Small steps. Big impact.


Fitbit’s Spring Clean: Hack Your Gym Routine with This 30-Minute Workout


It’s time to hang up your winter coat! We’re sharing 12 healthy “hacks” from our experts to help jumpstart new spring routines. Today’s post is all about efficiency at the gym, from Barry’s Bootcamp SF instructor Erica Stenz. 

Erica Stenz 3-medium

Erica Stenz is a Barry’s Bootcamp San Francisco fitness instructor.

If you’re trying to maximize your workout time at the gym – you need a plan. It’s about making every minute count. In order to burn maximum calories in just 30 minutes, you need to create a high-intensity interval cardio- and strength-training workout.

Intense cardio sessions will burn through stored carbohydrates and fat, but it’s important to supplement that workout with strength training in order to create the “EPOC” effect (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption, informally called “afterburn”). That means that your body keeps burning calories post-workout due to excess oxygen consumption.

5 steps for an effective 30-minute workout

  1. Create a plan with “3-2-1” circuits – this includes 3 minutes of strength training, 2 minutes of high intensity cardio, and 1-minute of core/active recovery exercises (planks and side planks are my favorite to blast your abs). Each exercise in the circuits should be performed for 30 – 60 seconds. Your 30 seconds or so in between exercises will clock this workout in at almost exactly 30 minutes.

    Here’s a starter plan:

    Strength: Grab a set of dumbbells and perform bicep curls, overhead press and tricep extensions.

    Cardio: Alternate short intervals of jumping jacks and mountain climbers.

    Core/Active Recovery: 30 seconds of crunches and 30 seconds of bicycles

  2. Choose functional, explosive, dynamic exercises with plyometrics (e.g. jumps, burpees, mountain climbers) that you can perform in your 75-85% target heart rate range.

    For example, 3 minutes of strength training could include:

    30 seconds of single-arm bicep curls

    30 seconds of overhead press

    30 seconds of tricep extensions

    Make sure to repeat each one-arm exercise with the other arm.

  3. Use lighter weights (<20lbs for men and <10lbs for women) so that you can keep performing at a high level of intensity with explosive movements vs. lowering your heart rate and slowing down each exercise with heavier weights.  This will improve transition times and prevent injury.

    Example exercises include: burpees, mountain climbers, sumo jump squats, and alternating lunge jumps

  4. Core/active recovery time does not mean time to rest. Keep your heart rate elevated in the 60-70% target zone for the last minute of each circuit.

  5. Don’t forget – try to bring a friend, coworker or anyone who can motivate you through each circuit in order to maximize your time.  If no friend is available, take a high-intensity interval training class at your nearest Barry’s Bootcamp and we’ll plan it for you!

8 Responses leave one →
  1. March 27, 2014

    Love the tips. I’m always looking for new workout ideas. And getting it done fast (30 minutes or less) works for me. Thanks for the ideas.

  2. JoAnn permalink
    March 28, 2014

    Nice write-up of an interval workout, but no mention that all of the exercises mentioned can also be done at home.

  3. March 28, 2014

    Love this succinct and easy to follow advice. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Bonnie permalink
    March 28, 2014

    That’s my girl!! Best fitness instructor you’ll ever have!

  5. Arron permalink
    April 22, 2014

    Barry’s Bootcamp, this link is broken. fix it please.

  6. Fil permalink
    May 22, 2014

    I am a beginner and in my 50’s Barry’s bootcamp is a little extreme…other suggestions

  7. christine permalink
    February 2, 2015

    any ideas for people like me who have fibromyalgia? I mean to start
    lifting weights? I Have been in a store and tried to lift 5 lbs. dumbells
    and they seem pretty heavy. I was hoping that they would have
    2 lbs bells but no. I get tired of looking at my upper arms that have wings
    you know the old woman look. I don’t feel 65. well let me think about
    that again ya some days I feel 65 and other times I look 65. LOL
    I know there are a few fibromites out there. add something to this and give me some

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