Taken from Vitality Magazine issue 7, out 30th January 2016. Want to read the article in full in its original format? Print it off and take it to the gym: Click here! After the male version instead? Follow this link to find Tom Atkinson’s Burn That Belly workout!

When a woman comes into the gym and tells me she wants to burn fat, I tell her it’s okay to do cardio work – but research tells us that for successful fat-loss, she’ll need to add some resistance to her workout: she’ll need to include some weight-training in there as well. This doesn’t mean lifting heavy bars or dumbbells. I’ve built this workout around the sled, the kettlebell and the ropes – kit that won’t build unsightly muscle but will make you noticeably leaner and better toned because it’ll burn that fat. We’ll definitely be doing some high intensity training too, short, sharp bursts with short rests in between that make the most of your visits to the gym.

“Stick with it and you’ll see great results”

– Emily Cole, Personal Trainer, Virgin Active
There’s no magic wand – but stick with it and you’ll see great results in an incredibly short time and get a really good calorie deficit in a fairly brief session. Stop things getting dull by working in some of the variations in the graphics below, and try to make time to do a minimum of three days a week with these workouts: I’ve seen amazing results with three-day-a-week training. One last tip: don’t keep stepping on the scales – the dress you pull on or the top button of your trousers and the bathroom mirror will tell you that it’s working!

Prowler Push


It’s shuttle time. Hold the tall grips (not too high or you’ll push downwards, not forwards) and push the sled 10 metres across the track. Stack on heavier weights for slower, power-based movements; lighter ones for short sprints. Take big steps, driving from the glutes and hamstrings, not the quads (the front of your legs).


Do 6 shuttles with light weights, 2-4 with heavier. Then rest for a minute. Now turn, grip the lower bar (it’ll be harder to push) and go back to where you started. Or just pull the bars out and swap over.

Or Try…

Freshen things up with these prowler alternatives

1. Get In There


You’ll be working very similar muscles here but it feels as if you’re pushing towards the new-look you! In this start position, the hands are still doing the gripping and the shoulders aren’t touching the bars: you’ll just feel as if you’re more a part of the sled.

2. … And Push!


Take a nice, big stride forward. Feel the burn behind your legs, not in front. Keep your back straight and your core tightened. And it’s still only your palms pushing the sled, not your shoulders.

3. Or Try This…


Just use the low bar. It’ll feel a lot harder, so now those quads are really coming into play as well. When you’ve mastered this one, try mixing it up with the high- bar shuttles for variety.

Battle Ropes


Get a grip. These fairly heavy ropes can give you a seriously good, and good fun, workout. You’ll use the abdominal and back muscles, and upper body, in a slight squat position that engages your leg muscles. And you’ll get your heart rate up with a really good cardio session. Your arms will alternate, creating a wave with the ropes as they go up and down repeatedly.


Do the waves continuously for 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, then repeat. It looks easy but after 20 seconds, you’ll be ready!

And Try…

Freshen things up with these battle rope alternatives

1. Slam!


These double slams have you keeping the ropes in your hands at the same level: up with the hands, then slam them down as hard as you can.

2. Jump!


You’ll use your upper body even more with these star jumps. As your feet jump apart, the arms go out too; as your feet come back together, the arms come back to your sides.

3. Twist!


With your hands to one side, work the upper body and your oblique and abdominal muscles by transferring the ropes from one side to the other. A real good workout!

Kettlebell Swing


Put the kettlebell on. This works the core, glutes and hamstrings: perfect for the rear! Don’t use your arms and shoulders (relax them), the momentum here comes from a ‘pop’ of the hips. Drop the bell down through your legs, driving the hips through to get it back up (and no leaning back). Check our graphics, right, and at first, just get back up to shoulder height till you’re confident about the technique.


Swing for 30 seconds, then rest for 15 seconds, and repeat four times.

The 3 Stages

Concentrate on your technique for safety as well as good results

1. Get High…


Don’t start further back than this, and don’t allow your return swing to go back further, either. If it’s tough, just do 2 and 3, below.

2. Go Out…


Keep a really straight back as you let the kettlebell descend: no arching please.  Always follow it with your eyes, to ensure you keep your spine long. The knees are soft, but legs are straight.

3. …And Down


It isn’t a squat, it’s more like you’re bowing, pushing those hips back, then snapping them through to return back up. Thrusting those hips, not using the arms, gives you momentum.


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