I share many of my workouts on social media and often get asked, “Is that all you really do?”
Why 20 Minute Workouts Really Work
To answer the question above: YES.
My programmed workouts generally last around 20-30 minutes. I know that seems on the short side to many, especially as a personal trainer.
However, here are a few reasons why this works for me.
Most days, I have to shorten the duration of a workout because I’m a mom of two, young kids. There simply isn’t time in the day to spend an hour or more training.
So, I crank up the intensity. I use heavy weights to make a workout really count. If I’m limited to body weight only exercisees , then I use a timing method like a tabata (20 second of work followed by 10 seconds of rest x 8) to keep effort high like one found in my 30 Day Training Plan.
2. Compound Movements
My workouts are full body workouts involving lots of compound movements. I do this to be efficient and to keep boredom at bay. More muscles used at a high intensity means I’m reaping benefits of an elevated metabolism well after the workout (try this one) is complete.
3. Rarely Sedentary
My “official” workout might only be 20-30 minutes, but I’m rarely sedentary. My husband got me the Fitbit Charge 2 for Christmas after using one himself.
We were both curious how many steps I was accumulating per day by walking Cooper and simply doing household chores.
Ends up, it’s a lot! I easily reach 15K steps or more (even in the winter). When the weather is nicer, I’ll add two more walks to that by dropping off and picking up Jada from school.
If I was at a desk job like I had before kids, I would definitely train for closer to an hour or more. Our bodies are designed to move. Exercise was a stress reliever then. It’s a way of life now.
4. Simple Diet
For the most part, I eat intuitively. I do not track macronutrients or time my meals. I usually fast until noon or later and reduce my feeding window, so I’m consuming most of my calories in a 6-8 hour window. A majority of the time, I eat healthy foods (except when I’m sleep deprived and eat all the things. #momlife) and feel best when I consume a lot of veggies and healthy fats. For protein, I stick to chicken, ground turkey, and fish because I don’t eat beef or pork. For sheer convenience, I eat a lot of protein bars and some of my favorites include Balance Bars, Quest bars, and RxBars.
5. Training Specificity
My goals are in line with my training. I want to have high energy, feel fit, and look athletic.
I do not want to see how fast I can run 20 miles. If I did, my training would have change, right? I also am not entering a physique competition, so I can be more lenient with what I eat and how I train. My goals match my training.
While 20-30 minute workouts are not for everyone, they can make a difference. You can improve your body composition while increasing your strength and fitness level. I think they are perfect for busy moms like me.
How do you make workouts count?!