I used to be like everyone else at the gym. I’d lift weights and then ‘cardio’ for 30 minutes on a fancy machine.
While this workout routine certainly helped me get into decent shape, it wasn’t producing the results I set out to achieve. I wanted be look great, have tons of energy, and feel strong and powerful. Equally important is that my workout can’t last more than 45 minutes. I have a hectic schedule and can’t afford to spend more time working out.
After a period of trial and error I achieved my goals by doing what I call Cardio-Strength workouts. I’ve lost 2-3 pounds of fat a week and increased my strength too, tripling the weight I use for kettlebell snatches and overhead squats in only 8 weeks. They’ve made me fitter than ever too. I now routinely go on 10 mile hikes in the hills near my home and do hill sprints 4 days a week, routinely lapping my competition. Best of all, my workouts never take more than 20 minutes to complete.
Every Cardio-Strength workout is based on the guidelines listed below.
1. Use Total Body Exercises
Since each workout takes no more than 20 minutes, you need to do exercises that provide the most bang for the buck. Total body exercises do this by training at least 2-3 large muscle groups (your back, chest, legs, shoulders) at a time. Since they require you to work very you’ll burn calories build muscle, and get stronger much faster than a workout that uses machines or less intense exercises.
Exercises you’ll do include: deadlifts, squats, shoulder presses and rows.
2. Alternate Upper & Lower Body Exercises
Every workout is done by alternating between exercises that targets the muscles of your upper body (i.e. back and shoulders) with those of your lower body (hamstrings and quads). Doing this allows one group of muscles recover while you train another with little to rest between exercises.
3. Use High Intensity Techniques
This includes doing things like complexes, giant sets, and ladders. If you don’t know what these are that’s okay. You’ll learn how to do them by following the workouts in this article. The key thing to know is these techniques will help you burn fat, build muscle, and improve your endurance at the same time.
4. Spend No More Than 30 Minutes Working Out
Few us have the time, or desire to work out for an hour or more every day. Even if you can, wouldn’t you like to get better results faster? Cardio-Strength workouts never last more than half and hour. You can actually get one done in 15 minutes if you’re really pressed for time. Keeping your workouts brief spend more time resting and recovering, which is where your progress is really made.
5. The Workouts Can Be Done Anywhere
You don’t have to have access to a gym or buy lots of fitness equipment to perform these workouts. All you really need is yourself and a little bit of room. The most equipment I typically use is a dumbbell or kettlebell. This makes these workouts super convenient. I’ve done them in studio apartments, the beach, even on a rooftop.
Below are a few of my favorite cardio-strength workouts. Give them all a try and see which you like best. If you like these workouts I recommend you also try the Fat Hackers. It’s a 4 week plan that combines Cardio-Strength workouts with a diet designed to help you lose fat and build muscle fast.
This workout requires you to use a dumbbell or kettlebell. Choose one that’s moderately heavy. You should be able to perform a set of 10 squats with it using good form.
1 Handed Swings
Bent Over Row
Standing 1 Arm Shoulder Press
Perform 10 reps of each exercise consecutively. Do not rest until the last exercise is been done. Rest until you’ve caught your breath and repeat. Perform as many complexes as you can in 20 minutes.
Cardio-Strength Bodyweight Workout
No barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, or fancy machines are required for this killer workout. All you need to get it done is yourself and a little bit of room. I also like doing 2-3 sets of this workout in the middle of the day to give myself an energy boost.
Planks (hold as long as possible)
Do each exercise one after the other. Start with 10 reps or as many as you can do with good form for each movement.
Don’t rest until the last exercise in the circuit is done. Repeat the circuit once you’ve caught your breath. Do as many circuits as you can in 20 minutes.
The Great Outdoors Cardio-Strength Workout
There’s nothing better than getting a little sun and breathing in fresh air while you work out. This routine takes exercises you normally do in the gym outside creating what I think is a really fun way to train. After doing this routine once I think you’ll find it tough to ever train in a gym again.
You’ll need a pair of dumbbells or kettlebells for this workout. I like to use the heaviest pair of kettlebells I can carry for the Farmer’s Walks and a lighter weight for the swings and front squats.
Farmer’s Walks (30-50 yards with as heavy a weight that you can carry)
After walking 30-50 yards for the Farmer’s Walk, perform the 10 reps each of the remaining exercises consecutively. Rest until you’ve caught your breath and repeat. Perform as many circuits as you can in 20 minutes.
Cardio-Strength Workouts FAQ
Who Are These Workouts For?
Cardio-strength workouts are for guys and girls who want to burn fat and build muscle so they can look and feel strong, energetic, and healthy. Whether you want to lose 25 pounds, look better naked, or improve your conditioning level for your favorite sport, these workouts are the best way to make it happen.
Why Should I Do These Workouts?
The best reason for doing cardio-strength workouts is that they help you get into awesome shape and look great fast! Instead of spending 60-90 minutes in the gym several days a week you’ll be able to get better results doing workouts that take no more than 20 minutes to complete.
Results will appear faster too. Within a couple of weeks you’ll find that your clothes will fit better, you will have more energy, you will feel stronger and more confident.
Best of all, you’ll look better naked.
Another great reason to do cardio-strength workouts is that they’ll improve your health. Studies show that performing high intensity workouts like these help (heart health, blood lipids, body fat).
How Often Should I Do Cardio-Strength Workouts?
The more often you perform cardio-strength workouts the better. I recommend starting with 2-3 workouts a week. Work up to performing 5-6 weekly.
You now know how one workout will can help become leaner, stronger, faster, and fitter in less time than traditional exercise programs. Give Cardio-Strength training a try yourself for the next month and the results you achieve will speak for themselves.
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