3 workouts that burn more calories than a 5km run

Ready, set, sweat

August 20 2020

Raise your hand if your stress dreams involve the cross-country 5km you were forced to enter in year 9 which ended with you being the last of all your peers to cross the finish line (just me….?) My point: running sucks, no ifs or buts about it. Which is kinda annoying considering it’s one of the best cardio workouts out (in just 30mins, the average woman burns roughly 340 calories.)

It begs the question – what’s a girl on the quest to tone up without wanting to pound the pavement for hours on end to do?

Here, three experts have provided us with a few effective ways to work up a solid sweat. Added bonus: you don't necessarily need fancy equipment or an exxy gym membership.

The 60/45/20 method

"It's important to constantly confuse your muscles in order to effectively burn calories and keep your fitness level from hitting a plateau,” explains Daphnie Yang, an IISA Certified Personal Trainer. Because of this, she’s a huge fan of high-intensity interval training workouts (aka HIIT) which involve working at your max for short burst of time. "Training in this manner shocks your metabolism into high gear, torches calories, burns body fat, and sculpts lean muscle mass more effectively than running," she says, adding that she prefers doing descending interval training over tabata-style programs. 

"Tabata intervals—performing an exercise for 20 seconds and then recovering for 10 seconds for eight rounds—are fantastic for skyrocketing the heart rate, but I've found that 20 seconds isn't enough time to perform more complex and creative total-body movements," she continues. "You need more time to get in enough repetitions to get the heart rate up into that crazy-high zone. It's more challenging than Tabata training and lets you sculpt the entire body while melting away fat. Your metabolism will stay elevated for hours after you finish your workout."

Part 1.

  • 60 seconds of burpees
  • 10 seconds rest
  • 45 seconds of jump lunges with arm swing
  • 10 seconds rest
  • 30 seconds of mountain climbers
  • 10 seconds rest
  • Repeat for a total of three rounds

Or try this variation.

  • 60 seconds of burpees with tricep push-up
  • 10 seconds rest
  • 45 seconds of skater jumps
  • 10 seconds rest
  • 30 seconds of plank jacks
  • 10 seconds rest
  • Repeat for a total of three rounds

Calorie goal: 100 to 140 per eight-minute interval.

A full-body burner

"This workout is different from a run because instead of going at a steady pace and keeping your heart rate consistent for 30 minutes, you'll be working through different heart-rate zones," personal trainer Lauren Williams tells us. It includes strength work for the lower body, upper body, and core, and Williams "added some sprints in there, too, to get your heart rate up, work your legs, and torch calories."

Part 1.

Complete each exercise for 45 seconds each. Rest for 60 seconds, then repeat the sequence three times.

• Plank walks

• Squat jumps

• Sumo squat pulse

• Pushups

• 2 rounds of 10-second sprints

Part 2.

Complete each exercise for 45 seconds each. Rest for 60 seconds, then repeat the sequence three times.

• Mountain climber crossovers

• Side lunges

• Core toe touches

• Donkey kicks

• 3 rounds of 10-second sprints

Calorie goal: 350 to 450 calories (depending on weight, height and effort exerted.)

The interval workout

“A structured workout with higher intensity, like intervals with really hard 'on' segments, will get you fitter and will help you learn the different paces your body can work at," says John Honerkamp, a running coach and consultant for New York Road Runners.

Part 1.

5-minute easy warm-up jog

Part 2.

8 x 400m on a track, trail or road at 5K pace (if you're not sure what your 5K pace is, Honerkamp recommends aiming for a seven out of 10 on your personal rate of perceived effort scale.)

Part 3.

Rest for 30 seconds after each interval, then hold a 30-second plank after each odd interval round or do five to 10 push-ups after each even interval

Part 4.

Five to 10-minute cool-down jog at a leisurely pace.

Calorie goal: 350+ (depending on weight, height and effort exerted.)

RELATED: Kayla Itsines' 100-rep core challenge is a total killer

Related tags

health /

cardio /