Page 1
Beauty Style Fitness Wellness Living #RealTalk #EmbraceYourAge
Stay up to date

Get on the List

Unlock our weekly newsletter packed with tips on living authentically, healthfully, and stylishly at every age.Get on the List: The best beauty, fashion, wellness and fitness tips straight to your inbox

How to Make the Most of a 20-Minute Workout

It’s a myth that you have to be in the gym for at least an hour in order to achieve results. The truth is that a 20-minute workout can be just as effective as an hourlong sweat session. In fact, a study from the University of Stirling in Scotland found that a quick HIIT workout can be even more effective than a longer, less intense one.

“Twenty minutes is absolutely long enough to fit in a great workout and rev up your heart rate and metabolism,” says Lisa Niren, trainer at Cyclebar and City Row in New York City. “However, short workouts are effective only if they are high intensity.”

To help you get the most from a 20-minute workout, we asked expert trainers for tips on maximizing gym time.

1. Up the intensity. 

“High-intensity workouts with strength and cardio elements scorch more calories and burn more fat than just cardio or strength training alone, because of the nature of the quick transition time between the two,” Niren says. “You’re never fully letting your heart rate recover, and you’ll get the excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, or EPOC, which is the afterburn effect that can last 24 to 48 hours post-workout, if you work hard enough.”

make the most of a 20 minute workout - women over 50

2. Make every second count.

“Limit rest times to 30-60 seconds,” suggests Nikki Warren, co-CEO and founder of KaiaFIT. “Use a stopwatch or your phone’s timer to ensure you aren’t wasting any time!”

3. Warm up and cool down properly.

Warm up and cool down regardless of time restraints, so that you lower the risk of injury. “In order to work out efficiently and intensely, it is important to prime your body for your workout and help it recover correctly,” says Niren. “Begin your workout with light stretching: hip openers, walkouts, squats, mountain climbers, jumping jacks, high knees, or jogging. End your workout with several stretches to ensure recovery.”

4. Focus on active recovery between reps or sets.

“Try doing jumping jacks or high knees in place when transitioning from one exercise to the next,” says Warren. This will keep your heart rate up. “If you need a more low-impact recovery or just need to catch your breath, do a quick warrior pose to balance your body and help focus your mind.”

5. Perform compound movements.

“If you are planning on just doing squats or lunges, make the most of your time and perform a thruster (a squat to overhead press) or a sumo squat with an upright row, or do a lunge with a bicep curl,” Niren says. “Compound movements work multiple muscle groups at the same time. Keep in mind you don’t need to use a weight that is very heavy; a moderate weight choice will work.”

make the most of a 20 minute workout - women over 50

6. Don’t eat a lot beforehand. 

If your goal is an effective 20-minute workout, it is extra important that you not bog yourself down with too much food. “If you are starving, have something light and packed with carbohydrates, like a banana, which I like to call nature’s power bar,” says Niren. “It doesn’t weigh you down but will give you energy to workout effectively and safely.” Do not forget to hydrate before and after your workout, too.

7. Get competitive with yourself and set goals before you start.

“For instance, try to reach a certain distance during an outdoor or treadmill run,” Warren says, “or aim to hit a specific set of repetitions within a 30- or 60-second time frame.” Setting an intention will help you keep your eye on the prize.

Want to tone and tighten your arms and more? Download the best exercises for women over 50.

Photos: Ryan J. Lane

You Might Also Like

How to Get Started With Exercise at 75
Fitness

How to Get Started With Exercise at 75

When you hit your mid-70s, you may feel like your daily routine...

read
7 Reasons to Embrace Cardio
Fitness

7 Reasons to Embrace Cardio

Cardio is any form of exercise that raises your pulse and conditions...

read
Women Who Inspire: Chef Babette Davis
Living

Women Who Inspire: Chef Babette Davis

It’s often said that behind every great man is a great woman,...

read
Fall’s Coziest Workout Gear
Fitness

Fall’s Coziest Workout Gear

Keep calm and exercise on in fall’s coziest workout gear. Whether a...

read
You’re Not Too Old For ... Strength Training With Dumbbells
Fitness

You’re Not Too Old For ... Strength Training With Dumbbells

In our ongoing video series with trainer Julie Diamond, we focus on...

read
Learn to Embrace Active Recovery Days
Fitness

Learn to Embrace Active Recovery Days

In today’s “go big or go home” mentality, it is easy to...

read
5 Hormone-Balancing Foods
Wellness

5 Hormone-Balancing Foods

Are your hormones out of whack? Often the best place to start...

read
The Science-Based Solution for Aging Hair
Beauty

The Science-Based Solution for Aging Hair

There’s no question that our hair changes as we get older. It...

read
37 Symptoms of Hormone Imbalance
Wellness

37 Symptoms of Hormone Imbalance

Hormones play an enormous role in how we look, think, and feel....

read
6 Questions With... Skin Care Pioneer Jane Iredale
Beauty

6 Questions With... Skin Care Pioneer Jane Iredale

Jane Iredale began Jane Iredale Mineral Cosmetics in New York in 1994. As a...

read
Problem/Solution: Aging Teeth and Receding Gums
Beauty

Problem/Solution: Aging Teeth and Receding Gums

If your teeth are more dingy yellow than pearly white or you’ve...

read
Is Self-Love Overrated?
#RealTalk

Is Self-Love Overrated?

I’ve twice been told I have extraordinary arms. The first was in...

read
Office Hours: How Do I Work With a Boss Half My Age?
Living

Office Hours: How Do I Work With a Boss Half My Age?

Welcome to Office Hours, where each month, a Fairygodboss expert answers a question...

read
Eat This Now: Vegan Cornbread Dressing
Wellness

Eat This Now: Vegan Cornbread Dressing

We not only try to eat healthy, we try to be kind...

read
Beauty Buzzwords: Squalane
Beauty

Beauty Buzzwords: Squalane

Though oils are not new to the beauty counter, there is still...

read
What to Do When Your Vagina Dries Up
Wellness

What to Do When Your Vagina Dries Up

Aging skin needs nourishing. That’s not news. But when it comes to...

read
7 Water-Gel Moisturizers for Troubled Skin
Beauty

7 Water-Gel Moisturizers for Troubled Skin

Combination skin that doesn’t take kindly to rich, thick creams doesn’t change...

read
6 Natural Remedies for Sinus Pain
Wellness

6 Natural Remedies for Sinus Pain

We’re all familiar with the typical triage of cold and flu symptoms:...

read
Organic: Yay or Nay?
Wellness

Organic: Yay or Nay?

From food to beauty products, labels can be so confusing. Aren’t the...

read
Need to Know: Thyroid Health
Wellness

Need to Know: Thyroid Health

One of my patients recently summed up her experience succinctly: “I’m just...

read
‘Garden & Gun’ Showcases Strong Women Across Generations
Living

‘Garden & Gun’ Showcases Strong Women Across Generations

Unless you’re a subscriber of the publication Garden & Gun, you may...

read
WTF Is a #CuratedLife?
#RealTalk

WTF Is a #CuratedLife?

I have been working to figure out social media. God, is it...

read
Castor Oil: Your New Favorite Beauty Trick
Beauty

Castor Oil: Your New Favorite Beauty Trick

Move over, coconut oil, there’s a new sheriff in town. An elixir for...

read
Tasty Fiber-Full Foods for Weight Loss
Wellness

Tasty Fiber-Full Foods for Weight Loss

Clinical evidence shows that fiber-full foods keep you feeling fuller longer with...

read
Get Glowing With 8 Highlighters We Love
Beauty

Get Glowing With 8 Highlighters We Love

The solution to chronic fatigue requires a holistic deep dive into your...

read
Eat This Now: Overnight Pumpkin Oatmeal
Wellness

Eat This Now: Overnight Pumpkin Oatmeal

We at The Fine Line eat lots of oatmeal. Especially in the...

read
Women Who Inspire: BRU Bone Broth Founder Soo-Ah Landa
Living

Women Who Inspire: BRU Bone Broth Founder Soo-Ah Landa

Some might say bone broth is having a moment, but don’t tell...

read
‘Gilmore Girls’ and Me
#RealTalk

‘Gilmore Girls’ and Me

The seven-season series Gilmore Girls and its four afterglow episodes, A Year in the Life,...

read
6 Good Reasons to Eat More Fiber
Wellness

6 Good Reasons to Eat More Fiber

Fiber is the indigestible part of a carbohydrate that packs a powerful...

read
Give Yourself a Gray Hair Makeover
Beauty

Give Yourself a Gray Hair Makeover

As your hair’s pigment seemingly evaporates into thin air, you might notice...

read
Load More
share
To Top