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Tight For Time? Make Your Minutes Count With These Anytime Workouts

Sure, you might be busy, but you can always find 15 minutes to exercise.

12/21/2017 09:12 EST | Updated 12/21/2017 09:12 EST
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Female Athlete Doing Planks

Too many of us — especially during the holidays — use the "I am too busy" mindset to justify falling off our fitness horse. "Being too busy" is the adult equivalent of the "dog ate my homework."

Sure, you might be busy, but you can always find 15 minutes to exercise. I know that you know this is not just "trainer speak" ... you can prioritize. You can carve out 15 minutes.

Remember, it is always easier to keep up than to catch up.

Your future "New Year's" self will not be happy if you let yourself fall completely off the wagon. Make daily motion non-negotiable by choosing the workout duration that fits your lifestyle and schedule.

Note: All cardio below can be done on any cardio machine, outside, or in a pool. You can even do the workout dancing around your living room or by doing old school aerobics moves.

If you have 15 minutes and want a cardio workout ...

Try what I call "three speeds." Warm up for three minutes. Cycle through the following for nine minutes: alternate between 30 seconds at regular speed, 20 seconds slightly faster, and 10 seconds fast. The intervals should get harder as you warm-up. Cool down gradually for three minutes.

If you have 15 minutes and you want a combo of strength and cardio ...

Warm-up for three minutes. Do two minutes of the above intervals (30 seconds at regular speed, 20 seconds slightly faster, and 10 seconds fast). Then do five minutes of "minute" training. Do one minute of a leg exercise (squats, lunges, etc), one minute of an upper body exercise (push-ups, dips, etc), one minute of a different lower body exercise (bridges, step-ups, etc), one minute of a different upper body exercise (bent-over rows, reverse flys), and 1 minute of core (plank, side plank, etc). Finish with five more minutes of cardio. The first two minutes are intervals. The final three are cool down.

If you have 20 minutes and want cardio ...

Try mini pick-ups. Warm up for five minutes. Alternate 15 seconds hard with 45 seconds moderate for 10 minutes. Cool down for five to eight minutes.

If you have 20 minutes and you want a combo of strength and cardio ...

Start with the above mini pick-up cardio workout for 10 minutes. Then do a 10-minute AMRAP (as many rounds as possible). Pick three or four exercises and do as many rounds through the exercises as you can within the 10-minute set. For example, try 12 each of squats, push-ups, bent over rows, and jumping jacks and cycle through them for 10 minutes.

If you have 30+ minutes and want cardio ...

Try pyramid intervals. Warm up for five minutes. Then cycle through the following sequence: 30 seconds hard, 30 seconds recovery, 60 seconds hard, 60 seconds recovery, 90 seconds hard, 90 seconds recovery. Repeat three to four times. Cool down for three minutes.

If you have 30+ minutes and you want a combo of strength and cardio ...

Combine all the styles mentioned. Start with a three-minute warm-up. Then cycle through five minutes of the easy pick-ups (15 seconds harder, 45 regular). Next, do five minutes of "minutes." Do one minute of a leg exercise (squats, lunges, etc), one minute of an upper body exercise (push-ups, dips, etc), one minute of a different lower body exercise (bridges, step-ups, etc), one minute of a different upper body exercise (bent-over rows, reverse flys), and one minute of core. Next, more cardio. Try five minutes of "three speeds" and one cycle through the pyramid interval. Finish with a 10-minute AMRAP and then a quick cool-down stretch.

Trainer's Tip: If you can work out early in the day, do it. Training first thing increases the likelihood that the workout gets done. Plus, "crushing the morning" sets you up to rock the rest of day. Life is all about setting yourself up for success. Often, a few wins in the morning will result in you winning the whole day.

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