The Fat-Blasting 30-Minute Workout

bonne marcusGuest blogger: Bonne Marcus
A fitness industry expert for 27 years, Marcus holds numerous certifications from the Aerobic Fitness Association of America (AFAA), including Step, Spin, Bosu™, Pre/Post Natal, Youth Fitness, Aqua, and Personal Training. She has taught for New York City’s top health clubs, including Crunch, New York Health and Racquet, and Reebok Sports Club. A recognized name on Long Island, Bonne has taught at Dany Holdstein’s Two Worlds, North Shore Health Club, LA Fitness, Sport time, Equinox and currently teaches at the Sid Jacobsen JCC in Roslyn. Learn more at

woman running
Photo Credit: Andrew Rich/iStockPhoto

When wedding planning throws your workout schedule off, remember that some exercise is better than none. You’ll have less road to cover when you resume your regular fitness routine.

With a little planning, you can adapt your workout program. If you have to reduce the frequency of your workouts, try increasing the intensity. Make every minute count, and don’t be a slave to a particular piece of equipment — especially for your cardiovascular workout. One of the easiest workouts that can be performed indoors or out is walking or running. A good pair of shoes is a minimal investment with great returns.

If you prefer staying indoors and have access to a treadmill, try the following 30-minute high intensity, boredom-buster routine. Keep in mind; you want to stay in your target heart rate zone. The American College of Sports Medicine (ASCM) recommends training at 60 to 85 per cent of your maximum heart rate (MHR). To find your maximum, subtract your age from 220 (we all start here). Once you have determined you MHR, multiply this number by 60% and 85%. For example: a 30-year-old bride-to-be's MHR is 190, making her target heart rate 114 to 162 beats per minute. Calculate yours hereBeginners will want to stay toward the lower range, and advanced can work toward the higher range.

To determine whether you're working in your target heart rate zone, take a ten-second pulse: place two fingers by the carotid artery (found in the neck) or the arterial pulse found in the wrist. Multiply this number by six, and that will tell you if you are working in target heart rate zone. Or, consider purchasing a Polar heart rate monitor. This is a device connected with a strap worn just below the chest and measures the heart rate through a watch-like apparatus. 

The Workout

For minutes 1 to 4, warm up. Preparing the body for vigorous activity is important. Start your walk at 3.0 to 3.5 mph. (For the beginner, warm up at 2.5 to 3.0 and modify the rest of the settings in this routine as needed). Warming up the muscles and joints makes them more pliable and reduces the risk of injury or tear. Providing an increase of oxygenated blood to the legs will improve stamina.

For minutes 4 to 8, walking at 4.0 to 4.2 mph is a great lower body workout. This eases you into the zone, which helps when you are having a hard time getting motivated.

For minutes 8 to 12, add an incline of 2 or 3 percent. This is just enough to give you an awareness of your glutes (we’re here to work, aren’t we?)  

For minutes 12 to 16, increase the speed on your incline to about 4.5 to 4.8 mph for a higher intensity and a kick in the calorie burn. You should be sweating about now!  

For minutes 16 to 20, keep the speed and lose the incline for a little recovery. And get ready to turn it up a notch. 

For minutes 20 to 24, increase the speed to 5.3 to 5.8 mph. Those endorphins are being release, and the speed will put some distance between you and your stress.

For minutes 24 to 26, push your speed to 5.8 to 6.2 mph. The finish is just ahead, and we’re going for that runner’s high!

For minutes 26 to 30, cool down. Gradually lower the speed of your treadmill until you are at 3.0 mph. Continue walking for another 3 to 5 minutes to lower the heart rate and redirect the blood from pooling in the working muscles, which could lead to dizziness.

I love running, and there is nothing as satisfying as finishing. Don’t forget your post cool down stretch, emphasizing the hamstrings, glutes, quadriceps and calves. And pat yourself on the back for not only working out, but picking up the pace, too.

—Bonne Marcus