Serving up great 20-minute holiday workouts

When your schedule is jam-packed is when workouts can suffer. This can especially be the case during the holiday season, when obligations with family and friends add to people’s busy lives.
Some people throw in the towel on working out altogether during the holidays, while others go weeks without getting in many sessions at the gym.
However, when time is in short supply that doesn’t mean you have to nix the workouts. Just condense your fitness routine when needed. Here are five 20-minute workouts to keep your fitness level up when time is workout down.
Circuit training — Perform a home gym circuit in which you start by walking or running on your treadmill for 2 minutes. If you don’t have a home treadmill, you can even go up and down your steps to get the blood flowing. Then do a set of pushups for 15 seconds and then situps for the same time. After that, run another 2 minutes and repeat pushup/situp circuit. After this, lift weights for preferred exercises for sets of 12 and take only 30-second breaks in between. Do as much as you can in 20 minutes and you’ll break a nice sweat.
Hill running — Warm up with a 3-5 minute jog and then run up a hill in your neighborhood — or you could set your treadmill on a hill incline.
At the top of the hill, catch your breath, walk for 1-2 minutes at the top and then jog back down. Repeat the circuit as many times as you can in 20 minutes.
Interval training — When running, start out with a jog for 3-5 minutes, then run at a faster pace for 5 minutes. Back off down to a slower speed for 1-2 minutes and then run at even faster speed for 3-5 minutes before finishing with a cool-down job. You could also use interval speeds for walking, alternating how fast your pace is.
Endurance training — Sometimes people have several time slots where they can work out in, but just not long ones. A great way to build endurance is to exercise several times in the same day for 20-minute spans. You could perhaps go on a run for 20 minutes early in the day, return home to host family and/or do a household project and then lift weights later in the day.
Home cooking — If you’re so busy that you really can’t even leave your house, then get in a quick workout in your living room. You can do situps/pushups, use a workout DVD, perform stretching exercises or abdominal workouts, etc.
I can tell you from personal experience that bridging together 20-minute workouts during busy periods in your life can really make a big difference to overall workouts. You won’t lose as much when you get back into the gym for your usual workouts. And these 20-minute workouts will go a long way in helping you to deal with holiday stress.

At Home Fitness consultant Aaron Dorksen’s blog deals with a variety of fitness topics, ranging from workout tips, motivational ideas and feature stories on how exercise impacts people’s lives. E-mail him with comments, questions or ideas for future blogs at