Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

With the 4-3-2-1 workout, trainer Sean Foy promotes 10 minutes to better physical fitness

Quick — 10 minutes, that's all we've got. But fret not, sweat plenty, that's all the time you'll need to squeeze in a rat-a-tat whole-body workout. • So says exercise physiologist Sean Foy, longtime personal trainer and author of The 10-Minute Total Body Breakthrough ( • The whole-body blitz adds up like this:

• Four minutes, high-energy aerobic training

• Three minutes, resistance exercise

• Two minutes, core strengthening

• One minute, stretching and deep breathing

According to Foy, who practices in Southern California, the 4-3-2-1 equation will have you burning fat, building muscle and generally catapult you into higher gear. • Of course, we had only 10 minutes to talk to the fast-moving Foy, so we set the clock and fired away.

Why is 10 better than nothing?

Most Americans are doing nothing. You know what happens when we do nothing? Our muscles atrophy. (That means they basically waste away and shrink down to nothing.) The No. 1 excuse for not doing anything is time. So here's all you need to do in 10 minutes.

So is this some kind of trick — you hook us on 10, only to find out down the road that it won't make a difference till we work up to 60?

No, no, it's not a trick. If you did one minute, it's better than nothing. Ultimately, 10 minutes is a complete circuit. We'd love it if you'd do two cycles, or three cycles. For years, the American College of Sports Medicine has been saying three to five days a week, do 20 to 60 minutes of aerobics, two to three days of resistance training, every day stretching. But the dilemma here is that no one's doing it. Our challenge is to get 10 million people doing 10 minutes a day.

What's the magic behind the 4-3-2-1?

You need to do the circuit without taking a break. With no rest!

Researchers have found that it's the interval — switching from 30 seconds of moderate intensity to 30 seconds of high intensity — that boosts your metabolism. You'll burn more fat and burn it for longer after the workout. That's called the afterburn.

When's the best time for the workout?

I always say, "The best time to do the workout is the time you'll do it." Studies, though, do show better adherence to an exercise routine when you do it first thing in the morning.

What's the most important thing we need to know about nutrition?

Don't diet. Diet is deprivation, inadequate nutrition, excessive and tedious. I'm all for the no-diet diet. I call it the "Traffic Light" approach: Green foods — fruits and vegetables and water — are "Go"; yellow foods — nuts, whole grain carbohydrates, lean proteins — are Slow Down; red foods — sugars, fats and alcohol — are "Stop."

What else do I need to know?

Read the book.

The 10-Minute Total Body Break-


Workman Publishing


With the 4-3-2-1 workout, trainer Sean Foy promotes 10 minutes to better physical fitness 12/18/09 [Last modified: Friday, December 18, 2009 3:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Chicago Tribune.

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Florida education news: Budgets, discipline, charter schools and more


    BUDGETING: Florida school district officials keep a close eye on their spending plans as they await word on the Legislature's budget. Gov. Rick Scott

  2. Forecast: Return of summertime pattern means afternoon storms on tap for Tampa Bay


    As if Memorial Day wasn't enough of a signal that summer truly is upon us, this week's forecast across the Tampa Bay area will be a stark reminder.

    Tampa Bay's 7-day forecast. [WTSP]
  3. Tiger Woods says medication, not alcohol, led to DUI arrest in Florida

    Public Safety

    Players arriving for a tournament this week at Muirfield Village might notice a framed picture of Tiger Woods with a resplendent smile and bright red shirt. He's posed there with the trophy, an image that embodies the excitement he once brought to golf.

    This image provided by the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office on Monday, May 29, 2017, shows Tiger Woods. Police in Florida say Tiger Woods was been arrested for DUI.  [Palm Beach County Sheriff's office via AP]
  4. Manuel Noriega, Panamanian strongman toppled in U.S. invasion, dies at 83


    Gen. Manuel Noriega, the Panamanian strongman and onetime American ally who was toppled from power in a 1989 U.S. invasion and who spent more than two decades imprisoned on drug dealing and conspiracy convictions, died late Monday. He was most likely 83.

    Gen. Manuel Antonio Noriega waves to newsmen after a state council meeting, at the presidential palace in Panama City, where they announced the new president of the republic in 1989. Panama's ex-dictator Noriega died Monday, May 29, 2017, in a hospital in Panama City. He was 83. [Associated Press]
  5. Austin Mahone talks Pitbull, Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, his pop evolution and more


    Austin Mahone has vivid memories from his childhood visits to see his grandparents in Tampa Bay.