When people seek my help they are often facing three big challenges: what exercises should I be doing, what should I be eating and how do I make time to do all of it?

Getting Fit in Less Time
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image by Zach Dischner

As a personal trainer I have to deal with all three of these things to create a successful fitness program. Foods to eat (or avoid) and what exercises make sense for their goals are easy to put together. Time, however, I cannot create for them.  I’m a full service personal trainer, but I draw the line at taking their kids to soccer games or doing their laundry.

So how do I solve the problem of time? I make the most of the time they can find. If all someone has is 10-20 minutes, then I am going to give them a custom solution to make sure they get some exercise each day.

But wait, you might say. Aren’t we supposed to get 30 minutes a day of physical activity?

Yes, but notice it says Physical Activity. Exercise is a part of physical activity but physical activity also includes things like vacuuming, walking the dog and mowing the lawn. If we can combine 30 minutes a day of using our body to do the things we need to do anyway with 10-20 minutes of intense focused activity (otherwise known as exercise) we can create a winning fat loss formula. Let’s break down how to achieve the two elements in our exercise equation.

Physical Activity: I’ve already mentioned a couple of examples but let me give you a few more.

  • Commute to work? Get off the bus or train two or three stops early and walk. Do it on the way to work and on the way home.
  • Going to the mall? Walk a couple of laps before you start your shopping. Also make sure you park far away from your destination to get some extra steps as well.
  • Need a car wash? Skip the automated wash and do it yourself. Not only a cardiovascular workout but you should get some squats and arm work in too.

Short Burst Focused Exercise: Take 10-20 minutes and give it your all.  Here are some easy ways to do it

  • Jump Rope
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    Channel your inner child with 10 minutes of skipping and jumping rope. No jump rope? No problem. Just pretend, move your arms using the same motion but no need to worry about tripping on the rope.
  • Kettlebell
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    I have become a big fan of kettlebells over the last year. Swings use your whole body and get your heart pumping. Try interval training/HIIT doing just Kettlebell swings.
  • Bodyweight circuits. No equipment needed. Just do a continuous loop of exercises like pushups, walking lunges, jump squats and mountain climbers.

If time has been your excuse for not getting fit consider it officially gone.  If you overcame this one a long time ago, tell me how you did it?


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