3 easy workouts that *actually* fit into your busy schedule

Ok, let us guess: You've finished another *crazy* day. We're talking packed class schedule, a traditional after-school Starbies run, a quick (and uber-helpful) study sesh with the gang for this Friday's Spanish quiz...and you're still feeling like you're missing something.

It can be sooo tricky to manage a hectic planner and still feel like we're putting ourselves first. Maybe you want to put your muscles to the test, or maybe you just want a few minutes to focus on being present in your body; Either way, we promise that even a few minutes of exercise can make you feel a whole world better. Want to try for yourself? We've got your perfect workout recipe:


A quick cardio set never hurt anybody! This is a great way to take a break from that marathon of Zoom classes and get your blood pumping again. This whole-body HIIT from Pamela Reif is packed with squats, planks and lunge kicks galore:

Try some of these exercises yourself:

Go all-in with Pamela's 15-minute HIIT workout, or try three sets of these exercises to get that heart rate up.


No push-ups here (as a treat!). Instead, in a standing position, jump up with your arms above your head. Squat down and plant your arms to jump out into a plank. Hold for a count, and then jump back in and up to complete. Repeat for 30 seconds, and make sure to keep your back aligned!

Squats to Squat-Jumps

Make your squats work for you. Start with your legs wide—your feet should be planted outside your shoulders. Squat down (make sure to keep your chest up) twice. On the second squat down, come up in a jump off the ground before returning to a squatting position. Repeat for 30 seconds.

Plank-Kick Crunches

Add a little spice to your planks. Starting in a plank position, kick one leg out behind you, then bring it back in so your knee comes to your chest. Kick back out and repeat for 30 seconds before doing the whole thing on the other side.


There are *so* many great arm workout resources out there, but we love a chill, no-equipment-required 15-minute flow. Try some of these exercises from YouTube's Cassey Ho (aka "Blogilates") when you need a pick-me-up. Want an extra challenge? Try to do the whole thing without dropping your arms once.

Try some of these exercises for yourself:

You can try these out along with the rest of Cassey's 15-minute workout, or simply try doing three sets of these three exercises to feel that burn!

Golf Balls

Start with your arms out, palms facing up (like you're holding golf balls in each hand) and bend your elbows slightly. Roll your shoulders back and away from your ears, then start flexing your biceps in little circles forward for 45 seconds. Reverse and make little circles backward for another 45 seconds.

Angel Arms

Start with your arms extended out at your sides. Lift your arms up above your head so that the backs of your palms meet above your head, and then, keeping your arms controlled, bring them back down to their extended position. Repeat for 90 seconds.

Goal Post Punchers

Start with your arms extended and your elbows bent at a 90-degree angle, so you create "goalposts" with your arms. Keeping your upper arms out, hingeing at your elbows. Lower your palms down, then twist out to bring your arms out fully extended. Bring your arms back to the "down" position, and then back to your starting position. Repeat this "down, out and up" movement for 90 seconds. Are your arms burning yet?


Calling dancers everywhere: These exercises might seem a *little* familiar. Dance-inspired leg workouts are bound to kick your butt, keep your body rooted and leave you feeling oh-so-strong. YouTube's Maddie Lymburner (aka "MadFit") is the queen of Leg Day:

Try some of these exercises for yourself:

You can try these out along with the rest of Maddie's 15-minute workout, or simply try doing three sets of these three exercises to feel that burn!

Glute Bridges

Start by laying on your back with your legs bent and feet close to your bum (point your toes for extra credit!). Press up to lift your pelvis and hips into a glute bridge. Bring your hips back down, controlling your legs. Repeating lifting for 30 seconds. If you want, add an open a close of your knees at the top.

Clamshells and Extended Clamshells

Lay on your side with your legs stacked on top of each other, slightly bent at the knees. Open your top leg to create a clamshell shape. Hold at the top for a count before bring back down. Repeat for 30 seconds. Next, straighten your legs and repeat the opening motion for another 30 seconds. Tired yet? Flip over and repeat the whole thing on your other side.

Squat Crosses

Switch up your squat game. Set your feet wide and turned out, so your feet are outside of your shoulders. Squat down, and when you come up, lift one leg and tap your foot in front of the other, so you are crossing over. Bring yourself back to your starting position, squat again and this time, bring the other leg to the other side. Repeat for 60 seconds.

Feeling the burn? Let us know your go-to 15-minute workout on Instagram @girlslifemag!

Top image: @blogilates


by Erin Sargent | 1/19/2021