"I don't have time." If this is your go-to excuse for skipping workouts, join the club: In survey after survey, it's the top reason women give for not exercising. After all, when you're juggling work, family, and a social life, it can feel as if you need an extra hour in the day to fit in a decent workout. (Search: Timesaving workout tips)
But you don't need an hour—or even half an hour—a day to lose weight or get into great shape. All you need is 15 minutes. Seriously. A study in the European Journal of Applied Physiology found that 15 minutes of resistance training was just as effective at boosting participants' metabolism as 35 minutes. Another study found that women had a better chance of sticking to a plan if they only had to commit to 15-minute sessions. (Related: 3 Rules for a Fast Metabolism)
What to Wear While You Workout
That's why we've created a revolutionary, superfast program that's designed to be as effective as it is efficient. All it takes is 15 minutes four to six times a week.
At the heart of this plan is resistance training—the quickest way to sculpt a lean body. Resistance builds muscle, and muscle burns calories. Worried that muscle will make you bulky? Don't be. A pound of muscle takes up 20 percent less space than a pound of fat. So you'll be smaller and stronger. Less really is more!
Whether you want to flatten your belly, tone jiggly arms, sculpt sleek thighs, or slim down all over, there's a quick-and-easy routine from The Women's Health Big Book of 15 Minute Workouts that'll work for you.
THE (15 MINUTE) BELLY-BLASTING WORKOUT
THE (15 MINUTE) BYE-BYE ARM JIGGLE WORKOUT
THE (15 MINUTE) SKINNY JEANS WORKOUT
THE (15 MINUTE) SUPERFAST TOTAL-BODY WORKOUT
What's the proper weight to lift?
Grab, say, 15-pound dumbbells and do 10 reps. The weight is good if you can do eight or nine reps with perfect form but you struggle on the ninth or tenth rep. If you lose form earlier, the weight is too heavy.
Easy ways to find 15 extra minutes in your day
1. LOG OFF FACEBOOK
People average seven hours a month on the social site. Do the math and it works out to 105 minutes each week, or 15 minutes every single day. You don't have to banish FB, but limit it to two short sessions a day. (And "like" Fitbie to receive healthy tips all day long!)
2. SAY NO!
When someone (not your boss) asks you to do something you don't have time for, say, "I'm sorry, I can't"—and feel the freedom wash over you.
3. PLAN YOUR DAY
Schedule your biggest task of the day for when you're most focused and productive. You'll get it done more quickly than if you try to tackle it during a natural low point.
Tricks to Staying Organized
4. RESIST MULTITASKING
Trying to do too many things at once often means getting nothing done. Pick an item from your to-do list, and do it and only it. Each task will get done faster when it gets your full attention.
5. RECORD YOUR SHOWS
An hour-long TV show contains just 40 to 42 minutes of real content--the rest is commercials. Invest in a digital TV recorder so you can free up time to pursue more healthful activities, like 15-minute workouts.