This 20-Minute Workout Feels So Good, You’ll Almost Forget You’re Burning Calories

POPSUGAR Photography / Matthew Kelly / FreshSplash

If you’ve always thought of cardio as the more punishing part of your workout routine, it’s time to change your mindset. Compared to strength training, “cardio shouldn’t be as much of a demand on your muscles,” explained Le Sweat founder Charlee Atkins, CSCS, who created this workout as part of POPSUGAR’s 4-Week Workout Challenge.

In fact, when you do lower-intensity exercises – even at a higher number of reps – cardio can feel like recovery. “Your body should feel grateful for a cardio day to give you that flush of the system to get you ready for the next strength workout,” Atkins said. For this circuit, make sure to focus on your form. Not only will it help you more effectively burn calories, but it will also help prevent injury or muscle strain, which could disrupt your routine and derail your progress.

20-Minute, No-Equipment Cardio Workout

Directions: Complete each exercise for 40 seconds, followed by a 10-second recovery. You’ll do three rounds total with a one-minute rest in between rounds. This seven-minute warmup will help you maximize your effort on each exercise. When you’re finished, take some time to do some foam-rolling stretches to keep your muscles conditioned and help you recover faster.


  • Knee drivers
  • Jumping jacks
  • Reverse lunge to skip
  • Butt kicks
  • Lateral bounds
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