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30-Day Summer Shape-Up Day 26: Increase Fat-Burning and Workout Efficacy With a Quick Morning Routine

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Now that you're coming to the end of your 30-Day Summer Shape Up, it's time to start looking at how to maintain your results once that challenge is over -- and the easiest way to do that is by building simple habits that will help you stay both strong and slim.

One of the most effective ways to build a habit is to do it every day, and that's what I want to share with you today.

What if there were something simple and effective you could do every day that would not only help you lose more fat, but would also increase strength, enhance feelings of well-being, and even make subsequent training more effective?

Of course, there IS something like that... or I wouldn't be wasting your time with rhetorical questions!

The method is simple, and in addition to increases your metabolism, it will prime your body for the entire day, getting you ready for all the things you're going to do later on.

Even better, it's something that only takes five to 10 minutes -- it's something I've developed called a Neural Wake-up Call.

The Neural Wake-up Call (or NWUC) is one of my favorite pieces of training awesomeness that I randomly stumbled across about seven years ago, and have been using with my coaching clients ever since

Here's how it works: You wake up, and you immediately perform a series of very basic exercises, all chosen to help you meet you goal. This is done the very first thing in the morning, before you brush your teeth! Heck, some of my clients do it before they use the bathroom. If you're the type of person that trains in the morning, you would do this before you hit the gym.

Why do a NWUC -- what does it do for you?

As it turns out, there are a host of benefits.

Firstly, there's the basic stuff: Doing some form of activity first thing in the morning obviously has some benefits in terms of boosting metabolism and helping you to burn some extra fat.

Which, of course, is high desirable -- but that alone wouldn't be enough.

However, there are a number of other benefits I love. One thing is that it "wakes up" your nervous system (I didn't call it a neural wake up call for nothing!), meaning that in addition to making you feel more energetic, it'll help to improve neurological efficiency of the movements performed.

Leading us to another reason to do it: reinforcing movement patterns. Since the Neural Wake-Up Call is performed every day, it serves as "practice" for the exercises you include in it.

When I design something like this for my clients, I use it as an opportunity to introduce them to new exercises and allow them to get better at them.

For example, let's say that I want my client to be able to perform a single leg squat, all the way to the bottom. If they've never done that movement, it makes NO SENSE for me to program it into their actual workout for that month... The first several workouts are just going to be learning the movement. In other words, they won't be "good" at the exercise yet, so they won't really get anything out of it.

Instead, I'll include a movement like this in the client's Neural Wake-up Call a month before I want to put it in their workout.

This allows the client to learn and master the movement in a sort of practice environment; by the time they need to use it in "game time conditions" (the workout), they have enough mastery and experience to actually get something out of it when it's in a training session.

Finally, the NWUC enhances recovery. By getting blood flowing first thing in the morning, you get extra nutrients to damaged tissue, helping you to recover faster, reduce soreness, and just make you feel better.

In short, all of this means that the NWUC is a 10-minute investment that will pay extreme dividends in terms of fat loss, training intensity, recovery, AND well-being -- and if that isn't enough to get you out of bed a few minutes early, I don't know what is!

Below, you'll find a an example of a Neural Wake-Up Call routine that I have used for my clients (and myself) to help learn beneficial exercises that they can include in their programs going forward.

Sample Neural Wake Up Call

A1) Left Leg Single Leg Squat -- 12 reps

Description: Extend your right leg, and using your LEFT leg, lower yourself (squat down) onto a bed, chair or other platform slowly. Once you hit the platform, stand up using your left leg.

A2) Right Leg Single Leg Squat -- 12 reps

Description: Extend your right leg, and using your RIGHT leg, lower yourself (squat down) onto a bed, chair or other platform slowly. Once you hit the platform, stand up using your right leg.

B) Alternating Lateral Lunges -- 8 each side (DEEP)

C) Push-up Hold -- 30 seconds

Description: In push-up position, hold at the lock out point for 30 seconds, keeping your abs braced.

D1) Left Bulgarian Split Squat Hold -- 30 seconds

Description: With your right leg on a chair/bench, hold the bottom position of a Bulgarian Split Squat. For the last five seconds, perform two- to three-inch "pulses."

D2) Left Leg Spiderman Lunge -- 6-8 reps

Description: From a push-up position, bring your left leg up toward the left side of your body, aiming to plant it near your left hand. Hold this position for two seconds; drive the groin downward to allow for optimal stretch.

E1) Right Bulgarian Split Squat Hold -- 30 seconds

Description: With your right leg on a chair/bench, hold the bottom position of a Bulgarian Split Squat. For the last five seconds, perform two- to three-inch "pulses."

E2) Right Leg Spiderman Lunge -- 6-8 reps

Description: From a push-up position, bring your left leg up toward the left side of your body, aiming to plant it near your left hand. Hold this positing for two seconds; drive the groin downward to allow for optimal stretch. Perform 6-8 reps.

Perform this entire thing once on training days, and twice on days you don't hit the weights.

By incorporating this every day, in you'll develop a habit that will allow you to maintain all of the benefits and results you've achieved during your 30-Day Summer Shape Up!

Missed It? You can still participate in the 30-Day Summer Shape Up:

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