8 Genius Ways to Make Quick Workouts Work For You + A Sample Workout Schedule

Regain control of your schedule and crush your workouts even on busy days!

By: Emily Freeman

So you’re an adulting rockstar. You kill it at meeting work deadlines, being a parent, maintaining healthy relationships, and even doing the laundry. But you have some fitness goals in mind, and you can’t seem to find the time to make them happen. When life gets hectic, your workout is usually the first thing to go. Which, hey, no stress missing a day or two of exercise (really, one missed workout is nothing to sweat about). However, you’re ready for more. You miss the days where you had even higher energy levels, a faster metabolism, better quality sleep, amazing productivity, defined muscle tone, and a more positive mood as a result of regular exercise. This is where quick workouts come to the rescue!

We have some great news — you don’t have to choose between getting everything done and being fit! In fact, quick workouts can actually help you reach your fitness goals faster. 

Knowing you only have so many minutes in the day to sweat can help you have a more focus, intense, and gratifying workout — all major players in reaching your goals more effectively. 

Studies have also shown that short but more frequent, intermittent workouts are just as effective as longer but less frequent workouts. Mind blown? 

There’s a caveat. When relying on quick workouts, there are certain things you have to focus on to get the results you crave. But, of course, we got you. 

We’ve laid out eight ways to make quick workouts work for you.   

8 Ways to Get Real Results From Your Quick Workouts

#1 Burn More Calories in Less Time With Extra Intensity

HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) is a true all-star when it comes to making quick workouts hyper-effective. By alternating between short bursts of all-out effort and even shorter rest periods, HIIT sends your muscle-building and calorie-torching potential through the roof! 

HIIT has an “afterburn” effect meaning that your body will burn extra calories up to 24 hours after your workout is over. 

You can start incorporating HIIT into your short cardio workouts and/or use intense strength and plyometric exercises — think burpees, mountain climbers, plank tucks, squat jumps, jumping lunges, etc. — in your resistance training routines to up the calorie burn. 

#2 Workout More Frequently to Make up The Difference 

It can be much easier to find two to three 15 to 20-minute time slots than one-hour-long chunk in your busy day. Quick workouts become just as effective as longer ones when you do them more frequently. 

We love splitting up our cardio and strength into two short workouts by doing one in the AM and the other in the PM. It gives a great dopamine hit multiple times per day for ample energy and helps break up the day between rest and work.

#4 Boost Your Metabolism With Heavier Weights

The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn doing nada. This means you can workout less while still burning calories. If you’re looking to build muscle, heavier weights or resistance (if you have them, check out these fun household items you can use instead) will help you get there the quickest. 

The goal is to get to failure (minding form, of course). Failure is when you fatigue your muscles in each set to a place where you can’t perform the last rep to completion. In order to stay healthy and able to do your next workout, limit your super heavy lifting days to no more than three to four per week and always leave 48 hours in between training sessions of the same muscle group to avoid injury. 

#5 Sculpt Multiple Body Parts at Once With Compound Exercises 

The secret to training multiple body parts at once when you’re in a time crunch are compound exercises. Compound exercises are exercises that target more than one body part (think squat to shoulder press, lunge to biceps curl, chest press with a hip bridge, etc). These are the secret sauce to working up a sweat and building muscle in less time. 

#6 Alternate Between Cardio and Strength

Ever been told to stop multitasking at work? Throw that theory out the window when it comes to building an effective quick workout. By alternating between cardio exercises (like high knees, jump squats, and happy feet) and strength exercises (like lunges, triceps dips, push-ups, and shoulder press) in your circuits, you kill two birds with one stone. You’re getting your heart rate up and burning some major calories while building muscle. Yes,please!

#7 Maximize Your Time by Minimizing Rest 

When you’re working out for 20-minutes or less, optimize your workout by reducing the amount of time you spend resting. You can do this by creating longer circuits consisting of five or more exercises or simply reducing the amount of time you spend scrolling through your phone between sets. 

This is going to give you that out of breath, sweaty mess, butt-kicking feeling you miss in your longer workouts in less time. It’s only 20-minutes, you can do this!

#8 Focus on Form to Make Every Workout Count

We can’t stress this one enough. Having good form is essential to building healthy muscles and making sure you can show up pain-free and excited for your next workout. 

Pushing yourself in a quick workout is important, but it should never compromise your form. Make sure you’re choosing quality over quantity. As you get used to proper form, it’ll get easier, and you can increase the intensity. Practice makes progress!  

How to Fit Quick Workouts Into Your Day

Are you amped up and ready to start incorporating quick workouts into your day? Us too. We put together a simple sample workout schedule to show you exactly how you can start seeing and feeling the results you want when you have less time to sweat. 


AM: 15 minutes of HIIT cardio

We love the 13-minute Tabata Toner with Breann Mitchel or Intro HIIT with Danielle Pascente. 

PM: 20 to 30 minutes of lower body strength training 

Kenta Seki has a great 21-minute Leg Day workout!


AM: 20 minutes of steady-state cardio 

Trainer tip: You can also break this up into two 10 to 15-minute sessions

Try walking, jogging, cycling, rowing, dancing, swimming, or a FitOn workout like 14-minute Cardio Kickboxing with Breann Mitchell.

AM or PM: 5 to 10 minutes of core training

Press play on the 10-minute Quick Core routine with Gabrielle Union. 

PM: 20 to 30 minutes of upper body strength training

Work up a total sweat in 26-minutes with Breann Mitchell in her Upper Body Interval Mix.


AM: 15 minutes of HIIT 

How about the 15-minute HIIT Express with Danielle Pascente? 

PM: 20 to 30 minute Yoga routine

Feel refreshed with Sydney Benner’s 20-minute Feel Better Yoga routine. 


AM: 15 minutes of steady-state cardio followed with 5 to 10 minutes of foam rolling

Try walking, jogging, cycling, rowing, dancing, swimming, or try a FitOn workout like 14-minute Cardio Dance Sweat Sesh with Aubre Winters.

PM: 20 to 30 minutes of lower body strength training

We love 29-minute Lower Body Build with Danielle Pascente 


AM: 15 minutes of HIIT 

Give 13-Minute Interval HIIT with Breann Mitchell a whirl!

PM: 20 to 30 minutes of upper body strength training 

Add in some core work for an added bonus with Awesome Arms + Abs with Aubre Winters. 


Rest or go outside and do your favorite outdoor activity, or try a new one!


AM: 15 minutes of steady-state cardio 

PM: 15 minutes of steady-state cardio and 10 minutes of core training

Why not try the 10-minute Serious Six Pack with Bree Koegel?

Trainer Tip: If possible, combine the two and find time for a longer cardio session today to give your body that extra umph!

Unlock Your Fitness Potential With Quick Workouts!

Now that you know that quick workouts are totally possible with a busy schedule, regain control of your schedule to fit in time to crush all of your workouts.