What Are The Best Workouts To Do When Short On Time?

We hear it all the time – “work smarter, not harder.” It applies to workouts too! Let’s see how to do the most efficient workout when you’re short on time. 

Turns out, that’s as true in the fitness world as anywhere else.

While you can spend hours and hours a week in the gym striving for the fitness you desire, there are ways to prioritize results and use your time as efficiently as possible.

In this blog, we’ll share a few of the workouts our trainers recommend for a quick, efficient, targeted burn.

Let’s dive in.

5 Workouts to Do When You’re Short on Time

Whether you’re new to the gym or a fitness aficionado training to meet a big fitness goal, these smart workouts will help you make the most of your time and start seeing results fast:

1. Mixed Strength Training and Cardio 

Want a workout that packs a punch in just a few minutes? Strength training is the best option out there. 

By definition, strength training is a resistance workout with elements of anaerobic exercises that build muscle strength by making the muscles work against weight, such as free weights, weight machines, or resistance bands. 

When performed correctly, strength training boosts your metabolism, improves your quality of life, prevents injury and improves recovery, supports good mental health, and increases your life expectancy. 

In fact, researchers have found that just 30-60 minutes of muscle-strengthening exercises each week can increase life expectancy by 10%-17%. 

To make sure your strength training is as effective as possible, we recommend working with a personal trainer or a small group to master form, technique, and process. 

2. Full-Body Workouts

Another way to get the most bang for your buck when it comes to fitness is to focus on full-body workouts rather than workouts that isolate a certain body part or muscle group. 

Simple movements like planks and push-ups are great examples of full-body workouts. You can also join in on a small-group fitness class that focuses on high-impact, ultra-effective, full-body moves to help you get fit.

3. Low-Impact Workouts (Like Barre)

While people tend to think that getting fit requires high-intensity, sweaty exercise, that’s not always true. In fact, low-impact, like barre classes, are a great way to burn calories, improve strength, and tone your body.

If you’ve suffered sports injuries in the past, they may actually be a better fit than high-intensity workouts. If you’ve never tried a pilates or barre class, join a small group workout with like-minded people. 

Not only are these workouts a great way to keep your fitness routine fresh, but they’ll help incorporate some restorative, strength-building, low-impact movement into your fitness menu. 


EMOM stands for every minute, on the minute. EMOM workouts are a great way to burn a lot of calories without spending tons of time in the gym. 

They’re also highly customizable, which means they’re an excellent fit for anyone who wants to make sure their exercise suits their fitness goals. 

For example, maybe you’re a runner who wants to build up muscular endurance. If so, EMOM workouts can help you build the strength you need without dedicating all your free time to your workouts. 

During an EMOM workout, you use a timer to guide the duration of the workout. 

Then, you choose an exercise and complete a predetermined number of reps of that exercise within 60 seconds, then rest for 60 seconds. 

You repeat this circuit until the entire workout duration is over. This type of workout is popular in CrossFit and similar communities. 

5. Tabata

Tabata workouts, like EMOM workouts, are ultra-effective, super-efficient workouts that don’t take a lot of time. 

According to one study conducted by Michele Olson, a prominent sports science professor, Tabata workouts are actually 5x as effective as traditional cardio when it comes to burning calories. 

This means that you can burn as many calories during a 4-minute Tabata workout as you could within 20 minutes of cardio. 

How’s that for a time-saver?

In Tabata training, the pattern of intervals performed during each workout is 20 seconds on and 10 seconds off. 

Build some Tabata into your workouts or find a small group training to try some Tabata classes. 

How to Make Your Workouts More Efficient

Now that you know which exercises to do, let’s talk about how to do them to make them as efficient as possible. 

  • Listen to music. According to a body of research, people who listen to music during workouts have higher serotonin and dopamine levels than those who don’t. This is important because serotonin and dopamine are both hormones that foster athletic recovery. 
  • Implement dynamic warmups. Warming up before your workout is important, but did you know that a dynamic warmup can help you have a more efficient workout than stretching alone? For best results, include dynamic bodyweight moves that mimic the workout you’re about to complete. This will increase blood flow and improve your range of motion. 
  • Incorporate interval training. No matter how you do it, incorporate some interval training like Tabata or EMOM into your workouts. These workouts allow you to burn more calories than non-interval workouts and will make every workout you do more efficient and impactful. 
  • Stay hydrated. Last but certainly not least, make sure to stay hydrated during your workouts. Losing even 2% of your body’s fluid concentration can make your workouts feel harder and reduce your ability to recover after the fact,so keep that water bottle close by.

Smarter Workouts Start Here

If you thought you had to spend hours in the gym to stay fit, think again. Today, it is possible to enjoy short, efficient workouts that target calorie burn and help you meet your fitness goals. If you’re not sure where to start, we recommend working with a personal trainer or small group to learn more about high-efficiency workouts and find a program that works for you.


We offer several options of personal training to meet every goal and fitness level

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