Quick and Effective Workouts for People Short on Time!

January 2, 2013

Drop and Give me 20…Minutes!





“I am too busy to workout.”  We have all heard it.  We have all said it.  While these six words that escape our mouths can sometimes be true, chances are great that this little sentence is a lie…a big fat lie.  (Yes, I am talking to you!)


Long gone are the days where you need to commit an hour (or more) in front of your favorite soap opera swinging those elliptical handlebars or pounding away on the treadmill.  What if I told you that you can get an awesome, hardcore workout in under 20 minutes?  Seems hard to believe, huh?  Let me break it down to you.  Following both cardiovascular exercise and strength training, the body needs oxygen at a higher rate than before starting the workout.  This is known as excess post exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC).  During EPOC, the body is working to bringing you back to your pre-exercise state.  You know how it takes some time to stop sweating after a good workout?  Well, the body needs energy in order to do that.  The body also needs energy to bring your heart rate down as well as restoring the levels of circulatory hormones, which increased during exercise, to normal.


I know, I know.  You want me to get to the point about a 20 minute (or less!) workout.  High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) has been shown to have a greater effect on EPOC.  The harder you push your body, the harder your body will have to work in order to bring it back to its normal state.  HIIT training can involve treadmill sprints or my personal favorite: taking a few different exercises and pushing at my maximum effort.


You are now probably wondering how to do this.  I am going to tell you.  Grab a stop watch and pick 3-4 different exercises.  Beginners will start with 20 seconds of work and the intermediate group will start with no less than 30 seconds.  I want you to push yourselves to the max (make sure you are safe, of course!) until your resting time of 10-15 seconds.  Keep on repeating the moves until you have reached 20 minutes.


These short (but intense) workouts are supposed to be hard.  They are supposed to be uncomfortable.  If you are breathless and want to quit, you are doing it right!  Let’s do this!

The Author

Karen Bobos, MSed

Karen M. Bobos, MSed, has been in the fitness industry since 1996 and feels her highest accomplishments are those results achieved by her clients through her guidance. She educates clients that there is no trick to being healthy, no magic pills, but rather optimal health is achieved through eating right and moving your body.

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