30-day fat-burn challenge: lose fat and gain muscle with this workout

Our 30-day fat-burn challenge will help you build strength and improve your overall fitness

Woman doing 30-day fat-burn workout challenge
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The joy of this 30-day fat-burn challenge lies in its simplicity. Based on a set of six basic moves, the routine provides a great cardiovascular workout that helps you build muscle and improves your endurance. It’s an all-round winner, completely equipment-free, and a great way to kickstart your fitness journey. 

Regular cardiovascular exercise is a key part of maintaining your health. Seana Forbes (opens in new tab) at Freeletics (opens in new tab) explains: ‘It helps us burn calories and fat, increase bone density and improve energy levels while reducing stress and helping us to sleep better.’ 

Perhaps most importantly, it will also keep your heart healthy, which is why it’s good to incorporate it into your workout routine. Current government recommendations suggest that you should do at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobics, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity each week.

To make sure you’re hitting the sweet spot when it comes to fat burning, you’ll need to be working out at around 70% of your maximum heart rate. You can easily calculate this by subtracting your age from 220, so if you’re 35 your heart rate should be around 185bpm. Finding your pulse can be tricky though, which is why we recommend you pick up either a heart rate monitor or one of the best fitness trackers to do the job for you. 

Fat-burn challenge: 6 key cardio moves

These exercises target your whole body, burn fat and build muscle strength and endurance. Master them with the instructions below, and then use our 30-day workout routine to put them into action.

  • Lunges

Lunges

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Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Take a big step forward with your right leg, ensuring your weight is distributed evenly over both legs. Bend both knees to form right angles, and ensure your knee and ankle are in one line. Drive up using your front heel and repeat on the other side. 

  • Burpees

Burpees

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Stand with your feet slightly apart and your hands by your sides. Jump down to the floor in a squat position, kicking your feet back until you’re in a plank position. Perform a push-up (if you can), then go back to a squat position and jump up to standing, raising your arms with your hands above your head. Repeat.

  • Plank

Plank

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Support your body with your hands and the balls of your feet and form a straight line from your head to your feet. Elbows should be directly below your shoulders and feet shoulder-width apart. Engage your abs and hold for the allotted time. 

See how our writer got on when she attempted a plank every day for a month!

  • Mountain climbers

Mountain climbers

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Start in a plank position. One at a time, bring each leg forward towards your chest, then back to plank position, as fast as you can. Keep your hips stable and core engaged. 

  • Jumping jacks

Jumping jacks

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Stand with feet together, arms by your sides. Jump your feet at least shoulder-width apart, while simultaneously raising your hands up to the ceiling. Jump back to starting position and repeat. 

  • Squat jumps

Squat jumps

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Stand with your feet no wider than shoulder-width apart. Lower yourself into a squat, keeping your heels on the ground and directly below your knees. Once in a low squat, drive your hips forward and jump up, pushing your arms back for extra lift. Land softly back into a squat to repeat. 

Want to target a specific area?

30-day fat-burning workout plan

Ready to put those moves into action? Get going with your 30-day abs workout plan below! You can save the handy grid below to your device, or else bookmark this page for reference.

But before you put the moves above into action, a word of warning from Seana, who says: ‘Don’t sacrifice form for fat-burning, as this can lead to injury.’ Use a mirror to ensure you’re doing exercises correctly. 

She adds: ‘Cardio workouts can be strenuous, so ensure you’re refueling properly.’ Her go-to is humous and oatcakes – a perfect balance of carbs and protein. 

OK - let’s burn that fat!

30-day fat-burn challenge plan

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Day 1

5 x Lunges

5 x Jumping jacks

5 x Burpees

Day 2

6 x Lunges

6 x Jumping jacks

6 x Burpees

Day 3

7 x Lunges

7 x Jumping jacks

7 x Burpees

Day 4

8 x Lunges

8 x Jumping jacks

8 x Burpees

Day 5

REST DAY! Use a foam roller to do some recovery exercises. Check out our guide to the best foam rollers if you don’t already have one.

Day 6

9 x Lunges

9 x Jumping jacks

9 x Burpees

Day 7

10 x Lunges

10 x Jumping jacks

10 x Burpees

Day 8

11 x Lunges

11 x Jumping jacks

11 x Burpees

Day 9

12 x Lunges

12 x Jumping jacks

12 x Burpees

Day 10

REST DAY

Day 11

14 x Lunges

14 x Jumping jacks

14 x Burpees

Day 12

16 x Lunges

16 x Jumping jacks

16 x Burpees

Day 13

18 x Lunges

18 x Jumping jacks

18 x Burpees

Day 14

20 x Lunges

20 x Jumping jacks

20 x Burpees

Day 15

REST DAY

Day 16

5 x Mountain climbers

5 x Squat jumps

5 seconds x Plank

Day 17

6 x Mountain climbers

6 x Squat jumps

10 seconds x Plank 

Day 18

7 x Mountain climbers

7 x Squat jumps

15 seconds x Plank

Day 19

8 x Mountain climbers

8 x Squat jumps

20 seconds x Plank

Day 20

REST DAY

Day 21

9 x Mountain climbers

9 x Squat jumps

25 seconds x Plank

Day 22

10 x Mountain climbers

10 x Squat jumps

30 seconds x Plank

Day 23

11 x Mountain climbers

11 x Squat jumps

35 seconds x Plank

Day 24

12 x Mountain climbers

12 x Squat jumps

40 seconds x Plank

Day 25

REST DAY

Day 26

14 x Mountain climbers

14 x Squat jumps

45 seconds x Plank

Day 27

16 x Mountain climbers

16 x Squat jumps

50 seconds x Plank

Day 28

18 x Mountain climbers

18 x Squat jumps

55 seconds x Plank 

Day 29

20 x Mountain climbers

20 x Squat jumps

60 seconds x Plank 

Day 30

REST DAY

You’ve completed our 30-day fat-burn challenge - well done!

Liked this? More 30-day challenges:

Ruth Gaukrodger
Fitness Editor

Ruth Gaukrodger is the fitness editor at Future Plc. She covers everything from fitness trackers to dumbbells for sites like Live Science, Fit&Well and Tom's Guide. When she's not reviewing equipment in our dedicated testing centre, you'll find her racing round the streets of London in her favorite running shoes or working on her yoga skills from the comfort of her living room.


Originally a print journalist, Ruth worked across national newspapers and popular tech sites before coming to Future. She has worked as a commissioning editor across other Future titles too, including Space.com and Top Ten Reviews. Now focused solely on fitness topics, she hopes to demystify the world of exercise with honest, straightforward content.