Short-Circuit Fat Burn

This high-energy cardio circuit gets you off the treadmill.

Whether it’s running on the treadmill, riding the recumbent bike, climbing the StepMill or sculling on the rower, a little monotony is simply the price to be paid to get lean, right?

Wrong, thankfully. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, working at 80 to 95 percent of your maximum heart rate (i.e., the total number of times your heart can beat in a minute) for anywhere from five seconds to eight minutes, interspersed with recovery periods during which you’re working at 40 to 50 percent of MHR, improves not only your energy production but also lowers your blood pressure, cholesterol and abdominal fat. It’s called interval training, and it burns up to 15 percent more calories than steady-state cardio.

Starting today, you can step off and pump up your cardio sessions in a whole new way. The following five-exercise circuit is designed to challenge your cardiovascular system, prodding your heart rate into the fat-burning zone by engaging all your major muscle groups. Do the five movements in circuit fashion — one right after the other for 15 reps each, three rounds total. Within each circuit, only “rest” as long as it takes you to transition to the next movement. Between each round, rest one to two minutes, just enough time that you feel you’ve caught your breath. You can repeat this workout anywhere from two to five times per week, depending on your goals.

As you move maintain awareness on your breath and be mindful of your technique and range of motion. Quality of movement will amplify your results.


Knee-to-Chest Stretch Complete 10 reps per side, alternating sides.

High Kicks Complete 10 reps per side, alternating sides.

Hip Stretch With a Twist Complete 10 reps per side, alternating sides.


1. Speedskaters Sets: 3 Reps: 15

2. Planking Shoulder Taps to Sandbell Overhead Slam Sets: 3 Reps: 15

3. Three-Point Pivot Lunge/Squat Sets: 1 Reps: 15

4. Planking Walk-Up With Frogger Sets: 3 Reps: 15

5. Seated V-Up With Sandbell-Over-Shoulder Rotations Sets: 3 Reps: 15


Downward Facing Dog Hold for three slow, deep breaths.

Hip Stretch With a Twist Hold for three slow, deep breaths.

Lying Piriformis Stretch Hold for three slow, deep breaths.

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