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Adding things to do to your daily list doesn't seem helpful. And many of us struggle finding a few minutes to ourselves. So when are we supposed to exercise? This article will show a way to squeeze some exercise into the busiest of days.

The trouble with getting in shape is that it takes time, and basically no-one has any time. Spare time is like spare money: we’ve all heard of it, but no-one’s ever seen it. As lifestyles get busier, finding time to use gyms becomes less and less of a possibility. So how can you lose weight, get in shape or gain muscle, when you don’t have time to do it?

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The answer is to add it to your routine in small amounts on a daily basis. Notice, I’m not saying this is how to get the best possible results: but if you want something simple that works, here it is.

For instance, let’s say you struggle to find 20 minutes a day to exercise. Most of us can empathize, even if we’re not in that situation ourselves. But, can you find five minutes before you take a shower? Five minutes before you brush your teeth at night? Five minutes out of your lunch break? Five minutes after dinner? That’s 20 minutes, and it’s slipped into your normal day.

The key lies in choosing exercises that are effective across a range of training periods and intensities. I’m going to recommend using ones I like that require minimal equipment, but obviously you should feel free to substitute your own. The exercises we’re going to use are pushups, pullups, Turkish roll-ups, squats and one-leg deadlifts, and jumps. As general advice, if you don’t have a pullup bar, I strongly urge you to get one and put it somewhere where you’ll walk past it often, like the bathroom door (just make sure it’s above head height!).

Rather than being a program that calls for sets and reps, cycles and peaks, I’m trying to create a program here that someone who doesn’t exercise can use to start exercising. But the ideas in it can work for people who are already fit and strong during periods when they’re rushed off their feet. It isn’t as good as serious training to a good standard in a good facility and I’m not saying it is. But it is 100% better than nothing and you’d be surprised the difference those four short, five-minute sessions can make through the day.

Let’s divide those five minutes up. If your pullup bar is at home, you have to do pullups there. And Turkish roll-ups require you to lie down on the floor, so you should do those at home too. So here’s the program.

The Program

First Session: before showering in the morning

1 minute pullups

1 minute pushups

1 minute Turkish rollups

1 minute squats

1 minute jumps

Second Session: lunch break

1 minute squats

1 minute single-leg deadlift

1 minute jumps

1 minute pushups

1 minute squats

Third Session: after dinner

1 minute pullups

1 minute pushups

1 minute single-leg deadlift

1 minute squats

1 minute Turkish rollups

Fourth Session: later in the evening

1 minute pullups

1 minute pushups

1 minute Turkish rollups

1 minute single-leg deadlift

1 minute squats

The 1-Minute Method

The 1-minute rule is pretty simple: you do as many of an exercise as you can without stopping or getting sloppy in a minute, then rest the remainder of the time. So if you can do 10 pushups in 30 seconds and no more, you can get 30 seconds’ rest. If you can do 15 in 45 seconds you get 15 seconds’ rest. Again, this isn’t as good as having timed allocated sets with predetermined tempos and rest periods. But it does allow you to organize your training simply: all you need is something with a second hand or a stopwatch on your phone or watch. And the minute rule has another beneficial side effect too: the faster you work, the more rest you get.  If you do all the pushups you can do in 1 minute, you get no rest. Do them all in 30 seconds, you get a half a minute’s rest. Working faster is better for your muscles and cardiovascular system, so it’s to be preferred wherever we can do it.

Now I’d like to go over the exercises.

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