I don’t have time!

It’s the go-to excuse of non-exercisers everywhere. At least it used to be.

Those pesky scientists went ahead and debunked the myth that building a better body has to take up the better part of your day. Multiple studies have shown that more strength, less belly fat, and better cardio are within reach. As a matter of fact, all it will take is four to fifteen minutes of work on your part.

Better still, you won’t need a gym membership or loads of equipment to complete a quick, calorie burning workout. In most cases all you need is some workout clothes and your own body weight.

If you have 4 minutes

The Tabata, as it’s knows, was created by Dr. Izumi Tabata (go figure) and his team at the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo, Japan. This exercise technique features all out effort for 20 seconds, followed by a rest period of 10 seconds. Over the course of four minutes you complete eight rounds of the 20:10 protocol.

How to – Tabata

Interested? Try this – Warm-up, select an exercise, find a clock with a second hand, and get ready to work!  The goal is to complete as many repetitions as possible in each 20 second working block. Rest for 10 seconds, but don’t take a lap around the gym to get a drink. Stay close to your equipment and clock; 10 seconds is not very long. Don’t slack on your work intervals either. Although four minutes doesn’t sound like much time, you’ll have to remain focused and keep the intensity high. When it’s all said and done your muscles and lunges will be burning. 

The Tabata method can be applied to strength training and cardiovascular conditioning.  Be as creative as you’d like and consider trying some of these applications.   

  • Jump rope (stationary spring or double under)
  • Push-up
  • Bodyweight squat
  • Burpee
  • Kettlebell swings
  • Thrusters

Keep in mind; you do not have to use this method for every workout every day.  It is a tool in your toolkit.  Applying this technique a couples a month is a great starting point to add variety to keep things interesting and challenging. 

If you have 7 minutes

Combining the benefits of a long run with a trip to the weight room, this seven minute workout gets two thumbs up from the American College of Sports Medicine.

You’ll need seven minutes, your body weight, a chair and a wall. Yeah, that’s it.

Oh, you’ll also have to work your butt off. The workout is short, but it will push you out of your comfort zone. It’s designed to be a high-intensity effort. This type of interval training provides “many of the fitness benefits of prolonged endurance training but in much less time,” says Chris Jordan, the co-author of the study and director of exercise physiology at the Human Performance Institute in Orlando, Fla.

How to – the 7 minute workout

You’ll perform 12 exercises for 30 seconds, resting 10 seconds between each exercise. The circuit can be repeated 2-3 times based on time and fitness level. They even went ahead and selected the exercises for you. Here’s the workout:

1. Jumping jacks

2. Wall sit

3. Push-up

4. Abdominal crunch

5. Step-up onto chair (or box, or bench)

6. Squat Lower

7. Triceps dip on chair

8. Plank Core

9. High knees/running in place

10. Lunge

11. Push-up and rotation

12. Side plank

If you have 10 minutes

Sometimes a short, intense workout can be better for you than a longer slower one. With that in mind, take 10 minutes to complete a workout that combines strength with cardiovascular conditioning.

How to – 10 minute workout

Alternate between a strength based exercise and another move that sends your heart rate soaring. If you have access to equipment you can get creative and mix up the exercises you select. If you don’t, you’ll still be able to get great results using your own body weight.

Complete As Many Rounds As Possible in 10 minutes

10x Push-up

10x Kettlebell Swing

10x Chin-up, pull-up or horizontal row

10x Box jump

10x Weighted sit up

If you have 15 minutes

If you looking to build size and strength, it might not take as long as you think. As a matter of fact, you can get better results in half the time. That’s exactly what a study in the European Journal of Applied Physiology concluded. They found that 15 minutes of resistance training was just as effective as 35 minutes of weight-lifting.

As it turns out, most people work out too slowly. If you were to condense your workout into a smaller time block, say 15 minutes, you’d see better results.

How to – get strong in 15 minutes

Pick four dumbbell, kettlebell or barbell exercises. Perform each move 10 -12 reps of each exercise. Do not take a break between exercises, go directly into the next. At the end of the circuit, rest for 90 seconds. Repeat the circuit 3 times.


Dumbbell Complex

12x Suitcase deadlift

12x biceps curl

12x upright row

12x overhead press

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Kettlebell Complex

12x Swing

12x Lunge

12x Thruster

12x Figure 8 pass-through

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Barbell Complex

10x Deadlift

10x Bent row

10x Military press

10x Back Squat


So now that I’ve shown you that you DO have the time to exercise, what’s stopping you?