Unless a person is a genetic freak or a 16-year-old hardgainer, it's highly unlikely he or she is "just naturally shredded." If you see someone like that, it's much more likely that a lot of hard work and sweat has translated into a rock-solid physique with abs that pop underneath even the wooliest of winter wear.
If you've got the itch to be a lean machine 365 days per year, then you'd better have the stones to put in some serious work. Don't worry: Just because you have a hardcore goal doesn't mean you have to commit to doing hardcore time in the gym. You can perform effective, fat-torching workouts in less time than it takes you to grocery shop.
The following six workouts are perfect examples of how you can blend strength and cardio moves to get your heart pumping and your fat fleeing in 20 minutes or less. Don't believe me? Try one and see for yourself. After one workout, I guarantee you'll have so much fun and feel so good that you'll come running back for more.
Add two or three of these uber-challenging protocols into your weekly programming to cut up and stay that way as long as you want!
Fat Blaster 1: The Two-Part, 20-Minute EMOM
The idea behind "every minute on the minute" (EMOM) workouts is to perform a certain number of reps at the top of each minute and rest the remaining time. You can do this with a single exercise, a pair of moves, or a rotation of several different exercises.
The awesome thing about these workouts is that they hit multiple goals at once. Use them to achieve volume and strength while you improve your overall conditioning and burn some fat.
These two 10-minute workouts can be done alone or one after the other. After a thorough warm-up and dynamic stretch, start the clock and get moving. When the clock starts, perform the first exercise for the prescribed number of reps. Wait for the even minute before you begin the next movement.
It may seem easy, but as you start to fatigue and the weight begins to feel heavier, completing those reps in the allotted minute will get more and more difficult.
Fat Blaster 2: The 5-7-9
A metcon (short for metabolic conditioning) is a fast-paced, high-intensity workout done in a given amount of time. Usually, the point of the workout is to get as many rounds or reps as possible (AMRAP) in that amount of time. The end result: Your metabolism gets bitch slapped and has to burn a bunch of fat post-training in order to help your body recover.
Perform each of the lifts for the prescribed number of reps, one after the other. Once you complete the run, move back to the dumbbells and start doing thrusters.
: Do this workout at a brisk pace for 20 minutes. Keep your rest as short as possible. Record how many rounds you get, and then try to beat that score next time you do the workout.
Fat Blaster 3: 16-Minute Spin Cycle
Spinning-style bikes are excellent tools for HIIT cardio, but to get the most out of using them, you have to be honest about your intensity. If you're not killing it when you should, the workout is for naught and you won't get the lean, mean results you're looking for.
Do this workout like a boss. You've got two full minutes of recovery between work intervals, so make the most of that time and suck in plenty of O2.
Fat Blaster 4: The Add-a-Rep Ladder
Ladder workouts are fun and challenging, and can be formatted in many different ways to build strength, burn fat, or improve conditioning. This one uses just two moves—burpee box jumps and kettlebell swings—but you can use whatever movements you like.
Each minute, add another rep of each move. The workout might be easy for the first 3-4 rounds, but those added repetitions will start to catch up with you. Each round will increase your intensity and decrease your rest so you can incinerate fat.
The workout is over when you fail to complete the reps in one minute. Keep track of how many rounds you did, and try to better it next time!
Fat Blaster 5: The 20-Minute Treadmill Tryst
For most people, the treadmill is the cozy, comfort zone. But when used correctly, it can turn into a nightmare. Partnering the incline with an ever-changing pace means you're in for a lung-busting and fat-blasting HIIT workout that will leave you sweating buckets.
Every two minutes or so, you'll change the incline and the speed of the treadmill. Because you never get into a rhythm, your body has to work twice as hard to keep up with the demands. You may need a puke bucket nearby!
Fat Blaster 6: 10-Minute Row and Leap
Most people think of rowing machines as upper-body-intensive tools, but really they are total-body toasters that fry your legs and glutes first, then your back and arms. Imagine doing an endless superset of explosive leg presses and seated rows, and you've got the rowing machine. It may not look like much, but it's one of the most effective cardio machines there are.
This workout only takes 10 minutes, but it's 10 minutes you'll never forget. Do your best to transition from the rower to the ground quickly.
When you're done with burpees, get back on the rower and get moving as soon as you can. There is no prescribed rest. Recover when you're rowing at a slower pace.
Blast Fat, Have Fun
If you choose to implement some or all of these workouts into your regimen, don't forget that they're meant to be fun! Enjoy the challenge of making your body do things it may not be accustomed to doing, and remember that your results will be 100 percent in line with your effort.