Ready to stop begging for a breather? From East Coast to West, stars are lining up for grueling workouts—that don’t include a breather in between reps. Take Vanessa Hudgens and Victoria’s Secret model Martha Hunt, who are putting themselves through an “amazingly intense beast of a workout,” by trainer Tracy Carlinsky.

Owner of the Bodyburn studios in Brooklyn, NY, Carlinsky is known for a MegaFormer routine that includes 50 solid minutes of intense cardio, weight training, Pilates-style toning, endurance—and no resting. Ever. The result is an endorphin-packed workout that leaves its survivors with high energy levels for hours. Plus, Carlinsky’s no-mercy approach pays off by keeping you in the fat-burning zone the whole time—something we’ll remember the next time we take a rest between reps.

At Circuit Works in Santa Monica, Calif., Josh Duhamel, Oliver Hudson and Elisabeth Rohm are sweating their way through grueling circuit training classes. In what the studio calls the Zig Zag Theory, willing participants work through a series of ten resistance stations, alternating each station with the treadmills every two minutes. “The switching back and forth between cardio treadmills and resistance is what increases the body’s fat expenditure by more than five-hundred percent,” explains Raphael Verela, owner and creator of Circuit Works, who was introduced to circuit training in the Marine Corps. “That’s more than any other single exercise system program out there today.”

To ensure their clients know what they are doing, Circuit Works has huge monitors on the wall showing videos of the exercises at each of the resistance stations. “This also gives our instructors the time to make the proper corrections and adjustments for each and every client at every station, just like a personal trainer would,” explains Verela of the group personal training concept. In fact, if you have any injuries or movement concerns, Circuit Works instructors will modify the movements to fit your needs.

But how safe is this new workout trend? “As with any high intensity circuit program, there is an increased risk of injury. When intensity goes up, so does the injury risk because people usually stop paying attention to form,” explains Melissa Mellady, MS, Exercise Physiologist, Northwestern Executive Health at Northwestern Medical Group.

It’s not for the faint of heart—literally. “Though people who engage in these circuit workouts burn more fat and possibly greater energy expenditure during and after than other workouts, it may be difficult for someone who is not already physically fit to make it through a solid 50 minutes,” she says. “I would proceed with caution and suggest modifying and taking breaks when necessary.” If you’re trying no-rest circuit training for the first time, you may want to work with a personal trainer or hit up one of the many studios across the country that are now offering guided no-rest workouts.

Have you tried this type of workout? Tell us about your experiences in the comments below.


  1. Brooklyn Bodyburn
  2. Circuit Works