There’s no need to labor for hours in the gym to get leaner, stronger and fitter. Learn how to make your exercise plan work for you and your schedule with short, explosive sessions.
Find out more about how and why the workouts work below. Or, if you’re ready to dive in, use the navigation menu to the right to find your perfect workout.
Find out more about how and why the workouts work below. Or, if you’re ready to dive in, use the navigation menu at the end of the page to find your perfect workout.
Last year, the New York Times’ fitness story of the year was that short, intense workouts are incredibly effective for getting leaner, stronger, fitter and healthier overall. The sessions they covered ran from one (yep, one) to 30 minutes.
Something is usually better than nothing, but a fast-paced workout is better than just about anything.
Here’s the deal:
High-intensity exercise creates an afterburn effect that burns additional calories for up to 38 hours after exercising.
Resistance training (weights, kettlebells, bodyweight exercises, suspension training) burns up to 35% more calories than aerobic exercises (running, cycling, swimming).
Put high intensities and resistance training together and what have you got?
Metabolic Resistance Training (MRT).
MRT burns 35% more calories at the time of doing it, and more still for up to 38 hours afterwards. If you work out every other day, you’ll never lose the afterburn effect — we’re talking about thousands of additional calories being burned.
Not only that, but MRT builds muscle, making your body look firm and strong (otherwise known as ‘toned’). Muscle also needs energy to survive, which ultimately means that you can eat more food without gaining fat.
How great is that? And that’s not even the best part:
MRT takes only a fraction of the time of traditional workout routines. Done correctly, you get the benefits of cardio and strength training at the same time.
That’s the power of MRT.
The Member’s Area is home to over 65 full-body MRT workouts, each designed to blast body fat and build muscle.
Full-body workouts aren’t designed to target any one particular body part. Instead, the goal is to make each workout as efficient as possible by burning the maximum amount of calories, and working the most amount of muscle, in the least amount of time.
Spot reduction is a myth: you can’t choose from where on your body you loose fat (and unfortunately, you usually lose fat from your stomach last). But workouts like these burn huge amounts of calories, which means that you will lose fat from all over your body.
What if I want to target a specific body part?
If you’re interested in targeting a particular body part (such as your arms, thighs abs etc), then the challenges in the Member’s Area are a great option. That said, you’ll get better results doing the workouts as well.
It can get a little complicated in terms of scheduling, so I’ve created a special planner to help you do both the challenges and workouts simultaneously. You’ll find it in the Extras section (it’s the one called ’12-week workout + challenge calendar’).
The Member’s Area is designed so that no matter where you are – at home, in the park, at a hotel, in the gym – or how little time you have, you’ll be able to find a workout out that you can actually do, and is guaranteed to blast fat and build muscle.
With over 65 workouts to choose from, it might not be immediately obvious how to find the right one for you. Here are the three factors you need to consider:
1: The Equipment You Have Available
In the ‘Fitness Navigation’ menu (located in the top right of all pages in the fitness section, or at the end of this page if you’re on a mobile device), you’ll see that the workouts are arranged by the equipment needed:
There are seven categories for you to choose from. The idea is that wherever you are, and whatever equipment you have available, you’ll be able to find a great workout.
So if, for example, you’re traveling and only have time for a quick workout in your hotel room, then you would choose a bodyweight workout. Or if the hotel has a semi-equipped gym, a dumbbell workout might be appropriate.
However, if you have multiple pieces of equipment available, you should choose a workout that utilizes the most equipment (i.e. from as far down the list as possible).
The further down the list you go, the more well-rounded the workouts become.
2. The Amount of Time You Have
Fitness can happen even when you have just a little bit of time, as long as you take advantage of that little bit of time on a regular basis.
Every workout in the Member’s Area is organized not only by the equipment it requires, but also by how much time you’ll need. If you don’t have enough time to complete a 30-minute workout on a particular day, no problem; just choose a shorter one.
Keep in mind: the goal is progress, not perfection.
3. Your Current Fitness Level and Experience with The Exercises
In the Member’s Area you’ll find beginner, intermediate, and advanced workouts:
These difficulty levels are assigned based on the complexity of the exercises involved (e.g. bodyweight squats vs. plyometric jumps vs. Olympic lifts) and formatting (positive vs. negative-rest).
It’s up to you to decide which workout level is right for you. If you’re new to lifting, then you’ll feel right at home with the beginner workouts.
And if you’re comfortable hefting kettlebells and dumbbells around, you’ll fit right in with the intermediate workouts and may enjoy completing the beginner workouts at a faster pace.
If you’re not sure, then start off with some beginner workouts to get a feel for the style, and work your way up from there.
After Choosing Your Workout:
The next screen you see will look like this:
From there, you need to make sure you are familiar with the exercises before starting the workout.
You can click on the name of any exercise and a video demonstration will pop-up in the middle of your screen, like this:
High-rep and high-speed workouts are not the place to learn how to do a movement well, so don’t take unnecessary risks.
If you are new to a particular exercise, start light and progress slowly. Only when you are proficient at an exercise should it be performed at high reps and speeds.
On the flip side, if a workout feels too easy, add weight, move faster, or do an extra round.
Before Starting Your Workout:
Before each workout, be sure to complete a dynamic warm-up to increase your joint mobility, warm up the muscles, spike the heart rate, and let the body know it’s go-time.
There are 3 warm-ups in the Member’s Area for you to choose from – beginner, intermediate and advanced. The level you choose should correspond with the difficulty of the workout you are doing.
Each one takes 10 minutes or less so there’s no excuse for skipping it!
Each workout is accompanied by a description, and then the workout itself is presented in a table:
In the example above you would do 30 seconds of jump squats, rest for 30 seconds, 30 seconds of bird dogs, rest for 30 seconds, and so on until you reach the last exercise (in this case dead bugs). That’s one round.
After completing a round, take a short break, and then start your next round (go back to the beginning and complete 30 seconds of jump squats, rest 30 seconds…). The total number of rounds is shown in the rightmost column.
Not all workouts use this set-up, however. There’s a variety of workout formats in the Member’s Area to ensure that your workouts are always fun and challenging.
As such, the descriptions and formats of the workouts aren’t always the same. Below you’ll find the common terminology we’ll be referencing throughout our workouts.
Don’t worry, most of the time you’ll be able to see exactly what we mean in each workout.
In the middle column, you will see either ‘reps’, or (as in the example above) ‘work/rest ratio’ (explained below).
A rep is a repetition. Reps tell you how many times to do a given exercise. The number of reps to complete for each exercise may be expressed as:
- 10 – This could be any number. It indicates the number of consecutive reps to complete of the corresponding exercise (example: 10 jump squats).
- 10, 8, 6 – When you see a comma between numbers, it means that the number of reps you complete changes each round (example: you do 10 jump squats, the next time jump squats come around, you do 8, and then 6).
- 5 (each side) – This only applies to single-limb exercises. A lunge is an example of a single-limb exercise (example: you do 5 lunges with your right leg, then 5 with your left before moving on to the next exercise.
The work/rest ratio will most commonly be expressed as 30:30 (neutral rest), 20:40 (positive rest), or 40:20 (negative rest), but could also be any other combination.
The numbers indicate a length of time measured in seconds. Using 20:40 as an example, this means that you will do 20 seconds of work, and then rest for 40 seconds.
When you are ‘working’ you are doing as many reps of a given exercise as possible within that timeframe. In this example, that might mean performing 20 seconds of jump squats, resting for 40 seconds, and then moving on to the next exercise.
Once you have performed the prescribed number of reps for each exercise listed, you will have completed one round. The total number of rounds is shown in the rightmost column.
Often, this will just be a number – such as 3 – meaning complete 3 rounds.
Sometimes, however, in the ’rounds’ column you will see AMRAP, and then a length of time, like this:
AMRAP stands for ‘As Many Rounds As Possible’, within the given timeframe. So, in this example, you would aim to complete as many round as possible within 10 minutes.
Note: if your technique breaks down, the workout is over. Never push past bad form just to complete the workout as it is written down.
Often used as a larger umbrella term, a ‘circuit’ refers to a series of various consecutive exercises, often using different pieces of equipment.
The workout might be to complete 3 circuits of squats, push-ups, and hip thrusts. This means you will do the prescribed number of reps for squats, and then immediately move into the prescribed number of reps for push-ups, and then immediately move into the prescribed number of reps for hip thrusts. After you finish your hip thrusts, you will take a short brake, and then start back with squats and go from the top.
Because you are moving through each exercise, one set at a time, without repeating the same exercise back to back, it’s called a circuit.
There can be more than one circuit in a workout.
In the example below you’ll see that there are 3 separate circuits:
In practice, this means that you’ll complete circuit #1 first (cycling through jump squats, suspension trainer handstand push-ups and suspension trainer mountain climbers for 10 rounds), then take a short break and move on to circuit #2.
After completing circuit #2 you’ll move on to circuit #3.
In an exercise ladder, you either add or subtract a rep or a number of reps in each round, depending on if it is an ascending or descending ladder.
Ascending ladders get progressively more difficult, while descending ladders begin with the max number of reps and decrease after that.
In the example below you’ll see both a descending and ascending ladder in each circuit:
So, for this example, you would do 10 push-ups, 2 single-leg hip thrusts, 8 push-ups, 4 hip thrusts, and so on… until you reach 2 push-ups, and 10 hip thrusts.
Then you would take a short break and move onto circuit #2.
The workouts in the Member’s Area aren’t designed to leave you bent over and wheezing. You need to work within your limits to expand them, because pushing yourself to failure on a regular basis is a recipe for exhaustion and injury.
Here’s a good rule of thumb: if it feels like too much, it probably is.
With that said, to keep making progress your workouts do need to be challenging.
Like anything new, you can expect to see rapid progress in the first few weeks. But after this initial learning curve, you need a way to keep moving forward.
Your body is unique and will respond differently than someone else’s — which means that there isn’t just one way to make progress. In fact, there are three:
#1: Progress in Intensity:
Intensity refers to the kilos/pounds you’re lifting, or how much resistance you’re using.
In any workout involving external loading (dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells etc) you can easily manipulate the intensity.
As an example, you could repeat the King Cobra workout regularly, keeping the work/rest ratio and rounds the same, but make continual progress by using increasingly heavy weights over time.
#2: Progress in Volume:
Volume is the number of repetitions you complete multiplied by the resistance used (intensity) for the movement(s).
Below is a timed bodyweight circuit, meaning the duration is fixed. The intensity is also technically fixed (because there is no external loading).
To progress in volume, your focus will be the total amount of repetitions complete within the time suggested. So, if the first time around, you manage 10 jumping jacks in 30 seconds, the next time you would aim to do 11 or more.
Generally, you would track and observe your total volume when looking for trends in your overall progress and stress load. If you wanted to discern progress in a specific movement, a barbell back squat for example, you would then calculate volume by multiplying resistance used by total squat repetitions completed in a workout.
#3: Progress in Density:
Density refers to the time it takes to complete a bout of work — whether that’s a single set or your entire workout.
Below is an example of a workout with a repetition-based structure.
Let’s say you’re doing the prescribed number of reps (this is the volume), and keeping the intensity the same week-to-week (your own weight hasn’t changed, and you’re using the same weights for loaded exercises).
You can make progress by increasing the density. If, last time you did the workout you finished in 9:30, this time you would aim to finish quicker than that.
“What Gets Measured Gets Improved”
The most important aspect of achieving the results you want is knowing your starting point. This gives you a basis for evaluation later. You can’t know if you’re moving toward Point B if you don’t know what Point A looked like.
It’s a common question and I get it often: “What weight should I use?”
Your starting point is going to be very different from someone else’s – based on your unique history, ability level, and limitations – so it’s impossible to recommend specific weights for specific movements to suit everyone.
The idea is to keep you moving and keep your heart rate elevated throughout the whole workout. So what do you need to do?
Find that sweet spot: the weight that allows you to complete the prescribed number of reps with a full range of motion and good form, while still being challenging.
There will be times where you find yourself stuck between weights.
At most commercial gyms, dumbbells come in 5lb/2.5kg increments and kettlebells will sometimes increase by as much as four kilograms (over eight pounds) between selections. Available weight plates for barbells are not usually smaller than 2.5lbs/1.25kg each, so your leaps there will be a minimum of 5lbs/2.5kg.
In general, I suggest going with a lighter weight and completing either a longer work bout (if timed) or a few extra repetitions (if repetition-based).
Alternatively, you could cut down on the rest duration if it seems too easy. If your form is perfect, even with the heavier weight, you could go with that and do fewer repetitions or a shorter bout, or increase rest times.
Bottom line: safety is the most important consideration.
If you’re hurt, you can’t train. If you fail often, you’ll teach yourself to fail often. Instead, work on improving the total volume, along with trimming the rest duration, and then increase intensity (i.e., pounds lifted).
Once you’ve hit a repetition volume of an extra eight to 10 repetitions over the prescribed number, you should be able to bump up an increment on dumbbells and still complete crisp sets. If you’re using kettlebells, to make that four- kilogram jump you may need to be able to complete an extra 10 to 12 repetitions on some upper-body movements at the lighter weight before leveling up.
How do I use the printable PDFs/Planners?
Easy! Simply print it off and fill out the number of reps you managed in the ‘workout notes’ column.
Can I do workouts and challenges at the same time?
Yes! In fact, I think it’s a great idea.
That said, there are two things you need to take into consideration.
If a workout features the same exercise as the challenge you are doing, don’t double up.
Instead, do the reps as prescribed by the challenge first. Then do your workout, but leave the exercise out of the workout.
Scheduling can a little tricky, so to make it as straightforward as possible I’ve created a planner/calendar for you to use. You can get it over on the Extras page (it’s the one called ’12-week workout + challenge calendar).