How to Burn Fat With Pumpkins This Halloween Season!

A medicine ball is a great piece of equipment for people looking to burn fat and build muscle anywhere. Med balls are extremely portable and affordable and come in all sizes (typically anywhere from 5-50 lbs) allowing you to customize your med ball workouts for your current fitness level, gender, or goal. Larger individuals, males, and/or trainees looking for more muscle-building benefits are best suited for a larger med ball (25-50 lbs). On the other hands, smaller individuals, females, and/or trainees looking for more fat-burning benefits are best suited for a smaller med ball (10-20 lbs).

A pumpkin is a great seasonal exercise tool that essentially mimics a medicine ball and thus has the same practicality. The only drawbacks to pumpkin training are that eventually the poor pumpkin rots after several weeks and you can't slam or bounce a pumpkin like a med ball... unless your goal is to spray pumpkin shards everywhere! See below for just some of he amazing benefits of pumpkin training (e.g. med ball training):

- Pumpkins can successfully be used as a training tool for all exercise categories: total body, upper body, lower body, core, cardio, sport-specific, etc.

- Pumpkins allow you to train your core in a standing position for maximal improvements in functional performance and athleticism in addition to increasing the recruitment of the key core muscles (abs, hips, lower back) during lower body exercises like squats and upper body exercises like push-ups

- Pumpkins allow you to train your body with multi-joint/compound exercises in multiple planes AND directions of movement for a more complete training experience and a better carryover for sport-specific training (e.g. overhead med ball passes for soccer players)

- Pumpkins allow for a greater range of motion on many exercises when compared to traditional weight training equipment (e.g. barbells), thus allowing for greater improvements in muscle flexibility and joint mobility

- Pumpkins are great for partner training to develop team work and rapport in group training settings

- Pumpkins allow for quick exercise set-up AND quick transition time between exercises for more seamless workouts

- Pumpkins are both safer and easier to use than traditional bulky and metal-based weight training equipment

- Pumpkins are FUN and allow for some cool exercise variety to spice up your workouts

Burn NINE TIMES More Fat With These 4-Minute Pumpkin Circuit Training Workouts

So now that we've covered all of the benefits of pumpkin exercises, let's show how we can put together some killer fat loss workouts to boot! Essentially, we are going to combine pumpkin exercises with proven rapid fat loss High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) protocols.

Interval training is a form of exercise where you alternate between bouts of high-intensity maximum effort and low to moderate-intensity active recovery. In 1994, researchers for The Metabolism Journal discovered the following: each calorie you expend during high-intensity exercise burns nine times more fat than the same calorie expended during steady state aerobic exercise! HIIT accomplishes this in the following ways:

- Embraces the Carb-Burning Zone: High-Intensity exercise rapidly reduces muscle glycogen (stored sugar) during training, promoting enhanced total body fat-burning at all other times of day.

- Burns a TON of Calories Both During AND After Exercise: This phenomenon is due to the post-workout "AFTERBURN" know as EPOC which describes the number of calories your body expends in the recovery of your metabolism back to pre-exercise levels from high-intensity training. The best part about EPOC is that you control it, meaning that the harder you work during training the more calories your body will burn BOTH during your workout AND for up to 24-48 hours after completing your workout!

- Creates the Optimal Hormonal Environment for Fat Loss: High-Intensity exercise puts your body in a "fight or flight" mode that forces your body to CHANGE as a means of survival. More specifically, your body releases catecholamines (primarily adrenaline) in response to interval training that directly mobilizes stored body fat so that it can be burnt off as energy during activity.

So, what's the best interval training protocol to use? Well, there is really no BEST interval training protocol but there are a lot of good ones. One of our favorite interval protocols are Tabata Intervals where you alternate between 20 seconds of work and 10 s of rest for a total of eight times for a fat-smashing four-minute workout. This workout is scientifically proven to promote greater fat loss and fitness gains than 60 minutes of the long, slow, boring aerobic training alternative:

Breakthrough Interval Training Study- The Tabata Protocol

Tabata I, Nishimura K, Kouzaki M, Hirai Y, Ogita F, Miyachi M, Yamamoto K. Department of Physiology and Biomechanics, National Institute of Fitness and Sports, Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan. PMID: 8897392 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

- Greater Fat Loss: ONLY four minutes of intervals burned just as much fat as 60 minutes of moderate aerobic training. This means that for every second of exercise performed, interval training burns EXPONENTIALLY more body fat than the moderate aerobic training alternative.

- Greater Fitness: Interval Training results in maximal improvements in both aerobic and anaerobic capacity, where moderate aerobic training only causes improvements in aerobic capacity. In addition, the aerobic improvements were greater with the interval group. In other words, Interval Training offers greater improvements in both anaerobic AND aerobic capacity in much less time than the aerobic alternative.

Without further adieu, let's do some circuit training with pumpkin exercises Tabata-Style! Below are two sample pumpkin circuits that we use to scare the fat off our clients' bodies:

4-Minute Pumpkin Tabatas Workouts

- Select your 4-minute pumpkin circuit(s) of choice or perform all five of the provided circuits for an amazing total body PUMP-kin workout!

- You will alternate between 20 s of work and 10 s of rest for each exercise within the provided circuits

- Feel free to perform the 8 exercise circuits (1 exercise for each round) as listed or to keep things simple select only 1, 2, or 4 of the prescribed exercises within each circuit and perform 8 total rounds... the choice is yours!

SAMPLE PUMPKIN CIRCUIT#1- 4-Minute Pumpkin Push-up Circuit

Exercise#1- Regular Pumpkin Push-up @ 20 s on, 10 s off Exercise#2- Running Pumpkin Push-up @ 20 s on, 10 s off Exercise#3- 1-Legged Pumpkin Push-up (switch legs half way) @ 20 s on, 10 s off Exercise#4- Offset Pumpkin Push-up (switch hands half way) @ @ 20 s on, 10 s off Exercise#5- Alternating Hand Walk Pumpkin Push-Up @ @ 20 s on, 10 s off Exercise#6- Vertical Pumpkin Push-up @ @ 20 s on, 10 s off Exercise#7- 1-Arm Pumpkin Push-up (left arm) @ @ 20 s on, 10 s off Exercise#8- 1-Arm Pumpkin Push-up (right arm) @ @ 20 s on, 10 s off

FREAKY PUMPKIN CIRCUIT#2- 4-Minute Pumpkin Squat Circuit

Exercise#1- Pumpkin Front Squats @ 20 s on, 10 s off Exercise#2- Pumpkin Back Squats @ 20 s on, 10 s off Exercise#3- Pumpkin Overhead Squats @ 20 s on, 10 s off Exercise#4- Pumpkin Squat Jumps @ 20 s on, 10 s off Exercise#5- Pumpkin Rotational Squat Jumps @ 20 s on, 10 s off Exercise#6- Pumpkin Squat Hold + Multiple Press Combo @ 20 s on, 10 s off Exercise#7- Pumpkin Shouldering Squat (left shoulder) @ 20 s on, 10 s off Exercise#8- Pumpkin Shouldering Squat (right shoulder) @ 20 s on, 10 s off

Time to get sexy with pumpkins!

Crank it! BJ

Join BJ Gaddour and his Get Sexy Milwaukee Boot Camp clients at their annual Freaky Fat Loss Event featuring pumpkin workouts to Halloween-themed music. It's open to the public and takes place on Friday, October 17th @ 5:30 pm at the Hide House in Bay View. Go to for more info. For more pumpkin workouts, be sure to sign-up for the Workout Muse newsletter @

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