The Unicorn of Workouts

The Unicorn of Workouts

Let’s talk about the unicorn of workouts. You know, the thing that’s going to give you the biggest results in the least amount of time. Everybody wants some of that! I know you’re thinking that it doesn’t exist. But, it does! This type of workout will get you fitter faster, help you lose fat and build muscle. I’m talking about when you mix strength training and moving fast! There are plenty of these types of workouts out there already – everything from short, quick circuits or workouts labeled “high-intensity” and programs like Lift Weights Faster by Jen Sinkler and Cardio Strength Training: Torch Fat, Build Muscle, and Get Stronger Faster by Robert dos Remedios, CSCS (aka Coach Dos). I’m not creating anything new here except the workouts, which can you grab for free when you sign up for my email newsletter.

The American Kettlebell Swing (photo: Laura Hinds)
The American Kettlebell Swing (photo: Laura Hinds)

The Catch

There’s a catch though. (There always is, right?) These workouts can feel rough – that’s why people refer to them as “high intensity”. You’ll have to push yourself to a place that you might not have gone to before – your heart rate will be up and your muscles will get tired. These workouts aren’t about going long and slow, they’re about going hard and fast and that’s what makes them so effective. But, even after you’re done, your body will be continuing to work – that’s called the “afterburn”. Coach Dos talks about this in his book, Cardio Strength Training:

There seems to be something ‘magical’ occurring in between intervals and also in the hours after these interval sessions.

When compared to a steady state cardio workout, calorie for calorie, interval training burns more fat and creates higher metabolism rates post work out (so many take-aways from Coach Dos!).

Prep Steps & Execution

Before you try any of these types of workouts, you should be warming up. By that I mean you need to move before you move faster! Do some light jogging or biking or even jumping jacks to prep your body followed by some dynamic moves like leg swings, arm circles, inchworms and squats. If you don’t have an idea of what to do, complete 5 minutes of that core temp warm-up (jogging, biking, jumping jacks) followed by 10 reps of each movement in the workout at bodyweight or with a light weight before jumping into the real deal.

Doing the workout is always challenging, so if you come across this high-intensity stuff (go ahead, grab the workouts now!), work hard when you can and rest as needed. Always, always, always listen to your body! Your mind will probably say stop before your body actually needs to stop or slow down. Next time you’ll know how much you can push yourself and you’ll move accordingly.

Some ideas to think about during the middle of your workout when all you want to do is stop:
1. How you need to get a haircut; it’s been 8 months.
2. When you’re going to see the second movie in the Divergent trilogy.
3. What it will take to convince your husband that getting a miniature pig is a good idea.
4. How you really need to clean out the lint trap in the vacuum cleaner.


I joke! I say this because your mind will start to wander and that’s OK! Bring yourself back into focus so you can concentrate on the movements and your body. You want to stay intense throughout the workout unless you’re resting, which should be kept to as little time as possible. Once done, take a walking lap around the room to cool down, stretch and foam roll if that’s your jam.

The Round-Up

I’m telling you, you won’t regret trying out these types of workouts. Go back and re-read all the benefits! Ok, ok, I’ll list them again:

  1. Get fitter faster –> these workouts are 30 minutes or less…often 15 minutes or less!
  2. Lose that winter weight (I know, it was cold this winter!)
  3. Build muscle…who doesn’t want to be able to lift their suitcase into the overhead bins!?

Now, go on, sign up so you can get 7 great high intensity workouts. Don’t forget to fill me in on how they go!

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