It is a myth that we need to log long hours at the gym in order to get in a good workout. Many people fall into the category of an all-or-nothing attitude when it comes to exercise, and therefore end up skipping their workout altogether if they feel pressed for time.

The good news is that you can get in a fast and effective workout in only 15 minutes!

By maximizing the time you have, and putting in all out effort (we’ll discuss what this actually means in a moment), you can reap some serious fitness benefits, even on the days when you can’t get any further than the living room.

Interestingly (and encouragingly) many health and fitness experts tout the benefits of a short and intense workout as being more effective than logging long hours at the gym or engaging in regular, long-duration, high intensity cardio. The reason for this boils down to our bodies’ hormonal response to certain types of exercise.

In fact, chronic cardio (long-duration, high-intensity) can actually lead to weight gain, as the body sees it as a stressor if done in excess.

Without further ado, here are 5, 15-minute workouts to do anywhere, anytime!

*Maximum effort is key to these routines. Upon exertion, you should be at an 8 or 9 on a 1-10 scale of exertion. Of course, work up to this, as your body might not be ready yet, depending on your fitness level.

**all of the exercises included in these routines are common and can be easily looked up on youtube.com for clarification and instruction, if necessary.

Before each workout, begin with this short warm-up routine to prepare the body and prevent injury. End with 2 minutes of stretching.

30 seconds jogging in place

10 body weight squats

30 seconds jumping jacks

10 alternating lateral lunges

10 arm circles front

10 arm circles back

Tabata Challenge

4 minutes: 20 seconds high knees sprint, 10 seconds rest (alternate for 8 rounds)

Rest 2 minutes

4 minutes: 20 seconds jumping squats, 10 seconds rest (alternate for 8 rounds)

Rest 2 minutes

4 minutes: 20 seconds Russian twists, 10 seconds rest (alternate for 8 rounds)

Hill Sprints (treadmill or outdoors)

Jog for 2 minutes at a medium pace

30 seconds sprint up hill

30 seconds-1 minute rest (depending on your fitness level)

Repeat 8 times

Cool down with 2 minutes of walking

Solid Core

*rest 30 seconds in between each exercise

30 seconds reverse crunches

30 second side plank hold on each side

30 seconds plank hold on elbows or palms

30 seconds superman laying on stomach

30 seconds bicycle crunches

Butt Blaster

10 sumo squats

20 alternating reverse lunges (10 on each side)

20 sit-to-stands using chair, sofa, or edge of a bed (10 each side)

10 regular squats

20 alternating forward lunges

Rest 1-2 minutes, then repeat circuit 1 or 2 more times, depending on how much time you have.

Jump-Rope

*all you need is a jump rope! This routine might take some practice.

1 minute basic jump

1 minute rest

1 minute alternating foot jump

1 minute rest

1 minute combo jump (30 seconds alternating, 30 seconds basic)

1 minute rest

1 minute high step jump (same as basic, but with high knees)

1 minute rest

5 minutes endurance, basic jump (pace yourself!)

2 minutes cool-down/stretching

Stability Ball Workout

*at the gym or at home, all you need for this one is a stability (balance) ball.

12 tricep dips on a chair or couch, feet balanced on your stability ball

12 hamstring curls with feet on the ball

30 seconds plank, elbows balanced on ball

12 stability ball ab crunches

12 squats against the wall, ball positioned behind back between you and the wall

12 side squats with ball lift (6 each side, touch ball to ground on each side as you squat down)

Rest 1-2 minutes, then repeat circuit 1 or 2 more times, depending on how much time you have

There you have it! 5 quick, easy, and effective fat-burning workouts that can be done at in a gym, at home, or in a hotel room while traveling. Remember, you don’t have to spend endless hours in a gym to get in a great workout, and in fact, you might even get better results with intense, short-duration exercise.

Rachel Fiske, NC, CPT-NASM Rachel Fiske is a Holistic Nutrition Consultant and graduated from Bauman College of Holistic Nutrition in Berkeley, California, and a Certified Personal Trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. Rachel works with clients individually via skype, focusing on issues of weight management, GI problems, hormonal imbalances, fatigue and more via a whole foods diet and lifestyle changes. Consultations include diet journal analysis, individualized menu planning, and herbal/supplementation protocols.