Get Fit In 30 Minutes or Less

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Articles, Fitness


So you can make it to the gym almost every day…but you just don't have the time when you're there. To really get optimum fat-burning and lean-muscle results, you have to devote at least an hour every time you show up, right? Not necessarily – with the following program, you can achieve great results with just a half-hour workout.

This program is designed for the individual who can easily devote 30 minutes a day to exercise – no more, no less. The goal of this workout program is a lean body with muscular tone.

The workout is based on a recovery concept. Your body actually responds to a workout during the rest and recovery period following exercise. It is during this time that the muscle rebuilding and repairing response takes place, as well as the cardiovascular adaptations that boost the metabolism and allow your body to more efficiently use oxygen and maintain fitness. By using a push-pull cycle combined with a light-heavy pattern, this workout allows for optimal recovery and maximum results.

Each lifting day is completed as a circuit, moving from one exercise to the next with minimal rest. Every circuit is completed a total of five times. Five sets, which may seem high for volume, will fatigue the muscle to a much greater extent than fewer sets, which is one of the reasons this routine achieves results with a relatively small number of exercises. To allow for good lifting form, a 45-60 second rest is recommended after each circuit. Your heart rate will stay very high during this routine.

For the cardio on lifting days, attempt to maintain as difficult an effort as possible for 10 minutes. Several examples would be a hard run on the treadmill, sprint or hill climb on the bike, or fast feet combined with high resistance on the elliptical trainer. On the days that incorporate 30 minutes of high intensity cardio intervals, use a 1:2 work/rest ratio, which means you push at a very hard effort for a certain period of time, then recover at an easier effort for half the time of the hard effort. For instance, perform a treadmill sprint for 2 minutes, and slow to a jog for 1 minute. As long as you go for 30 minutes, you may adjust the length of your cardio intervals as desired. Typically, the longest interval you should complete is 5 minutes long (which would be paired with a 2.5 minute recovery effort). Warm-up/cool-down is recommended, but not completely necessary.

For the purposes of this workout, the core abdominal routine is treated as an entirely different movement, since it is difficult to classify torso work as pushing or pulling. Instead, abdominal work is divided into upper, lower, and rotational torso routines, retained the 5 set theme and spaced with optimal 48 hour recovery periods between each workout.

The entire program is completely outlined here – remember to complete 5x circuits for each lifting day. You can see exercise demonstrations at

Day 1 – Heavy Pull + Upper Abs: (begin with 10 minutes high intensity cardio)

Barbell Clean or Bent Row – 8 reps heavy weight

Pull-Up – 8 reps heavy weight

Barbell Deadlift – 8 reps heavy weight

Upper Abs – 5 sets incline crunch with medicine ball

Day 2 – Light Push: (begin with 10 minutes high intensity cardio)

Dumbbell Chest Press – 10 reps medium weight

Dumbbell Shoulder Press – 10 reps medium weight

Barbell Back Squat – 10 reps medium weight

Day 3 – 30 High Intensity Cardio Intervals with 1:2 work/rest ratio

Lower Abs – 5 sets hanging leg raises

Day 4 – Heavy Push: (begin with 10 minutes high intensity cardio)

Incline Chest Press – 8 reps heavy weight

Barbell Push Press – 8 reps heavy weight

Dumbbell Walking Lunge – 8 reps each leg heavy weight

Day 5 – Light Pull: (begin with 10 minutes high intensity cardio)

Lat Pulldowns or Light Pull-ups – 10 reps medium weight

Seated Row or Standing Narrow Grip Row – 10 reps medium weight

Low Back Extensions or Leg Curls – 10 reps medium weight

Rotational Abs – 5 sets cable torso twist to each side

Day 6 – 30 High Intensity Cardio Intervals with 1:2 work/rest ratio

Day 7 – Rest or 30 Cardio with 1:2 work/rest ratio

Like any new exercise routine, your body will adapt to a different workout within 4-8 weeks, so make sure to continually change your choice of exercises, and do not simply rely on the exercises provided in this article. If you try the workout, or you have questions about the workout, simply leave your comments below.

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8 thoughts on “Get Fit In 30 Minutes or Less

  1. Roddy49 says:

    I realise this is a pretty old post but I have a few questions as it would suit my schedule.
    1. Is this ok to do as someone who is just getting back into fitness? Been quite fit in the past but not for quite a few years.
    2. How many reps for the Ab work?
    3. I play hockey on a saturday, would this replace my day 6 and 6 workout?
    4. How would you define 'heavy weight'?

    1. 1. Yes
      2. 10-15
      3. Yes, hockey would work for that
      4. You need to be as muscle failure by end of set.

  2. Mike says:

    Ben, I missed out on your special Birthday podacast. I've been searching and I know it was early December. Is this it, or was it not archived?

    Great content, always!


    1. it will be released very soon…stay tuned!

  3. mike says:

    what can I use in place of a pull ups and the incline crunch?

    spent more time trying to figure out what these exercises are. And I dont think all of them are on pacific fit.

    1. Mike you can use rows or pulldowns instead of pull-ups, and you can use front planks or side planks instead of crunches. Another good place for exercise videos is

  4. Paul says:

    When you say "On the days that incorporate 30 minutes of high intensity cardio intervals, use a 1:2 work/rest ratio" based upon your example of a 2 minute spring and a 1 minute recovery don't you mean a 2:1 work ratio?

    1. Oops! I need to get me a freakin' editor! Yes, 2:1, YOU ARE correct Paul.

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