The Best Exercises for People with Limited Time and no Gym Membership


By Cool Things I Love

Hi Everyone,

Todays post is one I decided to do for anyone like me who has limited time and no gym membership. It is a list of easy exercises that can be incorporated into any busy schedule. I myself have very limited time due to having two babies under 3 at home and no babysitter. I am working on getting back my pre-baby body and it is quite hard to get out for a walk due to their sleep patterns sometimes so I came up with an easy to remember and not too strenuous regime that can be done pretty much on the spot whenever I have a spare few minutes! It works out great for me because I can’t get to the gym and have no equipment and sometimes I only manage a spare 15 minutes here and there.

Here is a breakdown of the exercises I do, in no particular order and just a rough guide as to how many reps at a time, but feel free to change it around to suit yourself. I normally pick at least 5 different exercises and do maybe 10 reps of each. If im feeling energetic I will try do do them all quickly and that way I benefit more from a HIIT workout but to be honest I can be quite lazy so I tend to take my time! Either way, I still benefit from the toning and stretching and definitely see results.

Here is the list of quick and easy exercises that require no equipment and very little space –

Toe touches. Arms up in a straight line reaching all the way down to toes with no bending of the knees. A great way to stretch out and good for arms and buttocks strengthening and toning.

10 – 20 REPS

Forward Lunges. Right foot forward, knee bent and crouch down with left leg stretched back. Lunge forward and down as far as possible without straining too much. Repeat with the left leg forward and right leg back. Works the legs, buttocks and abdomen.

10 – 20 REPS on each side

High Knees. Put your hands out flat at waist height and start jogging with knees up to touch palms.


Arm Circles. Arms out straight to the sides. Make circle shapes starting small and getting larger without stopping for as long as you can last. Feel the burn on this one. As many reps as it takes. Your arms may hurt for a bit afterwards until you get used to it. Great for toning upper arms and getting rid of bingo wings. Can be done at speed for a quicker result.

Jogging on the Spot. This is actually a great one for getting a faster heart rate and therefore burning off more calories. I try to fit it in at the beginning or else in the middle. At the start its hard going but once you get used to it you will be flying along and the training will be as good as going for a run. Try doing this until you are out of breath but dont overdo it as you are best to slow down and do lighter exercises afterwards.

Planks. Elbows on the floor facing down and body flat and toes down to hold yourself up. Lift up your torso and hold in a plank for as long as you can manage. The time will increase with practice so aim for a one minute plank every day. Fantastic ab workout and a great all-rounder.

Dead Lifts. I think thats what they’re called anyway!? Standing straight, put your right leg back and lean forward remaining a straight torso. Hold the leg back as high as possible for as long as possible, then rest. Swap legs and repeat. As many as you can manage.

Lateral Pillar Bridge. On your side, lying straight to the floor with your elbow to balance yourself. Lift up your arm and torso while balancing on your elbow. Hold for as long as you can. Rest and repeat. Change sides and do an equal amount of reps on both sides.

10 – 20 REPS

The Bicycle. On your back flat with your head resting, lift your legs up to form an L shape body and start pedal pushing like you would on a bike. As fast or slow as you like for as long as possible. I normally aim for a minute but it is tough going if you’re not used to it. Like anything with practice, it increases your strength and accelerates your heart rate for calorie burning and leg workout. The abs also benefit from this one so another great all-rounder.

Crunches. Great for the abs and fast and easy, these involve lying on your back and arms folded across your chest with knees up and head resting. You lift yourself up towards the knees as far forward as possible to crunch in the abs.


Easy-peasy and no excuses!!!

Those are my favorite go-to exercises and you probably noticed I didn’t include the dreaded push-ups. Thats because I absolutely hate those, along with burps – no thanks haha! Those are motivation killers for me because they destroy me completely! I am a long way from that level of fitness but perhaps when I get more in shape I will write another post on more hardcore workout exercises! For now I am happy with my current easy to follow and enjoyable routine.

I asked the question to a few of my fellow health and wellness bloggers to get some insight on what they do to stay fit when they have limited time and no gym membership. Heres what they said –


Name Response
Trifina Sofian @ Tip 1: Kill two birds with one stone. Women are so great at multi-tasking and this is especially handy when you are time-poor. So if I need to do the grocery shopping I would take out the big pram and go for a long walk to the shops with my toddler. If I’m on the treadmill at the gym I would be listening to a podcast or reading my emails.

Tip 2: Exercise at home. Running around the block is great because it’s a convenient, free, high intensity workout. It is also super convenient to exercise at home. If i’ve had a particularly busy day and haven’t had to time to go to the gym and it’s late at night then I would flick on YouTube on the TV and choose from a dizzying array of high quality exercise channels. Gone are the days of buying fitness DVDs when you have internet on your TV.

Joanna Zervas of There is no one-size-fits-all answer here as we all have different bodies, goals and fitness levels.  I would suggest investing in a personalised, online home program that is tailored to you. You don’t need a lot of equipment or space, but you can request a time frame and frequency that suits your lifestyle needs the most.  For the general public with no injuries, I would recommend a circuit of 100-200m run (up/down your street, for example), walking lunges, modified push-ups, banded rows, glutes bridges, and kneeling side planks, completed all in a circuit-style session and repeated 3-4 times. This should take no more than 20-minutes and will hit all body parts and planes of movement.  If you’re time poor, just do as many rounds as you can – I wouldn’t just pick the ones you like, do them all at least twice.  Give it a go at your next workout and let us know how you do 🙂
Cassie Spanner of
I’m all for walking – I have shin splints so admittedly running is mostly out of the question for me but a brisk walk always makes me feel better and you don’t need a gym membership for that.  You can even do it on your lunch break if you are that strapped for time.  I also love searching for Youtube videos for dance or yoga if I can’t get to the gym.  They are a great way to get moving in the comfort of your own home.
Wendy Hodge There are so many options, depending on your budget. You could invest in home gym equipment, use Youtube videos & tutorials, run, walk, find local classes, play a sport, online training/PT. Individual exercises depend on so many factors like your current health, fitness level, ability and  injuries, so I think it’s best to have an initial assessment carried out by a qualified trainer who can then make recommendations and design you a program based on your needs and the resources you have available.
Olivia Crawford of
I love putting on an upbeat song and dancing. Walking’s also a winner. You can control the pace and walk for as long as you want.
Amanda Barnes There are so many High Intensity Interval Training videos that are free to watch online and on youtube. This is a great workout if you have limited time. I also try to incorporate some basic push-ups, sit-ups, lunges while watching TV.
Amy Miller of
15-20 minute HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training).
Chantal Drouin-Charters of
YouTube has a ton of exercise videos of different lengths and intensities. You can find whatever suits your mood and time frame. I would suggest bookmarking/subscribing to a few workouts you enjoy, then when you’re short on time you know your workout is only a few clicks away.
Susan Minich of
I have a precore in my basement for when it’s raining and I often do yoga and pilates at home on youtube. If it’s nice outside, my first choice is going for a walk with my neighbor or run with a friend. It’s a great way to visit and exercise at the same time.
DrMJ The babywearing Health Coach of
High Intensity Intervals are the way to go but dont be put off by the “high intensity”. It means your high intensity level not working at a level that you cannot cope with. High intensity means exercising at a level where you cannot hold a conversation. Yes it will be uncomfortable but the beauty of interval training is that in get down time to recover before you need to go again. No gym no worries, your body is all you need for a good resistance workout. Focus on compound exercise to work more muscle groups per exercise. Exercises such as squats, push up are great but add in a sand bag or (a baby), you can add some shoulder presses into the squat or do burpees to up the heart rate.


I hope you try these out for yourself if you get a chance and you should see results within a couple of weeks! Keep at it and you will be feeling fantastic in no time. All it takes is 20mins a day and they can be done separately at different times whenever you have a spare few minutes. They’re easy to remember too. Best of luck and I challenge you to give it a go! Let me know how it goes in the comments below and do let me know what your fave ones are when you have limited time and no gym equipment!


Ciara x

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