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Transform Your Body in 30 Minutes a Day

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The Plan

Time's not always on your side. That's why this ultra-efficient workout from Jari Love, creator of the best-selling "Ripped!" line of fitness DVDs, is one of our new favorites. It not only sculpts sexy abs, butt, and thighs in just 30 minutes, it blasts up to three times the calories of a typical routine, says Love, who lab-tested the workout. "Because you're working several muscle groups at once, your heart rate gets higher, so you burn more calories," she says. Do both the strength workout and the cardio circuit twice a week and in as little as 14 days you'll feel stronger. Who wouldn't want to make more time for that?

Your Weekly Get-Fit Workout

Pick the plan that best suits your fitness level and get set to sweat!



Beginner Intermediate Advanced
Monday Strength Strength Strength
Tuesday Off

Steady-paced cardio (30 to 45 minutes, moderate intensity)

Steady-paced cardio (45 to 60 minutes)

Wednesday Cardio circuit Cardio circuit Cardio circuit
Thursday Off Off Steady-paced cardio (45 to 60 minutes)
Friday Strength Strength Strength
Saturday Cardio circuit Cardio circuit Cardio circuit
Sunday Off Off Off




1. Stationary Lunge with L-Raise

Targets: Glutes, Thighs, Shoulders, Core

  • Holding 3- or 5-pound dumbbells at your sides, stand with right foot in front of left, about one stride's-length apart.
  • Bend knees 90 degrees while raising right arm to the front at shoulder height and left arm to the side, palms down.
  • Stand up, lower arms, and repeat; do 12 to 15 reps.
  • Switch sides and repeat. Do 1 to 3 sets per side.

Keep it easy: Do a squat instead of a lunge, and keep elbow bent 90 degrees for lateral (side) raise.

2. Crossover Squat and Pull-Back

Targets: Thighs, Calves, Glutes, Chest, Shoulders, Back

  • Stand about 2 feet away from a step bench, holding 3- or 5-pound dumbbells. Cross right leg over left and place right foot on top of step, pointing both feet forward.
  • Standing tall, bend elbows slightly and squeeze shoulder blades together.
  • Squat down, crossing arms in front of body. Stand up to return to starting position and repeat.
  • Do 15 reps. Rest for 30 seconds; switch sides and repeat. Do 1 to 3 sets per side.

Keep it easy: Do a regular squat without using the step.

3. Plank Knee In and Knee Out

Targets: Shoulders, Glutes, Core, Hips

  • Start in a full push-up position, abs tight.
  • Pull right knee toward chest; hold for 1 count.
  • Keeping right knee bent, rotate right leg out to side; hold for 1 count.
  • Extend leg back to starting position without lowering, and repeat; do 4 to 8 reps with right leg.
  • Rest for 30 seconds and repeat on left side. Do 1 to 3 sets per side.

Keep it easy: Remain in plank position without pulling knee in; hold for 30 to 60 seconds.

4. Lunge with Reverse Flye

Targets: Thighs, Glutes, Back

a. Stand holding 3- or 5-pound dumbbells with arms at sides, palms facing each other, elbows slightly bent. Lunge forward with left leg, bending left knee 90 degrees; lean 45 degrees forward from hips.

b. Maintaining this position, raise arms to shoulder height, keeping elbows slightly bent. Squeeze shoulder blades together, then lower weights. Do 15 reps. Rest 30 seconds; switch sides and repeat. Do 1 to 3 sets per side.

Keep it easy: Skip the lunge and do the flyes sitting on a bench or step.

5. Unilateral Push-Up

Targets: Chest, Shoulders, Triceps, Back, Core

a. Get into a full push-up position with left hand on top of a step and right hand on floor.

b. Bend elbows and lower chest toward floor; push back up. Cross right hand over left and place it on the bench, moving left hand to floor on opposite side. Do another push-up.

  • Do 12 to 15 reps, switching sides with each rep.
  • Rest for 30 to 60 seconds; do another set.

Keep it easy: Do the push-ups on your knees without the bench.

6. Curl and Stand

Targets: Abs, Shoulders, Thighs

a. Lie faceup on a step, holding a medium-weight dumbbell horizontally across your chest. Keep elbows close to body.

b. Curl up to sitting position, then stand all the way up, pressing dumbbell overhead. Sit back on bench and roll down to starting position.

  • Do 5 to 12 reps; 1 to 3 sets total.

Keep it easy: Begin by sitting on the edge of a step or chair, without a weight; stand up and raise hands overhead before returning to seated position.

7. Biceps Curl with Knee-Up

Targets: Biceps, Hips, Quads, Core

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding 5- or 8-pound dumbbells, elbows close to sides and palms up.
  • Pull in abs and bend right knee 90 degrees to hip level while curling weights toward shoulders.
  • Lower leg as you lower arms.
  • Do 15 reps, then switch legs. Do 1 to 3 sets per side.

Keep it easy: Do biceps curls without knee raises.

8. Superman Abs

Targets: Abs, Lower Back, Glutes

  • Get into a full push-up position with hands on floor and toes on a step.
  • Simultaneously lift left arm and right leg, keeping abs tight.
  • Switch sides and repeat.
  • Do 4 reps per side; 1 to 3 sets total.

Keep it easy: Begin on all fours on the floor and raise opposite arm and leg.

Cardio to Go

This high-energy cardio circuit uses good old-fashioned calisthenics to blast up to 300 calories in less than 30 minutes. Do each cardio drill for 30 to 60 seconds, marching or jogging in place for 1 minute to recover between moves. Complete the circuit twice through. You can do this workout after your strength routine or on alternating days, depending on your schedule.

1. Mountain Climbers

Place hands on step, arms straight, legs extended behind you on floor. Alternate "running" in place by switching legs forward and back.

2. Jumping Jack Knee-Ups

Alternate lifting your knees toward chest while doing jumping jacks.

3. Vertical Jumps

Jump as high as you can, bringing knees toward chest; land softly with knees slightly bent.

4. Scissors

Alternate switching left and right foot forward, as if on a cross-country ski machine; use your arms for added momentum.

5. Knee Lifts

Run in place, lifting knees as high as you can.

6. Squat Thrusts

Drop hands to floor and jump feet behind you; hop feet back to start and jump up; repeat.

7. Speed Skate

Take a big hop sideways to right, landing softly on right foot. Find your balance; hop to left.


Jari Love, Get Ripped! to the Core (66 minutes, $14.95); Get Ripped! Slim & Lean (65 minutes, $14.95) More workouts from Jari Love. One focuses on a stronger middle; the other emphasizes weight loss (

Tracey Mallett's The Method Cardio Bootcamp (45 minutes, $19.98) Instructor Mallett uses a mix of calisthenics and classic sculpting moves to shape every muscle group (

Tom Holland's Total Body Workout II (20 minutes; $14.95) This no-nonsense circuit routine from Holland, an Ironman triathlete and exercise physiologist, is quick but gets the job done (

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, August 2006.