as CrossFit, but without the sometimes-scary Olympic lifting barbell moves.
“Let me tell you, I’m a CrossFitter. I drank the Kool-Aid. I do it. But what I wanted to bring to people was bringing the fear factor down,” Harper said while hosting a workout session with Daily Burn at CrossFit Solace in New York City. “So what I did with these workouts was a lot of metabolic conditioning. Let’s get that heart rate going. But also add some sort of resistance because I think resistance training is one of the most important things you can do working out.”
The draw for Black Fire is that you keep score for everything. You keep a score card with you and jot down reps for each exercise as you go. The most difficult part of the workout is remembering to count. The scoring system ensures two critical things: that you can accurately and consistently track your progress and, more importantly, that you’re always competing against only yourself.
I took the opportunity to try one of Harper’s Black Fire workouts and afterward got some time to talk to the renowned trainer about how we can all meet, and keep, our 2015 fitness goals.
Start with your diet
"The first thing you are going to have to do is focus on your diet," Harper says. "You cannot get the abs that you want in the gym alone. That workout has got to be in the kitchen. That’s why I like my workouts here. Guys need to not be afraid of working harder for a shorter amount of time."
Don’t be afraid to go heavy
"Guys are still thinking 'I’m going to go into the gym for two hours and bust it out,'" says Harper. "But you can do half the amount of time and be way more effective. Go push hard. If today is the day that you’re going to be doing squats and you’re doing six sets of eight, I’d say do three sets of 15. Heavy. Pound it out.
I want those reps, especially the last one, to be the biggest struggle of your day. Get to the part that gets really hard real fast. Of course I want you warmed up. I want technique to be everything but don’t be afraid to lift heavy."
Suck it up
"I’ve been talking to a lot about people being sore. To me, it’s an excuse," says Harper. "People are always looking for an excuse not to go work out. It’s like, ‘Bob, I’m really sore. I don’t want to work out. What do I do?’ Do you want to know what I would tell them to do? I would tell them to suck it up. We’re all sore. I’m sore right now.
You have to go through it. There’s a difference between being sore and injured. I’m not telling people to go work through an injury. But I am telling you that you are naturally going to be sore. Make sure that you’re staying hydrated and maybe adding some anti-inflammatory to your diet. But don’t let that soreness be an excuse for you to not work out."