Cleaning the bathroom.
Washing the car.
Does your to-do list seem never-ending? With so many tasks to complete, you may feel guilty carving away 60 minutes for a gym workout a few times per week. As your list gets longer, it may lead you to give up on your fitness plans.
There is no reason you need to spend 60 minutes in the gym to get results. You don't even need to spend 30. You can be in and out in 20 minutes or less with the help of these three time-efficient but results-driven mini workouts.
The trick to super-short workouts is to structure them so that you work the main muscle groups, burn calories fast while boosting your metabolism, and get great cardiovascular benefits on top of that. Everything is covered and you can rest easy knowing you're doing all that's possible to guarantee your success.
One important factor to remember as you strive to excel with your fitness program is that diet accounts for most of your results. Not that exercise isn't important—it is—but if your primary goal is to lose weight or build muscle, much of the "magic" that happens takes place outside the gym with your nutrition.
For example, if you want to lose weight and need to create a 500-calorie deficit per day, it's much easier just to remove the cream in your coffee, swap your peanut butter toast for some egg whites, and have a cup of broccoli rather than rice with dinner. Those changes will achieve your goal much faster than cranking it out on the treadmill for an hour.
When you remove the need to create the calorie deficit with exercise, suddenly it's far more possible to fit exercise into your day. Besides, when you do shorter sessions, you can raise the intensity, which also lends to great calorie-burning effects. The difference now is that your workouts will boost your metabolism for hours to come, so the bulk of your calorie burning actually takes place after your workout. In other words, don't worry that these sessions won't help you burn calories and lose fat. They will, but you just won't be relying on that since you'll be taking care of your diet.
Before each of these workouts, make sure that you do a thorough warm-up. Even though you're in a rush, you should never skimp on this as it's one of the best ways to prevent injury. Take 5 minutes and get your body ready to go.
Mini Workout 1: The Heavy-Hitter Compound Routine
If you want a full-body workout that will build strength, enhance performance, and help you get leaner all at once, this is the routine for you. To save time, you alternate upper-body movements with lower-body movements. So half your body gets to rest while the other half is working.
Because you are still focusing on heavy lifting, you will need some rest time, but you'll find that you don't need as much as you would if you were doing straight sets. Alternate exercises in the supersets noted below, taking 30-45 seconds to rest after each movement. Once all the sets in the superset are completed, rest 90 seconds and then move on to the next superset.
This routine is perfect for those involved in powerlifting, functional training, or who just want to know how strong they can get.
Mini Workout 2: Upper-Body Pump Blaster
If your main mission in the gym is to gain size, you'll want to check out this workout. Some people believe that getting a good pump is only for looks, but the fact is, it can also help you grow.
While the pump will disappear sometime after you leave the gym, when you feel it while exercising, that means more blood, nutrients, and oxygen are rushing to the muscles, boosting endurance and ensuring that you push through as many reps as possible.
Be sure to use a pre-workout supplement containing L-citrulline, agmatine, or betaine, all of which will help to enhance the pumps you achieve.
Perform each set as indicated below, resting for just 60 seconds between exercises and 30 seconds between supersets.
Mini Workout 3: Explosive Enhancer
If you want to increase your explosiveness, this workout will deliver. It's designed to help you maximize your power output, so it's a great workout if you participate in any sports or just want to improve your fitness.
While having a lot of strength is good, power is even better. Sadly, many aren't training for power and so that benefit is lost on them.
Because explosive-based training is so demanding, it's important that the workouts are short but intense, which lends perfectly to what you're trying to accomplish. The rest times are a bit longer during this workout as you'll want to be fully recovered to emphasize the explosiveness going into each set. If these exercises are too easy for you, you can also wear a weighted vest while doing them.
This workout will definitely tire you out and will take some recovery time, so make sure you aren't doing it more than once or twice per week and always give yourself at least a day of rest between workouts.
Keep these workouts in mind when you're in a time crunch. You can get in a good session—even when you don't have an hour to spare—and move yourself closer to being in the best shape of your life.