Only got 30 minutes to train? Many people face such time restrictions these days, but in training terms that’s fine – there is plenty that can be acheived! Over these two parts I am going to show you exactly how you can complete a great toning and calorie burning workout in only half an hour, whatever your fitness level!

If you’re pushed for time it’s got to be a combo type workout that involves CV and weights exercises, one that will keep you and your calorie burning on the move. Cross between short recovery circuit training and a combined CV and weight training session.

Thirty Minutes to Tone and Burn combines these training ingredients into a continuous, fast moving, controlled workout, using many exercises that have a duality of function, to really wring the most out of the limited time.


Some of you may question the inclusion of weight training into my workout, you might think that in the time available, you’d be better served by completing thirty minutes on a stepper or treadmill or similar piece of CV kit. But weight training will tone, shape and strengthen your muscles and improve your body’s calorie burning potential in a way that CV training just can’t.

For every 1kg of lean muscle you develop you can expect to burn an additional 100 Kcal a day – over a week that’s equivalent to an hour’s moderate paced running. That’s precisely why  weight training is key to this.

30 Minutes to Tone and Burn Workout

0-11 Minutes

The Warm-up

Don’t skimp on your warm up because time is short, just get more out of it. To do this lets turn a couple of traditional ideas on warming up on their head.

Part A. Strengthen, tone and get ready to exercise

Time to complete approximately: three minutes

Kcal expended approximately 20

We all tend to do CV work first and then stretch when we warm up, but it’s possible to elevate your core temperature and functionally prepare your muscles for exercise without using CV kit and in a way that will develop strength and tone at the same time. Here’s how…

Body weight exercise warm up

Warm up exercise

Key technique tips

Warm up affect

2 x 10 Double arm swings Swing your arms back and forwards to the front and to the back of your shouldersStand tall (10 forward, 10 back) Loosens shoulders
2 x 15 Standing squats Bend your knees to a 90 degree angle to lower your bodyMaintain a neutral spine position and look straight ahead Warms up and strengthens, upper thighs
30 Side bends Stand with feet shoulder width apart and your trunk up rightBend to the left, sliding your left hand down the outside of your thigh, then repeat to the right to complete one repetitionDon’t lean forward or backward Warms up and tones sides of trunk
30 Lunges Stand tall with your feet shoulder width apart, hands on hipsStep forward onto the flat of your right foot, being careful not to let the knee pass beyond your ankleLower your body and push back from the right leg to stand straight againRepeat to the left to complete one repetition Warms up and strengthens hips, upper and lower legs
2 x 20 Calf raises Stand with your feet shoulder width apartRaise your body into the air by extending your ankles. Warms up and strengthens calf muscles

Perform each exercise with control. Take 10 seconds recovery between sets or exercises where appropriate.

30 minutes to tone and burn pt1_2

Warm up Part B

Stretch actively

Time: approximately three minutes – elapsed time approximately six minutes

Kcal expended approximately 15       Running total 35

Active stretches are more relevant to subsequent dynamic exercise than passive stretching, this is because like running, stepping and weight training muscles are held and moved into position through your effort. Lifting an arm overhead and holding it there to stretch the shoulder is an example of an active stretch, whilst supporting it or pushing it back with the other arm is an example of a ‘normal’ warm up passive stretch.

Active stretches are ‘double function’ exercises because, as well as stretching muscles they also develop strength and muscle tone because of the need to hold the body part in place without assistance.

Active Stretch



Lying hip stretch Lie on your back with both legs out in front of youKeeping your back against the ground, lift one leg in toward your body, bending it at the kneeHold for 10 seconds and repeat to other side Hip, lower back, hamstrings
Double arm front shoulder raise Stand tall, Lift both your arms up and above your headPress them back and hold for10 seconds Shoulders
Lying hamstring stretch Assume the same start position as for the lying hip stretchLift your right leg off of the ground and raise it as high as you can, keeping the left leg pressed into the groundHold for 10 seconds and repeat with the left leg Hip, lower back, hamstrings
Rear shoulder double arm raise Stand tall and lift your arms to the rear of your shouldersPush them up and hold for 10 seconds Shoulders and upper back

Perform two stretches for each exercise.

Read More From WatchFit Expert John Shepherd.


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Pollyanna Hale Health and Lifestyle coaches
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