FULL-BODY BLAST (20 minutes)
This high-intensity sculpting routine helps you get that permanent metabolism boost by building muscle, but it also keeps your real-time calorie burn on high—so you get the best of both worlds. Designed by Erica Miller, a personal trainer in Atlanta, Georgia, this workout hits all your major muscles at a rapid clip—you'll rest for just 20 seconds between sets.
How to do it
You'll need a 6-pound medicine ball and a flight of stairs. Warm-up for 5 minutes by walking up and down the stairs, then do circuit A twice followed by two sets of circuit B. Rest for 20 seconds between exercises and 60 seconds between circuits. Cool down by walking for 5 minutes.
Triple ball lunge (three-part move)
Works legs, butt, and abs
Do the following three moves back-to-back:
1. Walking lunges with twist:
Hold a medicine ball with both hands in front of you at chest height. Lunge forward with left leg, making sure left knee stays over left ankle. Keeping your back straight, twist torso and lower the ball to the outside of left hip [shown above]. Rise up to return to start and lunge forward with right leg and lower the ball to right side. Do 2 lunges on each leg.
2. Lunge pulse:
Hold the medicine ball overhead with both hands, arms straight, and lunge forward with left leg so left thigh is parallel to floor [shown below]. Rise up and lower again (don't step back to start). Do 4 pulses, then switch legs and repeat.
3. Mountain climbers:
Get into plank position, wrists aligned under shoulders (or place hands on the medicine ball). Bring your right knee toward your right arm [shown below], then, in a smooth motion, jump left knee up and right foot back to complete 1 rep. Do 4 reps.
Repeat this sequence 6 times without a break to complete 1 set, rest for 20 seconds, and then move on to the Shuffle and squat.
4. Shuffle and squat
Works legs and butt
Get in an athletic stance with feet shoulder-width apart (or wherever you feel most balanced), knees bent, torso angled slightly forward, and arms loose at your sides or in front of you. Shuffle to the right for 30 feet [A - shown below at left], then back to your starting position. Stand with feet hip-width apart and squat until thighs are parallel to the floor. Resting your hands on your hips, jump up [B - shown below at right], land softly, and return to a squat. Do 5 jumps.
Repeat entire move 6 times without resting to complete 1 set, rest for 20 seconds, and then continue to Squat-thrust and push-up.
5. Squat-thrust and push-up
Works butt, abs, and chest
Standing with feet hip-width apart, bend over and place your hands on the floor directly in front of your feet. Jump feet back to plank position, do a push-up [shown below]; lower onto your knees if necessary. Jump your feet back up to your hands and stand up to complete 1 rep. Do 10 reps.
6. Plank raise
Works abs, lower back, and glutes
Position yourself on the floor on your hands (directly under shoulders) and toes. Contract your abs so your body is strong and aligned from head to heels. Keeping your right leg straight, raise it off the floor a few inches [shown below]. Lower leg to tap your toes on floor, lift again, and repeat. Do 10 raises, then switch legs to complete set.
Works legs and butt
Standing in front of a flight of stairs, place your left foot on the first or second step so that your left knee is bent 90 degrees. Rise up onto step, then bend your left knee and touch your right foot down onto the floor briefly, straighten left leg again and repeat. Do 25 reps, then switch sides to complete set.
2. Stair runs
Works legs and butt
Run up and down a flight of stairs until you've climbed (and descended) 50 stairs total.
3. Quick feet
Works legs, and butt
Using just the first stair, step up with your right foot, up with your left, down with your right and down with your left as quickly as possible. Do 15 reps (up, up, down, down is 1 rep). (Switch lead leg each time you run through the circuit.)
4. Jump and push
Works legs, butt, chest, and abs
Standing in front of stairs, jump up and land softly with both feet on the first step. Jump back down, then rest hands shoulder-width apart on the first or second step, hop your feet back to get into plank position, and do a push-up. Jump back up to standing, and repeat sequence 10 times.
DOUBLE UP (45 minutes)
By now, you've probably figured out that simply chugging away on a cardio machine may not deliver the highest calorie burn during or after your session, but that's not to say cardio won't rev your metabolism. The key is the intensity, says David McGarry, fitness director of the Cooper Aerobics Center at Craig Ranch in McKinney, Texas, who created this routine. His plan requires that you sustain a high level of effort (RPE 7) for 15 minutes, recover, and then repeat it. Several studies have shown this effort level—hard, but not so difficult that you can't maintain it for 15 or 20 minutes—can significantly increase your afterburn. Another surefire way to rev things up: dividing high-intensity sessions into chunks—two 15-minute intervals, each done at different times of the day, instead of just one 30-minute workout—according to a study at the University of Kansas.
How to do it
Use the treadmill, elliptical, or group-cycling bike. Ease into the 15-minute intervals: By the end of 2 minutes, you should be at a level you can sustain for another 13. If you can't maintain RPE 7 for a full 15 minutes, aim for 10, then increase your time by a minute each week.
0-5:00 Warm up so you're at RPE 5 by minute 5
5:00-20:00 Push the intensity to RPE 7
20:00-25:00 Recover at RPE 5
25:00-40:00 Up the intensity again to RPE 7
40:00-45:00 Cool down