Quick Workout for Busy People

Whether you’re the CEO of your company or your household, time often becomes the scarcest of resources. Between career goals, parenting, social obligations and all things time consuming, exercise is usually the first thing put on the back burner. Yet working out is probably the one thing that improves the quality across all areas of your life. From enhancing mood, preventing/fixing ailments, building confidence and a billion other scientifically proven benefits, it’s something every human being should engage in.  However, if you’ve lived life long enough then you know it’s hard to play the balancing act, or is it?

Those that work out everyday view others who don’t as lazy, but often what “looks like resistance, is often a lack of clarity.” Truth is you haven’t started because you haven’t found a sustainable way to continue doing it in a way that compliments your busy routine. If it can’t be part of your routine, then you don’t want to do it, if it’s not sustainable you don’t engage in it. I understand you, I’m the same way. As an entrepreneur, I understand that time for self-care is rare. While building my first startup, 12 to 16 hour days, 7 days a week, was the norm. However, after experiencing a burnout, I realized the least sustainable thing for me to do as a former athlete, was to not workout. For that reason, I developed this quick workout routine over time while jumping from one workout to another. I’ve bounced around from power lifting, bodybuilding, boxing and calisthenics, to in the end, land on this workout. This workout will have you feeling and looking your best while building strength and endurance.

quick workout quote

Resistance vs Cardio

Many people always belong to one cult or the other. One group swears by weightlifting and calisthenics, scoffing at those that do cardio. Others scoff at the muscle heads who are out of breath walking up the stairs. Any good fitness expert, fitness junkie, personal trainer, or “fit fam” member will tell you that if your goal is to look good and feel good, you should do both. Both have their benefits and if you aren’t a bodybuilder or a professional marathon runner, there is no reason to stick to just one. But let’s not forget, you’re here because you’re busy, so how do you find the time for both? You make it one workout.

Borrowing Concepts

Because people like to cultify(not a word) their workouts, they usually stick to one school of thought while avoiding the other. This causes you to miss out on a lot of benefits from other workouts. The crossfiters judge bodybuilders, bodybuilders judge crossfiters, power-lifters judge everyone, and calisthenics junkies think they’ve unlocked the secret to the universe. What I’ve done with this workout is throw everything in a box, shake it all up, and used what came out. I encourage you to use this workout to jump start your routine, but feel free to modify to make it more interesting for yourself.

The Workout

The workout is very simple and it follows the “Every Minute on the Minute(EMOM)” rule. This helps not only condense the time it will take, but increase the resistance, the intensity and number of calories burned. It’s a combination of calisthenics, weightlifting, and HIIT training that makes it start as a cardio workout, and ends with feeling like a power-lifting workout. Without further mountain dew, here is the workout.

The workout alternates between two days, depending on whether you’re at the gym or at home, you can get creative with the way you do it. For example, for squats, you can do body squats if at home, or weighted squats if you’re at the gym.

EMOM to failure

Before you get to the workout, you should be familiar with how EMOM works. You will simply set a stop watch to run and do your set without counting, until you simply can’t go anymore. Once the the clock strikes 1:00, you start your next set, in the same fashion. No matter at what point you ended your set, you must start once the timer hits 2:00. Hence, every minute on the minute. There is no numbers here, every set is to failure. Whether that’s 2 reps or 20. Every time the clock strikes the next minute, you start your next set, even if you finished your last one 10 seconds ago. With this method you can do 1,000 pushups a day pretty easily.

Day 1 – Chest, Triceps, Shoulders – EMOM, each set to failure

  • 20 sets of push-ups
  • 6 sets of triceps extensions
  • 3 sets of shoulder press
  • 3 sets of front or lateral raise.

Total time: 32 minutes

Day 2 – Back, Biceps, Legs – EMOM, each set to failure

  • 15 sets of Pull-ups
  • 3 sets of dumbbell curls
  • 3 sets of Hammer curls
  • 15 sets of squats

Total time: 36 minutes

That is the workout in a nutshell. I personally do it 6 days a week. You can do two days on 1 day off or 7 days a week. If you have any questions or want tips on how to switch it up or implement this logic into your existing workout, simply contact me here. The best advice I can you give you though, is this:

Make it Your Own

While you should follow the overall layout of this workout to save yourself time, you can still switch up based on your environment. For example, if you’re working chest at the gym, you can replace the push-ups with a bench press, or even dumbbell press, or both! Instead of triceps extensions you can do pull-downs, or if you’re at home, do dips. If you can’t do a pull-up you can do rows, or pull-downs. The point is, don’t be rigid in the way you do this work out.

Who it’s For – Get Big vs Get Lean

The obvious is that this workout is for anyone who is strapped for time. However, you will get the bro scientists coming here and saying that this workout isn’t going to result in “gains.” To put it simply, they’re wrong. Science has proven over and over again that your body doesn’t count reps, it only knows the strain that it is experiencing, the very strain that results in muscle growth. This workout starts as a calisthenics workout, or high rep workout, but just about every forthcoming set ends up feeling more and more like a power-lifting workout. It truly is an all in one. If your goal is to lean up it can be done with this workout, if your goal is to gain size, it can also be done with this workout. The key to size or definition, is diet.

If you’re looking to get big simply up your calorie intake to well over the recommended daily value. Usually one extra meal or two per day topped with a shake will do. If you’re looking to lean up, simply cut your portions down and consume a little less than the daily recommended intake, or replace a meal with a protein shake. For reference, here is calorie chart I borrowed from cnnp.usda.gov.

calorie sheet


For the bro scientist that will say its over training or not enough training, I challenge you to do this workout for 1 month and see if you still feel that way.

workout quote arnold bodybuilding

Recommended Reading

I recommend reading 3 books if you’re looking to make changes in your body and your overall fitness life. These books take an unconventional look at exercise which will help you escape the fitness box in which most people’s routines take residence.


Go Out There and Kill It

The key to success in any workout is sustainability. To see results, follow this routine for at least a month. The first few days you will be ridiculously sore, push through it. After a while this workout will go from hurting you to making you feel amazing daily.  Are you too busy to exercise? Try this workout and let me know how you feel after a week. Personally, this has been the only workout that I could do consistently and it never seizes to challenge me. All that’s left to do is implement this into your life, and watch your body and your mind improve. Everyone can afford 30 minutes, no excuses.

I’m Sean Dudayev and this was my tantrum.


Sean Dudayev is the founder of The Thinker's Tantrum and currently consulting dozens of entrepreneurs in their start up efforts. His passion is making the world a better place through consumer oriented business and writing about himself in third person.