Summer is a difficult time for many people to keep on track with their fitness goals. The kids are out of school, vacations interrupt scheduled workouts, and barbecues sabotage healthy eating routines. Although it’s the ideal time to trade some indoor training for outdoor activities, there are days it will be too hot to even be outside, let alone get in a good workout. This is where the gym is your best friend — a consistent air-conditioned environment, and access to water. But there’s still the issue of time. Don’t you need to get in a full hour to reap the benefits of a workout? If you have just 20-30 minutes a day, you have enough time. The key to getting 1-hour results in 20-30 minutes is Intensity. Here are a few of the best indoor summer workouts to get you in and out of the gym fast, keeping you consistent and fit all summer long.
Ten to Twenty-Minute HIIT Workouts
High intensity interval training is a popular method which features short bursts of maximum-effort activity followed by rest, repeated in intervals. You can create your own HIIT workout using any moves you like, with no equipment necessary unless you want to add a resistance band or weights for curls, rows, or body-weight exercises. Here’s the basic structure:
- Warm up for 2-3 minutes with light jogging, arm circles, walking lunges, etc.
- Choose 3-5 moves, including full-body cardio, body-weight calisthenics, or strength training exercises. For cardio, consider jumping jacks, mountain climbers, jump or power squats, high knees, sprints, or burpees. Body-weight calisthenics include pushups, pull ups, lunges, stationary squats, tricep dips, hip bridges, planks, or calf raises. Weighted/banded exercises might be rows, curls, shoulder presses, or tricep press-backs.
- Do each exercise in your interval for 30 seconds to 1 minute, or 20-30 reps for a numbered move. If you use weights, keep them light for maximum reps.
- Rest for 1 minute, then repeat. Complete 3-4 rounds.
- Lengthen the workouts by either increasing the number of moves in your intervals or adding more rounds.
Four-Minute Tabata Workouts
Tabata workouts are a type of HIIT named after Dr. Tabata, a Japanese sports scientists whose studies showed this method could improve aerobic and anaerobic fitness better than longer, moderate-intensity workout programs, in only 4 minutes and 20 seconds a session. Besides the minimal time commitment,Tabata workouts resemble HIIT since they are highly customizable. Here’s how Tabata works:
- 20 seconds of high intensity
- 10 seconds of rest
- 8 rounds, with (2) additional 10-second rests
You can choose upper, lower, or full-body moves, and add free weights or kettle bells to strengthen specific muscle groups while revving your metabolism. Many ready-made HIIT and Tabata workout ideas are available online, but if you want help, most personal trainers are familiar with this style of workout and can develop a plan that’s perfect for your current fitness and goals.
Twenty or Thirty- Minute Cardio Machine Circuits
Perhaps HIIT or Tabata workouts seem a little too extreme for your current fitness level. That’s not a problem! You can still take advantage of the benefits of interval training while using your favorite cardio machine at the gym, such as the treadmill, stationary bike, row machine, or elliptical. Simply increase your speed for 30 seconds, then actively rest for 30 seconds and repeat 20-30 times. You’ll get a much better workout than maintaining a steady pace for the same amount of time.
Don’t Let Summer Derail Your Fitness Goals
One advantage of longer summer days is that you’ll have more daylight (and fewer excuses) to get your workout session in at the gym, no matter what time the clock says. With these three workout structures, you’ll be in and out of the gym in 30 minutes or less, and still see great results all summer long.
Bernie Caplan is the President and founder of Spunk Fitness, a chain of health clubs headquartered in Maryland; a no frills/low cost club model that offers an exceptionally high value to its members.