The “I don’t have time” excuse is a perennial favourite of busy people everywhere, and for good reason. It works for almost every situation under the sun. Do you have a second to read this boring report? “I don’t have time.” Can you pick up Grandpa Joe from his colonoscopy? “I don’t have time.” Are you going to make it to my dog’s third birthday party? “I don’t have time.”
The one situation where this excuse doesn’t hold up? Your fitness routine. It doesn’t matter how insanely busy you are.If you have time to shower and shave in the morning, then you definitely have time to sneak in a quick workout.
Don’t believe us? Here are a few workouts you can do whether you only have 30 minutes, 20 minutes or a measly 10 minutes to spare.
If You Have 30 Minutes…
- Start Your Day with Full-Strength Circuits—Want to make the most of your spare 30 minutes? Start your morning off by doing a full-strength circuit training routine. Full-strength circuit training can help target a wide range of muscle groups, allowing you to blast fat in a relatively short amount of time. Start with a five-minute warmup, spend the next 20 minutes doing full-range exercises (pushups, squats, lunges, etc.) and save your remaining five minutes for a cool down session. Combine with a healthy diet and you’ll be toned and sculpted within a few short months.
- Bike to Work—What’s not to love about biking to work? Not only can you save tons of money on gas biking to work, you also get to sneak in exercise before the workday has officially begun. The only tricky part is managing to look polished after your commute. Honestly, it might just be easier to freshen up once you get there. Be sure to keep some deodorant handy and use a sea salt spray for men to boost hair volume after your helmet has smooshed it flat.
- Run with a Colleague at Lunchtime—Running is a low-cost exercise that any able-bodied human being can do. Why not ask one of your coworkers (preferably, one whom you don’t mind suffering alongside) to run with you? If there’s a park or a trail nearby, you can both sneak in some exercise while holding each other accountable. Plus, you’ll both get those sweet, sweet endorphins that will boost your mood and may even make your perpetually angry boss seem more tolerable. Bonus tip: If you’re going straight to happy hour after work, pack a travel cologne bottle and a spare change of clothes to help you freshen up a bit. No one wants to look like a total slob at 5 o’clock on a Friday.
If You Have 20 Minutes…
- Try a Daily AMRAP Workout—AMRAP-style workouts are a godsend for busy people. For anyone who doesn’t know, AMRAP is an acronym for “as many reps as possible” or “as many rounds as possible.” These workouts involve pushing yourself to see how many rounds or reps you can do in a set amount of time, helping you maximize calorie burning and muscle gains. Want to try them out for yourself? Start with “Cindy,” a classic AMRAP workout consisting of 5 pullups, 10 pushups and 15 squats per round. Set a timer for 20 minutes and we promise that you’ll be feeling it at work the next day.
- Go with the (Vinyasa) Flow—We all know about the vast health benefits of yoga. But if you only have 20 minutes to spare, you may want to look into Vinyasa flow yoga specifically. Unlike other types of yoga, Vinyasa yoga can be fast-paced and physically challenging. You basically go from one yoga pose to the next in a fluid sequence, connecting your body with your breathing. Best of all, Vinyasa flow yoga combines strength training and cardio into a single session, which helps you raise your metabolic rate to burn calories and fat more efficiently.
- Work Your Core with Pilates—Pilates is well-known for being an insanely good ab workout. We probably don’t need to tell you the importance of having a strong core, right? Unless you’re somehow aging backwards like Benjamin Button, a stronger core is essential to staving off old-age problems such as back and joint pain. Besides, there isn’t a single person on earth who doesn’t want enviable abs. Search for a mat-based Pilates workout on YouTube and get ready to feel the abdominal burn.
If You Have 10 Minutes or Less…
- Take Meetings on the Move—If your day is bogged down with what seems like a bazillion meetings, see if you can turn them into walking meetings. Taking your meetings on the go is a super-easy way to sneak some fitness into your day while reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease. Walking meetings can also help boost creative thinking and collaboration. Suggest it to the higher-ups and see what they think. If the CEOs at Google, Facebook and LinkedIn take their meetings on the move, it shouldn’t be too hard to convince your boss to follow suit.
- Try “Deskercises”—When you simply can’t break away from your office cubicle, that’s when you need to get a little creative with your physical fitness. Enter: “deskercise,” a (somewhat silly) portmanteau of “desk” and “exercise.” It’s exactly what it sounds like–doing exercises at your desk that are just subtle enough that they won’t make your coworkers raise their eyebrows. Think: tricep desk dips, desk push ups and standing calf raises you can do while taking a call or listening in on a conference call. Just remember to mute your line while you’re doing them. Don’t be that person who ruins a conference call with their heavy breathing.
- Do a 10-Minute Tabata Workout—If deskercises and walking meetings aren’t doing it for you, consider doing a 10-minute Tabata routine before work or during your lunch break. Tabata is a type of HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workout which involves going full-out for 20 seconds, followed by 10 seconds of rest with four minutes for each round. Though it may not take long, you’re sure to be a sweaty mess by the time your 10 minutes is up. If you’re doing this workout on your lunch break, just remember that deodorant is your friend.
Exercise doesn’t need to take place inside a traditional gym, and it certainly doesn’t need to be an hour-long ordeal. If you’re crunched for time, stick to high-intensity workouts that maximize your calorie burn and work your muscles in 30 minutes or less. And on days where you can’t break away from your cubicle at all, stick to simple desk exercises. Remember: Even the bare minimum is better than nothing!