The "Eat a Whole Pizza" Workout

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.

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.

"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.

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.

Rest 30 seconds

Repeat 3x total

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

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.

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

Rest for one minute


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!

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!

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