My Top 4 Fat-Blasting Cardio Workouts

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I hear it all the time: “I don’t have time to exercise!” And while I know we’re all sooooo busy, I also know that it is very possible to get a workout in no matter how busy you are! Today I’m sharing my top 4 fat-blasting cardio workouts—that can totally be done at home!!!—for those days when you really feel like you don’t have time to work out, or just don’t want to work out (been there, done that. A lot. 😉 ), so you can send those anti-transformation thoughts packing and get one step closer to achieving your goals—whatever they may be.

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First, let’s talk a bit about cardio. Yes, abs are made in the kitchen, but regular cardio—which we call Accelerators in our new Extreme Cycle—can literally accelerate your rate of fat burn in amazing ways. Want to achieve your transformation goals? Then healthy diet + regular cardio is the way to go! And regular cardio not only helps get and keep you fit and trim, but it will keep your heart healthy too. The American Heart Association recommends between 75 and 150 minutes of cardio exercise per week (depending on intensity), so any spare minutes you can get in during the day—even a few at a time—can really go a long way towards your transformation goals and a healthy heart!

And to get you even more excited about working out at home, check out these perks that you cannot get at the gym:

  • You can do a few minutes here and there as you have time. Those few minutes of burning calories will definitely add up!
  • You don’t have to travel anywhere = more saved minutes.
  • You can work out while watching TV or your favorite movie or your latest NetFlix binge.
  • If you’re not feeling comfy at the gym, you don’t have to worry about that at home.
  • If you have kiddos running around like I do, they can work out with you, around you, or you can easily take advantage of naptime. Bonus: You’ll be teaching your littles the importance of working out!
  • Working out at home can be a bit quieter than at the gym, which is kinda’ nice.
  • You don’t have to wait for the equipment. Ever. Or deal with all of those other gym annoyances. 😉

Now that you’re ready to work out, here are my 4 fave fat-blasting cardio workouts:

1. The Treadmill: A classic, but still one of my (and America’s!) favorite way to get cardio in.  Aside from the obvious uses, the treadmill can be especially helpful if you’re low impact, recovering from an injury, and/or a workout newbie. My favorite thing about treadmills is the vast number of workouts you can do on this machine is pretty much endless = no workout boredom! Here’s my fave treadmill workout:

Treadmill sprints (20 minutes total!):

  1. Put your treadmill at max incline (or an incline that will challenge you).
  2. Run as fast as you can for 30 seconds—all out!
  3. Jump (very, very carefully) onto the sides and rest for 90 seconds.
  4. Repeat x 10.
  5. Alternatives: If you can’t run, walk as fast as you can. Is 30 seconds a bit too much? Do what you can and slowly build up. No treadmill? Head outside, use your stairs, or run around your house! Seriously…this workout can be adjusted to any fitness level and any place!

*Average calories burned in 20 minutes: Between 150-200, depending on gender, body composition, and intensity.

2. ProForm Hybrid Trainer: This amazing two-machines-in-one is the newest addition to our home gym. It has all the perks I listed above, plus!

HP TrainerPro Bike

  • It’s affordable (again, two machines for the price of one!).
  • It’s super easy to put together, and it’s totally lightweight and movable.
  • It’s great for workouts during injury recovery.
  • It’s iFit compatible, which is super cool because you can literally work out anywhere in the world!
  • You can do sprints, intervals, work from beginner to all-out, adjust the settings to best fit you and your current fitness level—just like with the treadmill.
  • You can alternate between biking and ellipticalling in the same workout in seconds, which works different muscle groups (Yay!) and adds variety to your workouts.
  • And—I LOVE this—you can alternate between forward and backward on the elliptical. That adds a whole new level of awesomeness to your workout!

If you have an elliptical or bike at your house—or both, you’re good to go!

HP TrainerPro Elliptical

*Average calories burned doing elliptical + bike (20 minutes total): Between 200-250, depending on gender, body composition, and intensity.

3. Burpee Runs: These are seriously another one of my fave cardio workouts because you A. don’t need any equipment (although these are super treadmill-friendly), B. you can literally do them anywhere, and C. they’ll kick your butt—you’ll feel like you’ve really conquered something amazing when you’re done!

Here’s how you do Burpee Runs:

  1. Start with an 800-meter (1/2 mile) Burpee Run broken up into 200-meter segments.
  2. After a quick warm up, run 200 meters (equals halfway around a standard high school track), stop, hit the floor, and perform 10 burpees. Once you complete the burpees, hop back up, and continue running.
  3. Repeat 10 burpees every 200 meters until you’ve completed 800 meters.
  4. Doing your running on a treadmill? 200 meters roughly = 0.125 miles on the treadmill.
  5. Gradually continue to push your body over an extended period of time. When these Burpee Runs are doable, up your distance to 1,200 meters running with breaks of 20 burpees, and continue to add 200 meters to your total distance, continuing with breaks of 20 burpees.
  6. Alternatives: You can walk instead of run if you need to, or do a run/walk thing too.

*Average calories burned during Burpee Runs: 150-200 calories, depending on gender, body composition, and intensity.

4. Zumba: Love to dance? Even if you’re not a dance aficionado (take it from me!), Zumba is an incredible cardio exercise that’s not only super fun, but is actually a pretty intense workout.  I don’t know about you, but burning 500-600 calories in one class or in my own family room sounds a lot more appealing to me than running mile after mile to achieve the same result. Here’s what I love about Zumba:

  • You can burn some serious calories doing a 60-minute class or even just dancing around your house for a few minutes. YouTube or any of the amazing Zumba DVDs can be great options for an at-home Zumba sesh!
  • It’s super fun, and you don’t even realize you’re getting in an awesome workout while you’re having so much fun!
  • Anyone can dance, so Zumba is great for beginners to professionals.
  • Likewise, you can go at your own pace and at your own intensity.
  • You can include your littles in the fun and make some great memories while you’re working your bodies.
  • Since there are a limitless number of songs and dance moves that will work, Zumba = no workout boredom.

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*Average calories burned during a 60-minute Zumba class: 500-700, depending on gender, body composition and intensity.

And here’s some bonus cardio info for you: Workouts #1-3 follow the HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) method, which means that these workouts cause your metabolism to burn for hours even after you stop working out, so you’re burning more calories all. day. long., and you’ll have extra energy throughout your day too! Yes, please!

Which of these workouts are you going to try first? Do what we tell all our peeps to do—“Date” your cardio! And while trying something new can be a bit scary, if you don’t try something new, you’ll never know if that might be the work out you’ll love that will be a huge key to achieving your goals! One of our fave things to say is “Action conquers fear,” so try one of these workouts (or any workout), and if you don’t love it, move on to another one. Eventually you’ll find the one (or maybe even two or four) that you love to do, which makes working out way more excuse-free. And if you do find multiple forms of cardio that you love, mix them up during the week to keep workout boredom and muscle overuse at bay. Take my faves, put together your own faves, make up your own intervals, and go! Like I said before, even if you only have a few minutes to work out, something is way better than nothing. Even an “I promise to work out 5 minutes a day” promise to yourself can move you forward on your transformation path!

Xoxo,

Heidi

Related reading:

Commercial Break Workout: Total Body Blaster
All About Exercise
Exercise…It’s a Family Affair!
Transformation Tip | 5 Minutes to Fight Fat and Get Fit
Fit in 4 Minutes

*Note: Calories burned were based on a 150 lb female and a 200 lb male. Figure out your calories burned per workout here.


50 Comments

  1. george mikos - January 31, 2017

    I just purchased the proform hybrid pro & wanted information on what each of the pre-programmed workouts entailed so I contacted customer support & was told they didn’t have that information. Do you no who can provide it?

  2. Will - January 22, 2017

    Now I’m excited to get to the gym and do more minutes on the treadmill. It is important for me now to be fit and healthy.

  3. Paul Adams - November 11, 2016

    I only wish that I lived in the U.S and be one of your clients. You do wonders to them and show them they can do it, for life. Me, on the other hand is currently weigh 380lb and is completely on my own with regards to losing weight. As I am taking a steroid based medication, I am finding that no matter what I do to lose weight, I feel like I am a yo-yo. (weight going up and down all the time).

    When I get bored, I eat. When I get stressed, I eat. And its usually all the wrong foods. I know what to buy from the shops and I do buy all the best foods, but when it comes down to cooking it, all I can think of is what can I munch on more quickly. This is my main problem. It does’nt help when there is a McDonalds right outside your bedroom window (well across the road)

    As with excersise. I have a fully kitted out gym within walking distance from me, which I am a member. Everytime I go, my mind goes blank and I struggle doing the workouts I intended to do. I can walk for miles, (after when my hip stops hurting), cant run to save my life. I usually stick to the cardio machines as I know them better than any other piece of equipment.
    I was thinking of doing 20 mins on each of the bike, treadmill and the rower. Would this be enough? What do you recommend?

    In May 2017, I have a 96 mile charity walk to do and a 76 mile walk in September. I do not want to be 380lb when I start any of these. Please help.

    • Team Powell - November 11, 2016

      Hi Paul: Thank you for your post, and these are awesome goals! You can learn all about Chris and Heidi’s carb cycling program – the same program they use on the show – in this post: http://heidipowell.net/9060. And be sure and follow all the links within the post too. We also recommend you discuss any nutrition and exercise program with your healthcare team first and then follow any modifications they might recommend. You can do this!

  4. CHARLES V. SORRESE - August 25, 2016

    I have a question, do you guys do cardio on low or high carb days?

    • Team Powell - August 25, 2016

      Hi Charles: If you’re following any of Chris and Heidi’s carb cycles, then you do up to an hour of cardio 5-6 days a week. As for the plan Chris and Heidi are following, I’m not exactly sure how they pair their workouts with low and high carb days. Hope that helps!

  5. Lisa - July 22, 2016

    Hello Heidi! First time commenter, long-time reader. I have a question regarding the 30 second high intensity, 90 second chill treadmill workout. After the 90 seconds, how do I get back on the track without killing myself. Will it be going at a high speed? I’m not very coordinated.

    • Team Powell - July 23, 2016

      Hi Lisa: It can take some practice, so you might want to slow down the treadmill until you can get the hop off/hop on thing down. But no worries, you can do this!

  6. Cindy - July 20, 2016

    Hi Heidi

    As I finish phase 4 of extreme transformation, I find it is getting tougher and tougher to keep myself over 120 BPM HR. Do you suggest increasing cardiovascular weekly for phase 5 and up or is 60 minutes the upper limit ? I have another 30 – 40 lbs to lose.

    I do a brisk 30 min walk at lunch. I used to hit over 120 avg, but now I cannot. If I don’t hit 120, I make sure I get my 60 min at 120 + by getting on the treadmill ay a very high incline doing a
    Very fast walk after work.

    I love zumba, and do a full 60 minutes of that most days as I find it easy to hit my 120 + HR.

    I need to conquer my fear of running but have not been able to get past it yet. Outdoors, I can run for a while and walk a bit then run, but I don’t know if I can ever get to running a full 60min. I don’t think I can even run 2 min straight yet!

    I am also hesitant to run on the treadmill for some reason…I’m not sure if i should use it to run until I can’t then walk or what to do. I don’t feel that I have it in me to push myself that much.

    I guess my question is, if I am having trouble achieving my 120 + BPM for 60 minutes doing anything but zumba, does that mean the only thing I will have left is running? ….. I just can’t imagine myself doing 60 minutes of running a day….

    Would it be reasonable to find something like running but break up the intervals into 3 – 20 minute workouts? …. I am confused about the running thing.. so if I’m at 60 min of cardio, does that mean I need to do a full 60 min of running at 120 BPM, or is, say, a 60 min session of run/walk at 120 BPM ok? Sorry. This is coming from a running virgin lol. I see your contestants on TV run at 6 or 7 on the treadmill and I’m having trouble with 4!

    Can you offer me any advice to get past my mental wall of running, HR and cardio minutes? I feel like if i start to stress about running too much I will regress on my excercise.

    Thanks!!

    • Team Powell - July 21, 2016

      Hi Cindy: Try adding running into your routine a few minutes at a time, then increase the amount of time you’re running vs. walking. And you don’t even need to work up to running 60 minutes straight. You can do running/walking intervals for the 60 minutes, which actually can work better than straight running. Here’s a post on intervals that might help: http://heidipowell.net/1330. And no stress! Just work on moving your body the best you can, and a variety of cardio is awesome because it will work different muscle groups and decrease your chance of workout boredom. You can do this!

  7. Rashaan - June 20, 2016

    Rashaan
    My body is at a standstill right now 949 Wayne 180 coming from 2:15 I’m getting a lot of different information some people tell me don’t tone right now some people say tone right now just looking for a good workout / meal regiment
    Right now Itreadmill 30min elliptical 15min bike 30 min

  8. Jane - June 14, 2016

    Heidi,
    You are an inspiration to be so fit after having 4 children. I am newly prego with my second and looking for great workouts to keep feeling great while pregnant. Do you have a series of exercises you might suggest to help inspire other pregnant women to to stay fit in the journey of growing a new life and a changing body?

  9. Fancie - June 13, 2016

    Will u please contact me I need help I can’t find help I’m stuck in a wheelchair for the rest of my life

    • Team Powell - June 13, 2016

      Hi Fancie: You can learn all about Chris and Heidi’s carb cycling program in this post: http://heidipowell.net/9060. And be sure and follow all the links within the post too. I’d also suggest you discuss this with your healthcare team first and then follow any modifications they recommend, especially where exercise is concerned. Make that first promise to yourself, choose a cycle, move as directed by your healthcare team, and go! You can do this! 🙂

  10. sara - June 12, 2016

    Hi team powell. I was wondering is it possible to lose weight whilr building muscle and if so hoe many calories should i be talking a day. I weight 164lbs im 5″11

  11. Heidi - June 9, 2016

    Hi heidi I watch your show I’m 190 pounds I’m really unhappy with my body I’m getting in 35 minutes a day on my cross trainer but I’m only eating one meal a day I struggle with finding healthy meals to cook any advice plz I’m a big fan I think you and Chris are amazing people xxxx

    • Team Powell - June 9, 2016

      Hi Heidi: It sounds like you’re on the right track with your exercise, and here’s a link to the nutrition part of Chris and Heidi’s carb cycling program so you can also get your nutrition on track: http://heidipowell.net/2713. You can do this!

  12. Dani - May 25, 2016

    Quick question! I’m using your extreme transformation but also training for my first 1/2 marathon. I’m 5’8″ 173lbs, trying to lose the 23 lbs I gained In nursing school. is it ok to go above 1500 calories in my long run (9+ miles or ~2 hrs) or do I need to stay under the 1500 cal Mark. Is it also ok to use the gels that go hand in hand with long runs?I can’t always schedule my long run days on the reset day, which would seem like the best option, but I always make sure it’s on a high carb day. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for everything!!!

    • Team Powell - May 25, 2016

      Hi Dani: Welcome to carb cycling! Since what works can be different for each person, I’d try a long run day with the 1500 calories and see how it goes, and you can always add in more calories if 1500 is too few for those days. And be sure to stay hydrated throughout your week too.The gels are okay to use if you need to use them, just be sure and figure those into your daily totals. Good luck – what an awesome goal!

  13. Julie - May 23, 2016

    I have a question for the sprint cardio. Can I sprint everyday or should I take rest days?

    • Team Powell - May 23, 2016

      Hi Julie: It’s always good to have variety in your routine, so you might alternate sprint cardio days with other workouts that are a bit different and that will work other muscles.

  14. Tom Esquivel - May 19, 2016

    Tom E. – May 19th,2016
    I weigh 266 lbs, I’ve tried several programs, diet pills, changing eating habits. I’ll lose the weight ,but as quick as I lose it , I’ll gain it right back. I have a beautiful wife and three amazing kids under the age of 14. I wanna lose weight and keep it off so that I live to see them grow up and one day see my grandchildren. Your advice is greatly appreciated .

    • Team Powell - May 20, 2016

      Hi Tom: You can begin your own transformation journey today with the tools Chris and Heidi have provided for all of us to use to achieve our transformation goals, and you can learn about their carb cycling program in this post: http://heidipowell.net/9060. Be sure and follow all the links within this post too – make and keep that first promise to yourself, choose a cycle, and go! You can do this!

  15. Daisy - May 19, 2016

    Your show is very inspiring and I really try to do what’s best for my health but it’s not easy. I am watching the Extreme weightloss show now and I praise the work that Chris is doing. God bless him. I am currently 70lbs overweight after having another baby after 20 years. It’s really hard for me to maintain exercise. Zumba is something I love to do. I love dancing and grew up doing it. Until I started having kids and now I can’t even do some of the moves.

    • Team Powell - May 20, 2016

      Hi Daisy: You can begin your transformation journey today with the tools Chris and Heidi have provided in this post: http://heidipowell.net/9060. This post outlined their carb cycling program, and it works! You can do this!

  16. Stephanie - May 14, 2016

    I am watching Extreme Weight Loss right now. On this episode Chris tried to eat what the participant ate in 1 day. It was amazing to see how bad that type of food makes a person’s body feel. You and Chris are inspiring. I have gained between 25 and 30 pounds over the last 2 years and currently weigh in at 150 pounds. (I am in graduate school and broke my tibia and fibula almost 1 year ago.) I still have limited ROM in the ankle and suffer from daily pain and swelling in the ankle. Between work, school, my family, and our farm it has been a struggle for me to find time and energy to work out. My days typically begin around 4am since I arrive to work around 5:30 or 6:00 am. Do you have any eating and fitness tips for someone like me? I struggle the most in the evenings after I get home.

    • Team Powell - May 14, 2016

      Hi Stephanie: Thank you for watching the show! Here’s a post that outlines Chris and Heidi’s carb cycling program, and it’s the same program they use on the show: http://heidipowell.net/9060. And with your ankle issues, I’d discuss the exercise part of the program with your healthcare team first and then follow any modifications they might recommend. You can do this!

  17. Priyanka Nemade - May 12, 2016

    I really adore and am pushing myself to come into a space of managing my diet and exercise.. I want to lose 20 kgs.. Would you be able to shed some light on carb cycling menu for Indian food ? It would be helpful as Indian food won’t go out of our diet and I would rather have a lifestyle than follow a Diet and go off it .. As its not my food habit since childhood.
    Please let me know

    • Priyanka Nemade - May 12, 2016

      I meant Indian food is my food habit since childhood as I am Indian.. Please do let me know.

    • Team Powell - May 13, 2016

      Hi Priyanka: Here’s a link to the nutrition part of Chris and Heidi’s carb cycling program, which can be a program you can follow for life: http://heidipowell.net/2713. And please follow the links within the post, which can give you some basic ideas of foods you can eat on their plan. They also have extensive food lists in all of their books, and hopefully you can find lots of options for your meals. You can do this!

  18. Crystal Malloy - May 12, 2016

    I am 36 years old with a few medical issues that has made cardio very painful as well as most workouts. I continue to try and I fail. I fear that I will continue to spiral and end up unhealthy and frankly, fattier. I am 5ft2 122lbs. I am guessing I have about 28% bf.

    I would like to get to at least 18%-20% bf before 07/20. I have never felt comfortable in a dress and have never worn one, not even when I got married. This means a lot to me. There is someone very special to me and I would like to surprise them by wearing one on their bday.

    So any advice or workouts would be greatly appreciate. I am open to discussion in regards to diet/food changes

    I understand you’re busy..

    • Team Powell - May 12, 2016

      Hi Crystal: What an awesome goal! You can learn about Chris and Heidi’s carb cycling program in this post: http://heidipowell.net/9060. And I’d discuss the exercise part of their program with your healthcare team and then follow their recommendations for any modifications. They are the best ones to help you with this since they understand your exact issues and can work with you on a one-on-one basis. You can do this!

  19. Janesse - May 12, 2016

    Hello.
    I just finished watching obese a year to save my life. I just want to say what you guys do is so inspiring.
    I know in my heart I was born to be a personal trainer but I don’t really look the part. I’m not over weight but I don’t look like you, what does it take to look like you. I weigh 53kg and my body fat %is a bit higher than it should be.
    I really want to change peoples lives like you do, I love the feeling of helping someone build there confidence and take control of their lives but I have a long way to go with my own determination.
    Do you have any advice?
    Much appreciated
    I really want to make my dream come true to be an amazing trainer like you.

    Janesse

    • Team Powell - May 12, 2016

      Hi Janesse: You can get some great tips for gaining healthy weight (muscle) in this post: http://heidipowell.net/10540/ask-the-powells-gaining-healthy-weight/. And I know Heidi would tell you that all trainers don’t look alike, their body composition can be so different, just like each one of us is different. But what will set you apart is your passion to help your clients achieve their goals. You can do this!

  20. Jean - May 11, 2016

    Hey there,

    When will Team Powell do Daily Burn 365 Live here in NYC? Everyone else has come through to either lead the class, join the class, promote their book, healthy lifestyle, recipes, way to burn fat, lose lbs, etc. I want to see my dream team on the show! Let’s do this! 🙂

    • Team Powell - May 12, 2016

      Hi Jean: As of now, there aren’t any plans for Chris and Heidi to participate in this show, but keep an eye on their social media channels for any announcements.

  21. MARGARET mcbride - April 29, 2016

    Thank you to Chris and Heidi,you’re both amazing xx

  22. Brandy Gray - April 29, 2016

    Hey Heidi,
    I am a 40 year old mother of two teenagers and wife aof a 51 year old veteran. Over our 16 years of marriage he and I both have gained a LOT of weight! I have had a complete Hysterectomy and I take Thyroid medicine so my energy level and metabolism is very low to say the least. I need to lose at least 200 pounds and my husband needs to lose about 130. I know with proper diet and exercise we can do it but honestly we are bombarded with so many does and don’ts that contradict themselves that we get frustrated and don’t get past the plateau of our recent attempt. I have tried to find out how to sign up to be one of your success stories but have had no luck. Can you please tell me what steps we need to take to apply to have your assistance on getting healthy? We always put others first and we are ready and need to put our health first now. Thank you

    • Team Powell - April 29, 2016

      Hi Brandy: Casting for “Extreme Weight Loss” is currently closed, and Chris and Heidi would love to help everyone personally but they’re not taking on clients right now. But you both can begin your transformation journeys today with the same program Chris and Heidi use on the show, and you can learn about their carb cycling program here: http://heidipowell.net/9060. You both can do this!

  23. karvachauth - April 29, 2016

    i’m in my second pregnancy now (third trimester – 11 weeks to go!) and it helps to have motivation for the workouts which are getting harder and harder each time. i was able to lose the weight within 5 months after my first ONLY to get pregnant again. i have maintained a good weight gain and good nutrition resulting in a relatively uncomplicated pregnancy. as hard as it is to lose weight – i’d say it’s even harder to gain weight the right way.

    these tips are awesome for a busy mom. when we had some snowstorms during the winter, i put on a youtube workout video and spent 40-60 minutes working out in front of my daughter. she laughs at the movements and finds it entertaining. we have a playroom in our new house where i plan on working out with both daughters milling around. the burpee runs (minus the treadmill – i’ll probably run in place) are great. i also like the zumba workouts.

    i also walk up and down the stairwell at work and try to get my workouts in at the gym at work. many workplaces allow for workout time now, but people do not take advantage of this time – they need their lunch hour and make excuses about working out instead.

  24. E! - April 29, 2016

    Hello! Love this blog. I’m a girl, I keep loosing weight and I really don’t want to (5,4′, 119lbs) . I’m working out daily and wanna gain MUSCLES and get some rutines in with workouts and food. I’m still kinda new with all this and would need some tips.. Is there some help I can get from this blog? And If there is could you send me the link? xo

    • Team Powell - April 29, 2016

      Hi: Here’s a post that talks about how to gain healthy weight: http://heidipowell.net/10540, and here’s a booty building workout to get you started: http://heidipowell.net/10419. Since gaining healthy weight is a very individualized thing, we really don’t have a one-size-fits all program like with weight loss, so hopefully these posts, and other workout posts on this blog, will help you figure out what works best for you. You can do this!

  25. Whitney Peterson - April 28, 2016

    Thank you for these awesome tips! I am a stay at home mom with a 9 month old. I eat right, so I have lost my pregnancy weight but I need to get my body TONED…..it is FAR from it! I just love you and Chris! Keep being awesome! 🙂

  26. MARGARET mcbride - April 28, 2016

    hey you inspire me so much,im alot older than you Heidi and would love to be fitter any tips for when your body starts slowing with the aging process? xxx

    • Team Powell - April 28, 2016

      Hi Margaret: The same tips can work for pretty much anybody, even when your metabolism starts to slow down. That’s when good nutrition and regular workouts are even more important! Get some great tips in Chris and Heidi’s carb cycing program here: http://heidipowell.net/9060. You can do this!

  27. Mariette - April 28, 2016

    Thank you so much ? Ceci va beaucoup m’aider.

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