5 Time Efficient Workouts For Super Busy People

As a trainer the number one reason I hear from people for why they missed training or don't train in the first place is… You guessed it TIME. I get that people lead very busy lives today and figuring out the best way to squeeze a workout in can be difficult especially if you are new to training and you don't know the most effective exercises and methods to get moving with.

The biggest tip we can give you is to get things done as early as possible to avoid any distractions later in the day. Also for the few weirdo's out there that do not enjoy exercise; eating the frog (getting the hardest part of you day out of the way first) is a great way to get started as things can only get better from there on in!

There a few simple ways to make sure you can manage to squeeze in your workout amongst the craziness of your day and we have put together this list of 5 quick go to workouts that should fit into almost any day no matter how chaotic things get.

Corporate Fitness

100 Burpees for time

Burpees are a great full body exercise that will get you heart pounding and help to develop upper body strength and lower body power endurance. 

Grab your phone, open the timer application, press start and get to work. Aim to complete 100 reps as quickly as possible beginners might take 10 minutes+, more advanced people may be done in as little as 5 minutes. The aim is to get quicker every time you do it.

2. Daily Accumulation

One of the easiest ways to improved strength is to incorporate a lot of volume. However spending the 2 hours in the gym required to fit that volume in just isn't practical for many people. Adding in mini circuits/exercise breaks through out the day to help accumulate extra volume is a great way to help with this

Bodyweight exercises such as Squats, Push Ups, Pull Ups, Lunges, Dips, Inverted Rows & Planks are great exercises that can be done almost anywhere. The aim with this isn't to go to failure every time. You might start by aiming to do 200 push ups in a day. That might consist of 20 sets of 10 spread out whenever you can, it may be 10 when you get out of bed, 10 while you wait for the kettle to boil, 10 when you get to the office etc… you get the picture.

Alternatively just set an alarm to go off every hour you are awake. Doing 15 push ups/squats/burpees every waking hour (~16 hours) gives you 240 for the day. Rotate the exercise daily and by the end of the week you will have accumulated a heap of quality volume.

Think labourers & manual workers who are constantly lifting and moving loads; it is not always super heavy or intense but it is constant and your body adapts to that work to get stronger.

3. 500m, 1000, 2000m Row/Ski For Time or 50 Cal Airbike

It is little wonder these machines have become so popular. There is instantaneous feedback on your work ethic and the numbers don't lie!

These short duration workouts can be brutal. After warming up effectively, program in the selected distance and go as hard as you can until the distance is complete. The shorter the distance the more advanced you will need to be to get an effective workout from it. A 500m row for time can be devastating if it is a true all out effort.

Have a go and see how you stack up against these guides.

Ski / Row
500m Beginner  M - 1:45, F - 2:00 Intermediate  M - 1:35, F - 1:50  Advanced M - 1:25, F - 1:40

1000m Beginner M - 3:40, F - 4:10 Intermediate  M - 3:25 F - 3:55  Advanced M - 3:10, F - 3:40

2000m Beginner  M - 7:40, F - 9:00 Intermediate  M - 7:10, F - 8:20  Advanced M - 6:40, F - 7:40


50 calories Beginner M - 2:00, F - 3:00 Intermediate M - 1:30, F - 2:30 Advanced M -1:00, F-2:00

4. Tabatta Circuit

These style of high intensity interval circuits have gained a lot of popularity in recent years. While they have been bastardised and misused from the original purpose the fact remains that their 2:1 work to rest ratio makes for an extremely time efficient way to get some of training in if you are pressed for time.

Set a timer for 20 seconds with a 10 seconds break (or just keep a rolling stop watch and monitor the interval for yourself).

You are going to do 8 rounds (4 minutes) of total work. Body weight exercise work well for this format as they can be done anywhere with minimal equipment. You can also choose from a couple of different formats depending on time and equipment.

Format 1 - Fatigue

Push Ups x 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off x 8
Rest x 2 minutes
Squats x 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off x 8
Rest x 2 minutes
Sit Ups x 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off x 8
Rest x 2 minutes
Inverted Row x 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off x 8
Rest x 2 minutes
Burpees x 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off x 8
Rest x 2 minutes

Format 2 - HIIT

Push Ups x 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off
+Squats x 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off
+Inverted Row x 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off
+Burpees x 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off
+Dips x 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off
+Lunges x 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off
+Sit Ups x 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off
+Burpees x 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off
Rest x 2 mins
x 1 - 5 Sets
Substitute exercises to suit your goals, equipment, ability, space & time.

5. Balls of Steel

The kettlebell is one of our favourite training tools, they are versatile, don't take up a heap of space and can provide a great full body work out.

This is a great full body strength workout courtesy of the kettlebell experts from StrongFirst, that will only take you 15 minutes to complete.

After a warm up you are going to complete 10 sets of 10 kettlebell swings. With the aim of finishing them in under 5 minutes. 10 reps every 30 seconds with get you there.

Immediately followed by 10 sets of 1 Turkish Get Ups completing 1 rep every minute. See below for a estimated weight guide.

Beginners 12-16kg - 2 Handed Swing
Intermediate  12-16kg - Single Hand Swing
Advanced 16 - 24kg - Single Handed Swing

(The Strong First standards range between 16-32kg for females & 32-48kg for males) 

Also check out our training tip videos for a technique reminder. Or better still if you are unfamiliar with kettlebells come in for a 2 week free training trial and get some instruction on just how to use them.

Just be warned while these workouts can help to keep your fitness ticking along and fill in any gaps on a rough day/week, they are not the be all and end all, you're not going to win the Crossfit games, you wont break any records, nor will you be able to progress to any meaningful strength & fitness goals, these are a very short term solution.

Real fitness can only be earned by putting in time, effort and energy to get real results. So if you do have serious fitness goals and find you aren't progressing due to lack of time you may need to re-evaluate your goals, or the way you are training for them.

Nathan Tieppo
Nathan Tieppo


As the founder and head trainer at Momentum PT and with a wealth of knowledge from a variety of industry roles over the last 15 years Nathan has the knowledge and experience to pass on. Nathan specialises in sport specific preparation for athletes at all levels.

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