Fitness, Good to Know, Workouts

How to Get Lean Without the Cardio Machine

May 5, 2014

Hey guys! 

If you watched/listened to my latest podcast episode (if not, then you should!!), you’ll remember that we addressed cardio NOT being a mode for people to get optimum “toning” results. I’ve had an overwhelming response on the topic and thought it would be a good idea to talk a little about what to do instead.

Instead of killing yourself for an hour on the treadmill 6-7 days per week, you could spend 45 minutes or less, 4-5 times per week doing workouts with a foundation of high-intensity circuit training  that included compound strength components. Here’s what all of that means:

1) High-Intensity Circuit Training. It’s exactly as it sounds. Go “all out” with a movement for a set amount of time or reps, then take a few seconds of recovery, then get right back to work with a different movement.

For my clients, this is how we get your heart rate up into that fat-burning threshold while keeping the workout interesting (again– no cardio machines need to be used!) with the added bonus of burning calories through various strength movements!

Examples of high-intensity circuits:

  • 1 minute of work, 15 seconds of rest, switching exercises on each break
  • Tabata intervals: 20 seconds of work, 15 sec of rest for 8 rounds (this is much harder than it sounds!)
  • Alternating a high intensity activity (such as burpees) with more a more static strength move (such as bicep curls) for an extended amount of time

2) Compound strength exercises. These exercises use multiple joints and multiple, major muscle groups…aka you get the most bang for your buck with these movements. 

Just a few examples of compound strength exercises include:

If you’re always on the elliptical or treadmill, how do you expect to build the muscles that you’re looking to “tone” in the first place?? You have to build muscle in order for it to look good on your body! Doing anything that involves weights is going to get you there– especially these compound movements!


For your workout pleasure, here’s a very basic but highly effective workout that I designed which incorporates both circuit training and strength training in order to get a full-body workout in under 25 minutes:get lean


If you’re interested in getting more help incorporating circuit and strength training into your workout routine and need an affordable option for personal training …



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