Working Girl Does: Top Workouts Under 30 Minutes

WorkoutHeader by Rebecca Gelbart 

If there’s one thing I love about my day, it’s my “me” time. Ideally, that would be at least an hour each day, but in reality, it’s more like 30 minutes. I also try to break a sweat at least once a day, and often working out overlaps into my “me” time. If you’ve struggled with the balance as I have, quick workouts are essential! Here are my top five 30-minute workouts, intended to produce results and combine exercise with guilt-free “me” time.

Spinning As one of the most intense, time-efficient calorie burners, spinning is a relatively low-skill exercise that requires minimal equipment. Most gyms are equipped with stationary bikes and boutique spin gyms have popped up all over the country. For a more personal workout, you can customize a solo ride with an awesome playlist suited to your mood and goal for the day!


If you go that route, be sure to include songs that challenge your pace and mentally shift your workout to different speeds and levels. For example, here are a few songs from my recent playlist:

  • “Wake Me Up” by Avicii. The most literal way to wake up and amp up for your workout!
  • “Try” by Pink. Throw this into your rotation in the beginning, when you maybe aren’t that psyched to climb hills just yet. Increase your speed and torque during the chorus.
  • “Chase Us Around” by Viceroy featuring Madi Diaz. A light, carefree song; scale the level down on your bike and it will feel like you’re spinning on the beach.
  • “Lovesick” by Lindstrom & Christabelle. The perfect climb song for all levels.

• Sitcoms and Sit Ups Choose your favorite 30 minute sitcom and dedicate your half hour sit up routine entirely to it. How often have you sat on the couch after work, mindlessly entertained, and equally baffled when you realize your night has flown by? Utilize your time to mentally unwind and physically tone, all the while prepping for a good night’s sleep. A common misconception is that working out before bed will result in a sleepless night, as your heart rate and energy have both increased, but in actuality, working out any time of day promotes deeper sleep overall.

• Circuit training Based around a set number of “stations,” circuit training is praised for its turbocharged regime and variety of activities constrained in a designated time allotment. A combination of cardio and strength training, circuit training can be customized for individual goals. A good rule of thumb when planning yours is to assign five “stations” with six relevant, one-minute exercises, which adds up to a 30 minute workout. For example, you may choose the upper body as one station, the lower body as another, abs as one, sprint as another, etc.

At the upper body station, your workout could include the following (each lasting for one minute): shoulder presses, bent-over rows, standing dumbbell curls, triceps dips, push-ups, and Russian ab twists.

For the sprint station, some ideas of circuits are running, rowing, and cycling. Make sure to have a reliable watch with you for circuit training, and maybe a friend, as this routine is highly motivating when you have a buddy to complete it with.

• Tread lightly Unless your apartment is large enough to hold a treadmill comfortably (and your walls thick enough to conceal the heavy pace of running), save your cardio for the gym or outdoors. Apartment space can still be effective for strength training and stretching when you’re prepared with the proper equipment. Invest in a yoga mat, some free weights, and a medicine ball, and you can create your own little studio. If you have room, allocate an area for your workout equipment: the more visible it is, the more likely you are to use it. For more inspiration, celebrity trainer Tracey Anderson has fine-tuned the at-home workout: Follow her instruction with her self-titled Mat Workout DVD.


• Shop Yes, you read that correctly! Shopping (and not the online variety) can be exhausting, depending on how long you shop for. After a successful week of completing the other 30 minute workouts I have outlined, feel free to treat yourself to something you desire. Even better if you use the time to explore your local Farmer’s Market for your upcoming week’s grocery items. Shop, plan, save, and shed pounds simultaneously.

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About the Author: Rebecca Gelbart is a writer based in San Diego, California and a regular contributor to the PerSei Apartments blog. She has a BA degree in Journalism and loves communicating and connecting with others through reading and writing. She tutors in an adult literacy program, helping adults with their study of the English language. Rebecca is interested in home decor and interior design, having worked at shelter magazines such as Domino and This Old House. She has been published in Orange Coast, Parenting Orange County and Too Shy To Stop, an online arts and culture magazine.