Take it from a former Cardio Queen, walking on the treadmill or doing your Mama’s old school aerobics is not going to change your body.
Don’t get me wrong, any activity is a good thing. Any activity will burn calories. But if you’re going to put the time in anyway, why not make it really count?
The key is to burn calories during your workout, and also change your body composition, (build muscle) so that your body runs more efficiently and burns more calories all day long.
I’ve worked out my entire life. Before I was a fitness trainer or even a fitness enthusiast, I was a cardio junkie. My vice was high-impact aerobics. I didn’t like lifting weights for a couple of reasons. First, I had no idea what to do. Second, what little experience I did have reminded me that after I lifted weights, I felt pain. That was enough for me to avoid any kind of resistance training completely.
I will never forget the summer I put in about 5 hours per week in aerobics class and then couldn’t fit into my jeans after Labor Day. I was sure I was at least maintaining, but some how I had gained weight. That was it! Time to get serious!
How I got started
When I truly got serious about transforming my body into what I hoped would be a fat burning machine, I started working with a personal trainer.
I did’t know the proper way to do anything, so I thought this was a great way to go. If you want to see results from your workouts, form and accountability are key. And with someone watching your every move, you can’t get away with anything. That is exactly what I needed!
How Long did it Take to see Results?
The first couple of weeks were pretty brutal. My muscles had never been worked like this before. After I regained use of my noodle legs, I started feeling stronger, powerful even. I loved that feeling. I began seeing results in myself in about 2 months and others started noticing in about 3-4 months. That’s pretty amazing considering I had been reigning the cardio kingdom for a few years and I saw absolutely no results.
Fitness is my Passion
I was so excited to see results in myself that I decided to become certified so I could help others.
Over the years, my fitness plan for myself and my clients has evolved as I learn what’s new in the industry. I always use myself as the guinea pig, and if I like what I’m feeling and seeing, then I bring it to my clients.
My Favorite Way to Work Out
Finally, we get to it!
My two main goals with every workout I create are:
- Burn as many calories as possible during the session
- Focus on strength exercises to build lean, body transforming muscle. This muscle will help you burn more calories all day long.
If you compare how many calories you burn during an hour of weight lifting vs. an hour of running, running will win hands down. Cardio does burn mega calories while you’re doing it, but traditional cardio isn’t going to build up the lean muscle you want.
In designing workout programs, I include a cardio element to ensure the heart rate is always up. The increased heart rate will help you burn more calories during the workout session and the strength exercises will build up muscle so you continue burning more all day long.
20 Minute Workout Plan
There are so many articles, trainers and opinions regarding the best way to work out. Who’s right? Well, a lot of people! There is no ‘right’ way to get there. There are numerous avenues to get you from A to B. The key is to find something that fits in your life. You have to like it.
I like variety and a fast pace. Can you complete your strength training for the day in 20 minutes and get results? Yes! This is your starting point. You can add on later when you’re in beast mode.
Planning your Workout
There are 4 categories below. This is not an exhaustive list. It’s very basic. But you can create an effective workout with these exercises. I encourage you to add your own!
If you have a question on form or how to perform a certain exercise, google and YouTube are great sources.
Total Body Cardio Exercise (Choose 1)
- Jumping Jacks
- Squat Jumps
- Jack-Push-Climb (3 exercises put together. Start with a Jumping Jack, hop down to a pushup position and do one pushup, finally, still in the pushup position bring each knee into the chest for a mountain climber. Hop back to your feet. That’s one rep)
Lower Body Exercises (Beginners don’t use weights) – Choose 2
- Lunges – You can choose which type: 1) Stationary, with up and down motion, 2) alternating forward lunges, 3) alternating backward lunges, 4) walking lunges
- Curtsy or Bowler’s Lunge
- Lateral (Side) Lunge
Upper Body Exercises – Choose 2
- Bicep Curls
- Tricep Dips
- Overhead Press – hold weights at shoulder level and press straight up overhead – advanced add squat to this making it a total body exercise
- Lateral Raise
Total Body/Core – Choose 2
- Cable Rotation
- Wood Chop
- Pull ups
- Plank to Pushup (Begin in pushup position, go down to plank position on forearms, go back to pushup position. That’s one rep).
- Renegade Row (alternate rows from plank position)
Write down your exercises, but in the order below. I’ve also included my exercise choices:
- Total Body Cardio – Burpees
- Upper Body – Bicep Curls
- Lower Body – Squats (holding weights in each hand)
- Total Body/Core – Pushups
- Lower Body – Curtsy Lunge or Bowlers lunge (with weights in each hand)
- Upper Body – Dips
- Total Body/Core – Renegade Rows
Do 8 Reps of each.
Only rest after an entire round. Do as many rounds as possible in 20 minutes.
If you’re advanced, you can increase the time to 25 or 30 minutes, OR choose a number of rounds, say 8 – 10, and continue until the number of rounds are completed.
If you’re a beginner, start with no weight for the lower body exercises and light weights for the upper body. Concentrate on getting your form down first. Then add the weights.
The point is to keep your heart rate up the entire time. Challenge yourself! Be creative and add your own exercises, alternating between upper and lower body.
Another consideration: Try to include at least one exercise where you rotate (cable rotation, wood chop, adding an upper body twist to your lunge) and at least one exercise where you move in a lateral (side to side) direction. (This would include side lunges or curtsy lunges. You can also add motion to your squats by walking in a lateral direction.) This will ensure that you’re training in all 3 ranges of motion equally: forward and backward motion, side to side movement and rotation. Life calls you to move in all of these directions. You should train this way!
Just Keep Moving!
This is my favorite way to work out because you get strength and cardio all at once. Boom, you’re done! I still love doing cardio and dedicate a couple days a week to just that, but I add this type of workout in about 3 times per week.
Try it, you might just love it!