Tools of the Trade for Fat Loss and HR training

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Just yesterday I was going through a grueling interval session to really boost my metabolism and get out some of the water I was holding from my cheat meal on Saturday night.   Most of my cheat meal came from a tap in a tall glass 🙂

This got me thinking a little bit about getting your heart rate up during your workouts.  Most people assume that increasing your heart or respiratory (heavy panting) rate comes only from cardio.  Well, traditional cardio.

If you have ever had to move heavy weight with short recovery you know this isn’t the case.   Put a heavy load into an interval session with short rest and you have a heart pounding, panting so you can’t speak, fat melting session on your hands.

There are about 10,000 things that I would rather do than run or bike to get my heart rate up.  I will do these things every once in a while during my training sessions but for the most part they have about as much of a place in my workouts some of the “great” stuff that Jillian Michaels puts out.

Hmm, after reading that again it could be mis-read…. oh well, take it however you want!

I will choose to beat myself into the ground using kettlebells, bodyweight, suspension training, ropes, and about any other source of pain and misery that I have at the gym rather than run.

Did I mention that I don’t want to run?

Regardless of my preference there are times when you need a good workout that makes you feel like your aorta might explode and your lungs are going to break a rib because you are breathing so hard.  There are also times where running or going outside might not be an option.

What are you going to do?  How will we ever solve this problem?

I think that I have your solution in just a few little tools!

The kettlebell, your bodyweight, suspension systems and ropes!

Now the ropes are a bit tricky because most of you won’t have ropes at home or be able to take them on the road with you when you travel.    They are however at the gym and used frequently to deliver punishment to those that don’t eat correctly over the weekend!  (I am just kidding; we punish everyone equally at Force!)


I can promise you that if you are going hard on the ropes and you don’t look at the clock about 10 seconds into the interval period you are either a freak of nature or you are being a pansy and not going hard enough.   I can’t think of one time that I have been on the ropes and thought, “Man, I could have gone another 5 seconds”.   The actual thought that goes through my head is, “what in the heck was I thinking doing this again!”

I may or may not have censored the actual thoughts that go through my head.

The other great thing about the ropes is that almost anyone can do them and get a lot out of them.  You don’t have to be able to move all that well or be completely injury free to get a great workout from doing the ropes.  We can also throw them around in so many different ways that it never seems to get boring.

Hear is a short video of the intensity required on ropes:

I heart ropes!

If you can get your hands on a 30-50 foot length of 1”-2” diameter rope to use at home in your garage or home gym you can get in some great workouts!    I have even used a section of fire hose for the same effect!

Now on to number two!

The future of at home training!  No more weights to pug around, squat stands to put together or stupid cardio machines to sit and collect dust.

All you need is…..

The suspension trainer.  Many of you will know this tool as the TRX.  I used to love the TRX.  I wouldn’t have suggested any other brand or type of suspension trainer.

Oh, how things have changed in a week!  We just got in a new shipment of Jungle Gym XTs and these things are amazing.  They can be used as single handle pieces, the handles are very durable, they are easy to get in and out of and they are only $99!   I haven’t found one thing that I truly dislike about these things and you can’t beat the price.

I am so enthusiastic about it that I am highly considering carrying them at the gym to sell to our clients that want something to do at home.

The reason that these types of training tools are great is that they can be used in very little space, we use a lot of muscles and train the core at the same time, they are easy to travel with, and they can help assist us in movements that we wouldn’t normally be able to do.

Think about a balanced program.  You have to be able to add some pulling (upper back) work into the picture to be truly balanced.  Without these straps or suspension systems we would have to have dumbbells or bands of varying intensities and set them up each time.

These tools allow us to do so many things that it is mind boggling.  We can do combination movements, plyometric movements, strength movements, core movements, cardio movements, and much more.

My favorite things to do with these are rowing combinations, jump squats, and core movements that also require us to move at a fast pace.

The set up is easy and quick to adjust so that you can seamlessly move from one exercise to the other for maximal benefit.

Give this circuit a try on the suspension trainer and see if you are still comfortably breathing at the end.

Assisted Single Leg Squat x 10ea

Suspended Push Up x 10

Jump Squat x 10

Row x 10

Layout x 10

Hugs x 10 each

Single Leg Burpee x 10 each

Prone Suspended Sprint x 10 each

Rest 60s and Repeat 2-3 more times.

Give it a go and let me know how it goes.

Part Two of this blog post will cover two more of my favorite cardio boosters.


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Showing 3 comments
  • Amber

    This was another great post, but where is the link on how to use the ropes?

  • Angie Albertson

    I did this TRX workout in my basement this morning and I gotta admit, it’s tougher than it looks! I did four rounds and I was spent!

  • Amber

    Where is the link to how to use the ropes?

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