High-Intensity Full-Body Program

Lose weight and improve muscle tone without spending hours in the gym


Scientific breakthroughs have showed that high-intensity training (HIIT) makes it possible to lose weight and improve muscle tone without spending hours in the gym. While this program is tough and demanding, it will turn up your metabolic furnace so that you become a fat-burning dynamo.

Monday

1. High-intensity, intermittent exercise on an elliptical trainer or stationary bike, 20-30 minutes: This technique involves doing short bouts of maximal exercise immediately followed by short bouts of submaximal exercise. Warm up by exercising for 2 minutes at a comfortable pace. Then do 8 revolutions at maximum intensity (100 percent effort, as hard as you can) followed by 12 revolutions at 40-50 percent effort. You have completed one revolution each time you extend your right leg when exercising on the stationary bike or elliptical trainer. Repeat this sequence without resting for 20-30 minutes (i.e., 8 revolutions maximal; 12 revolutions easy; 8 revolutions maximal; 12 revolutions easy; etc. for 20-30 minutes). Add resistance to the elliptical trainer or stationary bike as fitness improves.

2. High-Intensity Upper-Body Transformation Workout. Do 2 sets of 10 repetitions of the following exercises. Rest 30 seconds between sets and 60 seconds between exercises. Lift the heaviest weight you can handle that allows you to complete the exercises using good form. Begin with one set of each exercise if you have not been training with weights.

3. Stretching: Do stretching exercises for the major muscle groups.

Tuesday

1. High-Intensity Lower-Body Transformation Workout. Do 3 sets of 10 reps of the following exercises, lifting explosively as you can. Rest 30 seconds between sets and 60 seconds between exercises. Lift the heaviest weight you can handle that allows you to complete the exercises using good form. Begin with one set of each exercise if you have not been training with weights.

2. Aerobics, 60 minutes. Choose an aerobic exercise that you enjoy, such as walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, gym aerobics, or cross-country skiing. Exercise continuously for 60 minutes. Build up slowly if you cannot exercise for that long at the beginning of the program.

3. Stretching: Do stretching exercises for the major muscle groups.

Wednesday: Same as Monday
Thursday: Same as Tuesday
Friday: Aerobics, 60 minutes. See Tuesday
Saturday: Rest
Sunday: Rest

Full-Body Transformation Diet
Eat a balanced diet containing a variety of foods. Include wholesome foods, such as fruits, vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, monounsaturated oils, nuts and fish. Avoid simple sugars and saturated and trans fats. The Atkins type diet— high in proteins and fats and low in carbohydrates— is not appropriate for this kind of exercise because you need carbs to train intensely. The Atkins diet works well for people who want to lose weight but are only moderately active. Reduce caloric intake slightly (300 to 500 calories per day) for long-term success. Healthy eating is more effective for long-term weight control than dangerous crash diets.

Description of the Exercises:

Step-ups with dumbbells: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and knees bent slightly. Holding a dumbbell in each hand, place one foot on top of the bench and step up until that leg is almost straight. Allow the back leg to travel upward, but do not bring it to stand on the bench. End in a knee-up, one-leg stance. Lower down to the starting position and repeat as soon as your foot touches the floor. The movement should be explosive and continuous. Repeat using the opposite leg. Begin with 5-10 pound dumbbells and progress as fitness improves.

Lunges (reverse): Stand holding a dumbbell in each hand at your sides. Lunge behind you, placing just the ball of your foot on the floor, bending both knees so that one knee is directly over your foot at a 90° angle and the other knee is pointing to the floor, heel up. Push upward by straightening the legs. Do most of the work with the front leg. Do 10 reps and repeat with the other leg. Begin with 5-10 pound dumbbells and progress as fitness improves.

Knee (leg) extensions: Sit on a leg extension machine and grasp the handles to steady your torso. The pad should rest above your feet on the lower leg in line with your ankles. With your knees straight ahead and toes pointed up, raise the weight explosively until your knees are extended. If you have kneecap pain, do this exercise at the end of the range of motion or don’t do it at all. Begin with 10 pounds of resistance and progress as fitness improves.

Standing hamstring curls: Depending on the machine, position yourself either standing or kneeling. Once in position, place the heel of the working leg under the pad. Keeping the abs tight, slowly contract hamstrings until your heel touches your glutes. Change legs and repeat with no rest in between (most women should begin with 10 to 20 pounds).

Glute/hamstring squeezes: Do this exercise on a hyperextension bench or ham-glute machine. Position the pad under your hips. Placing your hands across your chest, lower your torso so your body is at a 90° angle with glutes and hamstrings completely stretched. Slowly rise up until your upper body is parallel with the floor. Concentrate on contracting your glutes and not your lower back.

Low pulley butt kickbacks: Attach ankle strap from the low pulley cable. Stand facing the machine with knees bent, grabbing the machine frame for support. Kick your leg back as far as you can without arching your back, and concentrate on squeezing your butt muscles as you extend your hip. Do 10 repetitions and then repeat this exercise using the other leg. Begin with 10 pounds of resistance and progress as fitness improves.

Hip abductions: Using a hip abduction machine, position your legs so that the outside of your knees rest against the thigh pads. Your back and hips should be in contact with the backrest during the exercise. Without lifting your hips or leaning forward, spread your legs apart explosively. When your legs are open as far as possible, pause momentarily and then return to the starting position. Most women should begin with a resistance of 40 to 50 pounds. You can also do hip abductions with a low polling machine if a hip abduction machine is not available.

Single-leg bridges: Lie on your back with your right knee bent and right foot placed on a step and your other leg extended straight up. Push off with your bent leg and lift your hips and straightened leg toward the ceiling so that you form a bridge. Hold the position for 4 seconds, supporting you with your hips, legs, and back. Lower your body slowly so that your upper back touches the floor first. Do 10 reps and then repeat the exercise using the other side.

Seated dumbbell shoulder presses: From a seated position, hold the dumbbells at chest level. Push the dumbbells overhead explosively. Maintain a tight, neutral spine; keep your chest out and head neutral. Lower the weight slowly to the starting position.

Incline machine chest presses: Adjust the seat so that the handles are at chest level and your feet are flat on the floor. Push the handles or bar overhead explosively. Maintain a tight, neutral spine; keep your chest out and head neutral. Lower the weight slowly to the starting position.

Flat bench dumbbell flyes: Lying on a flat bench on your back with your feet on the floor, grasp the dumbbells with palms facing each other and arms extended above your chest. Lower the dumbbells in a wide arc to the side until the dumbbells reach the chest and shoulder level and you feel a stretch across your chest. Keep the dumbbells in line with your elbows and shoulders. Pull the dumbbells explosively toward each other in a wide arc back to the starting position.

High pulley cable crossovers: Grasp the handles of the upper pulleys and extend your arms upward in a “V” with palms facing downward. Bend your arms slightly and bend at the waist. Pull the handles downward explosively until your hands touch each other at about waist level; return slowly to the starting position.

Machine lateral raises: From a seated position with elbows close to the sides, place forearms against the pads (or grasp handles, depending on machine). Abduct (lift) your arms to the side explosively until they are parallel with the ground. Return to the starting position under control.

Cable kneeling bent lateral raises: From a kneeling position with your right side facing the machine, grasp the handle attached to the low pulley position of the machine with your left hand. Abduct (lift) your left arm to the side explosively until it is parallel with the ground. Return to the starting position under control. Do 10 reps and repeat the exercise with the other hand.

Reverse grip lat pulldowns: Adjust the seat on the lat machine so that your arms are extended fully when grasping the bar and place your knees under the restraint pads. Grasp the bar with your palms facing toward you and extend your arms fully. Pull the bar downward explosively until it reaches chest level. Return to the starting position under control.

One-arm dumbbell rows: Place your right knee and right arm on a bench and your left foot on the floor. Your back should be flat. Extend your left arm while holding a dumbbell with your left hand, using a palms-in grip (pronated). Bring your left arm toward your chest explosively in a rowing motion; return to the starting position under control. Repeat this exercise using the other arm after you completed 10 reps.

Straight-arm pulldowns: Grasp a high bar attached to a high pulley or lat machine with a pronated grip (palms down). Bend your elbows slightly and lower the bar explosively until it reaches the top of your thighs. Return the bar to the starting position under control.

Two-arm overhead dumbbell extensions: Grasp the dumbbell handle with both hands and press it overhead. Slowly lower the dumbbell behind your head until it reaches the bottom of your neck. Straighten your arms overhead explosively and then repeat the exercise.

Triceps bench dips: Start with your back perpendicular to a flat bench. Place your heels on the floor and your hands on the edge of the bench and support your weight with straight arms. Bend your elbows and lower your body in front of the bench until your upper arms are parallel with the floor (or as low as you can). Push up explosively to the starting position.

Flat bench narrow grip triceps extensions (nosebreakers): Lie on a bench, grasping an E-Z bar using a pronated grip, hands 6 to 12 inches apart. Push the weight above your chest until your arms are extended (starting position). Keeping your elbows in a fixed position, lower the weight under control until the weight is 1-2 inches from your forehead. Extend your elbows explosively until the bar reaches the starting position. A spotter is mandatory for this exercise.

Hammer curls: From a standing position, grasp a pair of dumbbells and extend your arms with palms facing toward the body. Keeping your elbows low and at your sides, curl the dumbbells explosively until they reach chest level. Return to the starting position under control.

Concentration curls: Sit on a bench with your legs spaced wide apart. Grasp a dumbbell with your right hand and brace your right triceps on the inside of your right knee. Straighten your arm and extend the dumbbell toward the floor. Keeping your elbow fixed, curl the weight explosively toward your chest. Return to the starting position under control. Do 10 reps and repeat with the other arm.

Barbell curls: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and knees bent slightly. Grasp the bar at shoulder-width with palms up (supinated grip). Keeping your elbows close to your body, curl the weight toward your chest explosively. Return to the starting position under control.