Coaches Tell All: What’s The Best Workout For Busy People?

For many of us, when we were younger and life was simpler, we were also in the best shape of our lives.  If we weren’t studying or hanging out with friends, there was a good chance that we were being active.

These days, we’re eating healthier and drinking (significantly) less. But for some reason, despite shifting to a ‘healthier’ diet, our bodies don’t look the way they once did.

Chances are, this has a lot to do with the fact that our lifestyles have completely changed. Our schedules are tighter, and after a long day at work, going to the gym is the last thing we want to do.

So, we asked our fitness coaches at Ladder: What’s the best workout for busy people?

Let’s think for a moment…what are you more likely to do: something that feels like a chore or something you enjoy? Obviously something you enjoy!

According to fitness coach Torey Freed, the best workout for busy people is one that they’ll actually enjoy doing, which makes total sense.

“One that’s engaging but simple. If you enjoy it and it’s not overly complicated, you’re more likely to stick to it, and that’s the important part. It doesn’t have to be some elaborate program that takes hours and has your body exhausted every time. Get moving and keep moving!”

This goes against much of what we see on social media. In fact, research shows that fast paced exercise really does make you feel more enjoyment than moderate intensity training, such as running. [1]

So, what does a fast paced workout look like?

Fitness coach Emilee Twamley likes to bring the fire to her busy clients with HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workouts.

I find HIIT is favored by my clients who have very busy schedules. I also love throwing in a quick HIIT session at home if I don’t have time to make it to the gym.”

Here’s an example of an HIIT workout:

Circuit 1:

  1. Bodyweight Squat x 30 sec
  2. Push-Up (Kneeling or on toes) x 30 sec
  3. Jumping Jacks x 30 sec
  4. Elbow Plank x 30 sec
  5. Bridge x 30 sec

Repeat 3-5x, resting 20-30 seconds between exercises

Circuit 2:

  1. Step-Up x 30 sec (Alternating)
  2. Mountain Climber x 30 sec
  3. Deadbug x 30 sec
  4. Inchworm x 30 sec

Repeat 3-5x, resting 20-30 seconds between exercises

More often than not, less is more

Quality over quantity. Focus on mastering 2-3 movements in a single session. Maybe two total sessions per week. #minimalism,” says fitness coach Mike Amato. As much as we may love the idea of doing marathon training sessions that would make Rocky jealous, busy people are better off spending their time worrying more about quality of movement and less about quantity.

Although this may require a momentary ego check, cutting out the fluff and focusing on doing the basics well will prolong your exercise career and cultivate results, not just immediately, but for years to come.

Believe it or not, in a 2015 study, researchers found out that the majority (36.2%) of all exercise related emergency room visits were a result of overexertion. To quote industry leader Gray Cook “Move well, then move often.”  [2]

Make the most out of your time and your workout routine by working with a fitness coach from Ladder!

Download Ladder


Thum, Jacob S., et al. “High-Intensity Interval Training Elicits Higher Enjoyment than Moderate Intensity Continuous Exercise.” Plos One, vol. 12, no. 1, 2017, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0166299.

Gray, Shannon E, and Caroline F Finch. “The Causes of Injuries Sustained at Fitness Facilities Presenting to Victorian Emergency Departments - Identifying the Main Culprits.” Injury Epidemiology, vol. 2, no. 1, 2015, doi:10.1186/s40621-015-0037-4.

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