Instant Fitness

Working out just a few minutes a day may make a difference in your fitness level.

By Carol Sorgen
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Feature

Reviewed By Charlotte Grayson, MD

With work, family, and social obligations competing for our time, it seems we're all keeping a frantic pace these days. It's hard to find time for a workout routine -- and easy to see the allure of programs that promise fitness in just a few minutes a day.

But can these popular programs really do the trick, or are they just another waste of precious time?

Well, say some fitness experts, it all depends on what you're after. Odds are, you won't become an elite athlete or greatly improve the health of your heart if you exercise only for short stretches at a time. But you might end up a little stronger and a little healthier -- and maybe even look a bit better in your bathing suit.

According to online fitness trainer Jorge Cruise, author of the best-selling book 8 Minutes in the Morning: A Simple Way to Burn Fat, short bouts of weight training can help you build muscle mass and boost your metabolism. And that, he says, can help you lose weight.

The workout component of Cruise's program consists of doing four sets each of two strength-training exercises (things like pushups and bicep curls), six days a week. After a quick warm-up, you do one set of 12 repetitions of the first of the day's exercises, then immediately follow with 12 reps of the second exercise. Repeat the cycle three more times and you're done for the day.