Fitness experts love to tout 30 minutes as the benchmark for minimum workout length, but they’re wrong. Short workouts under 15 minutes are seriously great and yield tremendous results.
Daily exercise is a necessity for every single one of us, so don’t make it a massive hill to climb. Spending 15 minutes or less on short workouts will accomplish nearly as much as a longer fitness routine. Why do so many people hate on shorter workouts? Because most people don’t actually go hard during their workouts, so a longer routine ensures you push yourself. Simply put, if you can go hard during your workout, it doesn’t actually matter how long it is. Push yourself and results will follow.
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I read recently that experts now say its important to exercise about five minutes for every hour you sit during the day. This was an adjustment to the 30 minute workout rule, which therefore assumes around six hours of sitting. Most of us sit for longer and getting up and walking around periodically during the day is crucial to your health and well being. Those five minutes of movement per hour sitting includes walking, meaning you really just need to get up and move. So what about your actual workout, you know the one where you sweat and build strength and confidence? It can be five minutes, ten minutes, or even two minutes. Below are three tenets of great short workouts, followed by a few tips to achieve your fitness goals.
Tenets of Great Short Workouts
1. Treat your workout as a sprint
One of my favorite short workouts is a two minute abs workout that is short and sweet and crushes me. You can find it below. My favorite part about this workout is that I can remember it, but also that I feel the burn after only two short minutes. If you sprint for the entirety of the workout, meaning you push yourself and create a fast pace without flailing around, then you’ll break a sweat and feel incredible. This is all within two minutes.
- Bicycle Crunches (20 seconds)
- Scissor Kicks (20 seconds)
- Flutter Kicks (20 seconds)
- 100’s (20 seconds)
- Reverse Crunches (20 seconds)
- Russian Twist (20 seconds)
You need to treat your short workout like a sprint so that you maximize your time. The idea of a sprint is that you give it your all for an extremely short distance. Then you’re done. It’s over and you celebrate completing the sprint. If you causally do the two minute abs workout above, then you won’t get very many reps into those 20 seconds per exercise and won’t get much out of the workout. Going fast but in control pushes your body to do as many reps as possible in a short amount of time. This guarantees you’ve worked both strength and endurance, maximizing the short time spent exercising.
2. Pick a time when your motivation peaks
If you aren’t feeling motivated, then you are going to struggle to sprint during your short workout. Failing to prepare is in essence preparing yourself to fail. I enjoy cliches and that one is a keeper. Ask yourself, what time of day do I enjoy exercising the most? Do you love to roll out of bed and wake yourself up with a workout? Do you prefer to feel the burn in the evening and wipe away the day? I love morning workouts because they energize me for the day ahead. But you need to exercise when your motivation is highest. Be honest with yourself and stick to that workout time. Then crush that short fitness routine.
3. Structure is your best friend
You’ll notice that the two minute abs workout above is highly structured. It includes six complementary exercises and you do each one for twenty seconds. There is no rest time and it flows perfectly from one exercise into the other. Pick workouts that are structured and finite. Switch it up between full body workouts, arms workouts, legs workouts, and abs workouts. It’s now very easy to find great short workouts because apps like the Nike Fitness App offer a ton of free content. Pinterest is also a tremendous workout resource. Basically its a bad idea to toss together a few exercises you like, unless you are experienced at fitness. You want structure and flow to short workouts, otherwise it will be hard to sprint and you won’t get the results you crave.
Additional Tips for Fitness Success:
- Less is More – Avoid pushing yourself too hard, because even a minor injury can derail you for weeks.
- Form a Schedule – Start by picking 3 to 5 days a week and stick with them.
- Maintain your Diet – Regular exercise may make you feel hungry, so drink more water instead. You can’t get trim and sculpted without burning calories. Eating more because you exercise will negate this.
- Find a Buddy – Swapping workout stories and great exercises makes fitness fun. Working out with someone else is also fun. Embrace the competition if you thrive off it, or simply find a fitness friend for motivation.
- Learn your Strengths – All of us have some muscles that are stronger than others. Play to your strengths and push harder where you are strongest.
- Learn your Weaknesses – The opposite is also true. Focus on building the areas of your body that need the most work, but know they are also the most susceptible to injury. Furthermore, you may have lingering injuries from childhood, or simply lack flexibility. Ease into those spots to open them up and strengthen them, rather than ignite an injury.
- Have Fun – This is the most important part of fitness and something we at BuzzChomp are constantly repeating. Even if the workout is hard and hurts in the moment, make sure you love how you feel after. Make sure the sense of strength and accomplishment is fun and invigorating. Find exercises you enjoy, tolerate, and can learn to like. Then go become a beast!
Meet Your Fitness Expert:
Dan Salem is Lead Editor, Writer, and Host at BuzzChomp. He’s a published author, as well as an award winning Actor, Director and Producer. Visit M Square Productions for his film work, or get lost in his comedy on Pillow Talk TV. You can follow him on Twitter, and Instagram.
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