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Confessions of a gym owner: I only have 20 minutes to work out.

Updated: Feb 10, 2020

Research continues to show that 20 to 30 minutes of high intensity workouts 3 times a week is essential to a person's health. If you are coming back to the gym after a lengthy hiatus, or this is your first time in the gym ever, 20 minutes of moving around seems insignificant in the scope of getting in shape.

Your feelings are valid, the health and fitness industry has made it seem like you need to live in the gym to have any meaningful outcome. The industry tends to give you the idea that it is ALL or NOTHING! That you must COMMIT to this lifestyle and FAST!

This pervasive "all or nothing" idea has made many of us choose the "nothing." It is so bad, that

doctors are urging people to just move for ANY amount of time. The "all or nothing" mentality has kept many of us from understanding and experiencing the positive effects of a quick workout.

Coming out of postpartum with my second child, a 20-minute workout was all my body could handle. Later, 20 minutes was all the time I could afford away from my family. I thought, “20 minutes? What’s the point?” I had fallen for the silly idea that for health it is "all or nothing", and I had mistakenly chosen "nothing."

But my body was craving to move. My mood, my sleep and my energy levels were all over the place. My Dr. Husband gave me the same talk he gives his patients. “You need to work out.” I knew this.

20 - 30 minutes was all I had, so I gave it a try. My first workout proved the research right. I left R Gym with a sense of accomplishment, a clear head and a good dose of endorphins to share with my kids. It was enough of a good feeling to give it another try, and I have been doing it on and off for about 4 months.

The 20-minute workouts felt good, but I wasn’t a believer until I had a rare 45 minutes to work out about a month ago. I ran 2 miles for the first time on the treadmill (post-partum) and did a 15-minute core workout on the Nike training app. It felt amazing! I felt like my old gym self was coming back, and then, it hit me. My little 20-minute workouts added up. I had slowly built body strength by adding some weights to my moves. The little insignificant workouts became significant during those 45 minutes.

20-30 minutes is all you need to begin your health path. In these 20 minutes, you will find the good that a workout does for your sleep, mood and overall health. Each workout will allow you to get comfortable with the gym. Each workout will add to your habit. Soon, you will crave those 20-minute workouts, and better yet, you will be able to see progress. You will be able to add 5 lb weights to your moves and do jumping jacks for a minute without feeling your lungs will explode.

Don’t look down on a 20-minute workout because this little drop of time can become a bucket of change.


Suani and Patrick co-own R Gym, Tlapa Management and Water's Edge Chiropractic. Their business and life philosophy is small and firm steps make a permanent path. They live in Gladstone, Michigan and have two children that own any of their free time.

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