The Rush-Hour Workout

These three training tenets will turn on your burn without sacrificing intensity.

It’s 5:30 p.m. and the gym is wide open — treadmills gleaming, dumbbells lined up neatly, plates stacked — all equipment is empty and clean, just waiting for you to begin your workout. Suddenly, you’re rudely awakened from your daydream as a dude roars and drops his barbell at your feet and the girl hogging the incline bench relates her Tinder hookup to her bestie via speakerphone. It’s never easy to craft a proper conditioning circuit in a crowded gym — that’s why you need a few break-in-case-of-emergency routines like this one in your back pocket.

When it comes to fat loss and conditioning, there are three things you should consider to really bring on the burn. First, choose compound movements — exercises such as squats, lunges, woodchoppers, pull-ups. These moves work multiple muscle groups and optimize the number of calories you burn per rep while also eliminating the need for excessive accessory movements. Second, shoot for higher rep ranges, going for 10 to 15 per set rather than the standard six to eight. This challenges your muscular endurance, making the action more cardiovascular and adding a layer of burn you don’t normally get with a typical hypertrophy scenario. Finally, shorten your between-set rest time to keep your heart rate elevated and further intensify the element of endurance.

Use one or more of these three tenets when designing your circuit and you’ll catalyze fat loss like there’s no tomorrow. You’ll also power through rush hour unscathed by narrowing the perimeter of your workout to one or two gym locations, max. Here's an example of a routine that uses minimal equipment and square footage while maximizing physical time as well as muscular time-under-tension. In 40 minutes or less you should be drenched, trenched and outta there.