Master fitness trainer Michael Shaw says the benefits include burning more calories in less time, increasing your strength, building more muscle, maximizing your efficiency and improving flexibility.

All right, imagine having your whole week carefully planned out. You schedule two days off this week. You plan on doing specific exercises working individual parts of your body as instructed to you by your personal trainer or coach. Your brother agreed to watch the kids a couple days this week, and overall you’re feeling pretty good about everything.

And then life happens. You’re called into work due to emergencies and have to re-schedule those days off. You realize you won’t have all those days to do those exercises you planned, and your brother gives you a rain date to watch the kids, because he got called out of town.

What will you do? Well, in my world scenarios like this are pretty common. I look at it as a reason to re-shape your week now that life has reared its ugly head into your best laid plans. One great way to do your exercises in this scenario and others is to do a total body workout.

I absolutely love total body workouts and have used them with many of my clients over the years. The benefits are practically praise-worthy: 1) you burn more calories in less time; 2) increase your strength; 3) build more muscle; 4) maximize your efficiency, and get better flexibility to name a few.

So what does this sort of workout look like? Well here’s a good example of one:

Stability ball squats – three sets of 12-15 reps (place a stability behind you on a wall in the small of your back and press against it as you squat down and return to standing position.

Cable flys – three sets of 12-15 (place a handle grip at eye level on either side of you on a universal machine, bring the handles toward your center while squeezing your chest muscles and then release and repeat.

Seated row – three sets of 12-15 (sit on a seated row machine, lean back at 45 degrees and bring the handle grip towards your navel, squeeze your lats once you’ve brought the handle to your navel, release it and then repeat it.

Lateral raises with resistance bands – three sets of 12-15 (grab two medium-large sized resistance bands and step into them individually on your right and left sides, bring them up to shoulder height, release, and then repeat.)

Standing calf raises – three sets of 25 reps (place a barbell or bodybar behind your neck and do standing calf raise in a complete range of motion)

Lying leg raises – three sets of 15-18 (lie on a mat on your back, place your hands under you, straighten out your legs, and raise your legs to 90 degrees, then slowly lower them, and repeat the entire movement just before your heels touch the floor).

There will be limited rest periods between the exercises (roughly about 45 seconds). The volume in repetitions and short rest periods will aid the body during the workout. When you’re doing these exercises (which can include multiple muscle groups) you also want to make sure you’re still allowing post-workout muscle rest (about 48 hours) before resuming an exercise hitting the same particular muscle group.

Another great reason to do these total body workouts is a love/hate relationship many have with their local gym. For those of you who view exercise as torture, total body workouts generally go by quickly if they’re prepared properly. They can be engaging and exciting. If you have any questions about the workouts I listed or total body workouts in general please contact me.

So, the question I get after enlightening someone on the joys of total body training is (drum roll…) “Can I lose body fat and re-shape myself doing these workouts?” The short answer is yes. For all the reasons I mentioned, including burning more calories in less time and building muscle.

I realize that many of us are visual people, so to put a stamp on the possibilities I included a before and after shot of my client Zachary, who I trained primarily in total body conditioning. I also did his nutrition and the difference between the left and right photos is a matter of weeks. Now, each person is different as you know. So, expectations are something I only advise on after I’ve done a thorough evaluation on the person.

Ultimately, changing up your routine can give you something fresh and new. Think of it as a wrapped gift for yourself that you can’t wait to open. In the words of Jen Sincero, “If you want to change your life, you have to do things you’ve never done before.”

Michael Shaw is a certified master fitness trainer and sports performance nutrition specialist, owner of Shaw Fitness LLC, Club Manager and Head Trainer for Snap Fitness Middletown, a member of the Maryland Advisory Council on Physical Fitness, and a fitness and fashion model manager. You can schedule to meet him at Snap Fitness in Middletown or reach him at