What if being “too busy” to workout was no longer an excuse? In the time it takes you to watch your favorite sitcom or get a manicure, you could be on your way to squeezing in a workout. Simply by committing to undertake 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise every single day, you can take steps toward enjoying a more active lifestyle that improves your levels of self-esteem, happiness and physical energy.

“Get in, get fit, get out,” explained Jay Kaplan, creator of Timed Exercise, in Jacksonville. “These short, intense workouts provide improved athletic capacity and condition, improved glucose metabolism, resting metabolism and improved fat burning.”

The magic number became 30 after several studies proved that short, but intense, workouts are more effective than traditional long aerobic workouts. Shorter workouts lead to people wanting to be more physically active throughout the day.

“It’s really about packing volume and quality of movements into a short period of time,” Kaplan said.


To maximize the benefits, your 30-minute workout should consist of both resistance training and cardiovascular training. Full-body workouts prevent overtraining muscle groups and increase the body’s ability to recover in a short amount of time.

Weight loss is the focus of many people who choose to work out. Despite some people’s disbelief, short and high-intensity workouts burn more calories per minute.

Doing something active every day is good for your health regardless of what you choose to do. The key is to find something that interests you and brings you happiness. When you do something you enjoy, you see better results.


Working out doesn’t have to involve the gym. That is the beauty of the 30-minute workout — it can happen anywhere. The point is to get off the couch and try doing something different.

“No workout program is right for every person. Try different things and figure out what speaks to you. We spend so much time chasing our careers, relationships and the all mighty dollar that we forget that our health is the most important thing we can invest in. Get active,” explained Kaplan.

When thinking of the magic number, “Thirty, flirty and thriving,” comes to mind, a line by Jennifer Garner in the movie, “13 going on 30.”

By simply being active for 30 minutes, a flirtatious body and thriving confidence will follow.


Do this 10-minute circuit three times in a row for a taste of what a 30-minute workout consists of:

Jump Rope Drill

  • Time: 1 minute, 30 seconds
  • Works: Thighs, calves, shoulders and back, plus cardio.

Stand with your legs slightly bent, your arms bent, and your hands out to your sides. Begin jumping, leaving only a few inches between your feet and the floor as you hop. At the same time, rotate your shoulders and arms as if you are jumping rope without the rope. Continue for 1 minute and 30 seconds, then move directly to Squats.


  • Time: 2 minutes
  • Works: Butt and thighs

Stand with your feet hip-width apart and arms at your sides. Keeping your back straight, squat down by bending both your knees and dropping your hips as if you are sitting on a chair; keep your weight directly over your heels. Bend your legs to about 90 degrees, then slowly return to starting position. Repeat for 2 minutes; move directly to Lunges.


  • Time: 1 minute
  • Works: Butt, thighs and hips

Stand with your feet together and your hands on your hips. Step forward about 3 feet with your left foot, keeping your left knee slightly bent. Balancing on the ball of your right foot and with your shoulders lined up over your hips, bend both knees to lower your body until both your legs are at about 90-degree angles. Return to starting position. Repeat for 30 seconds with your left leg, then do 30 seconds with your right leg, then move directly to Vertical Leg Crunches.

Vertical Leg Crunches

  • Time: 30 seconds
  • Works: Abs

Lie on your back with your legs and arms straight. Keep your legs together, and lift your heels toward the ceiling until your feet are directly above your hips. Raise your arms and point your fingers toward your toes. Tighten your ab muscles, and lift your upper body until your fingers come close to touching your toes; lower your upper body to complete 1 rep. Do as many reps as you can in 30 seconds, then move directly to the Box-and-Reach Drill.

Box-and-Reach Drill

  • Time: 30 seconds
  • Works: Obliques

Begin in Vertical Leg Crunches’ starting position. Tighten abs, and reach over outside of right thigh with both arms. Return to center, then reach over outside of left thigh with both arms; repeat entire move, doing as many reps as you can in 30 seconds. Go directly to Flutter Kicks.

Flutter Kicks

  • Time: 1 minute
  • Works: Abs and hips

Begin in Box-and-Reach Drill starting position; lower legs until they’re about 1 foot above the mat and lower arms until they’re flat on the mat with palms facing down. Keep back flat on the mat and support sides of your body with arms as you move both legs simultaneously up and down in opposite directions (when one is up, the other is down); continue for 1 minute. Go directly to Modified Lower-Back Bends.

Modified Lower Back-Bends

  • Time: 30 seconds
  • Works: Lower back and butt

Lie on your stomach with legs straight, feet shoulder-width apart, and the tops of your feet touching the mat. Your arms should be bent at the elbows, hands slightly higher than your shoulders, and palms on the mat. Flex your butt and lower back, and slowly raise your legs and arms about 6 inches off the mat; return to starting position and repeat. Continue doing the move for 30 seconds, then move directly to Push-Ups.

Push Ups

  • Time: 30 seconds
  • Works: Chest, arms, back and abs

Get in traditional push-up position, with your feet a few inches apart, your arms straight, and your hands near your shoulders (it’s OK to start on your knees until you get stronger). Your body should form a straight line from your head to your heels. Keep your abs tight and drop your body straight down by bending both arms. Return to starting position and repeat as many times as you can in 30 seconds; move directly to Dive Bomber Push-Ups.

Dive-Bomber Push-ups

  • Time: 30 seconds
  • Works: Chest, arms, back and abs

Begin in Push-Ups’ starting position, then widen your feet about 1 1/2 feet and point your butt toward the ceiling. Lower your body to the floor slowly by bending your arms and slightly dragging your chest across the mat. Press your body upward until your arms are straight and your lower back is arched backward. Reverse the move to return to butt-in-the-air position. Continue the move for 30 seconds, then move directly to Classic Jumping Jacks.

Classic Jumping Jacks

  • Time: 2 minutes
  • Works: hips, thighs and butt, plus cardio

Stand with your legs together and your arms down at your sides. Keeping your arms and legs straight, separate your legs about 3 feet and raise your hands above your head in one jumping motion. Return to starting position in one motion and repeat the move for 2 minutes. Return to the beginning of Your Healthy-Weight Workout Plan, and repeat the entire circuit twice.