In today’s busy world, it all comes down to time. After ensuring you get enough sleep (which is super important for your health), do a good job at work, and spend time with family and friends, there is not always time for you. When your days and weekends are clogged with functions, heavy workloads, and social obligations, hitting the gym or going for a long run at the end of the day is at the bottom of the list and usually gets skipped. After missing a few weeks of working out, you’ll notice a difference both physically and mentally. According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise boosts energy, helps maintain weight, and helps you sleep deeper. Even on the busiest of days, it is not something you should let slide to the bottom of your to-do list.
On those crazy days, weeks, or months, every second of time should be used to it’s maximum capacity. That means those lazy lunch hours where you would peruse Facebook or hit up your favorite sushi restaurant can be used to squeeze in a 20- to 30-minute much-needed workout.
1. Quick cardio: 20 minutes
This easy workout is all about the cardio it takes to get your heart pumping. Tear yourself away from your computer, and lace up your running shoes. Your goal is to run for 20 minutes while covering as much distance as you can. This means a fast pace and as many miles as you can pack into 20 minutes. Try to increase your distance every time you do this workout to get maximum results. You can also do this with rowing if you have time to swing by the gym.
2. Full-body circuit: 20 minutes
Do the following six exercises with minimal rest between moves. When you’ve completed the full circuit, rest for two minutes. Repeat the circuit three to four times, or practice however many circuits you can complete in 20 minutes.
- 20 bodyweight squats: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, and place your hands behind your head. Flex your knees, and sit back with your hips. Sit down as far as you are able, and reverse the motion until you are standing again.
- 20 incline push-ups: Put your feet on a chair or couch, and perform 20 full push-ups to complete this set.
- 20 hip thrusts: Begin seated on the ground with a bench directly behind you. Roll the bar so that it is directly above your hips, and lean back against the bench so that your shoulder blades are near the top of it. Push your feet into the ground, and lift up your hips, pushing up the bar. Test out weight on this exercise to find a doable weight for you.
- 20 walking lunges: Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart with your hands on your hips. Step forward with one leg and bend that knee, dropping your hips. Lower until your rear knee nearly touches the ground, and then bring that back leg forward to standing. Perform this on the other leg. Do 10 reps on each leg for a total of 20.
- 20 standard push-ups: Go into plank position with your hands on the ground directly under your shoulders. Lower your body, keeping your back flat until your chest grazes the floor. Push back up to plank.
- 25 crunches: Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Place your hands behind your head so your thumbs are behind your ears. Lift up your chest and upper body as your feet remain planted on the ground.
3. Arm and shoulder workout: 20 minutes
Grab a pair of five- to 10-pound dumbbells, and get ready for this gut-busting workout from Men’s Health that elevates your heart rate and builds major muscle. For each exercise, you’ll work for 20 seconds and rest for 10. Then repeat that exercise for a total of four minutes. You’ll have one minute of rest before moving on to the second exercise.
- Split stance seesaw: With the weights in both hands, bring one leg three feet in front of you. Lift the weight in one hand with the other hand down, and then switch, performing this seesaw motion for 20 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds before repeating the exercise with the opposite leg in front. Do this for four minutes straight before resting for one minute.
- Split stance seesaw overhead press: Get into a deep squat, and lift both hands — with weights — over head. Bring one hand down by your shoulder, and then push back up and bring the opposite hand down. Perform this for 20 seconds, rest for 10, and then repeat the exercise with the opposite leg in front. Do this for four minutes straight before resting for one minute.
- Dumbbell discus: Hold one dumbbell in one hand, and perform the classic discus motion bringing the weight from behind you, around, and up toward the ceiling. Ensure your feet are wide apart. Do this for 20 seconds, rest for 10, and then switch sides. Do this for four minutes straight before resting for one minute.
- Dumbbell shoulder jack and shuffle press: Stand with your feet two feet apart with your weights in both hands. Squat down to a comfortable position (you don’t need to go too low), and then lift your hands straight out to the side. Bend at the elbows to bring the weights on either side of your chest, and then shoot them out straight in front of you. Then, bend at the elbows to bring the weights to either side of your chest, and then shoot your arms out straight on either side of the body. Perform this for 20 seconds, and rest for 10. Do this for four minutes straight.
4. Full bodyweight blast: Less than 30 minutes
This 28-minute workout from Gym Jones uses your body weight only, giving you the freedom to knock this out in a gym, empty conference room, or even your office if it comes down to that. Perform the first exercise for 30 seconds, and then rest for 30 seconds. That’s one set. Do four sets of the first exercise, and then rest for two minutes before moving on to the second exercise. Repeat the procedure until you’ve done all five exercises.
- Frog hop: Place your hands behind your head. Bend your knees slightly, and hop forward. Immediately hop again after your feet touch the ground.
- Split jump: Stand in a staggered stance with your feet two- to three-feet apart and your right foot in front of your left. Bend your legs, and lower your body into a lunge. Now jump with enough force to propel both feet off the floor. While you’re in the air, scissor-kick your legs so you land with your left leg forward. Repeat, alternating your forward leg.
- Burpee: Stand with your feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart. Lower your body into a squat until your palms rest on the floor about shoulder-width apart. Kick your legs backward to a push-up position. Perform a push-up, and then quickly reverse the movement and perform a jump as you stand up.
- Push-up: Get into push-up position. Keep your body perfectly straight as you bend your arms and lower yourself so your chest touches the ground. Push yourself back up.
- Hell squat: These are just like regular bodyweight squats, but you’ll spend the 30-second rest periods holding the bottom position of the squat. Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Push your hips back as of you’re about to sit in a chair, and lower your body until your hips are in line with your knees. Stand back up.