The Total Body Fat-Burning Workout You Can Do In as Little as 10 Minutes
This fantastic article was written by Joshua Graham, CNP, FRCms, CF-L2, who is a fitness trainer, Holistic Nutritionist, and owner of Cocoon Health & Fitness. You can find out more about Cocoon Health by checking out their website and following them on Facebook and Instagram.
Best 10-minute morning workout routines to burn fat all day
Sometimes life can get in the way and it doesn’t give us the time we want to improve our health. Getting to the gym for 1 hour everyday is not always possible but if your health is truly a priority then you will make time for it. It doesn’t always need to be an hour-long session it can be a short, quick and intense 10-minute workout that will get your blood flowing, muscles working and heart racing. If you can’t find ten minutes, then ask yourself if your physical well-being is truly a priority and if it is then you will make the time.
The Benefits of Quick Workouts
If done correctly there are a lot of benefits to doing 10-minute workouts, improved body composition, increased energy, lower stress levels, improved V02 max and decreased risk of cardiovascular disease. These short workouts have the same benefits and some as doing long endurance training. Just because a workout is shorter doesn’t mean it will be less effective and that is good news because we can still find time to fit our workout whether we have 1 hour or 10 minutes to get after it.
Workout Tips for Fast and Effective Workouts
To ensure our 10-minute workout is improving our fitness and health there are a couple of rules we need to follow:
Rule #1: Warm-up
Before exercise, it is always a good idea to warm-up as it gets the blood flowing and starts to increase the temperature of our muscles which not only improves performance but also helps us to avoid injuries. Our warm-up is not included in the 10 mins, as that is dedicated to our actual work while this is a little more leisurely.
For your warm-up spend 3 minutes doing some light to medium aerobic activity like jogging, jumping jacks rowing, etc. You should feel warm and slightly out of breath by the end of this, one of my favorites are 100 jumping jacks.
Then we need to do some dynamic stretching to get our joints feeling good and improve our range of motion. Do 10 arm circles per way then 10 leg swings per leg. Avoid static stretching as this will lower your force generating capacity.
Then implement 5-20 light reps of 2-3 exercises to get the muscle really working.
5 push-ups (use a chair or counter if needed)
10 Air Squats
In total this will only take 5 minutes.
Rule #2: High Intensity
If we are only exercising for 10 minutes then we are going to need the intensity to be very high if we are going to get the results and benefits we are looking for. When it comes to an intensity I like to use a 1 to 10 scale with 1 being a walk through the park on a sunny day and 10 being sprinting away from a rabid lion trying to eat you. We want to be up near the 10 when we are doing our workout. Studies have shown that we will get much better results working at this higher intensity.
Working at this higher intensity will also help us to develop stronger mental strength and will power. When working at this intensity there will always be times when your mind say stop and quit but pushing through and persevering will help to develop grit that translates to the rest of our lives.
The great thing about intensity is that it is completely relative. My 10 intensity and your 10 intensity may look different to the outside viewer but it feels very similar to both us. The 10 intensity you put forward today will not be the 10 you are able to put out a month from now. Be proud of where you are today and put your best effort in.
Rule #4: Variety
This is the spice of life after all. If we do the same workout every week but keep the intensity up then we can see improvements because our capacity for intensity will increase as we go, but we will see much lower improvements then if we implemented variety.
When it comes to the variety we need to vary not only the time schemes (some examples are below) but also the exercise we put into our 10-minute workout. If we only ever do pushing exercise in our 10-minute workout then we are neglecting our back which is extremely important for not only shoulder health but our whole body. We should strive to vary up the exercises we integrate into our workouts not too much that we fail to progress but not too little that we develop imbalances.
When it comes to selecting different exercises for ourselves try to always pick the things you do not like or else we will never get better at them. For me, one of those things are burpees which I really do not like and that is why at least once a week I am doing burpees and now I despise them slightly less.
If you cannot do this or are having a hard time, hire a trainer in person or online to help program workouts that will improve everything and avoid developing imbalances.
Rule #5: Cool-down
I used to avoid cooldowns like the plague I would finish my last set, grab my water and be on my way home. This ended up with me being extremely inflexible and injured. A cool-down is grossly underestimated in its benefits to long-term health and well-being.
A cool-down will take between 5-10mins. During this time do 2 minutes of walking to help lower your heart rate and allow the blood to flow. Afterward spend the time stretching the muscles you worked today holding each pose for at least 1min, ideally 2 minutes. Set a timer or else you will think 15 seconds is a minute. You never realize how long a minute is until you start stretching. The stretching will help to increase the range of motion over time and help to avoid injuries.
Sample 10-Minute Workout Routines
For the workouts below do not forget to add in a warm-up and a cool-down. Grab a stopwatch to use or a phone timer works great too!
1 min spinning or running (9-10 intensity)
1 min spinning or walking (2-3 intensity)
2 rounds of
40s of Burpees
40s of Jumping Jacks
40s of Mountain Climbers
40s of Air Squat
40s of High Knees
Will be a 9-10 intensity at each exercise, work for the full 40s at each.
10min EMOM (every minute on the minute)
10 Kettlebell Swings
10 Kettlebell Goblet Lunges
Begin the 10 kettlebell swings when the clock starts, immediately afterward do 10 KB goblet lunges, rest for the remainder of that minute (ie. done in 40s, get 20s rest. Done in 50s get 10s rest). Begin the next set on the start of the next minute and repeat until complete.
If we want to be fit, healthy and feel good then we need to make time for it whether it is 10 minutes or an hour we need to be able to fit our life around it. If all we have is 10 minutes then we will maximize those ten minutes with high-intensity work to get the blood moving and our muscles working to drive positive change. Start with what you can do today and slowly make progress, do not get discouraged if you do not see instant results, the two factors that contribute most to change are consistency and effort. Be consistent every week with your exercise and nutrition, put your best effort in and the results will come.
Martin J Gibala, et al. Physiological and Health-Related Adaptations to Low-Volume Interval Training: Influences of nutrition and sex. Sports Medicine. 2014; 44(Suppl 2): 127-137.
Martin J Gibala, et al. Short-term sprint intervals versus traditional endurance training: similar intital adaptations in human skeletal muscle and exercise performance. Journal of Physiology. 2006 Sep 15; 575(Pt 3): 901-911
J Colin Boyd, et al. Reducing the intensity and volume of interval training diminishes cardiovascular adaptation but not mitochondrial biogenesis in overweight/obese men. PLOS One. 2013; 8(7): e680091