Do you dread your cardio days? If you're logging more than an hour on a treadmill, elliptical, or any gym machine every week, we don't blame you—unless you don't do anything about it! With these five cross-training plans, you'll torch up to 500 calories in just 30 minutes. NASM-certified personal trainer Taylor Ryan created each program to help you get fast results without spending hours in the gym each week. In fact, you don't need the gym at all! Whether you want to train at home, outside, in a hotel, or use the equipment at the gym, we've got a 500 calorie-blasting plan for you.
1. Zero to 10 in 30
Get ready to run off every little bulge! Ryan designed this high-intensity interval plan so that it's suitable for all fitness levels—but even the "beginner" plan is killer!
If you're sick of the treadmill, feel free to take this routine outside. In the absence of a digital speed control, Taylor recommends a “comfortable run” for the three-minute intervals and “uncomfortably fast/on the verge of a full out sprint” for the shorter sprints. Not a runner? Follow the same guidelines for a power walk and/or jogging intervals instead (note that overall calorie total may change).
2. StairMaster Slimmer
Can't get stoked about climbing a stairway to… nowhere? You're not alone. Shake things up and get faster results with this stair-stepping dumbbell plan. By adding weight to functional movements (you’ll mimic everyday activities like carrying grocery bags up the stairs), you'll work more muscles at once and increase your calorie burn.
Taylor recommends using a set of 3- to 8-pound dumbbells, depending on fitness level. If you ever feel like you might lose your balance, stay safe by setting the weights down on the console until you find your footing. Unless otherwise noted below, carry the dumbbells in a “grocery bag position," which means one in each hand as if holding onto two grocery bags, arms down by sides.
3. Quarter Pounder
This calorie-crushing circuit incorporates quarter-mile sprints (hence the name “quarter pounder”) in between bodyweight exercises to help your burn 500+ calories and tone your entire body at the same time. Plus, it’s guaranteed to beat boredom—you won’t have time to let your mind wander for a second! Prefer not to run? Hop on an indoor bike and pedal your sprints instead.
Cross chops: Hold a weighted ball or dumbbell with both hands in front of chest, arms extended, and stand with feet wide. Bend both knees and pivot feet to the left, lowering ball toward left shin. Immediately straighten legs, raise ball overhead, and pivot to the right. Do 8 reps, then switch sides (rotate in opposite direction).
Falling pushups: From a kneeling position, let yourself fall forward onto your hands. Slowly lower your body into a pushup and then return to kneeling up.
Figure-4 bridges on a chair or ball: Lie faceup with arms pressed into the floor, knees bent, heels on top of the ball. Cross right ankle on top of your left thigh, right knee out to the side. Press left heel down into the ball and raise hips as high as you can. Hold for 1 count and then slowly lower.
Floor jacks: Lie facedown on the floor or mat. Extend arms and legs into an 'X' shape and then do 'jumping jacks' in this position (no actual jumping involved).
4. All-Terrain Interval Ride
Stop spinning your wheels on that stationary bike and kick things up a notch with this all-terrain interval ride! Put the pedal to the metal and ride your way to the 500-calorie mark on mixed terrain.
5. Jump for Joy
Plyometric exercises are a sure fire way to torch fat fast. This routine combines some of the best jumping moves you can do for a killer cardio session. Do the full circuit below as quickly as possible (you may even finish in less than 30 minutes!) anytime, anywhere. It’s perfect for traveling!
Click here for a printable PDF of the Jump for Joy routine.
High knees: Run in place, bringing your knees up to your chest as high as you can, pumping your arms as quickly as you can.
Bodyweight squats: Stand with feet hip-width apart, hands behind head (or straight out from your shoulders if you prefer). Push hips back and bend knees to lower into a squat. Thighs should be parallel to the ground. Press back up to standing. That's one rep.
Pushups: Start in straight-arm plank position with hands slightly wider than and in line with shoulders. Brace core and squeeze glutes as you lower body until chest nearly touches the floor. Pause at the bottom, and then push back to the starting position as quickly as possible. That's one rep.
Alternating lunges: Stand tall with feet hip-width apart. Step forward with right foot, bending both knees so right knee is over ankle, left heel lifted. Step back to starting position and repeat with left leg to complete 1 rep.
Butt kicks: Stand tall with feet hip-width apart. Kick heels up towards your glutes, pumping arms back and forth as quickly as you can. Continue at a quick pace until you've completed 75 reps.
Mountain climbers: From a full plank position, alternate "running" knees into chest as quickly as you can. Keep core engaged the entire time, and push speed as much as possible without compromising form.
Leg raises: Get down on all fours with palms flat on the ground and shoulder-width apart. Without allowing back to rise or round, keep core engaged as you bend right knee and lift leg up until right thigh is parallel to the floor. Slowly lower back down to the starting position. That's one rep. Do 25 reps on right side and then repeat on the left.