A middle-aged guy takes his shirt off and looks in the mirror. What does he see?
That’s not the beginning of a joke, although what he sees might be funny if it weren’t so sad. He sees a blubbery body, aka the “dad bod”—the result of too much deskwork, too little sleep, and too little time to do anything else. It’s all the product of mid-career pressures, a sedentary lifestyle, poor nutrition, and (often) dedicated fatherhood.
Most guys respond to a suddenly doughy midsection (if they do at all) by purchasing an overpriced, hamster-wheel piece of equipment that soon becomes an expensive clothes-drying rack. Or they pull on some running shoes and head outside for a jog. Either way they’re determined to shed some pounds and get in shape through cardio training.
This is a bad plan.
For starters, most guys’ hips are so locked down from inactivity. Consequently, pounding the pavement with improver movement patterns will only set them up for more muscle dysfunction and pain. Plus, a slow jog—aka “slog”—won’t burn fat or create a lean physique.
The good news: You don’t need to become a gym monster to lose weight or burn fat. Instead, you need to commit to some short, high-intensity workouts that burn calories while also improving your mobility.
The 15-minute Fat-burning Workout: How It Works
In this 15-minute fat-burning workout for busy guys, we’re going to push hard to create “pillar strength,” open up those tight hips, and get a much-needed cardio benefit. (Trust us: It’ll be far more effective than jogging.)
We’ve designed this workout by alternating lower-body and upper-body movements, or pushing and pulling exercises. By switching around your muscle groups, you won’t tire out any specific muscles at the same time. That way you can take shorter rest intervals between exercises, push your cardiovascular system harder, and make the most of your time.
Do this workout as a circuit. Perform all six of the exercises consecutively, without rest. Do two rounds total (or three, if you have the time and energy) first thing in the morning, and you’ll start to burn fat—and feel a sense of accomplishment before your chaotic day.
Pete Williams is a NASM-certified personal trainer and the author or co-author of a number of books on performance and training.