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Cardio FitnessGym Fitness

30 Minute Workout for When You’re Just Too Busy

Published: 5/4/15

We get it – you are busy. You have a lot on your plate and have a lot of responsibilities to manage. So when it comes to working out, you need to get as much bang for your buck as possible. Usually, when someone has a lot going on, their exercise program is the first thing to get cut. It shouldn’t be that way – – and it doesn’t have to be.

Many people think that if they can’t work out for an hour then there is no point in exercising at all. That simply is not true. The human body responds to continuous, or consistent exercise, and time actually has little to do with it. A well-structured workout that combines two exercises, supersets, and cardio days, will help you get in shape and even lose weight if that is a goal. There are many details to keep In mind that will make or break your workout.


Good form is extremely important for two primary reasons. First, it helps prevent injury. Second, it allows you to get the most out of each movement. If you are not familiar with the appropriate form for an exercise, talk to a trainer! There are books and DVDs on the market and those can work, but the best way to learn is to have someone in person helping you so you can feel what is right and what is wrong as they adjust your body. You can’t get that from a picture or a video.


These routines are designed to give you a maximum workout in minimum time. Do one of these every other day and on the days between do some interval training for your cardio requirements.

Warming Up

Always warm up before doing any exercises. Including a few active stretches before your workout will help prevent injury and prepare your muscles for work. Just five minutes of stretching and warming up will make your workout even more effective.

Interval Training (Cardio)

Interval training is a combination of brief, high intensity bursts of speed that are interspersed with a recovery phase that is slower. These two phases alternate several times throughout the workout. If you are new to interval training, start with short, 30-second intervals and longer recovery periods. As you get more fit you can increase the interval time and decrease the recovery time.

You can do interval training with just about any cardio workout including running, walking, biking, elliptical machines, or jumping rope. If it is an exercise that really gets your blood pumping simply up the intensity for an interval, then slow it down for a bit. You will do this several times during the 30-minute period.

Circuit Training

Circuit training is a series of cardio or strength exercises – sometimes a combination of the two – that are repeated two or three times with no (or very little) rest between the sets. This is a great way to get fit if exercise bores you. Many gyms have a circuit training area, but you can easily put together your own. This is a highly customizable workout because you can incorporate weights, machines, floor work, and cardio equipment. At each “station” you will work out from one to five minutes and quickly move to the next activity. Complete your circuit two or three times, depending on the number of exercises and the time you allot for each movement.

Exercises for Workout

If you choose to simply complete some exercises without circuits or intervals or anything fancy, these movements will help you get or stay in shape:

  • Squats while doing overhead presses
  • Lunges with a small dumbbell in each hand – at the end of the lunge movement twist your torso toward your forward leg
  • Dead lift with weights or a body bar
  • The Bridge – lay on your back with your feet hip width apart and knees bent. Slowly lift your pelvis off the floor and roll your spine upward until your body forms a “bridge” from your shoulders to your knees. While holding dumbbells, point your elbows toward the ceiling with your hands at your shoulders. Slowly raise your hands toward the ceiling to work your triceps, then bend your elbows back toward your shoulders.
  • Push Ups
  • Chest Press
  • Planks
  • Upright Rowing
  • Shoulder Press
  • Bicycle Crunch
  • Side Plank (do it on your elbow for a great challenge)

In order to get your movements completed within your 30 minute timeframe you want to have as little down time between the exercises as possible. If you are working on machines, try to have your machines close together so you don’t waste time walking a long distance to get from one machine to the next.

You can get a good workout in just 30 minutes. It takes a little planning and a lot of commitment, but your body and your health are worth it.