Fit is Better than Skinny - Upper Body Strength & Cardio Training Workout


Calorie burn:

222 to 333





Equipment Needed:

Dumbbell, Exercise Band

Workout type:

Cardiovascular, Strength Training, Toning

Body focus:


Workout Details

We believe that you can improve your health and your chances of reaching an ideal bodyweight by simply switching your focus from the goal of weight loss, to increasing the overall wellbeing and strength of your body.

Having the standalone goal of weight loss is not going to get your very far. It is simply not enough – no matter how badly you think you want it – to motivate you to make the right food & activity choices, day in and day out.

For example, if you are craving something sweet, a weight loss goal is not likely going to deter you from reaching for a cookie (or five). In fact, it might make the idea of a cookie or any other “forbidden food” even more appealing. However, if you have made good health your ultimate goal you are going to be far more likely to turndown the processed treat in exchange for a peach or cup of berries – choices that are more nourishing to your body.

The same goes for working out; burning calories is great but if that’s all you’re in it for, you are going to quickly lose interest and be more likely to start skipping workouts or quitting all together. If you set goals of increased strength, flexibility, endurance, speed, or the ability to keep doing the things that you love (dominating a sport, hiking, playing with your children or grandchildren, etc) you are setting yourself up for a lifetime of healthy activity and a body that stays both capable and lean.

Weight loss is an empty goal and it allows the number on the scale to loop a noose around your neck and steer you however it wants to. Even if you desperately need to drop weight for your health, set your sights on achieving a healthy body and the weight loss will follow naturally.

This Upper Body Strength Training Workout with bodyweight cardio intervals is perfect for catapulting yourself into good shape. Because of the cardio training, it drastically increases the calorie burn of the workout, and the lean muscle you can build during the weight lifting reps is something that can give you a lasting metabolic increase.

The upper body workout tones and targets the chest, biceps, triceps, latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, deltoids, and trapezius. The cardio exercises are dynamic in that they target many (or most) muscle groups simultaneously. Glutes (a group of 3 muscles that make the “butt”), hamstrings (backs of thighs), quadriceps (front of thighs), calves, abdominals, lower back, and obliques are just a few of the major muscles that are engaged.

Make sure that you choose a weight to lift that challenges you. The exact amount that you lift is going to depend on your own strengths, and it will likely vary according muscle groups, motions, and maybe even sides of the body. Aim to do even ranges of motion, reps, and weight on each side of the body.

All you are going to need for this workout is a set of dumbbells, but you can get resourceful and creative if you don’t have any on hand. Kettlebells and resistance bands are the best runner up choices. You wont need a timer of any sort because we do real time workouts – we are working along with you the whole time.

Routine Structure
6 Combos; each consisting of 30 seconds of a bodyweight cardio exercise, plus an upper body strength training exercise.

30 Seconds Cardio
14 Repetitions of an Upper Body Exercise
X 2

There are two rounds total in this 37 minute routine.

Printable Workout
Lateral Hop & Holds
Bicep Curl

Press Jacks
Tricep Extension

Jumping Jacks
Chest Press

Lateral Hops
Reverse Fly

Sumo Squats + Jump
Ventral Raises

Jumping Oblique Twist
Dumbbell Pullover

How many calories does this Fitness Blender Workout burn?
We estimate that this routine can burn 6-9 calories per minute, or 222-333 calories. The wide fluctuation is due to variables such as gender, bodyweight, fitness level, exertion level, lean body mass, and more.

If you want to max calorie burn from this workout, be willing to push yourself in both the intensity & speed that you apply to the bodyweight cardio, and the amount of weight that you lift for the upper body exercises. You will burn a higher amount of calories if you challenge yourself by lifting a weight that feels difficult to lift by the last few reps of each set (without sacrificing form, of course).

Remember; don’t be shy of heavy weights! Aside from the fact that lean muscle looks great, it also helps increase your resting metabolism (meaning you burn calories at a higher rate, even while you aren’t working out). It makes it easier to stay slim and improves your health and overall quality of life.

Fit is a better goal than skinny, but all that really matters is that you are healthy and that you appreciate your body, no matter it’s shape or size. You can be "thin" or "thick" and still be healthy - it all depends on what's best for your body; aim for healthy!



04/17/15 10:45am

After doing this one for a second time, I'd totally rate this workout 5/5, mainly because there is no rest between the cardio and strength intervals. This is exactly what makes the workouts so challenging. Kelli is probably using light weights throughout the whole workout, otherwise she wouldn't be able to do the strength intervals so quickly, I guess.

The by far most difficult groups are 1 and 4. Absolutely love this workout. ;)


04/10/15 6:41pm

Great workout. I think this is my favorite upper body workout. Make sure to include a warm up and cool down. Not included.


03/23/15 9:46am

From the design of the video I take it is one of your older workouts, but man, it was awesome! (this is not supposed to mean your older workouts are bad whatsoever). I pushed through the whole first round without taking any extra breaks. The quick strength intervals (man, Kelli was so fast) really got my heart pumping super fast. During the second round I had to take extra breaks. After finishing, my biceps feel like they're gonna burst (I used 10 kg per hand for every exercise, except for the reverse flies and ventral raises, for which I used 4 kg per hand). Definitely gonna add this one to my favs.


12/24/14 2:26am

Best for a quick workout, I love it ! Thanks you very much ! Greetings from Poland :)

amy c.

12/13/14 2:08pm

This is great. I love that the moves are demo'd prior to beginning.


10/18/14 4:09pm

Wow, I thought this workout was going to be too easy. I planned on adding more cardio after. That turned out to be so wrong! This kicked my butt. I was TIRED when it was done, and I'm sore today. Awesome!


08/07/14 4:33pm

I really love all the videos on this site. I prefer to workout in my house rather than the gym. I also love the no-fluff background of all the videos, it makes it easier to focus on the most important things such as form and getting more healthy!


06/25/14 7:59am

This is a great and challanging workout. I went with my normal amounts of heavyish weights and could only do the 1st round. Might have to lighten up to make it through the whole thing. But even only doing one round my arms and abs (used Physio ball for a couple things) are sore today. So it still worked! U guys r awesome!


06/22/14 8:07pm

Do you have any advice on how to keep breathing steady (esp. when going from cardio into reverse fly and ventral raises)? I was having difficulty in those transitions.


06/17/14 9:15am

Wowee!!! I'm more used to your strength videos from recent years. The faster paced reps and virtually no rest in between sets kept me on my toes! Not a burpee or mountain climber in sight and it was still a very very challenging cardio/strength superset!


06/13/14 12:17pm

Deceptively challenging. It seemed like it was going to be a lot easier when I read the description. I was very challenged throughout the entire routine. I actually had to pause a couple of times to catch my breath. Great workout! Thank you guys!


04/07/14 12:36am

I thought I was gonna die. lol excellent workout !!! loved it :)


04/03/14 7:39am

When I do the reverse flys my shoulder pops and if I use weight it will start to hurt; so I started doing those weightless but it still pops. Anyone know what may cause this?


04/19/14 2:06pm

Thank you very much that does help. I've found that if I do the motion with no weight there is very little popping and no pain at all, if I use a very slight weight, there is some popping but still no pain unless I do a lot of reps. So I'll stick with 2lbs and only for as long as it is pain free in the shoulders.


04/19/14 12:48pm

Generally, joint popping or cracking (called crepitus) is not cause for concern if no pain is associated with it. If you feel pain with the popping you may want to visit an orthopedic to figure out what's causing it. You are definitely doing the right thing reducing the weights. It very well could be that the shoulders just need some continued modified conditioning to help build up strength and flexibility. Hope this helps!


01/04/14 11:41pm

Awesome combination of cardio and upper body strength training! Thanks!


12/14/13 1:00pm

We believe that you can improve your health and your chances of reaching an ideal bodyweight by simply switching your focus from the goal of weight loss, to increasing the overall wellbeing and strength of your body.

exactly when u don.t focus on the weightloss only and go for a strong body it will come. I have not used a scale for the last 6 months. I only make pics every month and i compare them with older pics to see changes. And the biggest reward is when i put on my clothes they fit much better than a few months ago.


12/04/13 5:20pm

my arms are really thin and i want to gain some upper body strength and fill out my arms more, is this a good exercise for that?


11/21/13 6:24am

I absolutely love this cardio+upper body workout!! please make more of them!! and THANKS for all your work guys, finding out about your videos helped me (finally!) start working out!! :)


09/22/13 3:08pm

How many times a week do you recommend doing this video? I absolutely love it so it's hard to take a day off in between.

08/01/13 3:04pm

I'm gonna attempt this workout tomorrow. Fitness blender is the best. I just told all my Facebook friends about you guys. Everyone should know who you guys are. I'm able to take a break from the gym, save money just by following a few of your workouts.


07/14/13 6:52pm

Awesome workout...


07/11/13 9:06pm

Loved this video! Great mix.


06/05/13 7:39am

Going to the park at lunch and getting this routine done! Love it!!


05/22/13 9:16am

Hate it when doing it but love it after finishing it!


05/01/13 8:20am

Well i'm starting week 2 today and already down 3 lbs. These videos are awesome very easy to follow and i must say that you do SWEAT :)

I'm a 49 yr old man 194 lbs 5,6 and looking forward to the rest of the 8 week program. Way to go and stay fit.


04/16/13 3:41pm

I loved this workout but why there is no music sometimes music makes us motivated more and not feeling bored or tiered


03/14/13 1:33pm

I love the countdown timer on this video! It keeps me motivated to see the clock tick down.


12/28/12 9:36pm

Another favorite, another fantastic workout!


09/07/12 10:23am

Hi, can I do two cardio workouts a day ( first before dinner and second before supper) ,or this is too much?


08/21/12 4:35pm

Hi do u have a recommended workout for apple shaped bodies?


08/18/12 12:49pm

I love this WO! Thanks a lot


08/17/12 10:33pm

All your workouts are great,I have stubborn belly fat,along with double chin,I'm still a bit slim ,but I need to know how to lose the fat,I think it is water weight too,I am not sure,I need your recommendation. I am 107 lbs, height 5"2. I am currently working on ur hiit and cardio workouts. Do I need to do only cardio to lose fat first,and then tone up after a few weeks of cardio?

fitness blender

08/10/12 9:26am

@hannah329 We are so glad that you have enjoyed our workouts so much and have reached goals that have made you feel better about yourself. That is why we do this and why we do it for free. Thank you, and keep up the good work.


08/09/12 11:29pm

This is the first video I ever did with you guys, and I absolutely fell in love! I've struggled with my belly fat my whole life (all of 18 years) even though I'm an athlete. I just couldn't find any workout program that I had time to do & that I could really personalize until I found your website. I look like a million bucks even though I started your videos just 2 weeks ago. I've never felt better about myself than I do right now, and I owe it to you guys and your great site. Please, keep up the wonderful, life-changing work that you're doing. I wish you guys all the success and happiness in the world.

fitness blender

08/06/12 8:34pm

@Carah - Thank you! And good tip.
@ Roxana & @Gualala - Unfortunately Daniel & I do not have the resources to build custom plans - there are really just 2 of us that do everything you see at Fitness Blender. We do have our super cheap, very effective 8 Week Fat Loss Program that lists a detailed day by day plan of when to do which workouts -check that out!
@KMC - I hear you on that one!


08/05/12 7:10am

wow. great workout! If I recover...may do it again this week :)


08/05/12 5:04am

i am female, 23 years. my height is 158 and my weight is 72 kg. how many kg should i lose? and what kind of exercise is good to do?


08/03/12 12:50pm

hey guys!tnx for receiving me among u.i really want to be healthy.i can say i have a healthy diet,i eat seeds,and oils and fruits..but i just lost 24 lbs and i still have 4 left to go.could u please choose something for me as to tone up my muscles and to loose belly fat ?i must mention to u that i am 22,i'm 168 cm tall and i've got 56 kg.i don't want to be skinny,i want to fell good and have a lean body.thank u.hope to get that answer.:*


08/02/12 11:19am

Another good video! Nice mix of cardio and strength! I use a physioball to lay on for the chest press and dumbell pullover.

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