Burn and firm with this short but intense cardio-sculpting plan

By Kristen Aldridge
July 03, 2013

Tiffani Thiessen (we'll always love you, Kelly Kapowski!) looks just as adorably sexy now as she did as a total teenage heartthrob on Saved by the Bell throughout the 90s. Today the 39-year-old continues to break hearts on the small screen starring in White Collar, as well as being a dedicated, devoted mom to her three-year-old daughter, Harper Renn, along with her actor husband Brady Smith (we knew she wouldn't end up with Zack).

Like many moms, she's juggling a lot, including regular workouts. we tracked down Thiessen's personal trainer, Josh Zitomer of PhysicalFix.com, to steal the secrets behind this former Bayside cheerleader's fab form. Read on to get her 20-minute power workout and more.

SHAPE: What type of training do you do with Tiffani?

Josh Zitomer (JZ): The workouts I design for Tiffani are short but intense. I believe in keeping the workouts as short as possible. If somebody has "no time" to work out, I design him or her a 10-minute routine. Sounds easy, but it's not. In that 10 minutes, the client is reduced to a sweaty, babbling, crying mess on the floor. But that's it. Their workout is done for the day. Something is always, always, better than nothing. Especially if you spend the full 10-minutes hitting it as hard as you can.

SHAPE: How long has Tiffani been using your method and how often does she train?

JZ: Tiffani's been a part of the Physicalfix team for two years now. Consistency is key! She trains a minimum of five days per week. Her workouts never exceed 45 minutes. If she has an incredibly busy week or is traveling, she lets me know and I bring her workouts down to 25 minutes or even 15. Tiffani is a great client because she works extremely hard and enjoys it. She's not a huge fan of burpees but other than that, she enjoys any and all challenges I throw at her.

SHAPE: Describe a typical workout for us. What are some fitness elements you always try to include?

JZ: All of my workouts include a minimum of four of the main aspects of fitness: cardio, strength, power, and agility. Tiffani will start off with some agility exercises to warm up. Once I feel as though her heart rate is up and she probably has a good sweat going, the fun begins. I throw everything from mountain climbers to squats to to burpees at her. Typically the intensity will stay high for 30 to 35 minutes. Then, an easier cool-down with some core work at the end.

SHAPE: Why would you say your method is so effective?

JZ: There are three main reasons why it gets such great results. First, Tiffani (or any other client) can work out on her schedule--she decides when exercise best fits into her hectic day. There's also no wasted time driving to and from the gym, as physicalfix workouts are done at home. Both of these aspects lead to consistency. The second aspect that makes my workouts so effective is their intensity. I push Tiffani pretty hard. I'm sure she curses at her computer screen all the time and hates me at times. Guess it's one of those "you'll thank me later" things. The final aspect is accountability. The platform I designed notifies me any time a client does (or does not) complete a workout. If Tiffani skips a day, I can adjust her next workout accordingly, typically by adding more cardio.

SHAPE: What specific fitness goals did you and Tiffani have when you started to work together?

JZ: Our main goal was and still is to be healthy and fit in a well-rounded sense. In my opinion, you exercise to be fit, not skinny. Tiffani embodies a well-rounded client. She's strong, cardiovascularly amazing, powerful, flexible, and so on. The key is to design a program that incorporates all aspects of fitness evenly so as not to overload. If done properly, you're left with as sexy a body as Tiffani's.

SHAPE: What advice do you give her or any client when they just don't feel like working out that day? How do you really kick them into high gear?

JZ: I tell them they have to give me five minutes. If after five minutes they still don't want to work out, they're more than welcome to turn their computer off. Clearly this is a trick--98 percent of the time they continue. Most people are only unmotivated at the thought of working out. Once they get off the couch and get into it, the heart rate goes up, the blood gets going, the endorphins kick in, and they'll continue. I tell them all the time: don't think, just do. Part of the beauty of physicalfix is that I've eliminated a lot of excuses. No time? I'll give you a 10-minute workout. Don't feel like going to the gym? You can work out in your living room. Don't know what to do for your workout? I take care of that. No motivation to work out by yourself? I do it with you. Worried you might injure yourself? I give constant form reminders through every single exercise.

SHAPE: What about diet? Do you recommend anything specific for Tiffani and your other celeb clients?

JZ: I don't advise any particular diet. I have two rules: First, my clients must enter what they eat into their Pfix food journal. Second, no sugary drinks (soda, Starbucks drinks, juices, Gatorades, etc.). Through reviewing their food journal, I teach healthy eating rather than telling them they can only eat this type of food but not that type, or have to eat these two types of food together 7.6 minutes after their workout... or they can only eat at certain times. My point is that if the large majority of your food choices are clean, you will lose weight and you won't feel deprived. If a client has a role or a shoot they need to get ready for, I make adjustments accordingly. Sometimes drastic. Sometimes subtle.

Want to achieve a sexy, sculpted lower body and sleek, toned arms? Check out this 20-minute power workout Zitomer created for Thiessen. (Note: It's super quick but it's a major toughie!)

You'll need: A pair of dumbbells and an exercise mat.

How it works: This workout incorporates strength, cardio, power, and agility. It involves very few (if any) breaks, but it will skyrocket your metabolism and leave you burning excess calories for hours after your workout is over. Do 1 set of each exercise in order, with little to no rest between moves. After the final exercise, immediately repeat the full routine 1 more time (2x total). If done properly, this workout should take no longer than 20 minutes.

Plank Press-Ups (20 reps)

Works: Core/Abs, Triceps

-Assume a pushup position.

-Lower yourself to your elbows.

-Raise the right side of your body by pressing your right hand against the floor and straightening your arm.

-Raise the left side of your body in the same manner (You should now be back in the pushup position).

-Lower yourself back to your elbows, first with your left arm, then with your right. Keep your body perfectly straight during the entire movement.


Squat Jump Curls (15 reps per side)

Works: Thighs, Biceps, Strength/Power, Cardio

-Assume a squat position as you hold dumbbells at your sides (your feet slightly wider than hip width apart).

-Press through your heels and jump up off the ground quickly (land softly on the balls of your feet).

-After landing and with the dumbbells hanging at your sides, curl the weight up performing a bicep curl.


Reverse Lunge Side Shoulder Raise (15 reps per side)

Works: Thighs, Shoulders, Core

-Begin by standing with your dumbbells by your sides and your feet shoulder-width apart.

-Step backwards with your left leg and lower your body until your front knee is bent 90 degrees and your back knee nearly touches the ground.

-As you lower your body, simultaneously raise both arms out to your sides. To return to the starting position lower the dumbbells as you push yourself back up.

-Repeat prescribed repetitions on one side before moving to the other side.

Squat Jacks (20 reps)

Works: Thighs, Cardio

-Stand with your feet close together.

-Lower yourself down into a squat position.

-Without letting your hips move up or down and maintaining that perfect squat position, you will "jacks" (feet together, feet out wider than shoulder width, feet together, feet wider than shoulder width) your feet in and out as fast as you can.

Hammer Curl Lunge Jumps (15 reps per side)

Works: Biceps, Thighs, Cardio, Core

-Begin in a lunge position with your left foot out in front of you and your right foot behind you with the knee bent and your heel off the ground. Your dumbbells should be hanging at your sides with your palms facing towards your body.

-Pushing through the heel of your front leg jump up off the ground quickly.

-Land in the exact same position you started in with your left foot out in front of you and your right foot behind you with the knee bent and your heel off the ground.

-Using your biceps, curl the weights up with your palms facing toward your body. Lower the weights back down to your sides.

-Repeat prescribed repetitions on one side before moving to the other side.

Straight Leg Floor Dips (20 reps per side)

Works: Triceps, Thighs

-Start on the ground with your hands on the floor right beside your hips with your fingers pointing forward.

-One leg should be bent at the knee with the foot flat on the floor. The other leg should be extended out in front of you and perfectly straight.

-Using your arms press your hips up about 6" off the ground.

-Without letting your hips or your straight leg touch the ground, bend your arms until your hips are an inch from the floor.

-Using your triceps, raise your hips back up to the starting position of 6" off the floor.

-Continue raising and lowering your hips without letting them, or your straight leg touch the floor.

-Repeat prescribed repetitions on one side before moving to the other side.

Wall Sit Single Arm Curl (20 reps per side)

Works: Biceps, Thighs

-Start with your back against a wall with your feet shoulder-width apart and about two feet from the wall. Your dumbbell should be in your right hand with your palm facing towards your body.

-Slowly slide your back down the wall until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Adjust your feet if you need to so that your knees are directly above your ankles (rather than over your toes).

-Keep your back flat against the wall and curl the dumbbell in your right hand up.

-Repeat the curl 20 times and then without coming up from your wall sit, switch the dumbbell into your left hand and complete 20 reps with the left arm.

Plyojacks (20 reps)

Works: Thighs, Cardio

-Begin with your feet together and lower into a squat.

-Jump the feet out landing in a wide squat position. As soon as you land lower down into a deep wide squat.

-Jump up again and bring your feet together and as soon as you land, lower yourself down into a deep close squat.

-The above sequence constitutes one repetition. Repeat

For more info on Josh Zitomer's training, visit his official website or connect with him on Twitter.