The weight-loss formula may still be somewhat elusive, but there's one thing we can all agree on — dropping pounds is largely about calories in and calories out. A good goal if you're looking to lose weight is to burn (or cut) 500 calories a day; do this for a week, and by the end you'll have burned a pound's worth (3,500) of calories.
When you're having trouble finding enough time to exercise, working off that many calories may seem daunting. Strapped for time? Here's a no-diet plan for burning 500 calories by the end of the day.
Morning: After a quick pre-workout snack, spend 20 minutes doing an exercise that will energize you for the day. Circuit workouts burn 208 calories in 20 minutes; follow along to our own back-to-basics 10-minute video workout (do it twice) for a quick total-body burn you can feel.
Total calories burned: 208
Afternoon: No matter how busy your day gets, your body — and mind — can use a break from your desk. Take just 20 minutes during lunch to briskly walk around outside while running errands or catching up on your phone calls; you'll not only burn 81 calories, but you'll also benefit from the fresh air.
Total calories burned: 299
Learn the rest of the workout plan after the break!
Couch time: Up your calorie burn for the day with a few minutes of jumping rope. Twelve minutes of jumping rope burns 132 calories; you can break it up into two-minute segments to do during commercial breaks during your favorite shows.
Total calories burned: 431
Before bed: As you wind down for the night, make sure you do a gentle stretching sequence that will get mind and body ready for bed. A Hatha yoga sequence burns about 78 calories in 25 minutes; this restorative yoga sequence is the perfect length to burn, tone, and relax at the end of your day.
Total calories burned: 509 (calculations based on a 130-pound woman)
For a week-long plan to burn 3,500 calories, check out our beginner's workout schedule.