3 Easy Workouts for Busy People
As a personal trainer, one of the most common issues my clients approach me with is a lack of time. Let’s face it. We’ve got a lot going on, but it’s still possible to get in an effective workout in a short period of time with the proper planning and a little bit of know-how.
Before we take a look at three sample workouts you can squeeze into even the busiest of schedules, some ground rules must be established.
First, make sure you spend a little bit of time warming up before diving right in. This can be as simple as marching in place for a couple of minutes to get the synovial fluid flowing and the heart rate up. Secondly, take the time to do static stretching at the end of your workout. This will improve your range of motion and recovery time. Finally, never jump into a workout if you’re unsure of proper technique. Not only will complacency in improper form create bad habits in your overall fitness regimen, but it simultaneously depletes efficiency and targets the wrong muscle groups, a recipe for failure in reaching your goals.
The Ultimate Quickie: 4-Minute Tabata
Why spend hours doing steady-state cardio when you can increase the intensity and reap the same benefits more quickly? As a high intensity interval training instructor, I implement various forms of HIIT in my classes, and Tabata is a fan favorite.
Pick eight cardio exercises.
Here is a sample:
- Jump Squats
- Mountain Climbers
- High Knees
- Tuck Jumps
- Jumping Jacks
- Plank Jacks
- Skater Lunges
If you are using a piece of cardio equipment like a treadmill or bike, these exercises can be replaced with all-out intensity sprints. This can also be a great option if you just have some sneakers and like to run outdoors.
Set a timer for 20 seconds, and give the exercise your 100% effort during that short amount of time.
Rest or walk for 10 seconds.
Perform all eight exercises for a four-minute workout scientifically proven to increase endurance, boost metabolism, and kickstart your day.
Pro Tip: Do Tabata HIIT early in the morning to regulate your circadian rhythm to promote great sleep at the right time.
10-Minute AMRAP for Strength Day
Strength training is sometimes overlooked, but it’s beneficial for men and women alike. Aside from building strong muscles, it’s critical in maintaining bone density and helps you burn more calories throughout the day, not just during exercise. When you do an AMRAP (as many reps as possible) training session, you can conquer an intense strength workout in a fraction of the time.
If your goal is to bulk, using equipment pushes the muscles to create tiny microtears that ultimately build back stronger, and we’ve created a thorough strength training equipment shopping guide here at FitRated to ensure you find the best fit for your goals. However, let’s take a look at a sample bodyweight AMRAP session to get you started.
Pick six exercises focusing on different muscle groups.
Depending on your goals and focus for the day, you have a lot of liberty. Here is a sample to get you started:
- Wide-Stance Squats
- Right Lateral Leg Raises
- Left Lateral Leg Raises
Set a 10-minute timer.
Complete as many repetitions of each exercise to failure until time’s up with minimal breaks between exercises. Circle through the entire list as many times as possible.
Pro Tip: Do strength training in the early evening hours to tap into the body’s optimal hormonal condition for muscle gain.
20-Minute for the Multitasker
Don’t have time to do strength and cardio on separate days? Combining high-volume cardio with strength training can help you keep cortisol levels low and endurance high. Since you’ll be doing both strength and cardio the same day, you’ll need to set aside a little bit more time, but it’s a one-and-done approach that can save time in the long run.
Pick 10 cardio and 10 strength exercises.
Depending on your access to equipment, your goals, and other variables, there are endless possibilities. Here’s an example for someone using bodyweight only.
- Skater Hops
- High Knees
- Butt Kickers
- Alternating Side Kicks
- Run in Place
- Frog Jumps
- Plank Jacks
- Front Kick, Back Kick (alternating legs)
- Switch Legs
- Glute Bridge
- Up and Down Planks
- Fire Hydrants
- Tricep Pushups
- Right Leg Lift Pulses
- Left Leg Lift Pulses
- Bicycle Crunches
- Donkey Kicks
Perform each exercise for 45 seconds with a 15 second break between each. Take a water break after 10 exercises.
You can decide whether to intersperse cardio and strength exercises or do them in two rounds separated by your water break.
Pro Tip: If your goal is building muscle, concurrent training isn’t advised. You can still achieve your goals on a tight schedule, but you’ll experience best results keeping your cardio and strength days separate.