Too Busy to Exercise? Try These Tips for a More Efficient Workout

Fitness Tips

Too Busy to Exercise? Try These Tips for a More Efficient Workout

We know you don’t have time to spare, so we’ll get right to the point: your workout game is suffering, and you’re not alone. In between ferrying kids to after-school activities, attending late night client meetings, and keeping up with friends and family, it’s a wonder any of us have time to eat dinner, not to mention hit up the gym.

When you’re seriously pressed for gym time, you need to make your workout work harder for you. Instead of skipping the gym, try one of these compact workout tips that can all be accomplished in less than 15 minutes.

Ditch the Gym

That’s right, you read that right: if you’re in a very tight time crunch, heading to the gym may not be your best bet. Packing your bag, changing, showering, and driving five miles? Who has time for all that? If your schedule has got you homebound tonight—or stuck in the office for a late-night push—here are a few desk-ready reps that will get your heart rate going and keep your arms, butt, and legs toned as well.

  • Lunges and squats: Love ‘em or hate ‘em, squats and lunges are two of the most basic building blocks in a highly-effective workout routine—and there are plenty of variations to keep you from getting bored. Plus, all you need is about five or six clear feet of space around you to move, so you can do them at your desk while you wait for your team to respond to your email.
  • Alternate high knees and butt kicks: When you’re chained to your desk, you can’t exactly sprint around the parking lot, but you can fit in a little cardio between meetings. Try high-intensity cardio-focused circuits, like energizing high knees and butt kicks. Put in some reps of these babies, and you’ll feel like you were pounding the pavement all night.
  • Desk pushups: Missing out on arm day? It’s definitely hard to feel the burn when you can’t get to the machines or free weights—but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Specifically, when you’re in your office, you can try desk pushups, a converted exercise that will work your arms and challenge your upper body strength.

Take that, looming project deadlines!

Boost Your Cardio Intensity

You may have heard that you need to spend 30 minutes to an hour doing cardio for optimal health—but when your schedule is really tight, an extra 30 minutes is everything. Luckily, some new research has shown that 15 minutes of high-intensity interval training may be even more effective than an hour spent dragging your feet on the treadmill.

High-intensity interval training (or HIIT, for the already-initiated) is a workout that alternates between periods of high-intensity activity and walking or rest. To start, trying sprinting for a minute, then follow it up with a two-minute walk. Do this for 15 minutes and you’ll have a super-efficient, highly effective workout in half the time.

Hit Multiple Muscle Groups in One Exercise

When you don’t have time for a full workout, you need to make your routine do double duty. Known to the fitness world as compound exercises, these workouts target several muscle groups in one to give you a well-rounded workout in a shorter timeframe. For instance, hit your shoulders, abs, and back with squat to overhead press moves. Or hammer your arms and legs with dumbbell rotational lunges.

In fact, a personal trainer can probably help you come up with any number of routines that will work your whole body at once. Just be sure to keep your knees from twisting or moving over your feet—and you’ll have a workout that will keep you in shape—without bloating your schedule!

Author Information

Katie Dobbs
Katie Dobbs's picture

Katie grew up under the Big Sky of Montana, but she has since moved to the beautiful city of Seattle. She is a self-proclaimed food connoisseur who loves playing in the great outdoors, traveling, and learning new things.

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