At Home Workouts For People With No Time


Continuing our how to exercise series and getting ready for summer, today we’re focusing on short at home workouts!  So here are 3 tips on workouts for people with no time – like us busy mama’s.

Done: 2 hours of work, 4 breakfasts cooked and cleaned up, 3 lunches packed , 2 kids who missed their bus driven, 1 load of dishes and 4 loads of laundry washed, toilet unclogged again – my toddler poops elephant piles – and 1 ginormous splot of baby vomit cleaned up with my sock. (Before you get too impressed, you should see the list of things I still haven’t got done.)

With all of these bodily fluids to take care of, who has time for a two-hour workout? Thankfully you don’t need to have oodles of free time a la Gwyneth Paltrow or Madonna to get in some exercise. On my blog I test out a new fitness program every month (current Experiment: Hula hooping!).

Having done this for 4.5 years I’ve gotten to try a lot of different things and I’m here to tell you that you can get a fantastic whole-body workout in 30 minutes or less. Intrigued?

Three things you need to know:

1. Prioritize weight lifting. I know that your first impulse is to lace up those running shoes but you will see more results from lifting weights than you will from running/ellipticizing/biking/chasing rogue toddlers out of the street – although that last one will get your heart rate sky high in a jiffy. It doesn’t have to be complicated and you don’t need a bunch of fancy equipment (tune in for my post next week for exercise tips for people with no equipment!). I’m not saying running is bad, I’m just saying if you’re short on time do the weights first. 2. Interval cardio. Research has shown that nothing is more effective for increasing your human growth hormone and burning fat for 48 hours post-workout than doing short high-intensity bursts of exercise. And when I say short, I mean short: One “Tabata” workout is 8 rounds of 20 seconds work followed by 10 seconds rest. That’s just 4 minutes! The key is to work really really hard in those 4 minutes. When you’re “on” you’re going at 100%. 3. Pain. Accept that you will be temporarily uncomfortable – there is absolutely nothing fun about sprinting your guts out for 20 seconds – but know that you will feel amazing afterward. Not only will you feel like you’ve accomplished something but you still get that endorphin rush too.


Since you’re short on time, you need to combine the weight lifting and interval cardio (oh yes, and the pain) into one intense workout, often called circuit training. If you’re familiar with circuits you can make up your own but if you need some ideas check out Tony Horton’s The 10-Minute Trainer – intense full-body workouts that only last 10 minutes. If free is more your style, Zuzana from offers a new 30-minutes-or-less workout almost every day. (Just be warned that girlfriend loves her cleavage so be careful watching her videos with little eyes in the room. Or husbands.)

How To Exercise:

Step 1:  How to Eat Well and Get Control of Your Health Step 2:  How to Work in a Good Workout Step 3: How To Eat Well and Feel Full Every Time Step 4:  How To Tone Your Thighs Step 5:  At Home Workouts for People With No Time Be sure to check back every Wednesday for my tips on Exercise for People With No Equipment (simple bodyweight workouts), Exercise for People with No Money (free workouts), and Exercise for People with no Childcare (working out with kids)! Charlotte Hilton Andersen is a mom of 5, the author of The Great Fitness Experiment: One Year of Trying Everything and runs the site The Great Fitness Experiment. She also writes for Redbook, Shape, Men’s Fitness, iVillage, BlogHer, and the Huffington Post among other places.


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  1. I have been working to incorporate more workout/fitness time into my day and I really find that scheduling in short periods of activity is much easier to stick to than trying to set aside a full work out time.

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