Modern times… it’s fucking hard out here for a pimp. It seems every day we all get busier and busier. Does anyone reading actually work a 40 hour work week? And let’s talk about your cellphone. Do you ever turn that mother off, or are you constantly getting texts, emails, and social media notifications? When was the last time you actually took a for-real, whole day off where you didn’t think about work?
While I can’t give you more time, I can offer some solutions for your health and hotness goals. When time is short, narrowing in on the big rocks is the key to using your time effectively. By focusing on big full body movements and minimizing rest periods, you’ll be able to get that heart pumping and provide the training stimulus necessary to keep your fitness on track.
Let’s say you’ve only got 30 minutes. Let’s look at our 30 minutes like a delicious piece of pie. I fucking love me some pie. I’ll eat the shit out of some pie. (Particularly… Ninja Spinach Pie.) Let’s slice it up and dig in, shall we?
Pre-Heat Your Oven
Even when short on time, we still want to prep the body for movement. While we love it when our Ninjas have time to do 5 to 10 full minutes of foam rolling or soft tissue work, in a pinch you can keep it to 3 to 5 minutes.
Every once in while it won’t be the end of the world to leave it out entirely, just be careful you don’t make it a habit. Skipping foam rolling is a bit like skipping brushing your teeth; probably not gonna kill you once in a while, but if you do it all the time it’s gonna catch up to you. Plus, it’s kinda nasty to not brush your teeth.
Let’s say you work in an office, so you know you need to prioritize that shit. You’re not gonna skip your foam rolling because you know it’s super important for your particular situation. BAM! 3 minutes down.
PreP YOUR INGREDIENTS
While foam rolling is awesome, we need to do a bit more to get the body ready to kick ass. Again, if and when you have the time, we’d love for you luxuriate with as much as 15 minutes of mobilizations for areas like the hips, shoulders, and ankles, and activation for work for the upper back, glutes, and core. As noted Dungeons and Dragons expert John Romaniello has pointed out, warm-ups are like foreplay. Shit just goes better when you get the equipment warmed up.
But you know how sometimes you return from the beach and you and your love nugget are all warm from the sun and sleepy and oiled up and you have dinner plans but you know you need a nap and you put the lights out and you only have like 52 minutes before you have to be up to shower but then all of the sudden you’re like… “hmm…”?
That’s kind of how you’re gonna roll with the 30 Minute Workout Pie. It’s like that summer afternoon quickie. So in this case, while we know we generally want more elaborate warm-ups, we’re gonna cut those 15 minutes down to 5 minutes. For your five minute general warm-up, you can just cycle through a few integrated warm-up drills like jumping jacks, Spiderman lunges, inchworms, bent over t-spine rotations.
Not sure what the fuck those warm-ups are? Check out this video:
BAM! 22 minutes of Workout Pie left!
Mix Together & Bake That Shit
For the main course (about 15 minutes), I recommend starting each exercise on the minute. You’re gonna pick three exercises; a core exercise, a leg exercise, and an upper body exercise. Because of our time constraints, minimal warm-up prep, and laziness with racking and unracking weights, we’re gonna leave our friend the barbell out of this. This also means this type of workout is perfect for hotel gyms when away on work, or when you need to minimize your gym time because you’re on vacation.
Here’s what you’re gonna do: starting on the minute, you’re gonna go 5 rounds of the 3 exercises rotating back and forth. While I often like doing things for time when training like this, I think counting repetitions is actually gonna be simpler as you won’t need to look at a clock and torque your head while completing the exercises. You want the work set to last around 15-40 seconds based on the intensity and your current level of fitness. Depending on your fitness level or what exercises you choose, 8 to 20 reps will do the trick.
Remember, we’re not going to total failure here. This also means you shouldn’t need much in the way of specific warm-ups (lighter load warm-up sets of the exercises themselves). You’re just trying to get the heart rate elevated, but as always, safety first; don’t get yourself so gassed that your technique goes to hell. You want it to be challenging, but you don’t want to feel like you’re having a seizure, shitting blood, and trying to get your spleen to pop out of your ear.
“OMG OMG OMG… I think I’m actually shittin’ blood!”
“Good! That means you’re nailing it, KEEP GOING!!!”
Don’t train to get tired. Train to get better.
My personal favorite pairing here is kettlebell swings, push-ups, and hanging knee raises. You could also do goblet squats, bent over dumbbell rows, and plank walk-ups. Yet another flavor would be jump squats, overhead dumbbell presses, and straight leg sit-ups. If you have no equipment, you can always pair three bodyweight exercises.
LET IT COOL
We know we want to end things off with 5 minutes of cuddling… er… cool down, where we foam roll and reset our breath. This allows our nervous system to have an entry ramp back to real life (and most of us need to chill the fuck out in general anyway; I myself haven’t actually taken a breath since 2006).
Putting That Shit Together
So now that we’ve assembled our delicious pie, it breaks down like this:
3 minutes of foam rolling
5 minutes of general warm-up
- Jumping Jacks (60 seconds)
- Spiderman Lunges (5 reps per side)
- Inchworms (5 reps)
- Bent Over T-Spine Rotations (8 reps per side)
- Jumping Jacks (60 seconds)
15 minutes of getting it done (5 rounds, each exercise starting on the minute)
- Lower Body exercise (8-20 reps)
- Upper Body exercise (8-20 reps)
- Core exercise (8-20 reps)
5 minutes of cool down
2 minutes of optional poetry composition or drawing awesome pictures
There you have it! Your very own easy, cheezy 30 minute workout template. For those of you who seem to be too busy to make it in for marathon workouts, I hope you see you really don’t need more than 30 minutes to clock a win for your fitness goals.
And as a final thought, I encourage you to embrace the reality that life only finds its balance on the macro; which is to say it’s a myth to think that each day (or even week) will have an equitable proportion of fitness, career, relationship, sleep, relaxing, and whatever else you know you need to live your best life. There will be seasons where you can focus a bit more on each of these elements than the others, but anything that’s truly important will require some upkeep and maintenance.
Now go eat some fucking workout pie!
Want some help assembling other delicious workout pies? Schedule a Health & Hotness Strategy Session at MFF today!