by Markus Bender

Fitness means something a little different to everyone. For me fitness means a lifestyle. However, by either doing too little or too much, balance in life is something few people seem to master. I don't live to workout, I workout to live! Because of this approach, I feel and look great at 50. Fitness should not be complicated. Fitness should be a simplistic part of your daily life.  

Ask yourself two questions • When you get on an escalator do you just stand there or do you walk up?  • Do you like to park close to things or do you purposely park farther away and walk?  

Putting that extra effort in little things throughout the day make a significant difference in being fit.  Let’s start with the greatest age “reverser” on the planet. Weight training! I'm convinced of its impact for two core reasons. One, strong toned muscles make you look great on the outside, but most importantly, it also makes you feel great on the inside!  Two, it is a huge preventative measure combating degenerative bone disease (Osteoporosis). I discovered early in my training that less is more and that by not following the “normal” rule of spending hours in the gym I maximized my benefits. The great news is that you too can gain these benefits in less than nine minutes a day.
My 'Bend the Rules' approach to weight training is not easy, but it is short, effective and practical. Who has the time to spend on a long workout? I know I don't, but I know everyone can find nine minutes a day for an effective workout. 

My guiding principle is to train only one muscle group a day by doing four sets, focus on basic movements, the foundation of strength training. For example, if you are working on your chest then bench presses, push-ups or flies are your best movement choices. Make sure you know how to implement each movement properly. Each set should be performed to reach total muscle fatigue. Reaching muscle fatigue releases creatine, a necessary element in building muscle mass.

Whatever muscle group you are working that day, the following steps are the keys to your success. Start with an initial light warm up of a dozen reps just to get some blood flowing to your joints. Your workout should begin with the heaviest weight  and decreasing the weight after each set. Between each set a 30-second rest is mandatory. If you are looking to pack on the muscle, choose the heaviest weight with which you can perform six to eight reps without strain.

Reasons to train only one muscle group a day:
• Provides focus for intense workout for optimal muscle growth • Keep your workout short to keep you hungry for the next workout • Training each muscle group once a week gives it the right amount of rest to avoid over training • Muscle doesn't build up a resistance to being tore down • Practical & Realistic.

Most people want to do more, but it is important that you don't. Leave th gym knowing that you did what you needed to do for that day looking forward to tomorrow's workout. Remember, it's all about consistency and not about how many hours you spent at the gym. No matter what, keep on exercising day after day, week after week, and year after year. 

Keys of the 'Bend the Rules' workout:
• Work one muscle group per day • Do four sets total • In descending order start with your heaviest  • Push muscle to  total exhaustion in every set • Rest 30 seconds between sets