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10 Minutes of Hell (Plus 60 Minutes of Restraint)

10 Minutes of Hell (Plus 60 Minutes of Restraint)


Burning through fat really is this simple. But don’t infer that simple means easy.

By Todd Soura


We live in an interesting time. A lot of the long-held conventional thinking about exercise and nutrition has been debunked in rapid succession over the last several years in favor of methods that are, for the most part, more conducive to our nonstop lifestyles. Never really able to make time for those 10K training runs? Good news. Turns out that 10 minutes of sprinting are more effective anyway.

A lot of what seemed radical at first glance, like the above, now feels closer to common sense. Yet, the onslaught of so-called revolutionary workouts and diets just keeps coming. Understand that it’s a business, first and foremost, and you’ll begin to see it for what it is: an attempt to profit off of misguided information.

To show you just how simple it can be, I’m going to outline a 10-minute workout that’s designed to boost your metabolic rate long after you finish, as well as a recovery plan for the hours immediately afterward. No gym’s required. Nor is a nutritionist. If you’re cramped for time, you can do the workout and leave it at that. But if you supplement your current regimen with it, save it for last. You’re not going to have anything left in the tank. For that reason, my clients have come to refer it as the “10 Minutes of Hell.”


10 Minutes of Hell

1 minute          Kettlebell swings
2 minutes         Step-ups
30 seconds      Mountain climbers
30 seconds      Push-ups
1 minute          Jump rope


Perform the circuit twice and without rest between the exercises or the rounds, unless you absolutely have to. Aim to do the maximum amount of repetitions you can within each timeframe. If you’re not thoroughly exhausted when you finish, try the advanced version next time:

1 minute          Kettlebell swings
45 seconds      Burpees
45 seconds      Mountain climbers
45 seconds      Clapping push-ups
1 minute          jumping lunges or box jumps


Once you pull yourself together, try not to head straight for the kitchen, unless you need to grab some more water. I know. The popular thinking is to eat within 20 to 30 minutes of finishing your workout. Your metabolism’s still raging, and anything you consume is more likely to be used as fuel rather than stored at fat. That’s all true. But it neglects the other half of that equation: You stop burning fat as soon as you eat.

In other words, you just ruined yourself for 10 minutes, and now you’re going to negate those gains in a single bite. What you should do instead is abstain for the next hour. Let your body eat into its fat stores while you go shower and prep your meal. Then, reward yourself with a palm-size portion of lean protein and all the veggies you can stomach. (Note: If you’re building muscle or trying to enhance your athletic performance, a different set of guidelines apply.)


Todd Soura is the owner of the Doylestown-based Action Personal Training

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