Move It Monday: Getting PHAT

by tinareale on August 5, 2013

Who out there remembers the old-school acronym PHAT? If you’re a fellow 80s baby, I’m guessing that you do. Well, we’re getting PHAT today with today’s Move It Monday workout!

move it monday

I’m not talking “Pretty Hot And Tempting” PHAT, although I guess this workout could do that for you too. Instead, I’m taking a look at a specific type of circuit training called Peripheral Heart Action Training – or PHAT for short. Are you ready for a PHAT workout? I thought so! But first…the background info!

What is Peripheral Heart Action Training? PHAT is a training methodology that optimizes circuit training so you not only receive the metabolic conditioning of circuits, but you are also able to maximize your performance. In English, please? You get the popular“fat burning effect” without burning out your strength training performance as can often happen in circuit training workouts.

Many circuit workouts will feature exercises for the same body part grouped together. For example, you may have a lower body circuit with three, four, or even five lower body exercises grouped together. It is near impossible to perform anywhere close to peak performance after working the same muscle group for so long, as done in circuits that group multiple exercises of the same body part together. That method has its place in training, especially when working on muscular endurance, but shouldn’t be employed for circuits where you hope to lift more while still blasting through a workout. And that is where Peripheral Heart Action Training comes into play.

The PHAT style of training is still a circuit based workout where you complete the given exercises back to back with minimal rest between exercises. However, with PHAT, the order of exercises makes it so you can have more energy for each exercise as you alternate between lower and upper body work in the circuit. This allows the body more time to recover for one extremity (i.e. the upper body), while still staying active and working the other extremity (i.e. the lower body). You get your heart rate up and can quickly move through the workout, while still employing rest periods to maximize the effort you can give to each and every rep of each and every exercise. Sounds like a Win-Win, huh? Or a PHAT (pretty hot and tempting) workout. Winking smile

PHAT Circuit Workout

Complete 8-12 reps per exercise (for one-sided exercises like the renegade row and side lunge, do 8-12 reps per side). As always, here is an “exercise library” to refer to for any moves you aren’t sure how to do:

Happy Training!!!


1 Miz August 5, 2013 at 7:25 am

IM IN FOR THE PHAT and dragging my daughter and her playdate friends along with me :-)

2 lindsay August 5, 2013 at 8:00 am

PHAT indeed! sumo deadlifts, ouch. good stuff

3 Linz @ Itz Linz August 5, 2013 at 8:01 am

i never knew this was called PHAT – i love alternating between lower and upper body exercises!

4 Kaila @healthyhelperblog! August 5, 2013 at 8:37 am

How many reps of each move do we do?!

5 tinareale August 5, 2013 at 9:06 am

I left it open so people could choose what works for them, but just added in to aim for 8-12 reps per exercise in general. But can always be tweaked to what works for you. :)

6 Christine @ Love, Life, Surf August 5, 2013 at 8:58 am

I totally remember PHAT! Love this. I always learn so much for you!

7 Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries August 5, 2013 at 9:05 am

Haha oh the good ol’ days – too funny! Looks like another awesome workout!

8 Heather Murphy August 5, 2013 at 9:05 am

Great workout! I love your simplicity with explaining different types of exercise methods.

9 tinareale August 6, 2013 at 8:41 am

I try to do so. I know I always hate looking for an explanation on something or wondering about something but not getting a clear, easy to understand answer.

10 Katie @ KatieEnPursuit August 5, 2013 at 9:32 am

Yea, this is PHAT for sure! I can remember how cool I though I was saying that word! Ha! Love PHAT for circuit work, I try to explain to my clients it’s like getting the most “body bang” for your workout time! Great workout, pinned it for future use. Thanks Tina!

11 Kaitlin @4loveofcarrots August 5, 2013 at 9:42 am

I can’t wait do try this workout! I am in need of a good butt kicking!

12 Amanda B. August 5, 2013 at 10:39 am

I love the 80s phat reference, we used to use that all the time! Great workout!

13 Samantha @ 10000 Squats August 5, 2013 at 11:29 am

Wow the PHAT workout sounds intense! Never heard of it before but it sounds like a lot of people here have used it with success. I’ll look in to using it! Thanks!

14 Kim August 5, 2013 at 12:07 pm

I don’t know if I’ve heard of PHAT but I love the upper/lower body repetitions. Thanks for another great workout!

15 [email protected] August 5, 2013 at 2:40 pm

I really like this kind of training b/c it keeps me from being bored! LOVE the acronym usage. Clever ;)

16 LisasFitLife August 5, 2013 at 2:43 pm

I gotta try this!

17 Wendy August 5, 2013 at 6:26 pm

The timing of you publishing this workout was perfect! I was going to go back to an old BBB circuit for cross-training this morning but decided to try this PHAT workout instead. I loved the structure and combination of exercises while completing the workout, and I am eager to see where I am sore tomorrow. Thank you!

18 tinareale August 6, 2013 at 8:42 am

Great! Glad you got to get a good workout in and enjoyed it. :)

19 GiGi Eats Celebrities August 5, 2013 at 11:46 pm

Definitely GOT MOVING THIS MONDAY!!! :D And I will again tomorrow, NOW THAT IS PHAT!!

20 Dominique @ That's What Domi Said August 8, 2013 at 8:22 pm

Did this workout yesterday (the day AFTER a heavy leg day!) and it was terrific! Definitely challenged me and I had to push myself to finish, but I really enjoyed getting in some cardio with (relatively) heavy weights.

Also, first time doing renegade rows (20# each hand) and ohhh did it make my abs weep!

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