Many of us are guilty of telling ourselves that if our workout doesn’t go for at least 30 minutes then it doesn’t really “count”. Brrrrt, wrong! Thanks to countless studies focusing on the effects of short and snappy HIIT workouts, the research tells us that it’s not the time it takes but the effort you put in. Which is good news for those of us with only twenty minutes to get our sweat on.

If being pressed for time usually stands in the way of you getting a workout in and you aren’t quite sure how to make the most of a short session, then we’ve got some tips for you.

Start your timers

When you’re trying to make the most of a small window of time, using a timer is a great way to go. There are a heap of free Tabata apps for your iPhone or Android which will keep track of your precious seconds (try the Tabata stopwatch pro). Set your timer in 2,3 or 4 minute countdowns and go hard on two or three exercises before the timer runs out. Try, 10 push ups, 10 squat jumps and 10 tricep dips and repeat as many times as you can before the timer says stop.

Put your earphones in

Now is no time for distractions! We’ve all been guilty of engaging in flirty small talk with that guy in the singlet during a workout but today is not the day. Make sure your water is full, your towel is at the ready and you’ve got all the equipment you’re going to need before putting your earphones in, it’s the International fitness symbol for “no time to talk, have to sweat!”

Skip the rest periods

Cut your rest periods and keep them timed. We wouldn’t expect you to go non-stop for 20 minutes, so watch the clock when you finish a set and keep the rest to 10-20 seconds. You’ll appreciate the sweet chance to catch your breath that much more when you’ve got less time to do it.

Ditch the gym

We don’t mean forever, but when you’re time pressed the gym commute can be a real time waster. If the hour you’d planned to exercise in has been whittled down to 20 minutes thanks to life commitments, get your workout done at home (or outside). Chuck on YouTube or take advantage of our no equipment required workout. Best of all, home workouts can be done in pajamas, that’s a serious win.