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10 Best Exercises To Stay Fit When You're Short on Time

These exercises easily fit into a busy lifestyle.
FACT CHECKED BY Alexa Mellardo

In today's fast-paced world, finding time for an effective workout can be challenging. However, getting and staying fit doesn't always require hours at the gym or lengthy at-home workouts. In fact, short and effective exercises can help you burn fat, build lean muscle, and maintain overall fitness. Here are 10 quick, ultra-effective exercises to stay fit when you're short on time. I always recommend them to clients who are looking to reach their fitness goals while balancing busy schedules.

Incorporating the following time-efficient exercises into your routine can help you stay fit and burn fat even when you have limited time. These exercises can be performed at home or in the gym, depending on what your schedule allows. Remember to maintain proper form, consistency, and a well-balanced diet rich in protein to maximize the benefits of these quick and effective workouts.

Read on to learn my 10 best exercises to stay fit when you're short on time. And when you're finished working up a sweat, be sure to check out People Swear by the '3-2-1' Method for a Slim Waist: 'Changed My Life'.

Jumping Jacks: Cardio Blast for Belly Fat

how to do jumping jacks demonstration

Jumping jacks are a fantastic full-body exercise that elevates your heart rate, making it an excellent choice for burning belly fat and staying in excellent shape.

Stand with your feet together and your arms at your sides. Jump up while spreading your legs and raising your arms overhead. Return to the starting position by jumping again. Aim for three sets of 30 seconds each.

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Burpees: Total-Body Burn

illustration of burpees

Burpees are a high-intensity, full-body workout that engages multiple muscle groups, including your core, making it an efficient fat-burning exercise.

Start in a standing position. Drop into a squat position, and place your hands on the floor. Jump your feet back, landing in a plank position. Perform a pushup. Jump your feet back to the squat position. Explosively jump up from the squat. Aim for three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions.

Mountain Climbers: Core Crusher

mountain climbers

Mountain climbers target the core and are effective in burning belly fat while enhancing cardiovascular endurance.

Begin in a plank position with your arms straight. Bring one knee toward your chest, and then switch legs. Increase speed while maintaining good form. Aim for three sets of 30 seconds each.

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Plank: Core Stability Master

man high plank

The plank is a static exercise that engages your entire core, helping to strengthen and tone your abdominal muscles.

Start in a plank position with your arms straight and your shoulders over your wrists. Keep your body in a straight line from your head to your heels. Hold the position for 30 to 60 seconds. Aim for three sets.

Squat Jumps: Lower-Body and Core Engager

jump squats

Squat jumps combine the benefits of squats with an explosive movement, targeting your lower body and engaging your core for added calorie burn.

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Perform a squat, then explosively jump up. Land softly, and immediately go into the next squat. Aim for three sets of 15 to 20 repetitions.

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High Knees: Elevated Heart Rate and Core Activation

high knees illustration

High knees are a dynamic exercise that elevates your heart rate while engaging your core, making it an effective exercise for burning calories and belly fat.

Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Lift your knees toward your chest alternately in a running motion. Aim for three sets of 30 seconds each.

Pushups: Upper-Body Strength and Core Engagement


Pushups not only build upper-body strength but also engage your core, providing a comprehensive workout to stay ultra-fit.

Start in a plank position with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Lower your body by bending your elbows. Push back up to the starting position. Aim for three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions.

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Lunges: Leg Toner with Core Activation

front lunge exercise

Lunges target your leg muscles while engaging your core for stability, making them an efficient exercise for overall fitness and fat burning.

Stand with your feet together. Take a step forward with one foot, and lower your body until both knees are bent. Push back to the starting position. Repeat on the other leg. Aim for three sets of 12 to 15 lunges per leg.

Russian Twists: Oblique Burner

illustration of how to do the russian twist core-strengthening exercise

Russian twists target the obliques, helping to trim your waistline and enhance core strength.

Sit on the floor with your knees bent, and lean back slightly. Rotate your torso to one side, touching the floor with your hands. Repeat on the other side. Aim for three sets of 20 twists (10 per side).

Plank to Tuck Jump: Intense Core and Cardio Combo

tuck jumps

These exercises to stay fit when you're short on time wrap up with planks to tuck jumps. Combining the static plank with an explosive tuck jump, this exercise provides an intense workout for your core and cardiovascular system.

Start in a plank position. Jump your feet toward your hands, landing in a squat position. Explosively jump up, bringing your knees toward your chest. Return to the plank position, and repeat. Aim for three sets of 10 to 12 repetitions.

Tyler Read, BSc, CPT
Tyler Read is a personal trainer and has been involved in health and fitness for the past 15 years. Read more about Tyler
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