Nike master trainer Holly Rilinger reveals how to get the most bang for your buck during a short workout.
You know that exercise has a host of health benefits, so you’ve decided to give this whole “working out on a regular basis” thing a chance. The problem is, however, that life has a way of getting in the way your fitness goals.
You wanted to work out Monday at lunch but that budget meeting ran long. You wanted to go for a run after work but your buddy suggested a catch-up happy hour. You wanted to wake up early for Spin class but you stayed up until 2 am binge-watching your favorite show on Netflix.
Sometimes a workout is in the cards, and sometimes it’s not. But other times it’s just about how creative you can get to make sure you fit a workout into your hectic lifestyle. Remember: Whether it’s a straight hour, a few 10-minute jaunts, or a quick 20 minutes during lunch, doing something is better than doing nothing.
Here, Nike master trainer Holly Rilinger talks about the best exercises to do when you’re short on time.
“If you only have 20 minutes, I think the best bang for your buck is using HIIT, which is high intensity interval training,” says Rilinger. HIIT is a type of exercise where you push yourself as hard as you can for a brief period of time, then recover and repeat (such as sprinting then walking, or running up stairs and walking down).
“The reason this works so well is you actually spike your heart rate—you work harder and you work more intensely for a short amount of time,” says Rilinger. The high-intensity bursts in HIIT have been shown to help burn more calories in less time and also help reduce subcutaneous abdominal fat (the belly fat you can pinch). Learn more about how different types of belly fat affect your health.
What’s more, working out intensely for 15 minutes is roughly the equivalent of working at a moderate intensity for 30, says Rilinger.
20-Minute HIIT Workouts
When doing HIIT, it doesn’t matter if you have equipment or don’t, the formula is the same, says Rilinger. “A great way to start out is using a 1:2 ratio. So, working out intensely for 30 seconds, and then recovering for 60. And then you’ll do that for 15-20 minutes.”
If you don’t have equipment, you can use your body weight. Choose five exercises: Two that work your upper body (push-ups and a plank, for example), two lower body exercises (such as squats and lunges), and one core movement (like a v-up, which is a sit-up, with arms and legs straight to make a “V”).
If you have equipment, you could use a set of dumbells or an elliptical or stationary bike and also do five exercises. “[For upper body] you can do chest presses and bent-over rows, and lower body you can do squats and lunges, and for core movement you can do Russian twists or dumbbell toe touches,” says Rilinger.
Ready for more? Try this 12-minute no-gym HIIT workout hosted by Holly.
Coach, trainer, and 10-year veteran of the fitness world, Holly Rilinger is known as one of the most inspiring motivational trainers in the game.
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What should I do if I only
have 20 minutes to work out?
00:00:06,954 --> 00:00:12,052
00:00:12,052 --> 00:00:14,652
So, if you only have 20 minutes,
I think the best bang for
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your buck is using HIIT,
which is High Intensity Interval Training.
00:00:17,720 --> 00:00:19,630
And what that means is
you're going hard for
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a short amount of time, followed by
a longer amount of recovery time.
00:00:23,240 --> 00:00:26,301
And the reason this works so well is
because you actually spike your heart
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rate, you work harder and more
intensively for a short amount of time.
00:00:29,470 --> 00:00:33,425
These short bursts of exercise, this high
intensity exercise, is proven to reduce
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belly fat, and that's that top layer
of fat you want to get rid of.
00:00:37,050 --> 00:00:41,157
Working out intensely for 15 minutes is
roughly the equivalent of working out for
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30 minutes at a moderate intensity.
00:00:43,440 --> 00:00:45,410
So it's more bang for your buck.
00:00:45,410 --> 00:00:47,269
So, if you don't have any equipment,
no big deal,
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you can just use your body weight.
00:00:48,570 --> 00:00:51,730
And a good way of doing that
is to choose five exercises.
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So you could do two upper body exercises,
a push, a pull.
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Say, push-ups, and
you could do a high plank with rows.
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Do two lower body exercises,
we'll say, squats and lunges.
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And then do one core movement,
we'll say V ups or Russian twist.
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Now, if you do have equipment, fantastic.
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You can use a set of dumbbells or you
can use something like an elliptical or
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a stationary bike.
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you're going to do five exercises again.
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So you can do chest presses and
bent over rows.
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And in lower body, you can do squats and
lunges with dumbbells in your hands.
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And then for the core movement,
you can do Russian twists or
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you can do double toe touches.
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Doesn't matter if you do or don't have
equipment, the formula's the same.
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A great way to start out
is using a 1:2 ratio.
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So working out intensely for 30 seconds,
and then recovering for 60, and
00:01:41,345 --> 00:01:43,742
then you'll do that for 15 to 20 minutes.
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So remember, doing something is
always better than doing nothing.
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Active adults. Office of Disease Prevention and Promotion. (Accessed on October 25 at https://health.gov/paguidelines/guidelines/chapter4.aspx)
Exercise (Beyond the Basics) UpToDate. (Accessed on October 25 at https://www.uptodate.com/contents/exercise-beyond-the-basics)