Can’t get yourself to the gym more than once a week? No biggie. We’ve got a killer cardio workout that will have you sweating off the pounds. And if you’d prefer to spread your calorie burn over the week, we’ve got you covered there, too: Pick our two-day or four-day plan and zap about 750 calories each week.
Try a 750+ calorie killer
Kick your own butt. Pick your fave cardio. Warm up for 5 minutes at level 4, where 1 is a stroll in the park and 10 is a 5K run against your ex’s new flame. Crank it to level 5 for 4 minutes. Then start booking! Go 4 minutes at level 6, then 4 minutes at 7, and keep jumping levels to hit a kick-it-out level 9. Once you’re there, lower the intensity every 4 minutes until you’re back at 5. Cool down for 4 minutes at level 3. Cap your workout with a 45-minute brisk “victory” walk. A toilet paper finish line, held up by your workout buds, is entirely optional.
Choose two 375+ calorie burners
Go really freakin’ fast. Pick the form of cardio that feels the least like torture: run, bike, swim. Warm up for 5 minutes at level 4, then sprint as fast as you possibly can—we’re talking a you-no-longer-look-cute level 10 here—for 20 seconds. Go easy for 10 seconds at level 4. Repeat for 20 minutes; cool down for 5 minutes. O-v-e-r!
Pop in a DVD. Get after it with 45 minutes of cardio in the privacy of your own home. We’re kind of obsessed with Breathless Body 2: The Edge by Amy Dixon ($20; AmyDixonFitness.com) and Nicole Nichols’s freebie workouts at SparkPeople.com.
Three is better than one. First, warm up for 5 minutes. Then run your fastest mile on the treadmill. Next, get on the stationary bike and pedal like a bicycle thief for 2 miles. Cover 3 miles on the elliptical as if your life depended on it. Compare times with #selfdietclub tweeps.
Have a dance party. Put on your apple-bottom jeans and boots with the fur and get low (low, low, low) with your girls in a club for a solid 80 minutes tonight. Not feeling it? Opt for baggy sweats and Reeboks with straps and shake it in a 45-minute dance class, like Zumba (Zumba.com) or Sh’bam (LesMills.com).
Choose four 175+ calorie sizzlers
Hill repeats Hop on side-by-side treadmills with your gym buddy. Warm up for 5 minutes at level 4. Level 1 is scrambling eggs; 10 is scrambling up a cliff. Then do speed intervals for 30 minutes: 2 minutes at level 6; 3 minutes at a booty-sculpting 8 incline while you book it at level 8. Repeat 5 times. Cool down for 5 minutes.
Hit the barre. We love barre classes that combine yoga, pilates and ballet to fry fat and shape sexy legs. No studio nearby? Do 40 minutes in your living room with a chair whenever (MyBarre3.com; $15 a month).
Hop on a new machine. If you want to seriously torch calories, here’s a big burn for your buck: the rower. We’re talking 8 calories per minute. This is what you do: Warm up for 5 minutes, going from ridiculously easy to a totally manageable level 4. Do intervals for 24 minutes: 2 minutes at level 9—if you can talk, you’re wasting your time!—then 2 minutes at level 4, your chance to catch your breath. Repeat 5 times. Cool down for 5 minutes at level 3. Worried about your form? Lean back a bit as you pull handles toward your abs, elbows down and slightly out.
Badass yoga Turn up the temp on your average om session with a hot yoga mash-up such as Ki Power Vinyasa (KiPowerVinyasa.com) in NYC—a SELF editor fave—a hybrid of Vinyasa yoga and martial arts. With the thermostat set around 90 degrees, your bod is transformed into a calorie-blasting furnace for the entire 60-minute sweatfest. Jump rope! For 14 minutes straight. That’s it. Done. You’ll incinerate about 13 calories per minute, or 182 total (if you go all out). Got mad jump-rope skills from your playground days? Brag to us @SELFmagazine.
Sign up for the SELF Diet Club to get the full free four-week eat right and exercise plan that will help you lose 8 pounds with pals. Plus, you’ll be entered for a chance to win some awesome prizes, including a dream beach vacation.