With hectic schedules, it can be hard to find the time to get in an hour-long workout at the gym. Sometimes it can be tempting to skip your workout altogether if you don’t feel like you’ll get results with less time. The good news is that researchers from McMaster University found that short periods of intense exercise can produce similar results to traditional longer workouts.

The keys to getting the most out of your quick workout are to be efficient and keep it simple but make sure you have a plan to maximize your time.

If you’re strength training, 30 minutes is all the time you need to work all of your big muscle groups (legs, chest and back). Exhaust your muscles with a circuit of lighter weights and high reps to burn fat and gain muscle and endurance.

Choose your own adventure and pick from these exercises to work out your big muscle groups:

Legs – squats, lunges, and deadlifts

Chest – bench press, seated machine chest press and incline dumbbell press

Back – deadlifts, lat pulldown and barbell row

Don’t forget to warm up before lifting and stretch afterwards.

Thirty minutes of cardio is a perfect amount of time to get your heart rate pumping and improve your aerobic fitness. If you’re doing cardio, use a spin bike or elliptical machine or try sets of:

    • Burpees
    • Mountain climbers
    • Squat jumps/jumping jacks
    • High knees
    • Butt kicks
    • Jog in place
    • Sit ups
    • Planks/hover

An effective workout doesn’t depend on quantity of time, it depends on the quality of the workout. When pressed for time, remember that doing something is better than doing nothing and if you plan it correctly, you can have the same results as you would from a long workout.