Book Review: “Cardio Core 4×4” by Jay Cardiello

Jay Cardiello may be a “celebrity trainer” but his book is an outstanding resource for bodyweight movements, and if you’re motivated on your own, could be some great workouts, as well.

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The coach in me realizes there are all different types of learners out there. So, my initial concerns about working out by way of a book are put to bed with the idea that turning the pages of a quality text on exercise is a much more efficacious tool than seeing video or participating in live coaching for some folks. That being said, Cardio Core 4×4 by Jay Cardiello in a comprehensive resource that gets as much done in two hundred pages as any coach could get done in a few months of training.

Jay Cardiello is a respected celebrity trainer with the likes of 50 Cent in his Rolodex. His Cardio Core 4×4 program gets its namesake from the convenient fact that all of his workouts can be done with a space just four feet long by four feet wide. Not only do you not need much room, you’ll also be able to accomplish his countless movements without any equipment.

With a background in martial arts and NCAA Division I level track and field, Jay isn’t just a pretty face selling someone else’s program. He walks the walk. After his athletic pursuits, Jay’s go-getter attitude had him reaching out to hundreds of professional sports teams. Though he was willing to work for nothing, he struggled to get an opportunity until the Cincinnati Reds baseball team offered him a chance to train their Instructional League players. With little space and no equipment, an organization coach handed him thirty players and gave him twenty minutes to prove himself. With that, the rest was history. Jay Cardiello became a raging success based on his results and unique approach.

As for his book, Cardio 4×4 is put together like any good textbook, without the strain of academia. It provides context and lifestyle tools in the early chapters, and transitions into thorough training routines with visual guides to each movement. With a clearly designed linear progression, Jay preps your training by outlining his Four Pillars of Success: spiritual, emotional, nutritional, and physical.

I commend Cardio Core 4×4 for stepping out into an approach that challenges readers to set themselves up for success before taking on the program. In my opinion, many people jumping into a new training regime, especially one in a book, fail to make the connection that they themselves must take ownership for this undertaking and that the coach, book, or DVD won’t do it for them. Jay’s four pillars cover this well.

In addition to a quality-training program that can be executed literally anywhere, Cardio 4×4 provides “Fit Tips” and “Fit Food” bonuses on nearly every other page to help readers move along. For example, did you know that brushing your teeth after meals can reduce the likelihood of you reaching for a sugary treat later? Neither did I. See, you learn something everyday.

By now, you may be wondering. “But, what about the workouts?” The workouts are outlined as a list of bodyweight movements. The movements are illustrated extremely well with images and coaching tips. I found the “You Should Feel It” indicators on each page extremely helpful for monitoring your movement as you go. The programming is a bit loose, however, in that the Cardio Core Workout is to be completed as 10-20 reps of each movement. The Cardio Core 4×2 is to be done twice a week. If you choose to do the Cardio Core 4×4, it’s to be done four times per week.

My only gripe with this training program, otherwise chock-full of useful compound bodyweight movements, is that participants are left to discover their own intensity. This is fine for folks with context as to how to tackle the movements effectively but aggressively, but others may slip through the cracks. Without timelines or rest intervals, I worry the workout can turn into a long, slow accumulation of a list of movements. And, with someone training alone in their living room, they may be frustrated with their results, or lack thereof, without ever knowing how to tap into the beautiful program that is Cardio Core 4×4 effectively for them.

I’ve mentioned this before in some of my reviews about quality resources, and I’ll say it again about Jay Cardiello’s program: This isn’t just for folks looking to get in shape. I’d consider this an outstanding resource that has a place on any trainer or coach’s shelf as an endless supply of bodyweight movements.

Cardio Core 4×4 is more than a get-exhausted-quick program. With structure and context for a lifestyle of fitness, Jay Cardiello provides some effective coaching for participants of all levels with every turn of the page.

Cardio Core 4×4 is available at for $14.46

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