- 8 Full-Body Exercises That Burn Fat Insanely Fast
- 1. Jump lunges
- 2. Kettlebell swing
- 3. Dumbbell squat and press
- 4. Box jumps
- 5. Golf swing
- 6. Crunch squat
- 7. Dumbbell jacks shoulder press
- 8. Burpee
- Fat Burning Workout Plan: The Rules
- Hazel’s top tips for maximising fat loss
- Week 2:
- Week 3:
- Week 4:
- One Workout for Total Body Fat Burn
8 Full-Body Exercises That Burn Fat Insanely Fast
If you’re looking to lose a few pounds, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve rounded up some moves that increase your heart rate, build muscle, and burn fat way faster than your typical workout. Of course, exercise alone isn’t going to cut it. But by practicing some healthy eating habits and adding these eight moves to your workout routine, you’ll burn fat in no time.
1. Jump lunges
Try some jumping lunges when you’re at the gym. | iStock.com
Regular lunges are already challenging, so adding a jump to the exercise yields even more benefits. PopSugar says this move will help sculpt your legs and tone your calves. Plus, the jumping component is a great way to boost your heart rate.
Begin standing with your knees slightly bent and your feet staggered so your right foot is in front of your left. Jump straight up, switching your legs in the air, then land in a lunge with your left foot in front. Make sure to land with both knees bent at 90-degree angles to prevent injury. Repeat this move 20 times to complete one set.
2. Kettlebell swing
Kettlebell swings are tough but effective. | iStock.com
Men’s Fitness explains the kettlebell swing is an explosive, full-body exercise that builds strength and helps improve power and posture. Begin standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent and toes pointed out. Hold a kettlebell with both hands so it hangs between your legs. Hinging at the hips, lower your body into a squat position. Then, extend your hips to come to standing while swinging the kettlebell in front of you, squeezing your glutes at the top of the move. From there, let the weight swing back down as you come back into the squat. Repeat the motion until fatigued.
3. Dumbbell squat and press
Perform dumbbell squat and presses for a full-body exercise. | iStock.com
The dumbbell squat and press is a great move that works your entire body, which you can see over at Men’s Health. You’ll begin standing with your feet shoulder-width apart as you hold a pair of dumbbells right in front of your shoulders, palms facing each other. Lower your body into a squat while rotating the dumbbells so your palms face you, then extend your legs as you push your arms above your head, turning your wrists until your palms are facing away from you. Repeat until exhaustion.
4. Box jumps
Box jumps are really tough. | iStock.com/Ammentorp Photography
Box jumps are great for burning fat, helping with balance and coordination, and toning your muscles, according to mindbodygreen. All you need is a plyometric box or a raised surface you can jump on.
To begin this move, lower yourself into a partial squat. Then, push off the ground as you swing your arms forward to jump on top of the box, landing with your knees slightly bent. Hop down and immediately repeat 10 to 20 times to complete one set.
5. Golf swing
This move will give you a killer core and arms. | iStock.com
This move, featured by Women’s Health, works your core and arms at the same time. You’ll begin standing with your legs slightly wider than hip-width apart as you hold a medicine ball just to the right of your right hip. Then, pivot on your right foot to twist your torso to the left while swinging the medicine ball up above your left shoulder until your arms are fully extended. Return to the starting position and repeat eight times to complete one set.
6. Crunch squat
Crunch squats are great for your lower body and abs. | iStock.com
This exercise works your glutes, quads, and abs all at once, so you’ll make some serious gains. Shape says to lie down on a Bosu ball or pillow with your lower back resting on it. Engage your abs to do a crunch, then immediately use your lower body to push up to standing. Repeat 25 times to complete one set.
7. Dumbbell jacks shoulder press
This total-body move will get your blood pumping. | iStock.com
Get your heart rate pumping while working your arms, shoulders, and legs with this move. Cosmopolitan explains you’ll start standing with your feet together as you hold the dumbbells just in front of your shoulders, palms facing each other. Perform an overhead press. As soon as you hands return to your shoulders, hop your feet out as you would for a jumping jack while you open your elbows out to the side and extend your arms overhead, palms facing forward. Hop back to the starting position to complete one rep.
Burpees are tough, but effective. | iStock.com
No list of full-body exercises is complete without burpees. As brutal as they are, Fitness says they do an amazing job of torching calories and training your chest, core, and abs. If you aren’t already doing them, it’s time to start.
Begin standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lower your body into a squat, place your palms on the floor below your shoulders, then hop your feet back into a plank. Jump your feet back to your hands, then immediately jump up as you extend your arms above your head. As you land, go right into the next one. Repeat the exercise until exhaustion.
Full-body strength-training exercises are key for fat loss — which is why we’ve gathered these 12 trainer-recommended moves to choose from — but why are these exercises so critical? “A lot of people think that the best way to shed fat is by doing lots of steady cardio. You can lose fat that way, but it’s not the optimal type of training for fat loss,” said Julia Buckley, a REPs Level 3-certified trainer in the UK. “Intense fast-paced cardio, power moves, and weightlifting sessions are much better. By adding muscle to your body, you will burn more fat all of the time.”
That’s because muscle mass actually boosts your metabolism, which helps you burn calories even when you’re not working out. Targeting multiple muscle groups in one move, as you do with full-body exercises, burns more calories (and thus more fat) and does it efficiently, maximizing your time at the gym, said Eric Bowling, an NASM-certified trainer at Ultimate Performance Los Angeles.
However, you won’t burn fat just by doing these exercises alone. For the best results, you need a consistent and effective workout routine that includes both cardio and strength training. Coupling those workouts with a healthy diet is also key. To lose body fat, you should avoid highly processed foods and products with lots of sugar and refined carbs while loading up on veggies, protein, and fiber. Once you have that foundation of healthy diet and consistent exercise in place, plug these 12 moves into your routine to optimize fat-burning potential. Grab some weights, and let’s get started. (Not sure how heavy to go? Here’s a guide on choosing the right weight.)
Fat burning workouts should be about more than just doing exercises to make you pour with sweat. Yes, you need to raise your heart to burn cals, fast. But, a decent workout plan will use resistance moves to build a stronger, fitter body which has the added benefit of firing up your metabolism for maximum daily calorie burn.
Follow a plan like this alongside all a healthy nutrition plan and you’ll hit your body composition sweet spot.
But getting starting and sticking to a routine can be tricky without direction, so we enlisted the help of Louise Hazel, the GB heptathlete turned celebrity PT and TV host, to design you a four-week fat burning workout plan.
It can be done from anywhere; all you need is a pair of dumbbells and a sweat wicking outfit. Need new fit kit inspo? Let us help with that. Here are 25 new gymwear buys.
Now your kitted out let’s take a look at Hazel’s workout plan.
Fat Burning Workout Plan: The Rules
- Each week involves a new workout that focuses on fat burning exercises. As you progress the workouts will become more challenging than the last.
- If you’re a beginner, do weeks 1 to 4; if you’re intermediate, start at week 2, repeating it twice before doing weeks 3 and 4; if you’re a pro, do week 2, 3, 4 then 4 again.
- During the workouts do each move for 30 seconds before moving onto the next. Do 3 circuits with 2-3 mins rest in-between.
Your fat loss workout week
MONDAY: HIIT workout
TUESDAY: HIIT workout
THURSDAY: HIIT workout
FRIDAY: HIIT workout
SUNDAY: Easy 5K or other cardio
(Screenshot this timetable or save it as a note on your phone, so you know which workout you’re doing on which day. By ‘HIIT workout’, we’re referring to the week’s workout – see videos below.)
Hazel’s top tips for maximising fat loss
- This workout plan is designed to be really simple so you can do it at home.
- Each circuit takes just 20 minutes, so even the busiest of people can work them into their schedule.
- Every week slot in your favourite yoga class and an easy 5K to balance out the high-intensity training.
- Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. When planning your meals, don’t cut out carbs completely but prioritise them at breakfast and after training, Hazel advises, so your body will burn alternative energy sources (specifically, fat) later in the day.
- Bear in mind you need three portions of protein a day for muscle repair. Calculate your optimum size by multiplying your weight (kg) by two and eating it in grams per serving.
Do this on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday
This is a total-body fat burning workout so it will boost kickstart your metabolism, speed up fat burn and have you perfecting lean-muscle-building moves you’ll build on week by week.
Do each of the following for 30 seconds, rest for two minutes, then repeat twice more:
- Sides To Sides (preferably with feet off the floor)
- Tricep Dips (using a chair or raised platform)
- Squats (while keeping your heels in constant contact with the floor)
- Plank (keeping your back, shoulders and neck in alignment)
Do this on Wednesday
Try this 10-minute yoga flow by Ella Mills to chill your body the eff out.
Do this on Sunday
Join the growing number #Sundayrunday runners and get outside. There’s no need to go fast – an easy paced 5K is your goal. You should be able to chat while running.
This week your focus is on creating new habits and resetting your system.
- Do your workouts sequence before breakfast. Your muscle’s glycogen will be at its lowest so any sugars you eat after will refuel muscles, rather than be stored as fat.
- After a fasted session, add protein powder to almond milk for a natural and tasty post-workout replenishment.
- Add a juice into your day. Try blending beetroot, lemon, apple, ginger for a post-workout pick-me-up. The antioxidants in beetroot can help mop up free radicals released during exercise.
YOUR SHOPPING LIST
Protein Smoothie rejuvenated.com US$100.00
Do this on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday
With moves like alternate V-sits and spiderman burpees, this workout has been specifically designed to target muscles while taking your heart rate to the next level.
Do each of the following for 30 seconds, rest for two minutes, then repeat twice more:
- Alternative V-Sit (keeping legs and arms as straight as possible)
- T Press-Up (making sure, when you rotate on to the side, you open out the chest and extend the arm up)
- Forward Lunges (with hands on hips and heels in contact with the floor at all times)
- Walking Plank
- Spiderman Burpees
Do this on Wednesday
Like last week make time for this 10-minute yoga flow by Ella Mills to stretch out sore, tired muscles.
Do this on Sunday
Mix things up and try a treadmill sprint session or get on a bike for your cardio session – 1 min on at 75% intensity (moderate pace), 1 min rest, with 6-8 reps.
This week the workouts are tougher and more advanced says Hazel so chase this week’s circuit with a breakfast of overnight oats soaked in almond milk for a vital fuel-up.
Spice things up
We’ve all heard that eating chillies can help boost metabolism so try a spicy juice to kickstart your metabolism: blend 2 tomatoes with 1⁄4 chilli to feel the burn.
Amino acid glutamine will supercharge your immunity – a must when you’re hitting it hard – as well as boost stamina and recovery. Mix 5g powder with water or a shake.
YOUR SHOPPING LIST
L-Glutamine Amino Acid Myprotein myprotein.com £14.99
Do this Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday
The third of our fat burning workout videos, this one ups the resistance and complexity. Grab your dumbbells –it’s time to turn up the resistance. This week you’re focussing on functional, muscle-building moves.
Do each of the following for 30 seconds, rest for two minutes, then repeat twice more (with dumbells):
- Spiderman (with a flat back)
- DB Frontal/Lateral Raise
- DB Side Lunge
- DB Side Plank (with the arm locked out and stretched towards the ceiling at all times)
- Burpee Press
Do this on Wednesday
This week mix up your movement with a flow by Yoga with Adrienne.
Do this on Sunday
If you’re feeling tired go on a long, leisurely week but if you still have reserves in the tank here’s your workout: try 10×10 sec sprints at 95% intensity. Aim for 4 mins recovery between each one. Remember though, not getting enough rest can undo the benefits of a high intensity workout.
For the next two weeks you should focus on energy levels, healthy fats and hydration.
Add in a nightcap
Keep your spirit levels up in this final week. Take 500-1000g of immunity- and liver function-boosting vitamin C with water before bedtime.
Work a portion of healthy fats – a handful of nuts, half an avocado, a serving of oily fish – into every meal to unlock essential vitamins and to keep you feeling fuller.
Keep chugging water
And Hazel advises staying hydrated: “Even a 1% reduction in hydration will affect your ability to burn fat,” Hazel says. Sip 250ml first thing, 500ml during a workout and 500ml after.
YOUR SHOPPING LIST
Opti Neoprene Dumbbell Set – 2 x 3kg Opti argos.co.uk £11.99 Holland & Barrett Magnesium with Zinc 100 Tablets hollandandbarrett.com £7.99
You’re in the final stretch now. Take pride in how much your fitness has improved even in this short space of time and smash your last week.
Do each of the following for 30 seconds, rest for two minutes, then repeat twice more (with dumbbells):
- Row (with your back flat and core engaged)
- DB Press Row (getting your chest right down to the floor and elbows in)
- Drop Squat
- 3-Point Plank (with your back flat, core engaged and arm out long)
- Naughty Burpee (with tight squat thrusts)
Do this on Wednesday
Let us suggest sticking with Yoga with Adrienne. Her ‘yoga for runners’ is a world-favourite – it’s been watched more than 1million times!
Do this on Sunday
Finish strong with a 5k and then reeeeeelax!
If you’d rather try strength training in the gym, bookmark these core strengthening exercises or this glutes workout.
Rebecca Gillam Bex is a wellbeing writer, brand consultant and qualified yoga and meditation teacher who likes baths, crystals, running with her pup Gustav and making unboring vegan-ish food.
Your Total-Body Strength Workout
Bodyweight Squats—15 reps. Quick tip: Get low, keep your chest up, and don’t let your knees go over your toes during this lower-body move.
Dumbbell Bench Press—12 reps. Quick tip: Position yourself so your head, back, and butt are all on the bench, your feet flat on the floor.
Dumbbell Row—12 reps each side. Quick tip: If you don’t have a bench available, try a bent-over row.
Lying Isometric Y—Hold for 30 seconds. Quick tip: You can keep your legs on the ground for this one if that feels more comfortable.
Box Step-Ups—15 reps each leg. Quick tip: Alternate between your left and right leg, and for an extra challenge, step your lifted foot into a lunge as you come down from the box.
Plank—Hold for 30 seconds. Quick tip: Make sure you’re keeping your core tight!
Do the circuit 3x, resting for 1 minute between each round.
Tuesday: Sprint Intervals
Strength training is important for increasing your BMR, but the calorie burn payoff for high-intensity cardio workouts is more immediate. “Sprinting torches calories and gets the work done in a fraction of the time you’d spend jogging,” explains Rosante. This type of high-intensity interval training is especially effective because after skyrocketing your heart rate several times during a workout, your body uses more energy to get your body back to a resting state.
You can do Rosante’s simple (but tough as hell) sprint interval workout on almost any cardio equipment. So no worries if you just can’t with the treadmill sometimes—you can also use an indoor cycling bike, rowing machine, elliptical, you name it.
- 30 seconds: Full-out sprint
- 60 seconds: Moderate pace jog
- Do this 12x
Wednesday: Foam Rolling + 12,000 Steps
“Your body needs to recover after two days of intensity, but you don’t want to sit around doing nothing,” explains Rosante. “Foam rolling and stretching will improve your mobility and actually help to improve the quality of your workouts, good mobility will allow you to achieve full range of motion in the moves. Executing these moves with a greater range of motion will force your body to exert more energy, and the more energy you exert, the more calories you burn.” A bigger range of motion means you’ll be able to squat deeper and lunge lower while using proper form. When the right muscle fibers are firing, you’ll get more out of every exercise.
Now pair that mobility work with some walking. Walking is a low-impact movement that increases blood flow and will help speed recovery, Rosante explains. “Plus, the simple science of weight loss is this: Expend more energy than you intake. Walking counts!” So break out the activity tracker or down load an app on your phone around and aim to get a solid 12,000 steps in (a little more than the normally cited 10,000 steps). “If the goal is weight loss, an extra 2,000 steps per day helps you kick things up,” says Rosante.
Thursday: Total-Body Strength Training
Do the same workout you did on Monday.
Friday: High-Intensity Group Fitness Class
“Do a high-intensity fitness class to kick up the calorie burn while keeping things fresh, interesting, and social,” says Rosante. Grab some friends and head to an indoor cycling studio, or sign up for the boot camp class you’ve been nervous to try. Having a strategic program like Rosante’s is important for efficiently moving toward your goals, but this where you have the chance to mix it up so you don’t get bored. No matter what you do, though, make sure you sweat—and have fun.
Saturday: Total-Body Strength Training
Do the same workout you did on Monday and Thursday.
Sunday: Rest Day
Ah, rest day—you’ve earned it. Muscles aren’t built while you’re working them—in fact, when you strength train, you’re breaking down muscle fibers. That’s why it’s important to build in rest and recovery time, so they have a chance to repair themselves a little stronger than before, explains Rosante.
One Workout for Total Body Fat Burn
A full-body workout is one of the most efficient ways to burn calories and fat for hours after exercising — benefits that will help you reach your fitness goals.
It also adds variety to your routine. So whether you’ve been at the gym for a while now or you’re just ready for something new, here’s a full-body workout plan from Andy Coggan, director of the Fitness Academy at Gold’s Gym.
Monday, Wednesday, Friday: Do the workout (30-45 minutes)
Tuesday, Thursday: Opt for active rest, such as a walk, a light run, yoga or your favorite sport
30- to 60-second rest between sets
1-minute rest when moving to a new exercise
Raise the intensity of the workout from week to week by trying to decrease your rest time between exercises. For example, try to drop by 10 seconds each week.
Week 1: 60-second rest
Week 2: 50-second rest
Week 3: 40-second rest
Week 4: 30-second rest, and push your body much harder in each session
Remember to focus on good form. And choose a weight that would allow you to do one or two more reps if you kept going. If you can do more reps than this, you need to increase the weight; if you can’t do one or two more, try a lighter weight.
Mix it up: Monday, Wednesday, Friday: Alternative between this and another full-body workout, such as a previous one like this workout
Split squat: 3 sets of 10 reps
Why: The split squat is a great option to strengthen the lower body without the same mobility demands of a squat variation. This will also challenge balance and stability and place a greater emphasis on working one leg at a time.
How: Stand with your feet staggered, holding a pair of light dumbbells by your sides, palms facing behind you. Lower into a lunge, bending your knees until your back knee is almost touching the floor, and rise. Switch legs.
Pro tips: Start with very light weight and work on a full range of motion, moving both legs up and down to achieve a right angle.
Band assisted chin-ups: 3 sets of 4 reps
Why: Chin-ups not only build up the back, helping you avoid injuries to that vulnerable area, they also improve stamina, create lean muscle mass and strengthen your grip—a necessity for many competitive sports.
How: Loop a resistance band over the bar, and place one foot in the loop. Use an underhand grip with your hands shoulder-width apart. Engage your abs, and then bend your elbows to pull your body up until your chin is above the bar. Slowly lower back down.
Pro tips: There’s a difference between a pull-up and chin-up. Although both train the back and biceps, the chin-up places a bit more emphasis on the biceps.
Single leg deadlift with dumbbell: 2 sets of 10 reps
Why: You can burn a lot of calories with this exercise because deadlifts work so many muscles in your lower body (hamstrings, quads, glutes and calves) and upper body (arms, core, back, trapezius and shoulders). Plus, deadlifts improve posture and raise your heart rate.
How: Stand holding a dumbbell in your right hand. Slightly bend your left knee as you lean forward, and raise your right leg behind you in a straight line. Return to the starting position, and then switch, holding the dumbbell in your left hand and bending your right leg.
Pro tips: Try this with kettlebells. Their unorthodox design may seem intimidating, but because of their shape, they force the body to work harder to balance the weight. You can add muscle, burn fat, increase mobility, improve endurance and boost metabolism, all in the same workout.
Bicep curl to overhead press: 2 sets of 10 reps
Why: This combination movement works the biceps and shoulders together in a natural movement that we frequently experience in day-to-day activities.
How: From a seated or standing position, take dumbbells in each hand with palms facing away from your body. Curl the dumbbells up toward your shoulders, keeping your elbows in line with your body. Once you’ve reached the top of the curl, rotate your hands to face away from your body again as you lift the weights overhead. Reverse the movement to return to the start and repeat for reps.
Pro tips: Keep the body still. It’s very easy to get into a bad habit of swinging during the curl movement and leaning back when pressing overhead. Squeeze your glutes and abs to maintain good posture throughout.
Static plank hold: 2 planks, hold 45 seconds each
Why: Being able to create and maintain a solid core is necessary for nearly all functional movements of the body. Without a strong center, you cannot effectively transfer force from one part of the body to another. This exercise can help you develop the ability to effectively brace your core and get more out of the rest of your workout.
How: Step your right foot back to meet your left. Hold yourself up in a high push-up stance, with your arms perpendicular to the floor, your back straight and your hips up (not sagging toward the floor).
Pro tips: Purposely squeeze the muscles of your abs, glutes, shoulders and upper and lower back to really get the most out of this movement and increase the intensity.
Swiss ball bridge/leg curls: 2 sets of 10 reps
Why: This hamstring curl uses a ball to help raise your legs and hips off the floor. It targets your hamstrings and engages your hip and back muscles.
How: Lie on the floor with your calves on the ball, arms by your sides, palms down. Raise your hips until your body forms a straight line from shoulders to heels. Bend your knees to roll the ball toward you until your feet are flat. Straighten your legs to roll the ball back, and then lower your body to the floor.
Pro tips: Make sure to find a properly inflated ball to get the most out of this movement. If the ball is holding less air than it should, this exercise will seem too easy because of the lack of stabilization required.
When you’re working hard to get fit and lose weight, you want a routine that offers maximum results. And you don’t even need to become a gym rat; studies show that shorter bouts of exercise are more effective for fat loss. But what kind of exercise burns the most calories?
Cardio, of course, will torch cals. Running on a treadmill will burn 25-39% more calories than doing kettlebell swings at the same level of exertion, according to a 2012 study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. But your best bet for weight loss is a routine that combines cardio and strength.
Yes, if you’re walking or running like mad without results, building muscle may be the key that unlocks the scale. Why? Muscles are metabolically active, so they burn calories even when you’re not exercising. To fit cardio and strength into your workout, consider interval training.
The benefits of interval training
Working out in intervals is one way to reap the benefits of cardio and strength, while maximizing your calorie burn in a short amount of time. Interval workouts involve alternating between short bursts of intense effort and periods of lower intensity or rest.
The intensity resets your metabolism to a higher rate during your workout, so it takes hours for your body to cool down again. This is what’s known as EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption). That means you burn calories long after you’ve finished your workout compared to doing a workout at a continuous moderate pace (a.k.a. LISS), according to a 2017 study from the European Journal of Applied Physiology.
“Intervals are a great way to promote weight loss beyond just the EPOC effect. A lot of weight loss comes from the mental side of the spectrum too,” says Chris Ryan, one of MIRROR’s founding trainers. “Intervals offer a great way to harness individual victories after each rep or round of exercise—and not simply looking at the workout as a whole.”
Best Weight Loss Exercises
To help you find the a calorie-burning workout that fits your lifestyle and goals, we rounded up the best exercises for weight loss here. If you’re working out in intervals, do the exercise for 30 seconds every minute and rest for the remaining 30 seconds. As you progress, you can increase your time to 45 seconds of activity and 15 seconds of rest. Remember, you want to be working at your maximum—leaving you out of breath by the end of that interval.
So if you want to implement interval training into your fitness routine to rev up your metabolism, here are the best exercises for weight loss.
Whether you love or hate it, running is one of the best and simplest ways to burn calories—and you don’t need a treadmill to do it. Just lace up your shoes and hit the road. Running in intervals—speeding up and slowing down your pace—will help make the minutes and miles go by quickly. Run in fartleks, which means speedplay in Swedish, where you pick up the pace every other street lamp or water hydrant you hit, and then slow down after you pass the next one.
“Running is great, but sprinting is even better. Sprinting helps engage the core and offers shorter durations of runs at higher intensities. So next time you think about running, think more about quality and not quantity,” Ryan says. He also notes that running slow is relatively easy on your body as far as exertion is perceived, but running fast at 80% of your capability is even harder, pushing your body even more to its limits. This conditions your body to get used to this kind of stress. “There is definitely something to be said about getting comfortable being uncomfortable on your runs, so skip the road and head to a track or soccer field for some sprints next time,” he says.
Best Running Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis Brooks Levitate 2 Running Shoes amazon.com $99.95 Best Running Shoes for Bunions Altra Torin 3.5 Running Shoes amazon.com $87.49 Best Running Shoes for Flat Feet ASICS GT-4000 Women’s Running Shoe amazon.com Best Lightweight Running Shoes Nike Epic React Flyknit Running Shoes amazon.com $124.99
TRY a Fartlek sprinting routine: Start out with a 5-minute jog. Then alternate between 10-second sprint intervals and 50-second moderately-paced jogs. Use that jog to catch your breath, then hit the next sprint hard. Perform these intervals for 15 minutes, then end with a 5-minute jog. When you start feeling stronger in your runs, try upping the sprint effort to 20 seconds with 40 seconds of jogging.
Corey JenkinsGetty Images
If the last time you held a jump rope was in grade school, it’s time to get back into the swing of things. This calorie-busting workout can burn up to 318 calories (for a 140-pound woman) every 30 minutes—and your heart isn’t the only muscle that’s working hard.
Jumping rope is a full-body workout. Fire up your quads and glutes to help you explode from the ground, and engage your core to keep you upright and stable as you land back down. Jumping rope also involves a little arm and shoulder action, as they remain tight while the rope movement comes from the wrists.
“Jumping rope offers athleticism, balance and coordination aspects that will not only help you lose weight, but also pump up your heart and lungs, and burn your shoulders and core in the best way possible,” says Ryan.
TRY this Crossrope routine: Start with 60 seconds of freestyle jump roping. You can jump with two feet, one foot, alternate, skip, or twist your hips. You can have some fun with this one. Next, put down your rope and do 30 seconds of mountain climbers. Return for 60 seconds of freestyle jump roping. End with 30 seconds in a plank. Rest for 2 minutes and repeat the cycle. Complete 3 rounds.
Strength training can help you build lean muscle mass and rev up your metabolism, which starts to slow down once you hit your 30s. “The more muscle you have, the less fat you have since your metabolism runs higher,” Ryan says. “A higher metabolism leads to more calories burned and more fat lost.”
Resistance training also helps prevent osteoporosis. According to Wolff’s law, bone grows in response to the forces that are placed upon it. So if you lift heavier, your bones grow stronger as a response. “It also works on force production to maintain shoulder, hip, and spine strength, which enables your whole body to lead to a healthier life long into your later years,” Ryan says. Deadlifts, anyone?
TRY a basic dumbbell circuit: Pick up one dumbbell and complete 10 squats, 10 dumbbell rows per arm, and 10 of any push-up variation of your choice. Move right into the next exercise as you finish the reps. Do 3 rounds. Rest for 1-2 minutes in between each round. To make it more challenging, increase the weight of the dumbbell or use two.
Tom WernerGetty Images
Kickboxing is a great way to burn calories, sculpt muscles, and get some serious stress relief! By driving power from your legs, your arms are able to throw major jabs, crosses, hooks and uppercuts, making it a full-body exercise. It will also test your coordination and endurance—all essential things that make you a better athlete in and out of the ring.
“Kickboxing works your core, legs, and specifically your obliques to newfound glory by pumping up your heart and lungs,” Ryan says. “But it also helps you work on balance, coordination, and proprioception. It truly is a mind meets muscle exercise if there ever was one.”
TRY five kicking combos from the DailyBurn: Take these combos and perform 8 reps of each as long as you can for 30 minutes. Rest as needed. Play your favorite fight music and stay strong!
Spinning, whether it’s on an actual bike or a stationary one, is one of the best ways to burn calories and build endurance. “Spinning is a great weight-loss activity that is relatively low impact and targets the biggest, strongest muscles in the body,” Ryan says. “When you engage your biggest muscles, you set off hormones to produce more muscles, similar to strength training, which helps to burn fat across your whole body,” he adds.
If you don’t like running, spinning is a low-impact alternative that’ll crank up your heart rate. But there’s more to pushing the pedal than speed. By practicing good form and engaging your core as well as your thighs and glutes, spinning can be a full-body workout. Whether you’re doing a heavy climb in first position or sprinting in second, your core is the key to spinning efficiently and quickly. And as you drive your foot down with each stroke, it’s all about squeezing your inner thighs.
TRY a spinning interval routine: Warm up on the bike for 10 minutes. Go as hard as you can for 30 seconds; pedal easy for 60 seconds. Repeat four times except after the fourth work interval, pedal easy for four minutes. Repeat the whole cycle three more times for a total of 37 minutes of exercise.
HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)
HIIT workouts are, by far, one of the most effective ways to burn calories and hike up your metabolism. The best part is, these workouts don’t have to last very long. Some HIIT workouts can last for only 10 minutes, but it’s only effective if you push your body to its limits with all-out energy. Research has shown that HIIT can help burn belly fat, a.k.a. the worst kind of fat that puts you at risk for heart disease and other health conditions.
Throughout, form is key. “Even though you are moving through movements at high intensities, you still need to make form paramount to avoid injury,” Ryan says. “Think less about the load/tension or weight intensity and focus more on completing the reps and sets in a sound manner and building load safely.”
TRY a 10-minute, total-body workout to rev up your metabolism.
If you haven’t used your gym’s rowing machine, you’re missing out on one of the best pieces of cardio and strength equipment. Working your quads, glutes, hamstrings, core, arms, and back, you get a total-body workout that’ll have you pouring sweat. Contrary to what most people think, the power of rowing mostly comes from your legs—not your arms. Engaging your quads and glutes, you drive your legs back to pull the handle toward your chest.
“Rowing is a great weight-loss tool because it incorporates the best out of the cardio and strength worlds, with a focus on pulling and opening up the hips and shoulders. At the same time, you’re working your heart and lungs,” Ryan says. Because many people have desk jobs, our backs tend to be rounded. Rowing helps correct this by opening your spine, hips, and shoulders, Ryan says.
TRY a 15-minute rowing routine: Start with a 5-minute warm up, rowing at a slow, consistent pace. Then move up to a moderate pace (about 22 strokes per minute) for 5 minutes. End the workout with a 5-minute cool down.
Don’t be fooled by the elliptical! It might look an easy machine, casually spinning your legs while watching TV or reading a magazine. But if you crank up the resistance and work at a hard pace, it’ll leave you breathless. “Riding the elliptical at an easy clip will not do much, but magic happens when the lungs start working and the blood starts pumping,” Ryan says. Be sure to stand up straight to lengthen your abs and engage your upper-body muscles. Making use of the handles and swinging your arms will help you blast more fat and calories.
TRY working out like Jennifer Aniston: As reported by Vogue in 2017, the Friends star likes to hit the elliptical for 20 or more minutes. She’ll raise the incline, then alternate between walking for 1 minute and running for 2 minutes.
No matter how fit you are, climbing up a flight of stairs is always a challenge. That’s because steps are designed to be short so that you have to engage additional muscles, like your glutes, quads, and calves, to bring your entire body up. “The StairMaster offers a great way to strengthen the glutes, quads, and hamstrings. Working the biggest, strongest muscles in the body keep your metabolic rate high, and your body strong and toned,” Ryan says.
TRY a HIIT StairMaster workout. In this interval circuit, you’ll work your way from a comfortable, moderate pace to an all-out effort.
Battle ropes are an excellent, no-fuss way to get a full-body strength training and cardio workout. Working at a high intensity, battle ropes will increase your heart rate in seconds.
“There is something extremely fun and satisfying about slamming heavy ropes repeatedly,” Ryan says. “It not only burns the lungs and muscles in the best way possible, but it also offers a sense of accomplishment by taking out anything that has been bothering you throughout the day.”
To use them properly: Hold one end of the rope with each hand and stand with your feet shoulder-distance apart. Bend your knees slightly and keep your chest up as you alternate whipping your arms to send waves down to the rope anchor. Experiment with different tempos and movement, whipping faster with one arm while slamming the rope hard with the other.
TRY this 15-minute routine: Start with making alternating waves with each arm. For the next 5 minutes, try to maintain these waves. Don’t worry about speed or intensity. Just try to endure. Try this for another 2 rounds. Rest 1 minute in between rounds.
Jacob Ammentorp LundGetty Images
Good news if you don’t enjoy the pounding effects of running on your body: Swimming is an excellent workout that combines cardio with strength training in one low-impact workout. Water adds an element of resistance, forcing you to recruit more muscles to move efficiently and use oxygen wisely. Need more motivation to hit the pool? “Simply being in water around 78 degrees for your workout helps to burn even more calories than on land because your body’s natural temperature is 98.6 degrees. It fights to keep itself warm in water by burning calories and fat,” Ryan says.
You’re also using your legs, arms, and core to help you stay afloat, making swimming a great total-body exercise for building strength and endurance.
TRY our swimming workouts for every level.
Stay updated on the latest science-backed health, fitness, and nutrition news by signing up for the Prevention.com newsletter here. For added fun, follow us on Instagram.
Tiffany Ayuda Tiffany Ayuda, a senior editor at Prevention and certified personal trainer through the American Council on Exercise, has specialized in fitness, health, and general wellness topics in her previously editorial roles at Life by Daily Burn, Everyday Health, and South Beach Diet.