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The "Eat a Whole Pizza" Workout

by
author image Greg Presto
Greg Presto is a sports and fitness reporter and video guy in Washington, D.C., who thinks fitness should be fun and an adventure, whether you're on a trail, in the gym, or on the living room floor. He's done work for "Men's Health," "Women's Health," "Shape," "Prevention," "Reebok," "USA Today" and others.
The "Eat a Whole Pizza" Workout
If you're really looking to burn off that pizza, you'll have to put in some serious work. Photo Credit Adobe Stock/baranq

No, you can't out-train a bad diet. But if you've ever wanted to eat a whole pizza and feel totally justified about it, this workout is for you. You don't need to climb a mountain, run a half marathon or complete a century ride.

But you will need some serious stamina, because this workout burns approximately 1,330 calories (depending on your weight) — the average amount of calories in three quarters of a medium pepperoni pizza from major American chains. Why three quarters? You're going to eat a quarter of the pizza anyway (two servings), so this workout will burn off the rest.

Read more: The Forgotten Keys to Fat Loss

This workout isn't for the faint of heart. It'll kick your butt!
This workout isn't for the faint of heart. It'll kick your butt! Photo Credit LIVESTRONG.COM

How to Do This Workout

There are four parts to this workout: First, a body-weight circuit warm-up, then a lifting session with input from Shawn Arent, Ph.D., director of the Human Performance Laboratory at Rutgers. Next, there's a Tabata-inspired finisher from Nick Tumminello, author of "Strength Training for Fat Loss," and finally, a cardio session.

This workout isn't for the fainthearted, though. "It's brutal," said one of the workout's four testers. Each participant wore a calorie-tracking armband during the workout, but not after. So any excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) was not measured.

In studies, exercisers have experienced caloric burn for 30 minutes after completing their strength session. Even without measuring this amount, the bands indicated testers burned an average of 764 calories before the cardio session and up to 1,120 after the cardio session had ended.

Read more: The Best Exercises for EPOC

"It's strenuous, even mentally. It's long and it's hard," said another tester. And he's right: It's a long, strenuous session and should be approached with caution. Eat something — probably not a whole pizza — before you do this workout, so you'll have energy to get through it.

Don't try to do it more than once a week, and stop if you feel pain or dizziness. Burning off pizza is wonderful, but your safety and health is more wonderful, so listen to your body.

For your warm-up, all you need is your body weight and the determination to get through it.
For your warm-up, all you need is your body weight and the determination to get through it. Photo Credit shironosov/iStock/Getty Images

PART I: Body-Weight Circuit Warm-Up

(Estimated time: 4 minutes, 30 seconds)

Each section of the workout has an estimated time attached based on reps of three seconds each. For the warm-up, perform each exercise for eight reps, without resting between exercises. When you've finished all the exercises, rest for 30 seconds. Repeat the circuit and rest period two more times.

1. Body-weight squat

2. Front-to-back leg swing

3. Push-up

4. Spiderman climb

5. Romanian deadlift

6. Lunge with torso twist

7. Lateral lunge

Rest 30 seconds

Repeat 3x total

Read more: Use a Dynamic Warm-Up to Boost Your Workout

Gear up for the main event! You'll need all the strength you can muster.
Gear up for the main event! You'll need all the strength you can muster. Photo Credit AKodisinghe/iStock/Getty Images

PART 2: Main Lift

(Estimated time: 40 to 60 minutes)

If trainer Shawn Arent were going to program one exercise for maximum caloric burn, he says the answer is easy: "Especially if it's a longer program, without a doubt I'd choose squats."

This section starts with squats, and then alternates between supersets of upper-body work, followed by more leg exercises. For each exercise, choose a weight that allows you to finish all the sets and reps with good form — a good estimate is 75 percent of your one-rep max.

For the lower-body exercises, perform straight sets, resting one minute between sets. For the supersets, go from move A to B without resting, and then rest for 30 seconds between supersets.

Leg Exercise 1: Barbell Front Squat

  • 6 sets of 6 reps, one minute of rest between sets
  • 4 sets of 8 reps, 30 seconds of rest between supersets

Leg Exercise 2: Rear-Foot Elevated Split Squat

  • 4 sets of 6 to 8 reps per leg, one minute of rest between sets
  • 4 sets of 8 reps, 30 seconds of rest between supersets

Leg Exercise 3: Barbell or Dumbbell Step-Up

  • 4 sets of 6 to 8 reps per leg, one minute of rest between sets
  • 4 sets, 30 seconds of rest between supersets

Leg Exercise 4: Dumbbell or Barbell Reverse Lunge

  • 3 sets of 6 reps per leg, one minute of rest between sets
  • 4 sets of 8 reps, minimal rest between sets

After everything is finished, rest four to five minutes.

Read more: Everything You Need to Know About Supersets, Tri-Sets and Giant Sets

This "finisher" is aptly named and just might finish you off.
This "finisher" is aptly named and just might finish you off. Photo Credit Adobe Stock/Andriy Bezuglov

PART 3: Tabata-Inspired Finisher

(estimated time: 5 minutes)

Strength coach Nick Tuminnello says he uses finishers like this one both in conditioning and fat-loss workouts. The difference between those two types of training, he says, is diet.

This body-weight finisher is great after a long workout, he says, because it relies heavily on lower-body movements, where there's more muscle that won't be exhausted from the lifting session.

To do it, perform as many reps of each exercise as possible for 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, then move to the next exercise. Do all the exercises twice in a row to complete one round of the finisher. When you've finished the whole round, rest for one minute then do it all again.

1. Body-weight squats

2. Burpees

3. Mountain climbers

4. Speed skips (in place, bringing each knee above the hip)

Rest for one minute

Repeat

Read more: A 20-Minute Metabolism-Boosting, Official Tabata Workout

Gather up whatever energy you have left and get ready to cross the finish line.
Gather up whatever energy you have left and get ready to cross the finish line. Photo Credit Adobe Stock/Kurmyshov

PART 4: Run (or more likely walk) a 5K

However you can fit in 3.1 miles — run, walk, crawl — get it done! The feeling you have when you cross the finish line will be like nothing else. You've officially earned that pizza!

Read more: Get on Track With a Couch-to-5K Training Plan

What Do YOU Think?

What’s the toughest workout you’ve ever done? Do you prefer full-body workouts or do you focus on one type of workout? Do you think you can do this workout? Try it out and let us know how it went!

Read more: A Cardio Kettlebell Workout That Will Crush Calories

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