Don’t let a busy schedule keep you from working out. I get a lot of physical and mental benefits from a 15 minute workout, mainly because I have to. I don’t have time for a 2 hour luxury workout at the gym anymore. I have had to learn to cut the fat and tune up my workouts. Here are some of my non-mainstream fitness tips for experienced exercisers who are having trouble fulfilling all of life’s commitments:
No Warm Up – I don’t usually warm up, ever. Every fitness guru will tell you to warm up but I don’t see the need when I’m already running all day. If I was sedentary, then maybe. I increase my intensity as fast as I can without tearing something, but I never walk on the treadmill for 5 minutes at 55% of my max heart rate to ‘warm up’ only to then exercise at 75% of max HR for 30 minutes…
No Stretch – I don’t usually stretch before a workout. I stretch first thing in the morning, before bed and throughout the day (and maybe after a heavy set of weights). I don’t have time in a 15 minute workout to stretch. I have a lot of experience and beginners should spend much more time stretching and foam rolling. But then again, if you are a beginner, 15 minute workouts are not for you as you need much more practice.
No rest – There is no rest during a 15 minute workout! I will superset exercises (usually opposing muscle groups and sometimes I will use compounding exercises, but no rest. I try to go as hard and as fast as I can.
Exercises – I choose basic exercises like dead-lifts and push-ups because they recruit lots of muscle and force lots of blood circulation very quickly. This is how one can break a sweat and get some actual benefits from working out for only 15 minutes. Sometimes I will use only 1 kettlebell for an entire 15 minute routine. I will set up one barbell or one dumbbell and do as much as I can with it without wasting time walking around the gym trying to figure out what to do. Use what you have readily available. If you have stairs, use them. If you have some weights, use them. If all you have is a floor, it’s push-ups and burpees for you – sorry.
I recommend avoiding 15 minute workouts and putting more time into taking care of your body, but you are better off trying the above than missing a workout all together. I have fallen into the trap of “if you can’t do it perfectly, don’t even try” mindset and it doesn’t work for me. Get as much movement as you can, even if it’s only 15 minutes. This technique will hold you off until you can put more time into training.