Cardio and resistance training are core to looking and feeling great

By Harley Pasternak
April 03, 2013 02:45 PM

I’ve heard 1,001 excuses for not exercising. While many of you have valid excuses, today I am going to eliminate all of them.

You don’t need equipment of ANY kind to get a good workout in. In fact, you can get a good workout in the smallest of spaces, from a dorm room, to a studio apartment, to a hotel room.

One of my clients once teased that the workouts I gave to him to do on the road (in hotels and film set trailers) were so time and space efficient that he could do a circuit in/on a bathroom break.

As I’ve explained in earlier blogs, there are two main types of exercise: Cardio and resistance training. Both are essential to looking and feeling great.

Cardio based exercise involves moving at a moderate intensity, using many muscles groups at once. Think: walking, jogging, cycling, etc.

Resistance based exercise involves high intensity movements, designed to focus on one (and as many as a few) muscle group. Think: lunge, crunch, push up, bicep curl, etc.

While cardio prompts your body to burn calories while you are exercising, resistance training not only sculpts, tones and strengthens your body, but it causes your body to burn more calories when you are at rest. You can actually “get lean while you dream!”

Both cardio and resistance training are essential for looking and feeling great. You’ve heard it before, and I’ll say it again, but your cardio workout goal should be reaching 10,000 steps every single day. I’ve designed a simple resistance circuit composed of five moves.

These moves focus on training the parts of your body that tend to be underused and underdeveloped, and, if done properly, will create the illusion of a longer, leaner body. Do each movement 20 times, and repeat the circuit three to four times, three times a week.


Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Stick your butt out and lean forward until your upper torso is parallel to the floor. Raise your hands out at your sides. (Imagine you’re flying away – think of your arms as wings.) Stop when your arms are parallel to the floor, then slowly lower your arms back down toward your sides. Keep a slight bend in your elbows throughout the exercise and squeeze your shoulder blades together at the top of the movement.

For increased difficulty, add water bottles or light hand dumbbells to each hand.


Stand with your feel shoulder-width apart. With your right leg, step back and across your body, dropping your right knee behind your left heel. Then return to the beginning stance and do the opposite – step your left leg back and across your body, dropping your left knee behind your right heel.


Begin seated on a bench or chair. Put the heels of your hands on the edge of the chair, slide your butt forward and place your heels about hip-width apart on the floor. Slowly bending your elbows, lower your body six to 10 inches. Drive through the heels of your palm and contract your triceps keeping your elbows straight back (not flaring out at the sides). Now press your arms back up until they’re straight. Repeat.

For increased difficulty, extend your legs farther away from you. The farther your legs are away from your body, the more difficult the exercise.


Lie on your stomach, propped up on your forearms, with your hips down and your back as flat as possible. With your legs relaxed, bring your feet up toward your butt.

For increased difficulty, rest the laces of your right shoe on top of your left heel. Repeat the exercise using your left hamstring, with your right leg working as dead weight. Do all the reps on your left leg, then repeat with your left shoe on your right heel.


Lie face down on the floor with your arms and legs fully extended. From this position, lift your arms toward the ceiling, as if you were flying. Lower back down and repeat.

For increased difficulty, add your lower body, lifting your legs at the same time as your arms so that your body looks like the letter ‘X’ from above. Tap the floor with your hands and feet between reps.

Do you have a favorite toning/sculpting move? Tweet me @harleypasternak and let me know what works!