Burn 300 Calories in 30 Minutes

Put Down the Magazine and Get to Work

Woman's Legs Running on Treadmill
Peter Cade/Getty Images

If you're trying to burn calories and lose weight using cardio machines, we have a challenge for you: Put down the magazine, turn off the television, take the towel off your display, and stop looking at your watch. Okay, you can keep the iPod or MP3 player, but everything else has to go. Why the drastic measures? If you aren't paying attention, you may not be working as hard as you think.

3 Cardio Workouts That Burn More Calories

There's nothing wrong with zoning out from time to time when you workout, but if you do that all the time, it's easy to slack off on your intensity.

The following workouts will help you pay attention to what you're doing, change the settings on your machine, and burn more calories.

Modify each workout according to your fitness level and feel free to increase or decrease speed, incline, and/or workout time to fit your needs.

For each workout, warm up with 5 to 10 minutes of light cardio and keep track of your perceived exertion or monitor your heart rate. Use this calorie calculator to determine how many calories you're burning. End with a cool down and stretch.


  • Start with incline at zero and speed at a pace just out of your comfort zone (walking or jogging). Perceived Exertion (PE)=Level 5
  • 1 Minute: Raise incline two percent every 15 seconds PE=5-6
  • 1 Minute: Reduce the incline one percent every fifteen seconds PE=6-7
  • 3 Minutes: Walk or jog at a moderate pace PE=5
  • Repeat entire cycle for 30 or more minutes
  • Approximate calories burned: 320 (based on 140 lb. person)

Elliptical Trainer

  • Using the manual program, enter workout time as 30 minutes and choose a level of resistance that takes you just out of your comfort zone (PE=5).
  • 6 Minutes: Increase ramps/resistance so that you're working harder PE=6
  • 2 Minutes: Increase resistance several increments every 30 seconds PE=7-8
  • 2 Minutes: Lower resistance to a comfortable level PE=5
  • 6 minutes: Set ramps/resistance to medium and go backward PE=5-6
  • Repeat entire cycle for remaining time to complete 30 minutes
  • Calories Burned: 250-300 (based on 140 lb. person)

Stationary Bike

  • Using the manual program, enter your workout time as 30 minutes and choose a resistance that's just out of your comfort zone
  • 5 Minutes: Cycle at a moderate pace PE=5
  • 2 Minutes: Raise your resistance two to three increments every 30 seconds PE=6-8
  • 2 Minutes: Lower your resistance two to three increments every 30 seconds PE=6-8
  • 1 Minute: Set resistance at a high level and cycle as fast as you can. PE=8-9
  • Repeat the entire cycle for 30 or more minutes
  • Calories Burned: 245 (based on 140 lb. person)

Hit the Road

Instead of spending 40 minutes inside a sweaty gym, head outside for a walk/run.

  • Warm up with a brisk walk/slow jog for 5 to 10 minutes
  • Jog/walk briskly for 3 minutes
  • Sprint or speed walk as fast as you can for 30 seconds or to something in the distance (a mailbox, a tree)
  • Repeat this cycle for 20 to 30 minutes, keeping PE between 5-9

You can also try this outdoor circuit to spice up your outdoor workouts and add even more intensity.

Changing your settings not only makes your workouts more interesting, it forces you to pay attention to what you're doing, how hard you're working, and how long each interval is. This not only keeps you from getting bored, it also helps burn more calories and increases your endurance very quickly. All you have to pay attention to is what you're doing in that short interval. The rest of the workout doesn't matter.

Use this technique with any cardio activity to keep things interesting.

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Article Sources
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