What is Full Fitness Fusion

Full Fitness Fusion is a 30-minute full-body workout that is not only fully functional in nature but also fully transformational. Our workouts are based on resistance circuit training, and each workout is designed to quickly fatigue your whole body. Each one works every major muscle and gets your heart pumping hard. The program fuses cardio and resistance training into one elegant workout system. But it goes beyond that. Recognizing your body will adapt to whatever stress you place on it, we have created a fusion approach to fitness that constantly challenges your muscles with a variety of different workout strategies to prevent plateauing and combat boredom.

In our 8-week program (Chapter 9 of our book Clean Cuisine), you’ll notice we switch the workout program frequently to keep your body guessing. You’ll also notice each workout works your entire body, and the exercises are functional in nature, meaning we don’t isolate muscles but rather we work your muscles using compound movements to train your body to do real-world, functional, everyday activities as well as force your body to consume a lot of oxygen with each exercise. Full Fitness Fusion is all about total-body conditioning rather than the single-muscle, single-movement exercises you’ll find in old-fashioned workouts and bodybuilder exercise programs.

The dynamic combo movement exercises you’ll see in our workouts target at least two major muscle groups (think quads and glutes) and train your body in dif- ferent planes of motion (up and down, forward and back, side to side, diagonally, and with rotation), so they give you maximum bang for your movement buck. You’ll breathe hard doing the exercises because the exercises use large muscle groups that require a lot of oxygen; you’ll also keep your heart rate elevated because you won’t stop to rest.

Integrated into each workout are challenging core exercises that will flatten your stomach faster than any crunch-based traditional ab exercise routine. The core training component of the workout will also help alleviate and prevent low back and hip pain (part of the reason Ivy was able to tolerate her hip impingement for so long was because she had a very strong core).

The benefits to our Full Fitness Fusion approach are that it burns more calories (more muscles are used per exercise), strengthens the body more efficiently, and results in a more balanced physique. Functional training yields a balanced body that looks strong (and is strong) but not overdevel- oped. Because you won’t be isolating muscle groups like you would be doing with a traditional weight lifting program, you won’t get bulky; instead you’ll look sleek and firm.

Keep in mind, the goal of each workout is to put demands on your body it is not accustomed to; you want to go beyond your comfort zone and push your body. Pushing your body is how you get results. Obviously, you need to exercise some common sense here because you cer- tainly don’t want to push your body to injury! You absolutely have to listen to your body and stop if there is pain, especially in a joint. You should never do any exercises that strain your joints.

But you can’t lift only the least amount of weight either. You want to put stress on the muscles, not the joints. Those toning-style, soup-can workouts that are so popular in gyms and glamorous-looking workout videos simply don’t get results. If you want to get fitter, firmer, faster you need to get your heart rate pumping during your workout, and you need to be breathing hard and working every major muscle hard.

By working intensely, doing a variety of different functional exercises for large muscle groups, and moving quickly from one exercise to the next without resting you can achieve results quickly.

Benefits of the Afterburn

If you are not convinced the afterburn is actually a bigger deal than the exercise itself, then let us more closely examine how your body burns calories with a pop quiz. Which of the following do you think accounts for the greatest percentage of calories you burn during the course of the day?

A. The calories you burn by exercising and moving.
B. The calories you burn by digesting break fast, lunch, and dinner.
C. The calories you burn by supporting basic body functions such as pumping blood, tissue repair, thinking, and keeping warm.

Most people answer A, but C is the correct answer.

The truth is about 70 percent of the calories you burn each day are burned solely to support basic bodily functions, including tissue repair. In other words, more than two thirds of your energy (calorie) intake is used solely to exist. Scientists call this type of metabolism your basal metabolism. Another 15 percent of the calories you burn are due to exercise and movement, and the remaining 15 percent of the calories your body burns are used to digest the food you eat.

Knowing these percentages, it should be obvious that the smartest, most time-efficient way to lose weight is to increase your basal metabolism. This is because a small change in 70 percent is a heck of a lot more significant than a small change in 15 percent! That’s why our Full Fitness Fusion program is so different from most fitness programs. We don’t focus on only the number of calories you burn while exercising; instead, we have created a complete fitness program designed to increase your basal metab- olism and turn up the afterburn, so you burn calories long after the work- out is over.

Keep in mind, intense exercise involving resistance strength training, which is what our Full Fitness Fusion workouts provide, causes your tissue to use more calories and increases your muscle mass, which in turn increases your total calorie expenditure. By increasing your muscle mass you increase the number of cells in your body that contain large numbers of calorie-burning mitochondria, and your body simply burns the food you eat faster. In essence, building lean muscles speeds up your metabo- lism.

And as mentioned earlier, challenging your muscles in a way that forces your body to go into repair mode after your workout will not only lead to stronger, more metabolically active muscles but will also substan- tially increase the afterburn. And because our Full Fitness Fusion work- outs are intense enough and varied enough to temporarily damage and constantly challenge your muscles, the afterburn effect can last for up to 48 hours after your workout. The results: you get fit fast.


Without question, strength-building exercises have the greatest ability to transform your body. A properly designed resistance-training program can shape, tighten, and tone your muscles, lift any droopy areas, create symmetry, and incinerate unwanted fat by boosting your basal metabolism. But you are guaranteed to not get results if you fail to overload your muscles in your workout.

This means if you are lifting soup cans and doing 50 reps of leg lifts, you shouldn’t expect to see a visible change in your body shape or body composition anytime soon. If your workout strategy is to go for the burn by doing 100 arm circles, you should know that the burn you are feeling is lactic acid, but lactic acid buildup won’t increase your metabolism or do a single thing to help change your body shape or help you lose a single pound.

You absolutely must work your muscles to fatigue to see a change in your body, there is just no way around it. This is a concept many men grasp onto in a heartbeat, yet women still fear. The concern is they will bulk up with a resistance-training program. Trust us; you won’t bulk up, not if you do the functional-style full-body program that is built into our Clean Cuisine workouts.

It is true that even women who isolate muscles (such as doing leg extension exercises on weight machines or biceps curls) while lifting very heavy weight can get big, bulky muscles, but we are not going to have you doing isolation bodybuilding strength-training routines. In comparison to a bodybuilder-style workout, our exercises work multiple muscle groups at once and will not bulk you up.

Our workouts train your body in a multidirectional, multiplanar fashion, a system of training that defines functional fitness. You work every major muscle in your body in a balanced and functional way. You don’t isolate muscles, and your heart rate stays elevated the entire workout. You don’t spend hours on mind-numbing cardio machines. And you get results incredibly fast.

In short, our Full Fitness Fusion workouts will sculpt, whittle, and tone your body from head to toe.

You can Still Burn Fat with Zero Cardio Workouts

How many times have you heard the advice that to be in fat burning mode you should exercise slow and steady? Go for a long hike. Ride your bike for 40 miles at a moderate pace. Run a marathon. Swim a whole bunch of laps (just go slowly). Yet when the slow-and-steady exercise approach is put to the test it doesn’t exactly yield the fat-burning results we’ve been promised.

In fact, in a study published in the International Journal of Obesity, a group of women who performed 20 minutes of interval sprints on a stationary bike three days a week lost an average of 5½ pounds over 15 weeks compared to a similar group who performed slow-and-steady cycling for 40 minutes three days a week. These time-wasting women actually gained an average of 1 pound of fat over the same period, not the result most of them were seeking.

It’s also important to keep in mind the more your body adapts to a workout, the fewer calories you burn; the body quickly adapts to steady-state aerobic exercise such as jogging, biking, walking, and the like, and you soon need to run longer or faster to get a real workout.

A 12-month randomized study published in 2007 showed that subjects doing 6 hours of cardio-style exercise per week training 6 days a week for a full year lost an average of only 3 pounds.6 That is a lot of exercise for not a lot of results. We are not impressed. Nor does that motivate us to start a 6-hour per week cardio-based exercise regimen! The truth is, you can burn fat with zero cardio workouts.

NOTE: A zero cardio workout does not mean you won’t keep your heart rate elevated or won’t condition your cardiovascular system while exercising; it just means you won’t have to put in the typical 30 or 45 minutes of cardio time on the treadmill, bike, or elliptical trainer.

We know from personal experience that zero cardio workouts do work for fat loss. Just as Ivy’s MS diagnosis led us to the science behind the Clean Cuisine diet, we sort of stumbled on the science of exercise because of a congenital hip disorder she had called femoral retroversion (where her femur head was rotated 22 degrees off normal).

Ivy’s hip condition allowed her extreme flexibility in her gymnastics days, but as she got older and during a 25-pound pregnancy weight gain, the condition ultimately resulted in destruction of cartilage and a painful impingement in which her femoral head pressed against her hip socket (a condition made much worse by all the sitting she does to write the books!). It took over 10 years, countless alternative therapies, and a failed first hip surgery to get a proper diagnosis, and during that time her hip pain could be so severe that she was unable to do any form of cardio activity at all.

Unwilling to give up being fit, Ivy used her fitness education background and spent a lot of time researching how to stay strong, lean, and fit without doing any cardio at all. Even though Ivy loved the high she could get from a quick jog or a dance workout, there have been months and months at a time where she was unable to even go for a fast fitness walk. Ironically, with her own body she noticed that during the hip flare-ups, which forced her to perform zero cardio workouts, her body fat would actually go down, not up.

The greatest test of this theory came after Iv y’s major surgery performed to correct her congenital hip problem. This femoral derotational osteotomy involved intentionally breaking the longest bone in her body, the femur, totally derailing her fitness regimen. Her femur bone was bro- ken in half and the shaft was rotated to put her femoral head in the normal position.

After the surgery, Ivy was unable to walk for over 4 months; it took at least 7 months before she could walk without limping, and months after that to adjust to walking with her new anatomy. During the year it took to recover, she certainly couldn’t do any form of cardio for more than a few minutes. (She could ride the stationary bike intensely for 1 or 2 minutes and use a hula hoop—more on that in a bit— while standing in place, but that was about it.)

But she didn’t just sit on the couch either. Even with a broken leg, with her zero cardio workouts she was able to maintain her fitness level. Not only did she not get fat with her zero cardio rehab, she actually got leaner.

The reason for this is that the steady-state jogging, biking, dancing, and so forth she loved to do as part of her old workout routines didn’t put enough of a demand on her body to increase the afterburn, whereas the core training resistance exercises she subjected her healing body to did increase the afterburn. What is more, the cardio workouts she did in the past increased her appetite so she would eat more on the days she did cardio.

Also, after the surgery, Ivy lost considerable strength at first and a good 10 pounds, so she had to work hard to regain her strength, not just for appearance but so she could walk! She trained harder and more intensely that year than she ever has yet without doing any cardio work. As a result, she got stronger and had less body fat than before the surgery; the intense workouts she did tore muscle down and significantly boosted her metabo- lism postworkout as her body went into repair mode.

Now that her hip is all fixed, she still enjoys dancing, the occasional jog, family bike rides, and beach walks, but she doesn’t do those activities to get fit or lean. She does those activities for fun and for stress relief and because they no longer hurt.

Quality over Quantity

As is the case with highly restrictive diets, fanatical exercise regimens that are physically draining or that require hours of your free time set the stage for failure. For those of you who, like us, do not enjoy exercising to extremes and also don’t have the time to devote to fanatical fitness regimens, the good news is the properly designed and time-efficient Full Fitness Fusion workout that overloads your muscles, works your entire body, and takes just 30 minutes to complete can be far more effective than a lesser-quality workout lasting twice as long.

Over and over, we see one of the main problems with a lot of workouts is that the focus is placed on the time spent working out rather than on the intensity and quality of the workout. Yet studies show you can reap significantly greater fat loss and significantly more metabolism-boosting muscle gain by performing short, high-intensity workouts as opposed to longer-duration, lower-intensity workouts. And you don’t need to do traditional aerobic exercise (running, biking) to burn fat either. Hormonal changes occur with circuit-style resistance training exercises that create a fat-burning environment; specifically, resistance training can increase levels of triacylglycerol lipase activity, a measure of fat burning.

In December 2006, Canadian researchers reported that seven sessions of high-intensity interval training over just 2 weeks increased women’s fat-burning enzyme activity, boosting their ability to burn fat during exercise by 36 percent. And it’s not just what happens during the workout that matters either; intense circuit-style resistance training signals your body to burn a higher percentage of fat calories for many, many hours after your workout ends.

The intensity of your workout is what increases the after-burn (also called excess postexercise oxygen consumption, or EPOC), and if your resistance training workout is intense enough you can burn almost double the amount of calories in the afterburn period than you would burn during the time spent doing moderate, steady-state cardio exercise such as jogging or biking. Fat oxidation is increased after resistance exercise, but not aerobic exercise, even 16 hours after the initial performance.

But, understand, the key to being able to reap the benefits of the afterburn is that the initial exercise must be intense.
Anyone who has ever exercised knows it is impossible to exercise for a long duration yet keep the intensity high.

So ultimately, when it comes to exercise, you must choose between quality and quantity. We choose quality. Not only do quality workouts deliver better results but they are quicker! Science shows longer workouts don’t burn more fat. What burns the most fat and gets you fitter, firmer, faster is intense full-body workouts, which by default must be short. The longer people exercise, the more they pace them- selves and the less intense (and less effective) their overall workout becomes.

Short, Intense Exercise

Short, Intense Exercise + Clean Cuisine = A Strong, Healthy, and Youthful Body

Exercise is proven to promote longevity; plus the benefits you reap from a regular fitness program improve the overall quality of your life. So the last thing we wanted to encourage in our book is a bunch of couch potato Clean Cuisine acolytes. Instead, what we are saying is that extreme fitness most likely does not promote longevity and could negatively impact your quality of life (not to mention take up a lot of time), especially if you don’t eat properly.

What we believe when it comes to exercise is that less is often more. In our opinions, the More Is Better mantra of fitness needs to be rethought. We are firm believers that short, intense, properly designed workouts that get your heart rate up and strengthen all of your major muscles are abso- lutely the fountain of youth when it comes to fitness regimens.

Keep in mind, your cells are constantly regenerating and your muscle cells refresh every 90 days or so. On average, you renew about 1 percent of the cells in your body daily, and those new cells come in either stronger and younger or weaker and older. Your lifestyle and exercise habits play a tremendous role in cell regeneration, for better or worse.

By exercising properly and refueling your body smartly, you can help your body grow younger and stronger. But to grow stronger you need to place a specific rather than haphazard demand on your muscles. That’s where quality over quantity comes into play.

Why Less Is Sometimes More

In our book, Clean Cuisine, Andy and I make it clear that fitness is a very large part of the overall health picture. However, we would never suggest that our readers start training for a marathon. For one, neither of us has run a marathon in our lives (we don’t ever plan on doing so either) and two, we are not convinced excessive amounts of hardcore exercise such as marathon running are optimal for overall health, much less for slowing the aging process.

We are absolutely positive a hardcore fitness program is not necessary for maintaining a healthy body weight and body fat percentage, reducing back pain, keeping your heart healthy, boosting mood, improving your cholesterol profile, reducing inflammation, and improving your metabolism either. You can certainly achieve all of these results and much more with our reasonable, doable, practical Full Fitness Fusion 30-minute solution.

Chemical reactions in your body that occur during and after extreme exercise regimens produce by-products and oxidative toxins that can damage DNA and accelerate aging. Eating a nutrient-, antioxidant- and phytonutrient-rich Clean Cuisine diet can help offset the oxidative damage created by exercise, but it cannot totally mitigate it.

And by the way, because exercise increases oxidative damage, athletes and die-hard exercise enthusiasts actually need to pay more attention to what they eat than the average person who engages in light to moderate exercise.

Most people think the more you exercise the more lenient you can be with your diet. Not true. The truth is, prolonged intense exercise dramatically increases the stress on your body and stress accelerates biological aging; if you don’t adequately nourish your body, especially with antioxidants and phytonutrients (not more animal protein), during periods of intense training you will see and feel yourself getting older, not younger.

In other words, if you happen to exercise 2 hours a day just because you love the endorphins,that still doesn’t give you the green light to eat a Big Mac! We can’t emphasize enough the more you exercise, the more attention you need to pay to eating Clean Cuisine and fueling your body with repairing antioxidants and phytonutrients.