Short Workouts, Big Gains: Making Fitness Work in Any Schedule

Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash


We all have time to work out. Believe it or not, just 10 to 20 minutes of exercise a few times a week can significantly impact your fitness. Yes, even those 12-minute sessions can burn fat, build muscle, and boost strength as part of a healthy lifestyle.

Think about it – we all find time to scroll through social media or watch TV. Reallocating just a fraction of this for a warm-up and a quick HIIT workout is doable for most of us, even on the busiest days.

However, sometimes the barrier isn’t time but the energy or motivation to start. Feeling too stressed or low-energy to exercise is common, and the idea of sweating and then needing a shower can be off-putting.

One misconception is thinking you need to hit the gym for 45 minutes for a workout to count. In reality, any form of movement is beneficial. If you can’t do your planned strength training, a fifteen-minute walk is infinitely better than doing nothing.

Incorporate Micro Workouts Throughout Your Day

When you’re too busy for a full workout, or just not feeling up to it, try adding ‘micro workouts’ or ‘exercise snacks’ into your day. These are small, manageable exercises you can do during breaks:

– 10 push-ups
– 15 bodyweight squats
– 5 pull-ups (use a doorway pull-up bar)
– A 10-15 minute walk

The idea is to keep these exercises low-intensity enough so they don’t feel daunting. You can adjust the number of reps and sets according to what feels manageable for you, with the aim to gradually build up over time.

Try Tabata Training

If you’ve got a few minutes to spare, Tabata workouts are incredibly efficient. These four-minute workouts are intense but offer the same aerobic benefits as much longer cardio sessions. Here’s a simple Tabata routine you can try:

Timer setting: 8 x :10 x :20 (Rest for ten seconds, then give all-out effort for twenty seconds)
Exercises: Rotate between burpees and high knees

Remember, it’s essential to warm up a bit before diving into a Tabata session, especially in colder weather.

Let Go of ‘All or Nothing’ Thinking

If life is hectic, or you’re feeling overwhelmed, the thought of a longer workout can be too much. It’s important to move away from an all-or-nothing mindset. Even small exercises like a set of push-ups or a short walk add up. These frequent, shorter activities throughout your day can provide many of the same benefits as longer workouts.

Remember, something is always better than nothing!

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