How to Exercise When You're Short on Time: A Quick Guide by Jaime Filer

Author Jaime Filer is a published fitness model, motivational speaker, and mental / physical health coach. She has a degree in Kinesiology, and has been an online personal trainer for over 17 years with thousands of transformations under her belt. As someone who has gone through mental health illness (having struggled with an eating disorder and anxiety through her teens and most of her 20’s), she now specializes in helping women overcome overwhelm, reduce anxiety, and increase their confidence through fitness.


What’s up ICON Army! If you’re anything like me, you know life can get crazy busy, right? Between work, family, and other commitments, it often feels like there's just not enough time in the day to squeeze in a proper workout. But guess what? I've got encouraging news for you! You don't need hours at the gym to stay fit and healthy. In this blog, I'm going to share some of my top tips on how to exercise effectively when you're short on time, so you can keep crushing those fitness goals without sacrificing time with the people and things you love.

no time to workout?

Prioritize Compound Movements

When you're pressed for time, focus on exercises that give you the most bang for your buck. Compound movements like squats, deadlifts, and push-ups work multiple muscle groups simultaneously, making them super-efficient. You can get a full-body workout in just a few minutes with the right combination of these exercises. As a reminder though, especially when you’re doing compound movements, make sure you warm up / mobility effectively beforehand.

HIIT It Hard

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is your best friend when you're short on time. These workouts involve short bursts of intense exercise followed by brief rest (or active rest)  periods. HIIT can torch calories, boost your metabolism, and improve cardiovascular health—all in less than 30 minutes. Look up some HIIT routines online or follow a fitness app for quick, effective workouts.

Bodyweight Workouts

No time to hit the gym or grab your dumbbells? No problem! Bodyweight exercises like burpees, lunges, and planks can be done anywhere, anytime. They require minimal space and equipment, making them perfect for quick, effective workouts, even during your lunch break.

Plan Your Workouts

Don't waste precious minutes trying to figure out what to do. Plan your workouts in advance. Knowing exactly what exercises you'll do and for how long can help you stay on track and make the most of your limited time. You also won’t be to scramble and wrack your brain if a particular machine is taken; you can just move to the next movement on your list, and come back to the machine when it’s available. 

Short and Sweet Cardio

If you enjoy cardio, opt for short and intense sessions. Think of this like HIIT for your lungs! A 20-minute sprint interval workout can be more effective than an hour-long steady-state jog. Plus, it'll leave you with extra time to conquer the day!

Utilize Rest Days

Rest days are essential for recovery, but they don't have to be sedentary. Engage in active recovery activities like stretching, yoga, or a leisurely walk. This way, you're still moving, but it won't feel like a traditional workout.

Home Workouts and ICON Meals

Invest in some basic home workout equipment like resistance bands or dumbbells (you can find these cheap on Facebook marketplace)! This allows you to sneak in quick exercises whenever you have a few minutes to spare. Some people think they need a solid 30-60 min block of time to get an effective workout, but that’s not the case. You could do a short, intense bout, and still be doing your body a favor! 

Remember, consistency is key. Even short, frequent workouts can deliver excellent results over time. It's better to exercise for 20 minutes every day than to do a two-hour marathon session once a week.

And don't forget to fuel your workouts with the right nutrition. They say that time is the most valuable resource because you can’t make more of it. I use ICON Meals when I’m traveling, or when I’m home and pressed for time. It’s so easy to have someone else do the cooking for me, so that I can focus on my family, my training, and my business. ICON offers a range of convenient, healthy meal options that can power your workouts and keep you on track, even on the busiest days. I save anywhere from 2-4 hours a week by using Icon!

So, there you have it! No more excuses about not having enough time to move or meal plan. With these tips and a little determination, you can stay on top of your fitness game, no matter how jam-packed your schedule is. The key is to be efficient, plan ahead, and make the most of every minute. Start today, and you'll be amazed at what you can achieve, one quick workout at a time. Let's get it, ICON Army! 

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