Fitness Guru Offers In Home Workout Routine

Work It Out!

The winter months can be tough, readers. We know you don’t have the energy or inclination to trudge to the gym. That’s why we asked Billy Polson for his advice. The Strong and Lean 12-Week Workout program and the founder and co-owner of DIAKADI Body personal training gym, which was voted the best personal training gym in San Francisco by CitySearch in 2006 and 2007.

A competitive swimmer and triathlete in his own right, Polson has over 15 years of experience working as a coach and trainer, and was named by Men’s Journal as one of the Top 100 Trainers in America in 2005. In 2006, the San Francisco Chronicle named him one of the Top 10 Trainers in the Bay Area. So, basically, Polson knows his shit.

Before we get into the groove, you should read what Polson had to say to our muscular editor (pictured)*.


Andrew Belonsky: What kind of kid were you? Were you scrawny, were you athletic?

Billy Polson: You know what, I was kind of in the middle. First off, my nick name – are you going to print this? – my nickname in high school was “Tuber,” because I had an inner-tube around my waste, so I guess you could say I was a fat kid in that way –

AB: That’s horrible!

BP: But I randomly played soccer and did a little recreational stuff. Then, in college, is when I came into my own. I started doing gymnastics and I was a cheerleader. So, that’s when I first learned how to correctly use my body for exercise, lifting and weight training and that kind of stuff.

AB: I see. So, how often do you work out now?

BP: Six days a week.

AB: What do you do on that 7th day? Do you go crazy?

BP: Ha! I say it’s six, but sometimes I do seven, but I guarantee myself six. The seventh day it is a little – by the end of the day I don’t feel good. I’m totally addicted to working out, I must admit.

AB: How long have you been a big fitness buff?

BP: Well, college is when I started working out. In terms of training folks, I started personal training eight years ago.

AB: Let me ask you – about – what’s the one thing that binds the thirteen things that you’ve laid out for our readers? Why are these all so essential?

BP: The main thing that I was trying to do was to keep everyone’s body moving and working in full ranges of motion and to keep your muscles awake without any equipment. It’s definitely not going to add muscle, but the maintenance of it and just keeping all your muscles awake will definitely help people survive the holidays without tightening up and their back bothering them. The second thing was to give people cardio. A lot of these routines are full body movement, so they have a cardio element to them and will combat all the extra calories that people are taking in while at home with mom. So, the cardio element and moving quickly through the exercises should give at least a little extra calorie burn.

AB: Here’s another question – I am a very heavy smoker – very –

BP: Okay.

AB: So, I like to do cardio, because, you know, I might as well do something good for my heart and all that, but my friend Anthony told me not to do cardio because I’m going to burn too many calories. One of my end goals – and possibly unattainable – is to gain muscle. I’m sort of spindly: a hobbledehoy. So, are these – the cardio in the program that you’ve laid forth – going to burn calories. Are there ways to do cardio without burning too many calories?

BP: Well, cardio’s always going to burn calories. Workouts are always going to burn calories. Walking is going to burn calories. The key is going to be – if you’re looking to add muscle mass to your body, the key to doing that is actually finding the balance of where your body is burning – what caloric level, basically your resting metabolism and eating more than you’re burning.

AB: How do you do that?

BP: First, get a metabolism test done. Most nutritionists will do that. It’s actually a breathing test that measures how much oxygen you’re taking in, how much carbon dioxide you’re putting out. Based on that, it can tell you exactly how many calories you’re burning. If you’re sat down in a chair all day long, it would tell you how many calories you burn. Based on that, if you exercise and burn 300 extra calories five days a week, you calculate that in and you average out over the week. Let’s say you burn 2000 calories a day and then you exercise everyday and you burn 300 extra calories. Everyday your bodies burning 2300 calories. So, that would mean that you need to be taking in more than 2300 calories in order to maintain or build muscle mass on top of that. So, that’s the first part of the answer. The second part of the answer is that if you are trying to – you’re just doing cardio for heart and health – you don’t want to do cardio every single work out. Maybe do cardio three times a week and do it maybe for 20 minutes and focus more of your time on muscle building exercises.

AB: What sort of stretching should somebody do before this sort of work out?

BP: What I tried to do in terms of the order I put the exercises in and the fact that most of them are full range of motion movement, they should actually take care of most of the stretching you should do before hand. The stuff that you’re starting with will slowly allow you to wake up and warm your body up. Have you ever heard of a foam roller?

AB: No.

BP: It’s the big white tube you see at the gym – they’re made out of foam. Those actually – basically those are a way to massage your muscles and work out all the kinks. It’s the closest you can come to having a massage therapist working on you without having the therapist. That’s the number one thing I recommend to use the foam roller. You can find them online, as well as millions of exercises in terms of stretching. It’s a much safer way to stretch and keep your muscles active and loose than just laying and stretching. It helps iron out a knot. It helps lengthen the muscles.

AB: So, what would you say is the greatest benefit you get from staying active.

BP: I just feel better everyday. I feel energetic, healthy, confident. It’s this rolling set of things that build on each other. I stand up straighter, I’m happier. It rolls into these emotional sides. It’s an emotional high. It’s not a chore.

AB: Do you think there would be less strife in this world if everybody went to the gym?

BP: [Laughs] How do I answer that? To quote Elle Wood from Legally Blonde: Exercising gives you endorphins and endorphins make you happy and happy people just don’t kill.”
Some Notes On The Workout:
This workout can be done just about anywhere that has a floor. Polson created this workout with the following goals in mind:
• Maintain or even improve your fitness level during the holidays

• Easy to do at home (all levels)

• Maintain your range of motion in your joints and your mobility.

• Work your core and stretch it as well in order to battle the lower back stiffness from car/plane rides.

To do the complete 13-exercise workout, you will need one small, inexpensive piece of portable equipment: tubes. You can buy these tubes very inexpensively online, and they easily fit in even the most overstuffed suitcase. The tubes will make a huge difference in any travel workout, because they allow you to mimic many of the exercises you do at the gym…

If you don’t have access to tubes, don’t worry about it — just skip the two tube-based exercises and do a circuit of 11 exercises.

The Workout Is a Circuit
This workout is in a circuit. That means you do one set of the recommended number of reps of each of the 13 exercises, and then return to the beginning and do a second circuit of all 13 exercises all over again.

Make This Circuit Workout a Cardio Workout by Doing Jumping Jacks/Jumping Rope:
To increase the difficulty of this exercise program and make it a cardio workout, you can jump rope or do basic jumping jacks between every exercise. Either jump rope for 100 jumps of the rope, or do 50 jumping jacks. If using rope, try double leg jumps, alternate single running jumps, repeating single leg hops on each leg, backwards jumping, speed double jumps, and so on to mix it up.

If you don’t want to do this cardio version of the workout, rest no more than 60 seconds between exercises.