Best Exercise on a Busy Schedule

There are literally hundreds of ways to exercise to help you get fit, lose weight, and look your best; however, if you're like many of my personal training clients and you're short on time due to your busy schedule, you will need this 5-step fitness formula.


The 5 critical components of this fitness formula are as follows:


  1.  High-intensity Training – To produce excellent fat loss results in less time, the intensity will need to be demanding.


  1.  Short Daily Workouts – 20-minute workouts are all you need to do, but you will need to be consistent to tone your body.


  1.  Essential fitness equipment – You need a set of both heavy and light dumbbells. This allows you to create high-intensity interval training workouts and slow, heavy lifting routines.


  1.  Alternating Your Routines – Combining a mix of both heavy resistance training and light but high-intensity interval training works best for consistency which then provides excellent fitness and weight loss results.


  1.  Plan your steps – You’ll need to keep moving in the day, so if you're an office worker, then plan time to walk during lunch or on the way to/from work.


Applying these basic 5 principles will give you incredible results if you implement them correctly. This blog will explain what you need to do and why.


High-Intensity Training

When you're time-poor, you need to produce intense workouts. The two best ways to help you burn fat, gain lean muscle tissue, and improve your fitness are to combine heavy lifting exercise routines with high-intensity interval training.


These two methods are both intense. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) will work the muscular and the cardiovascular system hard, and the heavy lifting sessions are primarily hard on just the muscular system.


The trick here is to stimulate enough intensity on the muscle tissue to stimulate lean muscle growth whilst also creating a demand on the heart and lungs simultaneously.


As a Liverpool and Wirral Personal Trainer, I teach my clients to stimulate lean muscle growth and use light activity. Increased lean tissue growth will increase your metabolism, allowing you to burn more calories at rest, resulting in more fat loss and a better shaped firm body.




Spend 20 minutes 5-7 days a week alternating these two workouts; I'll explain more about the frequency in point 4. Make the 20 minutes as challenging as possible by utilising a highly demanding circuit-based routine using light weights for your HIIT workouts. Then, on an alternating day, use heavyweights on the essential body parts such as the chest, back, shoulders, and legs, similar to a basic bodybuilding routine.


When doing the heavy lifting routine, stick to the same body part and work that area as hard as possible. To do this within 20 minutes, you need to complete 6 sets of 10 repetitions with as heavy a weight as possible but make sure you hit the 10 reps each time. Between each set, you can only take a maximum of 2 minutes rest (no more) before starting the next set. After the third set, you'll start to fatigue, but you must keep hitting the 10 reps as heavy as you can whilst maintaining good form.


For more ideas on creating high-intensity interval training circuits, click here to go to my workouts page. These workouts are also used by my Online Personal Training Clients and also my Home Personal training clients so they will do a good job for you!


If you want to learn how to do the isolated heavy lifting exercises properly, visit my exercise library. (Coming soon)


The overview of your weekly routine should look something like this:


Monday – HIIT routine 1

Tuesday – Chest

Wednesday – HIIT Routine 2

Thursday – Legs

Friday – HIIT Routine 3

Saturday – Back

Sunday – Shoulders   

Monday week 2 – Rest Day, then repeat from Tuesday


Don't worry if you can't follow this pattern of consistency, simply complete the sequence as much as possible over a more extended period if you don't manage this 7-day split. For example, a routine like this with a rest day on the 8th day would work very well for you, so try to keep it as close as possible.


20 Consistent Minute Workouts


Within 20 minutes, you can achieve a lot should you keep the intensity high enough and the weights heavy enough to challenge you on each set of 10. To be clear, when I say intense, I mean gut-busting intensity.


When lifting heavy weights, as you hit the 8th rep, you should already be shaking and busting a gut to hit the last two reps. The set should take approximately 30 seconds, and when you finish, you will be blowing hard.


It's like sprinting, you go all out for a short period, and you gasp for air at the end of it but, you then recover after approx 60 seconds.


Studies now show that 6 sets of 10 reps are enough to stimulate a muscle-building response, so the 20-minute window is all you need.


When doing HIIT for 20 minutes, you'll burn a similar number of calories as a moderately challenging one-hour workout. This is because there's no time to rest when doing your HIIT. You've just got to keep going for the 20 minutes. The only rest you take is a 20-second transition to another exercise.


Essential Fitness Equipment


With being a Home Personal Trainer Liverpool, I've got to make sure my clients have what they need to achieve great weight loss and fitness results. Of course, the gym is the ideal place to use heavy equipment; however, the logistics of getting to and from the gym is where time is lost. If you work from home or are frequently on the road, then purchasing some essential equipment is critical and you'll need to master home fitness to get awesome results!


This may be a small expense, but it's an excellent investment as this allows you to always be able to exercise effectively regardless of where you are. With my Online Personal Training clients I request each client purchases at least 2-3 pieces of the equipment below to allow for a great Home Fitness experience.


Adjustable step (Reebok Deck) – This is an excellent and very versatile piece of equipment that is lightweight, mobile and robust, making it perfect for home fitness training or, should you be on the road for a few days, you can easily fit this into your car boot. The adjustable frame allows you to isolate most body parts when lifting weight, especially the upper body. The price point is approx £130.



Light Dumbbells – With your HIIT training workouts, you do NOT need any heavyweights as high repetition ranges and dynamic movements prove challenging enough without any weight. 3-4kg Dumbbells are ideal for men and women, and they are reasonably inexpensive, with a price point approx £16. Quick note, hex Dumbbells are a good option as you can use these for integrated exercises like burpee's, press-ups to pull etc.



Heavy Dumbbells – Now, this one will be relative to what you can lift and your level of ability. If you're a regular to exercise, you'll probably be able to guess your max weight for lifting over your head, with your chest and back (rowing) for a max of 10 reps.



Suggestion. You'll probably be stronger pushing with your chest and pulling with your back than lifting over your head, so I'd pick the heaviest weight for chest and back. For your overhead lifting, use the same weight and increase the rep ranges over time to gradually hit that 10 rep range. If there's too much difference between the weight you lift over your head in comparison to what you can press and pull, you may need to purchase Dumbbells ideal for overhead pressing. These can be pricey, with a set of 30kg Dumbbells costing in the region of £150


5mm thick exercise mat – When purchasing an exercise mat, you'll need at least a 5mm thick one as anything thinner will give you nasty friction burns when doing specific exercises during HIIT routines. These are also inexpensive, circa £15.



When you add all this together, you're in the region of £350 but, this is an investment and very well worth it. You'll not need to purchase any other kit; you can take this with you anywhere in the boot of your car and, you can scrap your gym membership if you want to.


Alternating your exercise routines


Combining these two intense types of routines is a great way to keep your training fresh by stimulating your body in different ways. However, when sticking to one exercise pathway, you soon become stagnant with what you're doing; boredom and reluctance can quickly follow.


Heavyweight sessions are great for stimulating the muscles and provide a short-term good feeling along with the firmness of your body. HIIT training sessions are not particularly pleasant, but there's a great sense of achievement and significant endorphin release after the routines are finished.


This gives you both psychological and physiological positive feedback. Put simply, you're consistently creating a positive good feeling.


Frequent switches between the routines allow for better consistency as the muscles take a break from that stimulus. Even if one particular body part is sore from the previous heavyweight day, moving that same body part through repeated light repetitions can help speed up the recovery process.



Important note, if your level of soreness is 8 or more out of 10 or over on the pain scale, then it's advisable to take an active rest day and use lighter activities like walking and swimming which, brings us into the last important principle.


Plan your steps

An excellent target to aim for is 10,000 steps a day. If you're sitting at a desk all day, you certainly need to plan this.


A good strategy is to ditch the car when commuting to work (if feasible) or taking a walk during your lunch break.


This activity that you can squeeze into your daily lifestyle will significantly impact your body shape over time. This low impact activity is your fat-burning window, so make sure you integrate this into your day.



Easy activity with minor strain on the body can also help energise you. The more energised you feel, the more you're able to handle the stresses you face in your day. So along with the weight loss benefits, you're also helping the mind and body feel good. Feeling good is critical for any fitness and weight loss journey and essential for your own sense of wellbeing.


If you plan accordingly, this shouldn't impact the time constraints of the day so look how you can integrate this into your normal daily lifestyle.   


There you go, my friend. Start with some planning and preparation on the above 5 points, and you'll soon be into the flow of an incredible body transformation in just 20 minutes a day. If you want any further support from me then take a look at my programmes page. I have inexpensive online personal training programmes and Home Personal Training packages if you live in Liverpool or Wirral. 

I hope to hear from you soon!


Enjoy the journey!




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