20 workouts, 20 minutes or less

Hi friends 🙂 Happy Friday! No post last night. Oliv has been teething this week, and writing something in my zombie state would not do this blog any favors 😉 I’m so happy to hear you liked the Caroline and Bella video. They’ve become fast friends: chasing each other, taking naps together and even sharing food. This is HUGE for Miss Bell, as she shares food with no one. I guess she likes her new sister <3 Caro also learned last night that when we get chicken, she also gets chicken. 


The Pilot grilled up some chicken breasts with our favorite Rufus Teague seasoning. It was sent to us by OpenSky a long time ago, by mistake (it was supposed to be sent to another blogger), but they told us to keep it anyway. Since then, we’ve continued to order it. It’s spicy, sweet and flavors the chicken perfectly every time.

To go along with it, I chopped some tomatoes and cucumber, topped with a little balsamic,

Dinner  1 of 1

and made some garlicky breakfast potatoes. I’ve been craving them big time, and was so happy to see red potatoes in our farm box this week. 

I just boiled the taters until tender, then cooked on medium with lots of garlic, butter, salt, pepper and olive oil, until browned and crispy on the outside. I’ve learned that the key is keeping the potatoes in one spot until they’re browed, then flipping. I used to just stir them around the entire time and they’d end up a soggy but delicious mess. 

The meal really had no rhyme or reason to it -just random things from the fridge- but it was everything I could wish for. There’s even some leftover potatoes for my breakfast burrito this morning 😉

Hot chocolate and Knocked Up for dessert:

Cocoa Yesterday, I got in a 20-minute weight session after work. I really wasn’t in the mood, but convinced myself to get in a little strength training, since I’ve been lucky to get in one day each week. I love lifting weights -it makes me feel strong, it’s a great way to measure improvements over time, and I notice physical benefits from it fairly quickly- but it hasn’t been a huge part of my workout schedule for quite a while. I always put it on my weekly schedule, but time and energy are both fleeting, so I just do what I can.

Here’s what yesterday’s quickie looked like:

1) Alternating V-rope pullbacks and tricep extensions

2) 5-minute EMOM (Every minute on the minute) 5 bear complex

3) Bicep curls (3 sets of 10- heavy)

4) Weighted squats (3 sets of 12- moderate)

I was already warmed up from teaching Zumba, so I just went through each exercise quickly and felt like a million bucks when I was finished. Way better than trying to drag myself out of the house last night (which wouldn’t have happened), especially since it was cold and raining.

I thought it would be fun to put together a little list of my favorite 20-minute workout options, since I know many of us are trying to fit in short and effective workouts this holiday season.

20 workouts

1. Any ZWOW workout

2. Mix-and-match Tabata workouts

3. November Knockout Workout

4. Holiday HIIT 

5. Blogilates Food Baby workout

6. PBF 20-minute elliptical workout

7. Funfetti Workout Blitz (3 rounds for time)

8. 2 components from this Triple Threat cardio workout

9. 15-minute jump rope workout

10. 20 minutes of HIIT training or jump rope intervals (I love -love to hate- 15 seconds on, 15 seconds off)

11. Core strength elliptical workout

12. Lovely leg burner

13. Jillian Michaels’ 20 minute workout

14. 20-minute yoga download podcast

15. TurboFire 20 Minute HIIT DVD

16. 15 At-home workout options (15, 20 or 30 minutes)

17. Hilly interval run

18. TMT circuit

19. INSANITY Fast & Furious DVD

20. 20 minute a day plan

How to get the most out of your holiday workouts:

-Go in with a plan! Write something down or have it ready to go on your phone. Chances are that you won’t need a backup plan since it’s a slower gym season. Come January, though: watch out!

-Don’t stop moving. Don’t waste time messing with your hair, filling up your water bottle, or checking emails in between sets. Focus on making the most out of the short amount of time you’re there. Go for circuit-style workouts or adding cardio blasts in between sets.

-Work out while you’re out. It’s so much harder (for me, at least) to get my mojo going once I’m home and in jammies. 

-Think about how good you’ll feel when it’s over, even if it’s just a small amount of time.

Race photo

(a race pic from Sunday!)

What are your tips for quick workouts? Any faves to share? Feel free to link away 🙂
Have a very happy Friday <3



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  1. Jamie on December 14, 2012 at 11:14 am

    Hey Gina,

    Your video yesterday was so cute! Bell sure is a ball of energy! We can’t have my dog in our apartment (he’s too chubby…well loved) and I miss having a dog so much!

    I was wondering what kind of plan you would recommend for a newbie. I’m constantly trying to just go all out, then I get so sore that I can’t do anything for days, and then I just fall off the wagon. I know I need to start smaller, but I’m struggling with putting together a plan/schedule that is a good balance of strength, cardio, and flexibility, while gradually building up the days and intensity so I’m not cursing myself after a few days. I don’t have kids, so time isn’t too much of an issue for me. I would love your thoughts!

    • Fitnessista on December 14, 2012 at 11:53 am

      hey girl!
      do you have a gym membership, or are you looking for at-home options?

      • Jamie on December 14, 2012 at 12:13 pm

        There is a small gym in my apartment complex. It doesn’t have any weight machines or offer any classes, but it does have a treadmill, elliptical, bike, and a set of weights. I also have resistance bands.

        • Fitnessista on December 14, 2012 at 12:21 pm

          check out this one:
          for cardio, try alternating days of easy, hills and hiit (30 seconds hard, 30 seconds easy for 15-20 minutes)
          make sure to take 1 off day and 1 flexibility day too 🙂

          • Jamie on December 14, 2012 at 12:28 pm

            Thanks so much! I really appreciate it!

  2. Sarah @ Yogi in Action on December 14, 2012 at 11:14 am

    That meal looks delicious! I love days when you manage to pull things out of the fridge and make it into a delicious meal.

    I also love the idea of 20 minute workouts- I often tell myself that I don’t have enough time to workout, but I always have 20 minutes! I also like to do yoga/sit ups/push ups when I watch TV, that way I’m relaxing and getting a workout in.

  3. glidingcalm on December 14, 2012 at 11:22 am

    thanks so much! I have recently gotten really into workout videos! They help me change it up and stay motivated! Plus, I can search for one that is 10, 20, 30, etc. minutes along…. whatever I feel like doing that day. Or I can mix and match.

    I appreciate the list!

  4. Erin @ Girl Gone Veggie on December 14, 2012 at 11:33 am

    Omg I love Caroline so much. I know that’s not the point of the post, but she’s so adorable and I’m so happy how after the hard life she had she’s getting to be spoiled and pampered.

  5. Abby @ Change of Pace on December 14, 2012 at 11:34 am

    Your potatoes sound delicious!
    I love this link up- perfect for this time of year when there’s less time to squeeze in a good workout.
    I always work my core in between weight sets so I don’t stop. It’s a sure way to not skip core either, as if I leave it until the end I usually don’t feel like doing it!
    Happy Friday.

  6. Katie@ skinnyminniemoves on December 14, 2012 at 11:39 am

    I like interval cardio workouts. Burpees, jumping squats, high knees. It’s a quick calorie burner!

  7. Anna @ The Guiltless Life on December 14, 2012 at 11:42 am

    Yes thank you! for these workouts. The Christmas season is so crazy, quick and effective is the name of the game when it comes to my workouts! Thanks.

  8. beth @ a latte inspiration on December 14, 2012 at 11:51 am

    Bookmarking this! Thanks for all of the great ideas G!

  9. Rachel@Running Daze on December 14, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    Love the 20 min workout list! I’m going to save this for future reference. have a great weekend!

  10. Abby on December 14, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    Love this! I’ll definitely be saving this for when we go out of town over Christmas! I can totally fit in a 20 minute workout before the family gets up

  11. Meg on December 14, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    I love this post! 🙂 Thank you for all of the links 🙂 It’s always great to share workouts! I always love when you post your tabata routines!! xo

    I included you in today’s High Five Friday for your half marathon 🙂 congrats girl <3

    • Fitnessista on December 14, 2012 at 12:58 pm

      thank you so much for including me 🙂

  12. Kerry @ Totes My Oats on December 14, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    Love that Caroline and Bella are getting along so well! Love this post, too. Short, effective workouts are key this time of year!

  13. Mandy M on December 14, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    …and you’re amazing. Just came on to find something quick to get in this morning before studying for finals. Thanks!

    • Fitnessista on December 14, 2012 at 1:10 pm

      good luck with your studying!! <3 xoxo

      • Kate on December 14, 2012 at 9:06 pm

        me too, this is perfect because i’m trying to find quick and effective workouts while studying for finals. thank you!!

  14. Suzi @ Confessions of a Fitness Instructor on December 14, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    That’s a great race pic, mine are always tragic, lol

  15. Grace @ Practicing Grace on December 14, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    How much weight do you use for your bicep curls and for the bear reps?? Just curioius bc I’m wondering what a good weight is for strong arms

  16. Lisa on December 14, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    Thanks for the routines! I’m always looking for shorter, intense workouts! I need to get in and out as fast as I can most of the time.

  17. Jackie B. on December 14, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    Great compilation of quick and effective workout videos! Perfect timing. I’m right in the midst of final projects and graduation, but I know that keeping up with my workout routine will keep me on track and lead to more productivity. Even if it’s just a short 20-30 min sweat session, I know I’ll feel better afterward. Thanks for the links…definitely bookmarking this post!

  18. Janice - Fitness Cheerleader on December 14, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    I absolutely LOVE the Nike Training Club iPhone app – it leads you through crazy HARD body weight exercises. I’ve begun going to the gym 3 days a week with a co-worker, and we do this together, challenging each other to do more burpees, push ups and jump squats – it’s so fun!

  19. Kim on December 14, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    As always, lots of great ideas! Love all the short, high intensity work-outs!!!

  20. Hillary on December 14, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    I was REALLY short on time this week, and I ended up doing the Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred (level 2) a couple of times. For a super short (20 minute) workout, it sure is sweaty…and effective!

  21. Aina on December 14, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    Hi Gina,

    As I previously wrote on here: I love your blog!!

    I left this question before, but maybe you haven’t noticed it. Could you please tell me if you used only one size of Belly Bandit? Or did you have to switch to smaller one after couple of weeks? Also please let me know on which size did you start? I read that you wrote “your pre-pregnancy size”, but I really don’t want to be wrong in choosing the right size…

    Thanks in advance,


  22. Madison (Pointy Toe Shoe Crew) on December 14, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    I lovvveeee all the ZWOW workouts. They are so intense that I’m glad they aren’t super long! I always feel like a champion after I complete them. Plus Zuzana is so adorable and encouraging. I’m also a big fan of jump rope intervals, but my gym has a serious lack of jump ropes! Hopefully that problem will be solved soon: I asked for my own for christmas 🙂

  23. Brooke @ Running In Heels on December 14, 2012 at 9:51 pm

    Uhmmmm, you are my hero. THANK YOU!

  24. Bek @ Crave on December 14, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    You look great in the picture hun!

    Love this post- this season is very rushed so 20 minute workouts rock! If need be I’ll be mixing some high intensity cardio bursts with some weight and strength training.

  25. @pluvk on December 14, 2012 at 11:11 pm

    This is awesome! I try to work out for 30+ minutes, but I get bored easily. I like to do two different 20-minute workouts so I don’t lose interest.

    I love Caroline’s post-chicken bliss! Too cute! It doesn’t look like it’s too much of a struggle to adjust to her new home. 🙂

  26. Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin on December 15, 2012 at 7:34 am

    Those potatoes sound and look fabulous! You can’t go wrong with butter and garlic. 😉

    And thanks for this workout round up – this is just what I needed to get me out of my workout rut!

  27. Lucie @ Fit Swiss Chick on December 16, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    Awe that linklove is perfect!! I need to bookmark them! I also love the 10-minute workouts on fitsugar. http://www.fitsugar.com/videos/class-fitsugar

  28. Julie on December 19, 2012 at 6:35 pm

    I’ve started consolidating my workouts for the holidays and life but also because I find that the results are just the same if not better.

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