What is a calorie? It’s a unit of energy. As a trainer, I had to ponder the question of how does one burn 100 calories. There are many variables to consider when answering this question because one strategy does NOT fit all!

Those variables range from the weight of the individual, effort and ability to work hard and accomplish this task and mode of activity. A person’s weight comes into play as you consider it takes more calories expended to more a greater amount of mass. A person’s ability to work hard has a bearing on how quickly calories are burned; the fitter you become the harder you can work in a shorter period of time – thus accomplishing the goal of caloric expenditure in a time efficient way!

The exercise we choose to engage in also plays a role in caloric output. Typically and simplistically the harder you work the more calories we burn. Again this is relative to a person current level of fitness and their ability to tolerate exercise at an increased intensity.

With that being said, if you have 600 seconds (aka 10 minutes), you could run a mile…or get creative and try any of these fun ways to squeeze in a 100 calorie-torching workout. *Calories burned is based on a 135-lb. woman.

  1. Mix Stairs and Burpees
    If you’ve only got 10 minutes, keeping your heart rate up throughout is important. Intervals work better at blasting calories than steady-state exercise. One great quick interval workout requires nothing but a set of stairs: Run them at full speed, then do five burpees at the top, then run back down and repeat as many times as you can.
  2. Take a Spin
    One of our high-intensity Spin classes—complete with lots of standing up in your saddle and cranking the resistance up and down—will burn about 139 calories in 10 minutes. If there isn’t a class going on you can still hop on a bike in the fitness center, pick three fast-paced songs on your iPod and just go all out. And, if you’re outdoors with a real bike, 10 minutes of vigorous cycling (pedaling at 14 to 16 miles per hour) will burn about 100 calories.
  3. Pair Dumbbells and Plank Jacks
    If you only have 10 minutes to get in your workout, reach for a pair of dumbbells. Most women can handle 10 to 15 pounds in each hand and obviously men can handle heavier weights. Hold them at your shoulders and do seven squat presses—it should take you between 20 and 40 seconds. Then take the rest of that minute to rest and recover. Then switch to plank jacks: Start in plank position and jump your legs out wide, then back in—like you’re doing a horizontal jumping jack with your legs. Again, do seven reps, and spend the remainder of that minute resting. Repeat 10 times.
  4. Jump Rope
    There are few ways to get your heart rate up quickly (without moving far from the spot you start in) than jump roping. Even jumping at a moderate pace—where you break a light sweat and can carry on a conversation you will burn about 107 calories in 10 minutes; add in some fast-paced intervals to burn even more. And if you can’t jump for 10 minutes straight, go as hard as you can for 40 seconds and count how many jumps you can do, then rest for 20. Each minute, go again and try to top your previous count.”
  5. Step it Up
    Step aerobics have been around for a long while, but they’re still one of the best ways to burn a lot in a little time. Join our Step & Strength Class, choose a 10- to 12-inch step platform and you’ll burn about 107 calories in 10 minutes. Classes aren’t for you? Find a plyo box and create your own 10-minute workout. Warm up for three minutes by stepping up onto and down off the box, one foot at a time—quickly enough to break a sweat but not so quickly that you’re compromising form or safety. Then add in five explosive box jumps every minute, on the minute, to really get your heart rate up. Remember: It’s only 10 minutes; you can take a break afterward, not during!
  6. Throw Some Punches
    Kickboxing’s combo of strength training and constant movement blasts more than the punching bag: It burns away about 107 calories in just 10 minutes. For the best overall workout, try our Cardio Kickboxing class that emphasize cardio, rather than just boxing technique. (Want to burn even more? Add a 15-pound kettlebell to the mix. (Check out this kettlebell-kickboxing workout to burn 300 calories in just 22 minutes.)