The biggest excuse people give for not working out is, “I don’t have time!” Of course, as a fitness professional, you know that time is not a viable excuse. We have to make time to keep our bodies healthy. People are busier than ever today, and to be honest, fitness is not a priority in most people’s lives. As fitness professionals, we have to educate people on the benefits of exercise and teach them how they can maximize their overall health in a minimum amount of time.

Limited time does not have to mean a limited workout. In 30 minutes we can get a client’s heart rate up and take them through at least two circuits of core, balance, reactive, and strength training. Here’s how:

  • Have your client foam roll (self-myofascial release) “hot spots.” These are the areas where you noticed imbalances when you assessed your client. This should take five minutes.
  • Next, move your client to the elliptical trainer, if you have one available. Keep them in good posture and ask them to draw-in and count out loud to 10, 20, or 30, depending on their ability. This will get them to start warming up their stabilizing mechanisms. The elliptical is a great machine to help warm up your client because it forces the client to use their glutes to pull them into hip extension, as opposed to the treadmill which pulls the client into hip flexion. The cardio warm-up is a great way to target and train numerous areas in a quick five minutes. If you do not have an elliptical machine available – don’t worry! The treadmill still works to get your client warmed up and ready to go.
  • Train core and balance exercises in a circuit. For example, start with planks (regress and progress appropriately for your clients), then move to a single-leg balance with reach. Do 12 repetitions for core and 10 repetitions for balance. This portion should last around seven minutes. When you are done with this circuit, let your client rest 30 seconds and move on to resistance training.
  • For the reactive and resistance-training portion of the program, you’ll want to do another circuit. Remember that increasing a client’s heart rate and keeping it there will be beneficial for their cardiovascular health, as well as help burn more calories during the session. Your strength circuit should include chest, back, shoulders, and legs. The biceps and triceps are worked in various exercises, so depending upon your client’s goals, we’ll skip those exercises in the short workouts.
  • Cool your client down with flexibility. We suggest using static stretches to help restore proper length-tension relationships in the tissues and avoid future muscle imbalances.

Whether your client is a beginner, intermediate, or an advanced fitness enthusiast, we can fit any workout into 30 minutes. Here are examples of each:


Body PartExerciseSetsRepsIntensityTempoRest Interval
CorePlank/Prone iso-abs212Bodyweight4/2/10
BalanceSingle-leg balance210Bodyweight4/2/10
ChestBall Dumbbell (DB) press21260%4/2/10
BackBall DB row21260%4/2/10
ShouldersSingle-leg scaption21260%4/2/10
LegsSingle-leg squat21260%4/2/145 secs

When you add self-myofascial release and cardio to the time, the total session adds up to 27.5 minutes. Cool your client down with static flexibility for the last few minutes. Stretch tight, short muscles as indicated by your assessment.


Body PartExerciseSetsRepsIntensityTempoRest Interval
CoreBall crunches21075%4/2/10
BalanceSingle-leg squat21075%4/2/10
ChestBench press3875%2/0/2 Str0
ChestBall pushups3875%4/2/1 Stab.0
BackLat pulldown3875%2/0/2 Str0
BackBall DB cobra3875%4/2/1 Stab.0
Shoulders2-arm scaption3875%2/0/2 Str0
ShouldersBall combo #13875%4/2/1 Stab.0
LegsSquat3875%2/0/2 Str60 secs
LegsSingle-leg Romanian deadlift3875%4/2/1 Stab.60 secs

When you add self-myofascial release and cardio to the time, the total session adds up to 29 minutes. Use any remaining time to cool your client down with static flexibility to avoid future muscle imbalances.

For the advanced client, instead of cardio in the warm-up, utilize dynamic flexibility. An example would be:

  • Prisoner squats (20)
  • Pushups with rotation (10 total, 5 each direction)
  • Single-leg squats (10 each leg)
  • Walking lunge with a twist (10 total, 5 each leg)

Do each exercise in a circuit, quickly moving from one to another. This should take five minutes.


Body PartExerciseSetsRepsIntensityTempoRest Interval
CoreCable rotations21080%1/0/10
BalanceMulti-Planar (MP) hops w/stabilization21080%1/0/130 secs
ChestBench press3585%As fast as possible0
ChestMedicine Ball (MB) chest pass3810% of bodyweightAs fast as possible0
BackSeated row3585%As fast as possible0
BackMB soccer throw3810% of bodyweightAs fast as possible0
ShouldersSeated overhead press3585%As fast as possible0
ShouldersMB soccer throw3810% of bodyweightAs fast as possible0
LegsSquat3585%As fast as possible0
LegsJump squats3810% of bodyweightAs fast as possible0

When you add self-myofascial release and cardio to the time, the total session adds up to 21.6 minutes. Use any remaining time to cool your client down with static flexibility to avoid future muscle imbalances.

Quick sessions can help your clients get an integrated workout that keeps the heart rate up and burns more calories. Remind your clients that their health should be a top priority and that it takes only a few minutes to add years of good health to their lives!

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