All you need is 5 minutes and these five moves to boost your metabolism without weights

Three women doing jumping jacks
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

This five-minute standing workout without weights is precisely what we all need. Whether your day job involves sitting behind a desk (I can relate) or your busy schedule leaves you no time to exercise, this bodyweight workout only takes five minutes and five moves to boost your metabolism and mood and hit 1,000 steps in the process.

The routine belongs to Maeve Madden, whose simple way to reach 1k involves a five-minute HIIT workout that you can do standing up. It might seem a bit short, but trust me — you’ll sweat. The workout also helps you increase your step count and work major muscle groups — without a burpee, dumbbell, or resistance band in sight. 

You don’t need anything except for one of the best yoga mats for home workouts, and you could also ramp up your daily step count by a whopping 1,000 steps in just five minutes. Intrigued? So was I. Read on for the workout and some tips for upping the intensity. 

As a trainer, I occasionally forget that simple workouts can be the most effective — whatever or whoever you’re working with. And ‘simple’ doesn’t equate to ‘easy’ if your programming is good. It means getting the most out of what you have in front of you without overcomplicating it. 

Flicking through my Instagram, I found this gem sitting in my feed. No-nonsense — just five simple exercises performed for one minute each. You can complete one round for 5 minutes or increase the rounds if you want to. Madden has stripped back the fluffy Insta-worthy workouts leaving you with utter simplicity: jumping jacks, skipping, jab kicks, shuffle jabs, and sidestep knee pops. 

Check out the video below to view each exercise, ensuring you feel comfortable with your form before giving it a go. If you’re struggling to hit your step count and have a spare a few minutes, I highly recommend bookmarking this one. 

Maeve Madden’s workout: 1,000 steps in 5 minutes 

Maeve Madden

(Image credit:

Can you reach 1,000 steps in 5 minutes? Madden challenges you to try. The exercises used in this workout are accessible for beginners and can be scaled based on ability. If you want to make this harder, add a pair of the best adjustable dumbbells to increase the resistance for your arms and shoulders. 

The 5-minute standing workout increases your heart rate and keeps it elevated throughout, without any rest between exercises and using plenty of speedy footwork to hit 1k. However, it’s still low-impact. Just be sure to keep a soft bend in your knee and shift your weight onto the balls of your feet. 

But do 5-minute workouts work? According to research by the University of Utah, they do. The study found that “brief episodes” of physical activity throughout the day that “exceed a certain level of intensity” could positively impact weight. The study concluded that intensity mattered more than duration, meaning that short and brisk bouts of exercise during the day (which could equate to a brisk walk in some cases) could contribute to overall exercise activity and the benefits they carry. 

Moving little and often contributes to a process called NEAT (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis), which accounts for energy expenditure unrelated to sleeping, sport-like exercise, and eating. So if you’ve completed this workout and have a few more steps to find, taking the stairs or walking the dog could help increase calorie burn and boost your metabolism without a HIIT class or gym time.

If you have more time to spare, add the 5-minute workout as a warm-up or workout finisher to any strength training program like this full-body workout, recommended by our fitness editor. And pairing cardio workouts with the best stretches for tight hip flexors will help reduce your risk of developing an injury. 

Once you’ve finished, we love Chris Hemsworth’s breathing exercises to cool down, and let’s face it, anything Hemsworth, to be honest. 

Next up: These 5-minute finishers target every muscle group, and these are the best walking workouts to try.  

Sam Hopes
Senior Staff Writer - Fitness

Sam Hopes is a level III qualified fitness trainer, level II reiki practitioner, and senior fitness writer at Future PLC, the publisher of Tom's Guide. She is also about to undertake her Yoga For Athletes training course. Having trained to work with mind and body, Sam is a big advocate of using mindfulness techniques in sport and fitness, and their impact on performance. She’s also passionate about the fundamentals of training and building sustainable training methods.  When she's not writing up her experiences with the latest fitness tech and workouts, you’ll find her writing about nutrition, sleep, recovery, and wellness.