Is 30 minutes enough time to get in an effective workout? Indeed. It will raise heart rate, burn calories, boost mental energy and focus, and improve overall mood. Pass on the good news to your busy clients so they keep you on their crammed schedule. Starting or breaking up the day by sneaking in a quick, 20 to 30-minute workout that sends someone into their day feeling stronger and healthier is just what the doctor ordered for many of us.

One of the top excuses given for missing a workout is, “I don’t have time.” Designing fun and fast circuit workouts will help combat this excuse and – hopefully – make it a thing of the past. All a client needs are workout clothes, a pair of comfortable shoes, water, and an open space.

Lower Body Circuit


The Warm-Up

Have clients participate in a 5 to 10-minute warmup that includes a combination of gentle cardio to raise the heart rate and increase muscle temperature and a set of randomized dynamic movements to prepare the body for the main workout. Examples of dynamic movements to include are windmills, jumping jacks, side lunges, high knees, and butt kicks. Once the warm-up is completed, move on to the next phase.

Conditioning Phase

The time for each exercise or interval will depend upon the client’s fitness level and ability. Instruct clients to drink water throughout the conditioning phase and to stop when necessary. The following is an example of what a circuit could resemble. The goal is to perform as many reps as possible in the given time frame and move immediately on to the next exercise in the set.

Set 1 – 30 seconds each exercise – repeat set three to five times.

□   Plie squats

□   Rear Lunges

□   Alternating lunges

□   Jump squats

Once the first set is completed, move on to the second set.

Set 2 – 30 seconds each exercise – repeat set three to five times.

□   Step ups

□   Squat with abduction

□   Curtsy lunges

□   Pulsing squats, jump lunges, or glute bridges

The Cool-Down

Encourage your client to walk around, ride a bike, or jump on the elliptical for a few minutes at a very low intensity to help bring the heart rate down and allow the body to start returning to its resting state. Encourage static stretching at the end to enhance flexibility.

This is just one example of a thousand ways to write a quick, 20 to 30-minute workout for those clients who have a shorter window of time than others. These are also great for traveling clients as these exercises can be done anywhere without equipment.

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Get ideas to help your busy clients with Staying Active During the Workday.



Erin Nitschke

Dr. Erin Nitschke, NFPT-CPT, NSCA-CPT, ACE Health Coach, Fitness Nutrition Specialist, Therapeutic Exercise Specialist, and Pn1 is a health and human performance college professor, fitness blogger, mother, and passionate fitness professional. She has over 15 years of experience in the fitness industry and college instruction. Erin believes in the power of a holistic approach to healthy living. She loves encouraging her clients and students to develop body harmony by teaching focused skill development and lifestyle balance. Erin is also the Director of Educational Partnerships & Programs for the NFPT. Erin is an editorial author for ACE, IDEA, The Sheridan Press, and the Casper Star Tribune. Visit her personal blog at