5 Personal Trainers Share Their Favorite Fat-burning Workouts

Medicine Ball Slam
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The fat-burning recipe is fairly straightforward: heavy resistance, high-intensity cardio, and a solid out-of-gym plan (nutrition, recovery, sleep…you know the drill). There are endless training variations for blending strength and cardio that work to reduce fat and activate every muscle in your body. It can leave you at a loss for what exactly to do.



Wonder no more: These five total-body workouts will kick your metabolism and heart rate into high gear, burning fat and building muscle in the process. Each comes from a top trainer. As for the diet, try our four-week, fat-burning meal plan.

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Sumo Goblet Squat
Goblet Squat Justin Steele

The trainer: Ricardo Rose, instructor at EverybodyFights in New York City


  • 10 to 15 minutes of prep: stretching, mobility work, exercises to increase heart rate (jumping rope, shadow boxing)
  • Run 1 mile or row 1,500 meters

Directions: Perform all six movements as described. Rest 20 seconds between exercises and 1 minute between circuits. Do 4-6 rounds.

1. Wide-to-Elevated Pushups: 10 reps wide, 10 reps elevated
Start in pushup plank position with your hands wider than shoulder width. Do 10 wide pushups, then elevate your feet on a step or chair, positioning your hands shoulder-with apart. Perform 10 more pushups. To make it easier, do 20 pushups from your knees. To make it harder, do 15 reps at each position.

2. Heavy Kettlebell or Dumbbell Squats: 8 to 10 reps
These should be about 70-80% of your 1-rep max (as heavy as possible for 8-10 reps so the later reps are difficult). Hold the weight in both hands, standing with feet shoulder-width apart. Lower into a squat, pausing briefly at the bottom of the movement, then drive through your heels to stand.

3. Double Crunches: 1 minute
Lie flat on your back with legs straight and arms extended to your sides. Sit up with your shoulders off the ground as you bend your knees toward your chest, lifting your feet off the ground. Keep your arms to your sides throughout the movement, then return to the starting position. To make it harder, raise your hands above your head at the starting position and reach for your toes on the crunch.

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4. Burpees With Pullups: 10 reps
Find a setup where you can jump to a pullup bar. Start in a standing position and proceed into a burpee: Drop into a pushup position; do one pushup; and explode your feet toward your hands. From here, jump up to grab the pullup bar and perform one pullup, then drop back to the start position and repeat. To modify, complete 10 burpees and 10 pullups (using a band for assistance, if necessary) separately.

5. Curl to Overhead Press: 15 reps
Holding dumbbells, stand straight up, making sure your elbows are in front of your ribs. Curl the dumbbells to shoulder level and begin an overhead press. When overhead pressing, squeeze your glutes and keep your core engaged to prevent arching in the lower back.

6. Kettlebell Swings: 1 minute
Start with feet shoulder-width apart, with both hands on the horns of a kettlebell. Relax your shoulders away from your ears and pin your shoulder blades together. When hinging, don’t let the bell drop below your knees. Reach your hips back and squeeze your glutes from the bottom of the swing into full extension through your hips at the top.

Prowler push
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The trainer: Aqib Rashid, founder of GHOST, a technology-driven personal training facility in Brooklyn

Phase 1: Fast Twitch Fibers + Anaerobic Training

In this portion of the program, aim for heavy load with moderate volume.

1. Banded Barbell Deadlift (8 to 10 reps): Once you’ve mastered the hinge pattern of a deadlift, incorporating resistance bands will help you safely increase load as you progress. Using a lifting platform or rack with low pegs, attach a resistance band from the base of the pegs to each end of your barbell—such that the band is taught and resistance increases at the top range of your movement. Choose weights that allow you to perform 8 to 10 reps per set for 5 sets total with 90 seconds rest between sets.

Phase 2: Circuit Training

In this portion of the program, perform a circuit with moderate load and higher volume. Perform 4 circuits total with 60 seconds rest after each circuit.

1. Pullup-Plus (8-10 reps): Grab the bar with an overhand grip in a dead-hang, with hands slightly wider than shoulder width. Without bending your arms, bring the scapula down toward your lower body (this should feel like you’re trying to “bend” the bar). Your chest should rise while your scapula retracts. Once you hit full retraction, pause for a 2-second count, then proceed into standard pullup.

2. Zercher Carry (25-30 feet): Hold a moderately heavy barbell close to your chest by bending your arms at 90 degrees, placing the bar between your biceps and forearms. Keep your gaze forward, core braced, and back straight as you march.

3. Prowler Sprints (40-50 feet): Choose a challenging weight, and place your arms high on the prowler handles. Keeping your core braced, drive forward at a steady pace with full extension on each rep.

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Phase 3: Improve Aerobic Capacity + Leverage Post-Exercise Oxygen Debt

The goal in this phase is to engage in bouts of heightened exertion followed by active rest, measured as a function of your maximal heart rate (MHR). If you have one accessible, a wearable HR monitor is a great asset for tracking exertion in this phase. Perform 8 to 10 intervals of the two movements back-to-back, building from 70 to 90 percent max heart rate in 3 to 5 percent increments with each sprint interval.

1. High Exertion: Curved Treadmill (Self-Propelled) Sprints (45-60 seconds, 70-90 percent max heart rate)

2. Active Rest: Hollow-Body Plank or High Plank (60 seconds, ~60 percent of max heart rate)

Hex Bar, Trap Bar Deadlift
Hex Bar Deadlift James Michelfelder

The trainer: Erick Wilson, a Barry’s Bootcamp instructor based in New York City

Do five sets of the below moves. Do 12 reps for set 1; 10 reps for set 2; 8 reps for set 3; 6 reps for set 4; 4 reps for set 5. Increase weight by 5 pounds week over week.

  • Heavy Chest Press
  • Heavy Squats
  • Heavy Deadlifts
  • Heavy Shoulder Press

Complete 5 sets of the below HIIT exercises:

  • Alternating Dumbbell Snatches: 30 seconds
  • Kettlebell Swings: 30 seconds
  • Pullups: AMRAP
  • Pushups: AMRAP
  • Dips: AMRAP
Spin class
Spin class Jorg Badura

The trainer: Mike Farr, a Reebok trainer based in Sacramento, CA

Repeat the below sequence for 5 rounds twice a week. Work your way up to 8 to 10 rounds 3 to 4 times a week. For strength work, choose weights that are difficult but can be done with perfect form. Increase weights slowly week to week when possible.

Deadlift: 5 sets of 3 reps
Barbell Row: 3 sets of 8 reps
Romanian Deadlifts: 3 sets of 12 reps

Sled Sprints (hill sprint, assault bike, spin bike): 30 seconds all-out with 1.5 minute rest.

jump rope
Justin Steele

The trainer: JJ Rosenfelt, a NASM certified personal trainer, group fitness instructor, and running coach at Equinox Chestnut Hill in Newton, MA.

Active Warmup
Focus on a limited workout that incorporates interval-based cardio and targets muscles on rotation (work legs and lower body on Monday; upper body on Tuesday; lower body Thursday).

Lower-body Session 
Complete 3 sets of the below sequence with no rest between moves. Rest 1 minute between sets.

  • Jump Rope: 50 reps
  • Box Jumps: 10 reps
  • Air Squats: 12 reps
  • Crab Reaches: 20 reps

Upper-body Session 
Complete 3 sets of the below sequence with no rest between moves. Rest 1 minute between sets.

  • Pushups: 10 to 12 reps
  • Shoulder Press: 10 to 12 reps
  • Medicine Ball Slams: 10 to 12 reps

Lower-body Session 

Complete 3 sets of the below exercises starting with 5 reps using max weight; 6 reps dropping 10 percent of weight; 8 reps dropping another 10 percent.

  • Squats
  • Leg Presses
  • Lunges
  • Leg Raises

Upper-body Session
Complete 3 sets of the below exercises starting with 5 reps using max weight; 6 reps dropping 10 percent of weight; 8 reps dropping another 10 percent.

  • Bicep Curls
  • Triceps Dips
  • Shoulder Press
  • Chest press

Interval-Based Cardio
Select five varied cardio machines in the gym and go to max effort on each machine for two minutes with a 1-minute rest in between each effort. This totals 15 minutes. Build to four rounds (one hour).

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