5 Common Exercise Mistakes To Avoid When You Are Short On Time

If you’re a full-time student, business person or a stay-at-home mom juggling home chores, watching the kids and running errands, it can be a struggle to find time to exercise.

If you finally have 30, 15 or even 10 minutes to spare from your busy life to exercise, you may make one or more of the 5 common mistakes that people with minimal time typically make when they workout. Avoid these mistakes and your chances of getting a workout that matters will improve:

1. They bring their cell phones to the gym.

How many times have you walked over to the next exercise machine on your list to find somebody setting there playing with their cell phone? You wait and wait for what seems like an eternity to you. “Hello, aren’t you here to work out?” is what you feel like screaming to that person. The temptation to get on your cellphone during a rest break and to get on your favorite social media app is just too strong. The 30 minutes that you had to workout is now shortened to 15 minutes because you just wasted all that valuable time staring at your cell phone. Here’s a tip: Leave you cell phone in your car or turn it off before entering the gym. This way, you can stay focused and get a more powerful workout in the short time that you have.

2. They get on the treadmill.

The treadmill can be a great exercise tool to burn calories if you have at least 45 minutes or more. But if you are short on time, stay off the treadmill. Instead of running on the treadmill, try bringing your heart rate up by doing HIIT, Tabata or some other type of high-intensity workout. High-intensity workouts are perfect for burning a ton of calories in a short time. Here is the breakdown of calories lost using a treadmill vs. a high-intensity workout:

You can lose anywhere between 230 and 300 calories (depending on your weight, pace, and intensity) while running on the treadmill for 20 minutes.

In a 20-minute HIIT workout, it’s possible to burn up to 500 calories, while at the same time strengthening and toning your body. For an example of a high-intensity workout go to YouTube and do a search for “short high-intensity workouts.

3. They go to the gym.

I have nothing against gyms, but if you’re short on time going to the gym may not be the answer. For example, if you have to drive to the gym, that can be anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes that you will have to subtract from your workout time. Instead, stay at home and do a high-intensity workout using your body weight. You don’t need weights to get a good workout.

4. They don’t have a plan.

Be smart. Have a plan. Get the most out of the little time you have to exercise. For example, if you only have 15 minutes to spare, you can concentrate on your core and cardio. You can start by warming up for 2 minutes, followed by a 9-minute high-intensity core workout that consists of planks and crunches.

Aimee Borda performing a plank. This exercise is great for your core and can be done indoors or outdoors.

Finally, you finish with 4 minutes of running in place or even jumping rope. The thing is not to enter your training session blindfolded. Know beforehand what you are going to be doing.

5. They do not take the time to warm up.

Just because you only have a few minutes to workout, doesn’t mean that there is no need to warm up. Warming up is very crucial, even its’s for two minutes. Exercising without a proper warm-up can lead to injuries such as pulling a muscle or hurting a joint or tendon. The best way to warm-up is to start moving all your joints slowly. You can then stretch your muscles by doing toe touches and side stretches.


Time is scarce, so take advantage of every second of your short workout. Don’t get distracted by getting on your cell phone. If the temptation to get on your cell phone is too much, then leave it in the car or turn it off. If you enjoy listening to music while exercising, then get yourself an iPod or an MP3 player.

Finally, remember to have a plan before beginning your exercise routine.

Follow these steps and you’ll certainly make better use of your workout time. Who knows, once you start seeing significant results in your brief workouts, this may motivate you to find more time to exercise even longer.

If you want to lose 5-10 lbs, exercising less then 30 minutes, then check out my 21 Fitness Challenge.

Finally, I’m proud to announce that this post was originally published in the Huffington Post.

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