Cathe’s Afterburn

Edited 8/18/12

Afterburn is a 54 minute cardio + strength workout; 5 minute warm up, 44 minute training period and 5 minute cool down/stretch.

What can I say about this workout but wow. There is so much about this workout that compelled me to purchase it. First, the title. Afterburn. Isn’t that what we all want when we workout hard? That afterburn effect. Or technically EPOC—excess post oxygen consumption, which refers to the additional calories your body burns while recovering from a workout session. The longer and more intense the workout, the better the afterburn. One of the most effective types of exercise for the most significant afterburn effect is the HIIT, followed by metabolic weight training (which if done properly, is just another form of HIIT).

Which leads me to the other reason Afterburn compelled me to purchase it. It is part of Cathe’s Low Impact Series. This series is the most unexpected treasure I have discovered (after Cathe workouts in general). As I mentioned in Cardio Supersets, I was hesitant to purchase her Low Impact workouts because in my head I associated low impact with low intensity. That is not the case. Not in any of the Low Impact Series workouts I’ve done so far and most definitely not in this one. The customer reviews sold me on it. “Extremely challenging.” “I loved it and hated it.” “WOW, it is Tough!” “This workout is intense!” And so on.

So I bought it. The workout consists of 10 intervals. Each interval consists of 2 low impact HIITs that are repeated. So this workout delivers 40 HIITs. Yes. It is exhausting. I am an intensity junky—I’ve done Peak 10/Peak Fit, Insanity, TurboFire, Amy Dixon’s Breathless Body workouts and many more crazy intense workouts (including Cathe‘s non-Low Impact workouts!)—so I am no stranger to crazy intense. Yet still, this one surprised me. I’m with the reviewer who said “I love it and I hate it.” I loved how she combined strength moves with HIITs–very intense. Metabolic weight training–high intensity anaerobic weight circuits that consist of compound moves with little or no rest between circuits. She uses metabolic weight training in Crossfire, To the Max, Cardio Supersets and Athletic Training (I’m sure she uses metabolic weight training in many more workouts that I have yet to do), but it is used in every single interval in Afterburn and wow–it burns. I am feeling quite sore.

***8/24/16 I return to this workout a couple times a year and it still slays me. I did it this morning and burned 500 calories in 54 minutes. It is still, so #@%$* hard. Amazing workout.***

This workout needs little equipment in comparison to some of her other workouts. You need a variety of weights, sliding discs and Dixie cups. I don’t have Dixie cups, but since I read the reviews, one of the reviewers substituted two washcloths. So I did the same thing and it worked just fine. You just need two relatively small objects to put down and pick up.

Interval 1:

Squat digs (this is the only move I actually made higher impact—I jumped)

Squat clean and press (10# DBs)

Interval 2:

Disc mountain climbers

Dixie cup alternating front lunges

Interval 3:

Lateral skates

Plie squats with front swings (a kettlebell move with a dumbbell) (one 15# DB)

Interval 4:

Air squats (this is low impact, so it is just fast squats)

Disc squat thrusts with pushup jacks

Interval 5:

Runners squats

Alternating rear lunge with hammer curls (10# DBs)

Interval 6:

Cross under kicks while in plank

Plie squats with one arm upright rows (one 15# DB)

Interval 7:

Disc jacks

One arm clean and press

Interval 8:

Disc spiderman mountain climbers

Lateral lunges (one 10# DB)

Interval 9:

Lunge kicks

Disc dragging planks with uneven pushups

Interval 10:

Dixie cup line taps

Rear lunges with lateral raises (5# DBs)

She gives you a bit of a dynamic stretching to cool down, then finished with a stretch.

Impressive workout. I’m actually rather in awe of it. It comes with her amazing pre-mixes which I adore. Three express options each at approx. 30 minutes: Single Intervals 1-10 (32 minutes), Intervals 1-5 (32 minutes) and Intervals 6-10 (34 minutes). Random Burn (61 minutes), Double Trouble (51 minutes) and Bonus Burn (75 minutes). Bonus Burn is a serious challenge I will do at some point. It is the full 10 intervals, then all 10 again, except this time you only do the interval once (so “Single” Intervals–as in the first Express Premix).

I can also see several ways to modify the main 54 minute workout to suit your purposes. If you want to make this primarily a cardio workout—use lighter weights. If you want to increase your burn and get even better strength work—go heavier with the weights. There were a few moves I could have gone heavier than what Cathe uses, but since it was my first time doing the workout, I used the same poundage as she did. Since I plan to use it as a strength workout, in the future I will go heavier on a few moves.

In addition, I have since learned that there is more to these workouts than merely making the moves “low impact.” Initially, I didn’t have the discs, so when I did Cardio Supersets, I modified to make everything disc-related high impact. The discs actually work the body differently—so a mountain climber with the discs recruits different/more muscles than a regular mountain climber. Since I have many workouts that do the standard moves (burpees, mountain climbers, etc) without discs, I really like the diversity that the Low Impact Series adds to my workouts.

Again—phenomenal workout. I cannot say it is my favorite workout of Cathe’s, but I really liked it and it seriously delivered. They can’t all be my absolute favorites—right? And already so many of her workouts are vying for the #1 spot—I have a hard time deciding! I would say that this one is missing some of the “fun factor” that is present in most of the Cathe workouts I own. And it’s not because it is so tough—To the Max is brutal but still a lot of fun. It’s hard to explain! Nevertheless, I do like it a lot and it will, of course, be used many times. In fact, I have yet to find a Cathe workout I don’t do again and again.


26 thoughts on “Cathe’s Afterburn

  1. Like you, I love these crazy metabolic workouts the best. I picked up an 8 pound vest at Target the other day. Decided I would try it out with this workout. Wow. Just wow. I’m not really a big sweater but my skin was crying ten minutes in. Lol!!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. One thing I’ve been doing that has helped me break through a plateau is taking moringa before a workout. It’s a leaf (..?) supplement. I feel like it has really helped me in my endurance and vo2 Max.
        I hope you are doing well!


      2. Hi, sorry- I just saw this comment. I take moringa in the morning with my coffee, in capsule form. It is from a tree that grows in India and is basically a superfood. I buy this brand. It is really highin antioxidants and many vitamins and minerals. I take 4-5 every morning. Here is more info if you are interested.


  2. In terms of someone looking for less complicated step routines, but interested in a workout challenge, should we maybe suggest Ripped with HIIT? I know these workouts are among the most advanced Cathe has offered, but I lower my step height to one riser, and others can lower their height to just the platform. I remember being confused on the fast feet shuffle part of Plyo HIIT Two the first time, but it seemed like it got figured out after a try or two.

    In terms of Afterburn, this workout is amazing, and has grown on me with each iteration! I used to dread it and had to rest so many times. But now I am finally able to finish with no pauses (with some cheating on the Spidermans and the staggered pushups), and can touch the floor on all line taps at the end! It shows that even mature exercisers like me (55+) can get there if we persist!


  3. Thanks, 2L! I actually did this workout several years ago, when I was more consistent with my exercising AND confident in my fitness levels. I’m much stronger now, more fit, and, overall, in much better shape, but I’m also less confident, or, rather, more humble in my capabilities. 🙂 However, I did Rockout Knockout the other day when I just wasn’t up for a full on workout, and, with my weighted gloves, it was, indeed, a nice little workout. It encouraged me to dip my toe back in the Cathe pool, so, since I know all of her stuff is geared towards advanced exercisers, I decided to stick with workouts I’ve done before, like Afterburn. I figure, if I could do it back then, I should be able to do it now (given all the aforementioned points). 🙂 I didn’t want to go in to the workouts unprepared, though. (You and your site have COMPLETELY spoiled me! 😀 How did I ever workout before 2L4G?? I don’t know. LOL)

    Would it be an imposition to ask for some recommendations from you of Cathe’s less advanced/intense (non-step) workouts? Things in the same vein/with comparable intensity to Rockout Knockout? (USE of a step is fine, as a tool or piece of equipment, but step choreography and me don’t mix. 🙂 I need limited step footwork, like in her LIS and some of her Shock Cardio offerings.) Her ICE series has been on my WishList for a couple of months now.
    I’m thinking ICE, her MMA workouts, workouts from her LIS and some of her Shock Cardio will be what I’m looking for, but, in general, I’m not too familiar with her library or intensity levels of all her workouts.

    So, any reccs, if any, that you can give would be much appreciated! 🙂 And, as always, thank you!


    1. Hi Liz, you are right on target with your thoughts. Cathe’s ICE and MMA workouts are both intermediate levels. Xtrain Hardstrikes isn’t too advanced–it’s pretty high impact but no actual plyomentrics. Slide & Glide and Cardio Supersets are intermediate. Unlike other trainers Cathe rarely shows modifications. I can’t think of anything else that is mainly cardio and doesn’t have step choreography. She does have some more intermediate step workouts. I’m not sure what your level of choreography complexity is tho because I found her choreography in her Shock Cardio step workouts fairly complex. Athletic Step was moderately complex but doable for me. But Low Impact Challenge is too complex for me.


    2. Hi Liz,

      I realize you asked this question 5 years ago (times flies!), but in case you are still interested, some Cathe workouts that involve step (but not step choreography) that I really enjoy are the PHA workouts (from both Strong & Sweaty and LITE series), along with boot camp workouts from Strong & Sweaty and ICE.

      (As you can see, I too continually revisit these reviews before doing Cathe workouts, because she does such an excellent job of refreshing my memory about the workouts and equipment needed.)


  4. Do you still have your workout card for this one? Would you mind updating the review to include the weights you used? I have this in my workout queue, but I don’t want to go in to it completely blind. 🙂


    1. Hi Liz–I never did end up using this workout as a strength workout. I always use it as cardio so I continue to use the same weights as Cathe does–I think. I do have a workout card that I use for this workout, so some of my weights might be different. But I think most are the same as hers. Either way–I will add the weights to the workout sometime this week (probably tonight, but in case I don’t I will by the end of the week).

      I do love this workout. Like Crossfire, To the Max, and Tabatacise, this is one I return to frequently. Those 4 are my “go-to” cardio workouts.


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