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, remove the towel from your dashboard, and stop looking at your watch. Okay, you can keep your earbuds in, 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, and it may also be harder to stay motivated. There's nothing wrong with zoning out from time to time during a workout, but if you do that all the time, it's easy to slack off on your intensity.

Paying close attention to your pace and intensity, on the other hand, can force you to focus on what you're doing, how hard you're working, and how long each interval lasts. This not only keeps you from getting bored, it also helps burn more calories and increases your endurance very quickly.

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

Cardio Workouts That Burn More Calories

The following workouts will help you pay attention to what you're doing by making you change the settings on your machine. And the intervals will burn more calories.

The speeds and inclines listed are only suggestions, so modify each workout according to your fitness level. Feel free to increase or decrease the 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 scale (RPE), which is how hard you feel you're working on a scale from one to 10, or monitor your heart rate. 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 (RPE)=Level 5

Treadmill Workout
Time Intensity/Pace/Incline RPE
1 minute Raise incline 2% every 15 seconds. 5–6
1 minute Reduce the incline 1% every 15 seconds. 6–7
3 minutes Walk or jog at a moderate pace. 5
  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).

Elliptical Trainer Workout
Time Intensity/Pace/Incline RPE
6 minutes Increase ramps/resistance so that you're working harder. 6
2 minutes Increase resistance several increments every 30 seconds. 7–8
2 minutes Lower resistance to a comfortable level. 5
6 minutes Set ramps/resistance to medium and go backward. 7–8
  Approximate 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.

Stationary Bike Workout
Time Intensity/Pace/Incline RPE
5 minutes Cycle at a moderate pace. 5
2 minutes Raise your resistance two to three increments every 30 seconds. 6–8
2 minutes Lower your resistance two to three increments every 30 seconds. 6–8
1 minute Set resistance at a high level and cycle as fast as you can. 9–10
  Approximate Calories Burned: 245 (based on 140 lb. person)  

Outdoor Walk/Run

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

Outdoor Walk/Run
Time Intensity/Pace RPE
5 to 10 minutes Warm up with a brisk walk/slow jog 5-9
3 minutes Jog/walk briskly 5-9
30 seconds Sprint or speed walk as fast as you can, or to something in the distance (a mailbox, a tree) 5-9
  Approximate Calories Burned: 250-320 (based on 140 lb. person)  

A Word From Verywell

Before beginning any exercise program, especially if you have any injuries, illnesses, or other conditions, it's import to talk to your doctor about any precautions you should be taking.

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