Burn More Calories in Less Time
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Fitness

Burn More Calories in Less Time

Minis are in! "Shorter, harder workouts may actually be better for revving your metabolism than longer sessions," says trainer Jessica Smith, a co-author of The Thin in 10 Weight-Loss Plan. "You'll continue to burn calories at a higher rate long after you're done exercising." Here's how to maximize the minutes you think you don't have.

Split it up. Instead of a 40-minute slog, think of your daily cardio as four 10-minute sessions or two 20-minute workouts. "You net the benefits no matter when you get it done," Smith says.

Move before you make excuses. "Bang out a routine right after you wake up," Smith says. Set your alarm 20 minutes earlier than usual; not only will you not notice the missed sleep, but you'll also get an energy buzz from the exercise.

Push yourself. When your workout is short -- 20 minutes or less -- "going all out is much more doable, and that's what will really make your cardio count," Smith says.

The Plan: Got only 5 minutes?

Follow this do-anywhere Tabata routine from Jessica Smith. To make timing it a cinch, use the Tabata Pro app ($3, iTunes) or the pocket-size Gymboss ($20, gymboss.com) interval timer.

Untitled Document
Time
Activity
0:00-0:30 High knees
0:30-1:30

Squat jumps for 20 seconds; then march in place for 10 seconds. Repeat.

1:30-2:30 Mountain climbers for 20 seconds; then march in place for 10 seconds. Repeat.
2:30-3:30 Burpees for 20 seconds (squat, place palms on floor and jump feet back into full plank; do a push-up, then jump feet back in and jump up with arms overhead); then march in place for 10 seconds. Repeat.
3:30-4:30 Alternating jump lunges (lunge back with right leg and jump, switching legs to land in lunge with right foot forward) for 20 seconds; then march in place for 10 seconds. Repeat.
4:30-5:00 March in place.
The Plan: Got 10 minutes?

Do this kick-butt stair workout. "Compound moves that use your glutes -- the biggest muscle in your body -- burn more calories," Smith says. Complete the circuit twice.

Untitled Document
Time
Activity
0:00-1:00 Step-ups (Step up and down on bottom step of a staircase.)
1:00-2:00 Side-step squats (Stand with right side facing stairs, place right foot on bottom step and lower into squat; return to start. Do for 30 seconds; switch sides and repeat.)
2:00-3:00

Knee tucks (Facing stairs, place right foot on bottom step, right knee slightly bent. Lift left knee toward chest as you bend elbows by sides; lower to start. Do for 30 seconds; switch sides and repeat.)

3:00-4:00

Step hops (Facing stairs, place right foot on bottom step and jump up, extending arms overhead and lifting left knee toward chest. Return to start. Do for 30 seconds; switch sides and repeat.)

4:00-5:00 Liftoffs (Facing stairs with hands on hips, place right foot on bottom step; lunge back with left leg, then stand up on right leg, raising left leg behind you. Return to lunge. Do for 30 seconds; switch sides and repeat.)
The Plan: Got 20 minutes?

"This high-intensity walk-run session burns about 10 calories per minute," Smith says.

Untitled Document
Time
Activity
0:00-2:00 Walk at a slow-to-moderate pace.
2:00-5:00 Jog.
5:00-17:00 Sprint for 1 minute, then walk or jog for 2 minutes. Repeat combo 4 times total.
17:00-20:00

Walk at a slow-to-moderate pace.

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, November/December 2012.

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