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Burn More Calories in Less Time

Minis are in!  Shorter, harder workouts may actually be better for revving your metabolism than longer sessions. "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..

Move before you make excuses.  Bang out a routine right after you wake up. 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.

The Plan: Got only 5 minutes?

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

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. Complete the circuit twice.

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.

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.

 

 

 

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