1. Health
Paige Waehner

What would you do with 10 minutes?

By August 16, 2012

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I once worked with a client who was so busy, he couldn't find more than a few minutes at a time to exercise. When I suggested doing short workouts, say a few 10-minute workouts each day, he looked at me like I was crazy (a not uncommon occurrence in my line of work). "What good will that do?" He wondered, going on to say that, in the past, he did at least an hour of exercise to keep his weight down.

I asked him: "So, which burns more calories: Shooting for an hour and doing nothing, because you don't have the time, or 10 minutes of intense, focused exercise?"

I helped him answer that question by taking him through a few 10-minute workouts. For a cardio-focused workout, I chose 5 exercises and had him do each for 1 minute, repeating the entire series again. They included sprinting around the block, running up and down a flight of stairs, jumping jacks, sprinting on his stationary bike and a minute on his elliptical trainer at a heavy resistance (he had an amazing home gym).

For a strength-focused workout, I had him do pushups, squats, lunges, step ups, dips, triceps pushups, planks with dumbbell rows and a squat, curl and press exercise.

At the end of our experiment, possibly due to the sweat pouring down his face, he was convinced that he really could get a good workout in a short period of time. And, he no longer had any excuse for skipping his workouts, for which he was so grateful, he gave me his firstborn child. Actually, he just gave me a dirty look since his child was in college and too old to give away.

The key to short workouts is to chose big, whole body movements that involve multiple muscles and work at a high intensity to get the most out of every single second.

So, what about you? If you only had 10 minutes, what would you do with it? Leave a comment and tell us how to get the most out of 10-minute workouts.

More About 10-Minute Workouts

June 17, 2009 at 10:37 am
(1) ray says:

any type of activity that puts your Heartrate near it’s max will do and adding somesort of resistance movement inbetween rest. but you better make sure that you heart is healthy. shooting up the heartrate without a warmup can be dangerous. usually it would take about 5-6 min of warming up for a cardio workout and any significant happens after 8-9min. short bursts can work but not as your regular workout.

June 17, 2009 at 10:57 am
(2) FitNews says:

Stair climbing! There’s so many ways to wear yourself out in 10 minutes.

June 17, 2009 at 11:53 am
(3) Sylvia says:

I like to focus on problem areas when I only have a few minutes, have been doing it for years. Really helps with the area, keeping my strength up, and with my motivation. (I know I’ve done the “hard stuff”, even if nothing else gets done. my focus areas are core muscles, quads and gluts, arms and chest. In 3 – 5 minutes I can hit all these areas so they at least don’t deteriorate! (I’m not a high level fitness finatic, just keeping toned.)

June 17, 2009 at 1:12 pm
(4) ben says:

It’s called 10 minute trainer by Tony Horton. Look it up.

June 17, 2009 at 3:26 pm
(5) Brad says:

I have learned (the hard way) not to ask my trainer silly questions like this. No matter what kind of shape you are in, he can humble anyone in ten minutes…hec, he can have you begging for mercy in five minutes.

June 17, 2009 at 3:45 pm
(6) VS. Tanner says:

Ashtanga yoga suryanamaskar A x 5 +
Suryanamaskar B x 5

Best single thing you can do for yourself in 10 minutes: core, upper & lower body, aerobic, agility, flexibility and weight training using your own body weight.

June 17, 2009 at 5:41 pm
(7) Jim says:

If you have just a little bit more time than 10 minutes, check out the programs that Octane Fitness offer. Their ellipticals have an awesome feature called Cross Circuit+ and also a program called 30-30. They have video at youtube.com/user/octanefitness Enjoy!

June 17, 2009 at 9:11 pm
(8) missy says:

yes i have the 10 min traienr by tony hortaon to. it great workout

June 18, 2009 at 1:49 am
(9) kurt says:

In ten minutes I like to do push ups, dumbell rows, crunches, squats and lunges!!

June 18, 2009 at 11:12 am
(10) Horton says:

SEX….It’s a GREAT 10 minute workout!

June 18, 2009 at 11:57 am
(11) catluver42 says:

I set my timer for 10-15 minutes and either hop on my exercise bike or do stretching and jogging in place type exercises. As long as I am continually moving for that amount of time; I feel as if I am accomplishing something.

June 18, 2009 at 3:10 pm
(12) John says:

Do a ten minute workout and then supplement it with as much physical exercise throughout the day – walking up stairs, parking far from the store entrance, etc.

June 24, 2009 at 10:46 am
(13) Jules says:

I hula hoop!

August 16, 2012 at 1:34 pm
(14) CFW says:

Whether I had 10 minutes or 1 hour- CrossFit.

August 16, 2012 at 5:19 pm
(15) David says:

A nap sounds nice.

August 16, 2012 at 9:16 pm
(16) Maganini says:

That 10 minute workout sounds interesting but I think for the cardio portion, when you’re in your 60s, it would be too dangerous to get your heart rate up too quickly and too high.

August 17, 2012 at 8:31 am
(17) guest says:

Planks, push ups, crunches, squats and lunges with weights. I would alternate it with power yoga the next day.

August 18, 2012 at 9:52 am
(18) Sky says:

David had the best idea: Use the 10 mins. to take a nap, if possible!

Then I”d have more energy later to either spend 20 mins. on a HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) program on my reclining bike, or spend 45 mins on my Strength Training program utilizing heavy weights, depending on what day of the week my schedule called for it.

Throw in a lot of intermittent fasting days combined with a Paleo or LC (lo-carb) eating lifestyle and you can’t help but be in the shape/fitness you’ve always wanted to be in.

Can’t beat it!

August 20, 2012 at 6:59 pm
(19) Pamela Drake says:

Keep up enough of a pace to increase heart rate and require focused breathing. That will make any exercise more successful than steady, low calorie burn workouts.

August 22, 2012 at 7:17 am
(20) BeLiteWeight says:

When you are at home, rope jumping is the best exercise you can ever do but in office it is better to move here and there for 10 mins to make your body relaxed after long sitting schedule.

August 27, 2012 at 8:56 am
(21) Tavi says:

After reading this, I took to doing 10 minutes on my elliptical at high resistance. I have found that I am more willing to workout everyday now, because ‘it’s only 10 minutes’. On top of that, this is the most use my elliptical has gotten since I bought it. Double hooray!

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