Running out of time to get in a proper workout is a problem of the past. Now, all you need is an efficient and effective 15 minutes to get your heart rate up and metabolism moving.
The phrase, "exercise is better than nothing," is true—to an extent. The quality of movement is equally, if not more important, than just working out.
If you go out and perform 100 weighted squats and run 10 miles without any sort of warm-up then you're asking for an injury. A proper warm-up mixed in with effective and efficient work will do your body good.
Flipping through a magazine on the treadmill while you walk at 3 mph for 45 minutes isn't going to get you those 6-pack abs you crave. Instead of a 45-minute magazine reading session, you should do a quick and proper warm-up in, challenge yourself with 15 minutes of intense intervals, and then get out of the gym.
When you're crunched for time, challenge yourself with the following 15-minute workouts.
Just because these circuits are short in duration, doesn't mean you should do them everyday. Like everything else in life, your body needs balance. It needs to be pushed at times and then it needs time to relax, recover, and improve. Important factors such as your goals, injury background, and current fitness level aside, aim to complete these short, intense routines 2 to 3 times per week.
1. Tabata-Style Sprint Training Session
Perform this on a track or on a treadmill.
- Sprint for 20 seconds
- Walk for 10 seconds
- Repeat 8 times
Challenge: Add a round every week ... 9 rounds week 2, 10 rounds week 3 etc.
More: What is Tabata Training?
2. Tabata-Style Strength Training Session
Round 1: Perform 20 seconds of jump squats, rest for 10 seconds.
Round 2: Perform 20 seconds of push-ups, rest for 10 seconds.
Round 3: Perform 20 seconds of jump lunges, rest for 10 seconds.
Round 4: Perform 20 seconds of burpees, rest for 10 seconds.
Repeat rounds 1 through 4, eight times.
More: Tabata for Beginners
3. Bodyweight And Sprint Intervals
Step 1: Perform 10 reps of one upper-body and one lower-body exercise. (Example: pull-ups and squats)
Step 2: Right after your two exercises, sprint for 60 yards.
Step 3: Walk back to the start for your recovery.
Step 4: Repeat steps 1 through 3 for 10 to 12 total rounds.
4. Set A Timer For 15 Minutes
Set up a four-station circuit and complete this routine as many times as possible in 15 minutes.
Example 1 (With Weights)
Station 1 — Dynamic movement: 15 kettlebell swings
Station 2 — Upper-body exercise: 10 dumbbell overhead presses
Station 3 — Dynamic movement: 15 medicine ball slams
Station 4 — Lower-body exercise: 20 walking dumbbell lunges (10 per leg)
Example 2: (Bodyweight Moves)
Station 1 — Dynamic movement: 15 jump squats
Station 2 — Upper-body exercise: 15 push-ups
Station 3 — Dynamic movement: 15 burpees
Station 4 — Lower-body exercise: 15 bodyweight squats
Remember to always speak with your doctor before starting a new exercise program.
Stay in shape in a fitness class.