Time is of the essence in today’s modern world. We don’t all have 3 hours a day to exercise as much as we like, but that doesn’t mean you can’t exercise enough in that time to really make a difference.
Fitting 30 minutes of exercise into your day should be achievable for even the busiest of people, and when those workouts are burning 500 calories at a time, you’re onto a real winner! Stay tuned for 3 simple 500 calorie workouts you can fit into your lunch break.
Yes, it’s completely possible to burn 500 calories in 30 minutes
The key to burning 500 calories in a single 30-minute workout is working the largest muscles in your body. When you’re short on time, you have to get the best bang for your buck. So you won’t find any biceps curls or calf raises here. Instead, we’re focusing on your biggest muscles – back, chest and legs – to skyrocket your calorie burn.
All three of these ‘500 calorie workouts’ can be completed in 30 minutes or less. They require no equipment, and can be completed anywhere you have enough floor space to leap around and lie down.
Choose your workout, find an empty piece of floor, and let’s get moving!
Workout 1 – The 30-minute plyometric workout
Plyometric exercises are high intensity, explosive movements, often involving jumping, hopping and skipping. The constant explosive movements result in accelerated calorie burn, making for a great 30-minute workout.
The exercises involved
1. Jump lunges – Starting with your feet shoulder width apart, step forward, bending both knees until your back knee is just off the ground. From here, jump as high as you can and switch legs, landing in a lunge position.
2. Dynamic clapping push-ups – Starting in a full push up position (on your hands and toes) lower yourself down until your chest almost touches the ground, then push up explosively until your hands leave the ground. Clap your hands together if you’re able to do so safely, then return your hands to the ground, landing in the push-up position.
If you’re unable to do this on the ground, complete an incline push up by placing your hands on a chair or bench. As you get stronger, you should be able to progress to the floor.
3. Jumping jacks – Start with your feet together and your hands by your side. Jump and land with your feet shoulder width apart, while simultaneously lifting your arms above your head. Then jump and bring your feet back together, returning your hands to your side.
4. Snap jumps – From a full push up position (on your hands and toes), keeping your hands in place, jump forward. Your feet should land just behind your hands, so you end up in a tuck position. Then jump back to a full push up position.
5. Lateral jump squats – Starting with your feet shoulder-width apart, lower yourself into the squat position, then explode out of it and jump to your left. As you land, immediately lower yourself into the squat position again. Repeat, jumping back to the right.
Repeat x 5:
- Jump lunges x 40 sec / 20 sec rest
- Dynamic clapping push ups x 40 sec / 20 sec rest
- Jumping jacks x 40 sec / 20 sec rest
- Snap jumps x 40 sec / 20 sec rest
- Lateral jump squats x 40 sec / 1 minute rest
Note: Use an interval timer app for easy tracking of your interval sessions.
Workout 2 – The 30-minute shadow boxing workout
Boxing is a fantastic way to utilise your biggest upper body muscles without using gym equipment. In this 30 minute workout, we use shadow boxing (i.e. punching the air) to create a challenging and enjoyable upper body workout. If you have a boxing bag or a partner to hold some focus mitts, feel free to use them to level up this 500 calorie workout.
1. Lunge punches – Take a step forward and bend your knees until your back knee is just off the ground. As you step forward, punch once with your opposite hand. Complete the lunge by pushing through your front leg and return to a standing position. Repeat with the other leg.
2. Butt kicks – Run on the spot, lifting your heels high as you try to touch your buttocks with them.
3. Squat holds with punches – With your feet shoulder width apart, lower yourself into a squat until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Hold yourself in this position and punch in front of you, alternating arms.
4. High knees – Run on the spot, lifting your knees as high you can.
5. Seated punches – Sit on the floor as if you’re completing a sit up. Sit back to 45 degrees, contracting your abdominal muscles. Hold yourself in this position while you punch in front of you, alternating your arms.
Repeat x 5:
- Lunge punches x 40 sec / 20 sec rest
- Butt kicks x 40 sec / 20 sec rest
- Squat hold with punches x 40 sec / 20 sec rest
- High knees x 40 sec / 20 sec rest
- Seated punches x 40 sec / 1 minute rest
Workout 3 – The 500 in 500 Workout
This is easily one of my favourite 30-minute workouts, but it’s also one of the most challenging. You’ll complete 100 repetitions of 5 different bodyweight exercises or as many as possible within the 30-minute time limit. Ultimately, we’re aiming to complete 500 repetitions within this 500 calorie workout. No pressure then!
1. Squat – With your feet shoulder-width apart, lower your body like you’re sitting on a chair. Go as low as you can, then squeeze your glutes and push through your heels to stand up.
2. Push up – With your hands and feet shoulder-width apart, bend your elbows and lower your chest to the ground. Push against the floor, raising your body until your arms are straight again.
3. Static lunge – Take a large step forward, and bending both knees, lower your body until your back knee almost touches the ground. Keeping your feet still, push through both legs until both are straight. Repeat until the set is completed, then switch legs and repeat on the other side.
4. Sit up – Lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent at 90 degrees. Place your hands on your thighs. Contract your abdominal muscles and sit up, moving your hands up your things until your wrists reach your knees. Then lower your back to the ground.
5. Burpees – From a standing position, jump as high as you can while raising your hands above your head. Bend your knees as you land, and place your hands on the floor so you’re in a crouching position. Keeping your hands still, jump into a full pull up position. After a short pause, jump back, allowing your feet to land just behind your hands.
Complete 100 of the following exercises in any combination of sets and repetitions. I recommend 4 sets of 25 for each, but you can complete 5 sets of 20 or even 10 sets of 10 for each exercise. If you’re really brave, you can bust out 100 of each before moving on to the next exercise.
- Squat x 100
- Push Up x 100
- Static Lunge x 100
- Sit Up x 100
- Burpee x 100
Time to train
So there you have it! Three very different 500 calorie workouts which can be completed in 30 minutes or less.
Each of these workouts will be challenging, and you may not even be able to complete them to begin with. This is completely ok! Remember, health and fitness is a journey, so bookmark this page, come back to these workouts regularly and use them to measure your progress.
The only thing you shouldn’t do is wait. Start training today!
How did you get on with these? Let us know in the comments below!