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Burn calories while you cook: An exercise routine you can do in your kitchen

By Michelle Rogers, CPT | January 24, 2019 | Healthy Lifestyle

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We’re all busy with work, family, and life. Sometimes we just have to fit in exercise when — and where — we can. Here’s a simple, quick cardio and strength circuit routine that works your full body. You can do it in your kitchen while dinner’s cooking.

No equipment is needed, and there’s no getting down on the floor. These exercises are suitable for beginners of any age.

So lace up your sneakers, put on your favorite upbeat tunes, and let’s get started!

Important note: Only move through the range of motion that feels right for your body. Always check with a qualified professional if you have any concerns about what exercises are appropriate for you.


Here’s how you can do it at home: March in place to the beat of the music, for 8 counts. Then step side to side (“step touch”) for 8 counts. Repeat, doing at least 3 sets.

Upper body and core strength

Kitchen counter push-ups. Stand arm’s length away from the counter. Keeping your back straight and belly pulled in, bend your arms and slowly lower your chest down to the counter and then slowly push up until your arms are straight. Beginners do 4-8 reps.

Here’s an alternate move, if push-ups aren’t for you: Grab a couple of cans and do bicep curls, 8 reps.

Lower body strength

Squats. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Keeping your chest lifted, bend your knees and squat down. Tighten your gluteus muscles (buttocks) as you rise up. Hold onto the counter or the back of a chair if needed. 8 reps.

Front lunges. Take a big step forward, striking with the heel first. Push up, returning to feet together. Then do with the other leg. Continue with alternating lunges. Hold onto the counter or chair if needed. 8 reps.

Rear leg raises. Hold onto the counter or chair if needed. Put your feet into a “T” position: One foot in back of the other, with the arch of your back foot touching the heel of your front foot.

Tighten your glutes as you lift your rear leg, keeping your knee slightly bent. Do 8 reps; repeat on the other leg.

Rest and repeat

Rest briefly, up to 2 minutes if needed.

Then repeat the circuit from the beginning, as many times as you would like:

1. March in place
2. Step touch
3. Push-ups
4. Squats
5. Front lunges
6. Leg raises

• Level 1: 3 rounds
• Level 2: 5 rounds
• Level 3: 7 rounds

If you have time for more, don’t be afraid to get creative. Add to the circuit, or substitute some of your own favorite exercises. Just keep moving!

For more on this topic, grab a copy of my free eBook, “6 Secrets to Winning at Exercise (Even if You’ve Always Failed!).