A 20 Minute Workout to Get You Toned Faster than Any Cardio Class

Things have been a little cray cray over at Casa de Kimbro. With all the real estate (aka night job) and consulting work (aka day job), I missed my CrossFit class today (aka favorite job). Fortunately, we have a nice little backyard home gym we made from when I was preggers:

Rocking the Push Press at 34 Weeks

Rocking the Push Press at 34 Weeks

So I know I can always squeeze in a quick workout if I can’t make it to my social sewing circle where we also happen to lift heavy weights and known as CrossFit.

But before I go into the workout, I’m going to make fun of a type of “exercise” for a second. If you exercise this way, don’t take it too seriously or too personally, but do perhaps consider the benefits of changing it up a bit.

I’m talking about an “exercise” routine that consists of “cardio” activities like walking at the pace of a slightly intoxicated snail. We’ve all seen people on the treadmill at the gym, walking more slowly than they walk in real life, while flipping through the pages of a magazine. A co-worker once even called me while he was on the elliptical machine “working out” at the gym. Let me tell you something - if you can can call me, YOU’RE NOT REALLY WORKING OUT!

Sweatin it Out With Homer

Sweatin it Out With Homer

Even a light jog at the park isn’t much better than the snail steppers. It’s cool if you’re just working on your tan (which I do regularly), or getting the kinks out, chilling out mentally from a hard day, or not able to do more. All of those are great things and I walk and jog for those exact reasons.

There is no problem with a light jog as a workout at all, unless of course you want to look smokin hot in a swimsuit. That’s a slight issue.

The thing is that a slow steady jog might seem superior to a slow steady walk, but how does it compare to a speed walk in quick burst intervals for example? Turns out that bursts of quick walking might be better for you than the slow and steady jog.

What I’m referring to is High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).

HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training is a type of interval training where you perform repeated intervals of short bursts of high-intensity anaerobic exercise followed by brief low-intensity activity. 

And guess what? It’s a lot better for you than a typical cardio workout. If you don’t believe me, ask my scientist husband:

Sure, Babe. Whatever you say. Where’s the burp cloth?
— Scientist Husband, Ph.D.

And if that’s not convincing, then check out some articles here or here. Or listen to the research on the physiological and health benefits of HIIT with Tim Ferriss and Dr. Martin Gibala here

I even invented a game at the park I call the HIIT Game. Here’s how you play. You walk around the track, and every time someone jogs past you at a snail’s pace, you yell “HIIIIIITTTTT!!!” and do 10 tuck jumps. I promise you, you will get a better workout than any of the other unknowing game participants.

So, with that said, the following is a high strength, high intensity, short workout that works pretty much every muscle in your body.

HIIT Me Til I'm Hot

Equipment (click to purchase through Amazon):

  • Heavy Dumbbells. I love these CAP dumbbells, they are fantastic quality just like you would use in the gym and not expensive.  

  • Band for Pull Ups. These bands are fantastic and travel easily to any park or hotel gym. You can start with a thicker band for more support and gradually work your way down to a thinner band.

Time: 15-30 minutes, 20 minutes is typical

Pairing: I enjoyed Luke Bryan radio on Pandora while doing this, ESPECIALLY Honky Tonk Badonkadonk by Trace Adkins which seemed particularly well suited for this exercise.

The Workout

  • 3 Rounds:

    • 20 walking lunges with dumbbells on shoulders (each leg counts as one, so total of 11 on each leg)

    • 10 strict toes to bar

    • 10 alternating dumbbell snatches (each arm counts as one, so total of 5 each arm)

    • 10 strict pull ups

Followed by The Final HIIT:

  • 3 Rounds:

    • 10 tuck jumps (this was a struggle, ain’t gonna lie)

    • 5 wedding walks (as slow as you need) (bring legs together and tap in between steps like you would to walk down the aisle in a wedding)


  • Go HEAVY on the dumbbells. This is meant to be hard. You should struggle to get through the snatches each round.

  • If you need to modify the toes to bar, do knee raises. But keep it strict, no swingy swingy.

  • If you need to modify the pull ups, use a band or do negative pull ups using a chair

  • You can purchase the pull up rig for under $100 and similar for the dumbbells using these links above. It’s not expensive and you can do a ton of workouts with this equipment. 

When you’re done with this, cook my shrimp for dinner so you can add a nice six-pack to that badonkadonk you just built.

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