As a 12 year Personal Trainer living in the fast-paced city of London, I am often asked for advice by people who are struggling to lose weight or get into shape because they simply “do not have enough time” on their hands.
I’ll admit that I previously thought of this a poor excuse for neglecting our physical and mental health (if we can’t even give time to respect our body and mind, what else do we have?), but I am now starting to empathise due to my own busy schedule!
I’ve realised that doing 45 minute-1 hour+ workouts 3-5 times per week is simply not a viable option for the majority of people. In order to help alleviate this issue, I have designed a series of extremely short workouts which do not require much space, equipment or time, and could even be performed on a lunch break or in the comfort of your own home, before heading to work in the morning.
After a few run-throughs of each workout, you will eventually get to the stage when you can memorise them and even add your own progressions and variations. The options are endless!
If you perform 3-5 of these workouts every week, you'll enjoy benefits such as increased strength, improved cardiovascular health, and fat loss. And the best bit is – the quicker you complete them, the more calories and fat you burn, and the more free time you have!
If that’s not a ‘win-win’ situation then I don’t know what is!
30 on 30 Off!
Perform each of the following exercises for 30 seconds, with a 30-second break after each one, before moving on to the next exercise in the group.
Regressions/Variations: Perform a calf raise at the beginning of the exercise instead of a jump; step feet back in and out instead of jumping them.
Progressions: Lower down to the ground once in the straight arm position before coming back up to the start position. Do a larger jump or perform a pushup at the bottom of the exercise.
2. Sumo Squats
Regressions/Variations: Perform slower squats; normal stance squats.
Progressions: Perform squat jumps; faster dynamic reps; super slow or eccentric reps.
3. Wide Grip Push-ups
Regressions/Variations: Standard hand position pushups.
Progressions: Close grip pushups; faster dynamic reps; super slow or eccentric reps.
4. Forearm Plank
Regressions/Variations: Perform straight arm plank
Progressions: Plank Transitions/moving plank; plank in-and-outs (with either hands and/or feet).
Perform 3-5 complete cycles of the exercises, ensuring that you progress only when you are comfortable with the form.
Estimated time to complete: 12-20 minutes depending on a number of rounds performed.
Ladder to Heaven
Standard hips-width stance squats
Regressions/Variations: Sumo squat, narrow stance squat, Hands behind head (prisoner) squat
Progressions: Squat and calf raise, faster/more dynamic repetitions or slower eccentric reps, squat jumps
Pushups: Standard shoulders-width stance pushups
Regressions/variations: Perform pushups against a wall if you are struggling or pushups on your knees. Wide grip pushups, knuckle pushups
Progressions: Narrow width grip pushups, moving pushups, plank transitions/moving plank, dynamic pushups
Standard crunches focusing on the lowering (eccentric) phase. Pull from your navel and maintain a braced core throughout.
Regressions/variations: cross arms on chest, arms at shoulders height, boxing guard stance, start from 5 and work down to 1 or 3 down to 1 for example if you are not comfortable with the workout initially.
Progressions: Crunch and twist, use a kettlebell or any suitable item you have with you (approx weight 5kg+), perform crunch and press etc.
Race to 100
Perform 100 reps of a set exercise, resting as and when needed. Exercises like Squats or Sumo Squats (Wider stance than hips width) work very well. You can set a timer upon starting this workout and only stop it once you reach the target amount of repetitions. Record that time, and keep track of your progress/gauge your fitness by aiming to beat it next time.
Regressions: Perform a ‘Race to 50’ or ‘Race to 75’ for example to start with, until you are comfortable 100 repetitions
Progressions: Perform ‘Race to 125’ for example, or 2x ‘Race to 50’s’ such as pushups on knees and squats back to back. The options are endless! You could also add in more difficult exercises such as medicine ball squats etc, and aim to finish in a quicker time every time you perform to ensure consistency and progress.
Estimated time to complete: 5-10 minutes depending on exercise performed.
These workouts are extremely simple and do not require a large amount of time to complete, but the benefits from performing them can be huge!
I hope to see you at a lesson sometime in the near future.
Good luck on your health and fitness journey!
I am a Level 4Personal Trainer, Yoga Instructor, Nutrition Consultant, Pilates Instructor, and Wing Chun Kung Fu and Tai Chi Instructor, as well as being a Certified English Teacher, operating out of London, UK, and offering online lessons via cafetalk.
I have competed in many events over my 12-year+ journey into health and fitness, including placing in the top 10 in Ultra Marathons up to 100 miles long, as well as numerous obstacle races, Martial Arts and a Muay Thai kickboxing bout.