Awesome Weight Loss Workout

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Make no mistake about it: the best weight loss workout is the one that makes you work hard.

I’m probably showing my age here, but a while ago there was this little infomercial sensation called 8 minute abs. The concept was simple: workout several times a week and you’ll get chiseled abs in no time. Now, I could go on and on about all the things wrong with that approach but it caused a trend that I still see today.

Fast forward to modern times and there’s this concept that you can melt fat, get ripped, and develop steel plate abs in workouts that last only five minutes. While the 90’s brought about 8 minute abs, the internet has popularized what I call the “4 minute workout myth.”

The myth works like this: a researcher way back in the day named Tabata conducted a study to see if 4 minutes of exercise was enough to stimulate the aerobic system to become bigger and badder. The study did work: subjects had an increase in their VO2 Max (a marker of aerobic fitness that measures the amount of oxygen you consume). Internet gurus like to point to this landmark study as all the evidence needed to defend the 4 minute workout myth.

But here’s the fine print: those 4 minutes need to be brutal. You perform 20 seconds of an all-out maximum effort and then rest for 10 seconds (and that literally means 10 seconds….no time to lollygag around on your phone). Do a total of 8 rounds and there’s your workout.

Subjects in the study used a cycle ergometer: which is a fancy bike that allows you to pedal against a certain percentage of your bodyweight. If you’ve never pedaled all out against 5 percent of what you weigh, then you haven’t lived. It sounds easy, but it’s ruthless: I’ve seen plenty of undergrad students pass out after doing it.

What’s the point of all this? For one, workouts that are under ten minutes need to be extremely challenging for you to see any benefits. Secondly, and this is the part very few on the internet tell you: that 4 minute workout, called the Tabata protocol, was never meant to get you ripped. The study showed physiological changes to things like the lactate threshold – but it was not meant as a weight loss tool (just by itself).

Now let’s be clear: you CAN workout for less than ten minutes. Studies have shown for such short bouts to be a benefit to your aerobic system, as well as being good for mental health (research has been done with populations such as the clinically depressed and even schizophrenics).  But a good weight loss workout requires a protocol that allows you to progress……and last longer than just four minutes.. So there is no “best exercise to lose weight”….develop a sound program, work hard, and good things will happen.

What I like to do with my personal training clients is to combine some sort of aerobic activity with explosive movements – while you do the aerobic move, you’ll recover from the power movements. That’s a problem with modern workouts – they rely so much on power movements that the workouts can’t last much longer than several minutes (your body can only do so much explosive work before tiring…..if you’re able to do something for 50 reps than you better believe that you’re not explosive).

Here’s something you can do in your living room: all you need is a kettlebell and jump rope. You’ll start with the heavy work at first, work down to shorter rounds, and then work your way back up.


Jump Rope x 250

Burpee x 12

Kettlebell Swing x 25

Jump Rope x 200

Burpee x 10

Kettlebell Swing x 20

Jump Rope x 150

Burpee x 8

Kettlebell Swing x 15

Jump Rope x 100

Burpee x 6

Kettlebell Swing x 10

Jump Rope x 100

Burpee x 6

Kettlebell Swing x 10


Repeat each round till you get back up to 250 skips on the rope – then you’re done. You can do this workout up to 3 times a week. Make sure to bring a towel because the workout is going to last a lot longer than 4 minutes.




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