Fitness training for busy people

Three fitness programs for busy people

By on March 5, 2015

Zoe Robbins is a circus performer, personal trainer and runs the Circus Fit classes for adults at The Circus Spot. Here she shares three of her favorite styles of fitness training that you can do at home.

It’s already March of 2015 and it feels like the year is flying by! Life is well and truly back to reality and your Christmas break seems like a lifetime away. If you’re a busy person with not enough hours in the day then you should choose a form of exercise that fits with your busy lifestyle. Let me introduce to you the wonders of High Intensive Interval Training (HIIT).

When you think of HIIT, think burning fat, getting stronger and getting fit all rolled into one! HIIT involves short intense bursts of exercise (for instance a sprint) followed by recovery or a less strenuous type exercise (rest or walking). HIIT is time effective, optimal for strength building, endurance and allows the body to keep burning calories after you finish exercising.

As a personal trainer I believe HIIT is sometimes the missing formula to break your plateau or burn that stubborn fat. HIIT comes in many wonderful forms give or take various different timed rest periods etc. However, it all falls into the sweaty, tomato faced, fat burning zone!


Tabata consists of performing an exercise for 20 seconds followed by a 10 second rest for a combined time of 4 minutes (8 rounds). As opposed to a general HIIT workout Tabata has a strict 10-second rest. Use that 10 seconds wisely. If you haven’t broken a sweat after the 4 minutes you did not work hard enough. If you are new to exercise try the beginner style workout below.

TIP: Download ‘Tabata Songs’ off itunes. Then you don’t have to worry about the timer.

For Beginners:   

Exercise Description
Half Squats (20 seconds) Feet hip width apart, abs on, sink bottom back, weight in the heels. Depth=half
Rest (10 seconds)
Inclined Push ups (20 seconds) Hand on a high surface (car bonnet, table), feet on the ground. Abs on. Lower down w/elbows out
Rest (10 seconds)
Crunches (20 seconds) Lying on your back, knees up, slowly crunch up; stop when shoulder blades come off the ground. Repeat.
Rest (10 seconds)
Star jumps (20 seconds) Start with feet together and hands by your side, jump out into a star position and jump back into starting position. Repeat.
Rest (10 seconds)


Circuit training consists of performing a series of different exercises one after the other. Unlike Tabata the time is not structured. However a great template to follow is 5 exercises at 45 seconds with 15 seconds between stations. Circuit training is a really great group workout to do with friends. It is also a great way to target one body part, such as legs or can be used as a full body workout.

TIP: Download “interval timer” app to help with the timing

For moderate to advanced fitness levels:

Exercise Description
Squat Jumps As you come up from the squat engage your core and jump up explosively.
Duck Walks At the bottom on of your squat begin to walk while maintaining a squat position. Arms can be folded or by your side.
Bridge Lying on your back, feet under knees, slowly push up so your bottom is off the ground, while keeping your feet and shoulders on the ground. Go up and down slowly.
Walking Lunges Step forward with one leg, flexing your front knee (90 degrees), dip your hips down and bend both knees. Then push up and step forward with the other leg (back leg).
Wall Sit Against a wall, sit down in an imaginary chair ensuring your feet are under your knees.

AMRAP – ‘As many rounds as possible’

This is a Crossfit inspired style workout and a spin off of a traditional circuit. Instead of being motivated by numbers (REPS) your focus is shifted to time. Basically you are given a series of exercises and you perform these exercises in a circuit fashion as many rounds as possible in a given time limit. A good time to start with is 5 or 6 minutes (increase it went you get fitter). This is an intense one so for your first go take it easy.

TIP: AMRAP can also be used as a fitness test. Try the below workout and in 2 weeks try it again and see if you get through more rounds.

6 minute AMRAP: Repeat 1-2 times.

For moderate fitness level Too Hard? Too easy?
10 x Squats 10 x half squats 10 x squat jumps
10 x Ankle Taps* 10 x half sit ups 8 x V snaps
25 x Skips (skipping rope) 12 x invisible skips 35 x Skips
5 x Burpee* 5 inline push ups 5 x burpee with a push up *

*Ankle Taps: Lying down with knees up, and moving from side to side tap your ankle one at a time with the same hand.

*Burpee: Lower down into a squat position & place your hands on the ground in front of you, jump you legs back into a push up position. Hold for a count of 1-2 seconds and then jump your feet to your hands, jump explosively up to standing and raise your hands over your head.

Burpee with a push up: Perform a push up and the bottom phase of the burpee

All of the above workouts can easily be performed at home or at the gym. Remember to slowly implement HIIT into your current exercise regime, aim for 1-2 times a week and gradually increase.

Golden rules are

  • Listen to your body
  • Fuel it with the healthy stuff so you perform better!
  • Don’t underestimate the power of a rest day. Allow your body to have at least 24-48 hours rest, after performing HIIT workouts, however a 30min walk is ok!
  • Also, don’t forget to warm up and cool down.

Good luck & happy training!

Zoe is a fully qualified personal trainer and has been a circus performer for over 10 years. Zoe currently teaches:
Circus Fit class @ The Circus Spot at 9am Saturday
Cardio Boxing @ Derrimut YMCA at 5.30pm-6pm Thursday
Stretch & Core class @ Derrimut YMCA at 6.05pm-7.05pm Friday

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