Home / Featured / Tuesday Training Tip and a Fat Burning Workout Routine: Less is more, but less is not easier. Unlocking the secret to burning fat and creating lean muscle.

Tuesday Training Tip and a Fat Burning Workout Routine: Less is more, but less is not easier. Unlocking the secret to burning fat and creating lean muscle.


Ladies, put away those 2 and 5lb dumbbells. If you want to burn fat and tone muscle, you must lift some real weights!

 Kelly’s Tuesday Training Tip: Less is more, but less is not easier.

Unlocking the secret to burning fat and creating lean muscle

 Ok, let’s be honest here. How many of you think that if a little bit of exercise firms and tones than a lot of exercise will turn you into a slim, skinny jean wearing supermodel? How many of you have pounded away at the treadmill or elliptical for an hour at a time, 5 days a week, but haven’t really noticed any real results or muscle tone? I’m sure we’ve all been there and I’m guilty as charged, too. It wasn’t until a few years ago that one of my athletic trainers told me some advice that stuck because it worked. He said, “Go harder, not longer.” I took his advice and have been pounding out short, super intense workouts ever since with amazing success.

 To prove my point, a study was recently published in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism in which researchers asked a group of women to do 45 minutes of steady, moderate cardio like the elliptical for 5 days a week for 12 weeks. At the end of the study, the women experienced no change in their body composition compared to women who didn’t exercise or diet at all. Now if that’s not depressing, I don’t know what is.

 So, I officially give you permission to stop wasting your time – Let’s break the chain of the long, boring, dreaded treadmill and elliptical sessions now! Instead of working out more, I’m going to show you how to work out harder, smarter and faster in as little time as 15 minutes a day for 3 days a week. Sound to good to be true? It’s not if you do the right exercises and lift the right amount of weights, I promise.

 What determines whether or not you shed fat is not the duration of your workouts, but the intensity. High intensity workouts are the quickest way to burn fat and build lean muscle. In other words, it takes hours upon hours to walk or jog away that extra weight, but you’ll be able to sprint it off in no time. In a study by the Journal of Applied Physiology, reported that just 2 weeks of high intensity alternate day training boosted fat burning ability by 36 percent.

 I’m going to give away another secret to shed fat and create lean muscle quickly: You need to embrace resistance training and lift way more weight than you think. Women, put away those little 2 and 5 lb dumbells – they aren’t doing a thing for you. You need to choose heavier weights than you think to build lean muscle and loose fat. That means women need to be checking out those 15, 20, 25+ lb weights and men need even more.  Women especially tend to think the heavy weights aren’t for them. I’m talking to the women here now: I promise you will not look like the incredible hulk when you lift heavy weights. What you will look like is leaner, more toned, and you’ll start to notice that your clothes are getting too big. Women, you are far stronger than you give yourself credit for. You can easily carry those 20+ lbs of groceries from your car to the door and carry that 30+lb baby/carseat, right? That’s what I thought.

 Here’s how to figure out how much weight you should use. Grab a set of 15 lb dumbbells and do a set of 12 bent over rows. The weight is the correct weight if you start to struggle on the 11th or 12th rep. If you can do 12 reps easily, you need more weight. If it’s too hard on the 5th or 6th rep, you need to go down to 12 or 10 pound weights. You will know the weight is perfect for you when you start to struggle on the last few reps. It should be hard – that’s the point and that’s the key to loosing fat and building lean muscle.

 Here is a basic total body, high intensity dumbbell workout that works every major muscle in your body. These are just a few basic moves that can and will change your body composition when done with the proper heavy weights. You can do this quick routine at home or at the gym.

 Basic Total Body Workout that only takes 15 minutes

These exercises must be done in a circuit, which means you do one set of each exercise and move onto the next without rest. When you complete the list of exercises then you can rest for 1 to 3 minutes and then repeat the entire list for a total of 3 times.

 12 Squats with dumbbells

12 Jumping Jacks

12 Chest Press with dumbbells

12 Jumping Jacks

12 Bent over Row with dumbbells

12 Jumping Jacks

12 per side (24 total) Bicycle Twist

12 jumping jacks

Rest and repeat 3 times


Starting position is standing with your feet about hip width apart and holding the dumbbells at your side. Squat down until your thighs are nearly parallel to the floor, as pictured. Keep your weight in your heels, not your toes. Keep your head looking up so you don’t strain your lower back. Return to starting position.



Lie on your back on a bench or to really challenge your muscles, use a ball. Hold the dumbbells at arms length right over your chest. Lower your arms until the weights are even with your chest. Press your arms back up to the starting position, as pictured.
Stand and bend from your hips until your back is nearly parallel to the floor. Hang your arms down in front of you and hold the dumbbells. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and press the dumbbells to your chest. Lower the weights back down to starting position.
Lie on your back. With your hands behind your head, lift your right shoulder off the ground and curl toward your left knee as you extend your right leg. Then curl toward your right knee as you extend your left leg. Make your abs do the work and do not stress your neck by pulling up on your head.


*Do this routine 3 times a week with at least one day in between. So, you might do it Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. If you want to really speed up your fat loss, I highly recommend incorporating a sprint session right after your dumbbell workout session just one day a week. You can do sprints outside or on the treadmill, elliptical or bike. Sprints will be 15 minutes in length. If you are on the elliptical, bike or treadmill, they will look like this:

Warmup/Jog for 2 minutes

Sprint 30 seconds

Brisk jog or pedal for 1 minute 30 seconds

Sprint for 30 seconds

Brisk jog or pedal for 1 minute 30 seconds

Repeat this until you hit 15 minutes.

Cool down for 2 minutes.

To make this count and to burn the most amount of fat, make sure your sprints are all out and you are really pushing yourself. You should not be able to hold a conversation when you are sprinting. In fact, you should struggle to even be able to get one or two words out when you are sprinting. Make it count! These 15 minute workouts will be tough, but it’s only 15 minutes – you can do it!

 I’ve given you a basic plan to get you started in the right direction to burn fat, tone and build lean muscle. Keep watching and subscribe to my fitness posts, where I will build upon this plan with more routines and exercises to challenge you and your body.

 I’d love to hear if you are using this plan and how it’s working for you. Feel free to post any questions or comments about it here.


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  1. Avatar

    I really like this post. I need to loose some weight but didn’t know where to start. I’m going to start this tonight. I like the fact that you can get results fast and I hate the treadmill. I had a question, though. How fast or slow should I be lifting?

    • Primally Inspired

      Thanks, Scott! Yes, this is a superfast workout that really works. I have been doing various forms (same muscle groups, but I vary the exercises continually so my muscles are constantly challenged) of this exact same workout and it really does work 🙂 To answer your question, you’ll make greater gains if you speed your lifing up a bit. Do not lift superslow. Ramping up your repetition rate recruits more of your unused fast twitch muscle fibers which take a whole lot of energy to move. That equals more calories and fat burned. I wish you the best of luck and let me know if you need any other questions answered.

  2. Avatar

    I enjoyed reading this post and can relate to working out on the elliptical for hours a week without good results. I’m going to try this and see what happens. It makes sense to me even though I’ve been brainwashed into thinking more is better. I’m curious to how long until I start to see results? And if I do this Monday, Wednesday, Friday, what should I be doing the other days?

    • Primally Inspired

      Thanks, Megan! I know how you feel – it took me years before I finally grasped the less is more success. You should start to see results in about 2-4 weeks. If you really want to be on the fast track for results, eating well is a must. Cut out processed foods and eat real foods, limit your starches and eat plenty of good protein and fats and you will see results really quickly.

      The beauty of the 15 minute high intensity workouts is that you are really pushing your body and therefore need plenty of rest and recovery to build stronger muscles. So on the other days you should really take it easy and allow your body to recover. Things like yoga, gentle stretching or going for a nice walk or light jog are perfect things to do when you are not lifting. Remember, less is more! I hope that helps 🙂

  3. Avatar

    What is your opinion on proteinpowders? And could you recommend one?

  4. Primally Inspired

    Hi Eric,

    This is a tough one to answer for me. I am usually not a huge fan of taking a lot of supplements when you are eating clean (I will elaborate more in a future post) because they are not necessary. Real food provides the best nutrients that life has to offer. For most people, real food is always the best option. When you are done working out, here are some great, non processed, whole food options to try: some eggs, an omlet, chicken, beef jerkey, tuna, a sweet potato, etc. Make sure you are getting some good protein and good fats for your post workout meal.

    Having said that, Zach and I still personally use protein powder and I have seen very postive effects from both me and Zach when we consume whey protein after a tough training session. I’m sure there are many high quality, all natural protein powders out there, but this is the one we are using and I’m content with it. I chose it because it contains very low sugar (very important) and is one of the few powders that doesn’t contain artificial ingredients or sweeteners: http://www.vitaminshoppe.com/store/en/browse/sku_detail.jsp?id=XN-1086

    While I wish I could stick with real whole food on this issue, I can’t deny the postive effects I get with my whey protein powder.

  5. Avatar

    Merely wanna input that you have a very nice site, I enjoy the layout and all the articles.

  6. Avatar

    I just did this workout tonight and couldn’t believe how difficult it was and how much it worked me. When I first looked at it I thought it would be a piece of cake. I was wrong. Thanks for some motivation and for a really solid workout.

  7. Avatar

    Just wanted to let you know that I did this workout twice now and really like it. I never lifted dumbbells over 10 lbs and can’t believe how strong I really am! There is a superwoman in me afterall! Thank you for all the information. I’m excited to keep at this and to see how my body changes because of it.

  8. Primally Inspired

    Awesome, superwoman Debra! 🙂 Keep at it and you will really start to see some changes in the next few weeks! Good luck and keep me posted on your progress.

  9. Avatar

    You are making me tired just looking at this!

  10. Avatar

    That is me! I am the one that is on the treadmill for an hour every single day with zero results! I just thought there was something wrong with me or my body/genes to not get toned even though I go to the gym every day. I can’t believe I’ve never tried anything else after all these years of getting nowhere. I am going to try this and am looking forward to seeing some results. Thank you so much for enlightening me!

  11. Avatar

    Hi Kelly, What about using liquid whey from raw milk in a post recovery workout?

  12. Avatar

    Hey! I’ve tried two of your workout routines so far. This one will be the third one. I’m excited to try it out. 🙂

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