As I've matured in my fitness journey, I've come to realize the importance of not being afraid of food or giving it too much power over me.
I was a fat kid. So what really excited me about the month of March wasn't the NCAA tournament or spring break. It was the minty majesty that is the Shamrock Shake. I used to drink these green sugar bombs like water in my youth. When I finally lost the weight as an adult and adopted a healthy lifestyle, I put Shamrock Shakes—and other empty liquid calories—in my rear view mirror.
As I've matured in my fitness journey, I've come to realize the importance of not being afraid of food or giving it too much power over me. Part of the reason I stopped slamming the shakes is because I was petrified I'd get fat again. But life is too short to not occasionally enjoy chemical concoctions so delicious they could only be created in a lab.
So when I want to treat myself, I do. But I at least make sure to perform a killer workout beforehand. It's a simple burn and earn approach that has allowed me to still enjoy the foods I love (typically Five Guys and fries every Friday) and stay lean and somewhat social year-round. Plus, you can put those extra calories and carbs to work by accelerating the muscle growth and recovery process after a hard training session.
A large Shamrock Shake has 820 calories and 103 grams of sugar, according the the McDonald's website. To earn that type of treat you're gonna need a serious burn.
I call this workout a "pump and run". It's just what it sounds like: you pump up your muscles and then you do some running and repeat. This mix of strength and cardio exercise is ideal for rapid fat loss and is quite possibly the perfect workout. It's also an ideal damage control workout before a sinfully delicious treat, cheat meal, or holiday feast.
Now, the workout below is just a template so feel free to create your own customized version. I picked 5 basic strength moves that work your whole body to get you started, but you can swap in whatever exercises you like. You can even play around with different cardio moves like bike sprints, battle ropes, or sled pushes.
I will say that running is second to none for crushing calories and emptying the tank. When I last did this routine about a month ago I built up to 12 mph at a 1.0 incline after the first cycle and maintained that pace the rest of the way.
You've got the minute rest between sets to allow you to push with enough intensity on each work period, so don't overly pace yourself. You should be breathing heavy and you'll probably want to quit by the time the third cycle rolls around. But you won't, because the Shamrock Shake awaits you.
Here's how to do it: Perform each move in the order listed for 60 seconds with 60 seconds of rest between moves. That's 1 cycle. Do up to 3 total cycles for a 1-hour sweat-fest.
1. Alternating reverse lunge/step up hybrid
3. Plank step up
5. Dumbbell mini-band front squat
7. Dumbbell bent-over row
9. Dumbbell hammer curl to press