How I Spend 10 or 20 Minutes If That’s All I Have To Exercise

How I Spend 10 or 20 Minutes When It’s All I Have

Last weekend I spent an amazing three days with a small group of health experts. This mastermind group works as hard on saving the world, spreading their message as they do on their own health. What’s that mean? It means we start early, we go late, yes with breaks in our day to stand and move and take in extraordinarily good-for-you food. Days beginning at 8:30 in the morning, or 8 if you wanted breakfast and networking and ending at 7 or 9 were the rule.

With a time zone change and desire to avoid disruptions in my client’s schedule it means sometimes for me an early morning call. So two of those three mornings I had 20 minutes before a call and another 10 to play with maybe before I jumped into a shower.

I need to move. I know I need it if I’m to be sitting for the most part and have the highest focus and alertness in every cell. So what did I do with my prescious time?

Day One I opted to use 30 minutes I knew I had lifting. It would have the most impact on metabolism and posture. I headed downstairs to the gym to survey the area and found what I needed.

Here’s exactly what I did and how I spent my time:


Warm up with walking lunges 3x across the floor and back with small variations, followed by a set of leg swings side to side and forward and back to warm up my hips.


A trio of exercises I repeated 3 times staying slightly breathless:  

Squat with a heavy dumbell x 15

Lying Bridge Chest Press x 15

Bent Over Row x 15

All three exercises are illustrated in the video below

I’m a believer in heavy weights for optimal lean mass and fat burning. Out of the corner of my eye however all of 16 minutes someone was parked on the leg press. I hovered near while doing single leg exercises (from this video and this one) until I was able to get access to the leg press.

Finally, the leg press frees up. So with just a few minutes to spare in order not to be late for my phone call, I do what’s called a “monster set.”

I sit down, arrange the distance from seat to platform so I have 90 degrees flexion (or more open knees for less stress on them and lower back) and choose a weight that I can do 15 of but that is a challenge to complete all repetitions. Immediately, I reduce the weight by 10 or 15 pounds and repeat. I do this 4 times. By the time I’m finished I’m lifting what would have been ridiculously light to start but it is definitely effective.
I dash out of the gym, cooling down with movement as I make my way to my hotel room. I position myself in various stretches while I’m on the call.

Then I have 10 minutes to use until I absolutely have to shower.

So I use tabata style intervals featuring 20 seconds of “work” and 10 seconds of rest done 8 times. I do a minute of recovery and repeat one more 4-minute set.

I vary the exercises I do. I’ll choose jump squats, rear lunges, jump lunges, Boxing exercises, small hops depending on how I feel.
You don’t have to jump or use a high impact movement! Displacing your center of gravity will do just fine in raising the heart rate.

I jumped into the shower. I was on time and wide awake, and alert for the next 9 hours, squeezed in 15 minutes of stretching before dinner and was off again.

You don’t need an hour. You just need consistency. Tell yourself that you are someone who is a consistent exerciser. That you feel better when you move. And you “get” that message in a short time. So when you do resume your regular schedule you really haven’t missed a beat.


P.S. Share your on-the-go formula. What do you do when you’re short on time? If you’re used to an hour class or a Crossfit workout… can you stay on track yourself without the structure?

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