Do you dread your cardio? If you are spending over an hour a week on the treadmill (or elliptical or any gym cardio machine), it can get boring and time consuming. Here are 5 cross training plans that will have you burning up to 500 calories in just 30 minutes. Designed by NASM-certified personal trainer Taylor Ryan, these workouts will have you spending less time at the gym. Actually, you don't need the gym at all. You can train at home, outside, at the hotel when you're on the road or well, the gym. We've got a plan that will work for you.
1. Zero to 10 in 30
Get ready to run! This is a high intensity fitness plan suitable to all fitness levels. If jumping on the treadmill is boring to you, take this one outside. Without 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. If you aren't a runner, use the same guidelines for a power walk and/or jogging intervals. Just know that this may change your calorie burn total.
2. StairMaster Slimmer
Don't like climbing stairs that never lead anywhere? Try this stair stepping dumbbell plan. By adding weight to functional movements (it will mimic everyday activities like walking up the stairs with groceries), you'll work more muscles at once and increase your calorie burn. Taylor suggests using a set of 3-8 pound weights depending on your fitness level. 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 circuit incorporates a quarter mile sprints in between body weigh exercises. It will help you burn over 500 calories and tone your entire body. It will also help you lick your boredom because it won't give you enough time to even think about it. If you don't want to run, hop on the bike and do that for your sprints instead.
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).
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.
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
Tired of that straight up stationary bike ride? Mix it up with this all-terrain ride.
5. Jump for Joy
Plyometric exercises are great for torching fat quickly. Do the full circuit as quickly as possible. And you can do it anytime, anywhere. Perfect if you are on the road a lot.
: Run in place, bringing your knees up to your chest as high as you can, pumping your arms as quickly as you can.
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.
: 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.