. . .

The Quickie Workout

Photo Credit: Vic 2009 – Fitness

Reader Carmen Lawerence asks: “I’m in search of an active quickie workout as I don’t get much time to devote to improving my fitness. So what are the best quickie workouts?”

Sigrid de Castella – ‘Half the Woman I Was’ Author, Speaker and Health and Business Coach

In this fast-paced busy world in which we live it seems the world is spinning faster and faster. Those 24 hours in a day now feel like much less as we struggle to fit ‘life’ in. So it’s no wonder we’re focussing less and less on the things that improve our health. Fast food and convenience meals have become the staple and “a lack of time” is the number one excuse for not exercising. This is when the ‘Quickie Workout’ becomes useful.

Research states that adults need to partake in around 150 minutes of exercise each and every week to maintain flexibility, health and muscle tone. But recent research is now busting this myth wide open with startling results. Science may just be coming to our rescue.

The 7-Minute Quickie Workout

In 2013 Chris Jordan, Director of Exercise Physiology at the Human Performance Institute Division of Wellness & Prevention, Inc., designed an effective bodyweight circuit workout that became known as the “7 Minute Workout”. Published in the American College of Sports Medicine’s Health & Fitness Journal, it revolutionised and reinvigorated the fitness craze.

This quickie workout employs the High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) methodology, getting your heart rate up and you sweating through the mix of 12 strength and cardio exercises. There are hundreds of testimonials and dozens of free Apps to guide you using only a wall and a chair. But if you delve into the research you’ll discover Chris recommends doing the workout three times, in a row, two to three times a week to achieve a high level of fitness. So it’s really a 21-minute quickie workout, or 63 minutes a week.

HIIT training seems to now be popping up everywhere. It’s the new buzz word. But HIIT originated informally in the 1970s, used by track and field athlete Sebastian Coe and has since morphed into the Tabatha regimen (1996), the Gibila regimen (2009), Zuniga regimen (2011) and finally the Timmons regimen (2012) used by Dr Michael Mosely in his BBC documentary the “Truth about Exercise”.

HIIT, also known as interval sprints, is a form of interval training – a series of high-intensity exercise workouts (anywhere from 8 seconds up to 20 minutes) interspersed with rest or relief period before repeating. HIIT provides an excellent cardiovascular workout and can be coupled with strength exercise for circuit training if desired. But it’s the “sprint’ component of HIIT that has the greatest impact for minimal effort.

The Fit in 6-Minutes a Week Quickie Workout

In 2015, the ABC Catalyst report “Fit in 6 Minutes a Week” showed how reporter Anja Talor personally tested HIIT. Talor put “sprints”, training into action where she sprinted for two minutes three times a week over 16 weeks. Her approach involved a 30-second sprint followed by a 4.5-minute rest, repeated four times, although Anja admits that sprinting up a hill was not a good idea and that a stationary bike would have been a better choice. But after 16 weeks the results were startling: Anja shed 1.5kg of body fat reducing her BMI dramatically while improving her VO2Max by more than 10% and moving her from the “unfit” into the “fit” category. Thus, the quickie workout is effective in changing body size and shape, if often done.

How the Quickie Workout Helps You

While the approaches vary, they all show that HIIT is a highly effective strategy to improve your fitness, which dramatically reduces the risk of illness, disease and human ageing. But the interesting thing about Anja’s Catalyst report is that she explains the science behind why this works – and it’s fascinating (and well worth a watch).

Put simply, “sprints” boost your mitochondrial DNA function by triggering your flight or fight mode, producing adrenalin and improving your VO2Max. Sprinting improves not only the way your body operates at a cellular level but also your fat burning capability. Sprinting reduces your visceral fat, counteracts diabetes, helps to prevent diseases, reduces the effects of menopause, improves your sleep and reduces most of the signs of ageing. So “interval sprinting” could just be the fountain of youth we’ve all been seeking.

And at only 6 minutes a week, this could be the time effective quickie workout you’ve been seeking.

Sigrid de Castella is an internationally published author, speaker, and coach in the fields of health and business. Her book “Half The Woman I Was – How I lost 70kg naturally, reclaimed my life … and how you can too!” has received international acclaim and has been hailed as the most comprehensive weight loss book on the market. Sigrid has also studied Personal Training with the Fitness Institute Australia and has a keen interest in whole food nutrition, natural therapies and all aspects of physical and mental health. Sigrid and holds a BBA from RMIT University and is a member of both the Australian Institute of Managers and the Australian Society of Authors.

Sigrid logo

 Sara Colquhoun – Pilates Instructor

Running my own business and also juggling full-time teaching, I more often than not find myself time poor and looking for that quickie workout I can do at anytime! I like to mix my Matwork Pilates exercises with bursts of Cardio to get a full body workout that leaves me toned, sweaty and lengthened. Here’s my secret formula!

A couple of the main things I look to get out of my Quickie Workout are:

  • A great activation warm-up
  • Dynamic movement so my body is mobilised as well as worked out
  • I want to work up a sweat
  • Achieve a full body workout; I want to feel everything from my calves to abs to triceps.
  • Exercises that support and maintain healthy joints
  • Be done in 25-30 minutes!

An excellent quickie workout is as follows:

The Quickie Workout Warm-up

Although we all want that quick workout, your warm-up is so important. Your warm up only needs to take 4-5 minutes and should involve dynamic movements and exercises that activate key muscle groups to prevent injuries from occurring.

Here’s five activities that you can use in your warm up today:

Pelvic Press

  • Lie on the ground with knees bent and feet flat on the ground.
  • Press pelvis up into a bridge and then roll the spine back down to the ground.


Spine Twist 

  • Lie flat with your arms in a letter T and legs up at table top.
  • Take your knees across to one side and then do a strong breath out to bring the knees back to centre.
  • Focusing on the obliques working and the spine mobilising.


One Leg Pike to Plank  

  • Start in a plank position and as you breathe in, lift the hips up into a pike position and extend one leg to the sky.
  • Exhale and bring the leg back down into the plank.


Thread the Needle

  • Start on all fours and take your right arm through the gap between your left hand and left knee.
  • Breathe out as you rotate the body around towards the sky.
  • Focus on mobilising the upper body and taking deep breaths.



  • Lie on your tummy and have the elbows bent in a sphinx position.
  • As you breathe in start to left the eyes and head allowing the upper back to extend.
  • Gently press into your hands to extend the spine further.

The Quickie Workout

Now that you are warmed up and ready to go, try doing this circuit from start to finish three times.


SIDE PLANK with a TWIST  – 6x each side


Run for 60-seconds outdoors. If it’s raining, then run on the spot for 1-minute, as fast as you can.

BURPEES – 10 x


A traditional Pilates ab exercise that will get your heart rate up and ABS burning.

Legs at table-top height and head and your chest lifted.

Arms by your side.

Begin to breathe in for five counts and then pulse the air out for five counts.

As you do this pump the arms up and down and do that breath cycle 10 times through to make a hundred breaths.


Get yourself into a crab walk position.

Lower your hips to the ground.

Then push your hips back up.

Repeat all of the exercises in this quickie workout 3 times. Stop and have a drink of water between sets if you need to. However, don’t rest for longer than 60-seconds, and make sure you keep moving to keep your body warm.

Finish off with 10x Cobras to balance out the spine from all the forward motion exercises. Then sit with the legs out wide in a straddle position and stretch the body from side-to-side focusing on your breath.

That’s just a quick snippet of how I squeeze in a QUICKIE WORKOUT. Hopefully you will now be able to enjoy this too!


One of the most accomplished Pilates instructors for her age, Sara Colquhoun has been training in Pilates since the age of 14, and teaching since the age of 17. Her clients include elite AFL players and Australian Ballet dancers.

Sara’s background as a performing artist in dance – attending The Victorian College of the Arts after moving from Sydney at the age of 18 – led her to the natural progression of becoming an instructor.

After completing her diploma in dance and performing arts, Sara pursued a career in Pilates under guidance of Pilates International.  She is now owns and manages her own studio Ki Movement Pilates located on Clarendon Street in South Melbourne.

Throughout her teaching career Sara has trained AFL players from the Western Bulldogs, Australian Ballet dancers, VCA students, Musical theatre performers (Jersey Boys, West – “Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today” ~ Robert McKee 2  Side Story), Cirque de Soleil artists, all the way to radio presenters.

Sara’s highlight in her career to date is the recent accolade of winning the international competition to become the next Pilates Anytime instructor. She is one of the youngest instructors to join such an elite group of trainers on the site with direct lineage from founder of the movement, Joseph Pilates. Pilates Anytime is a global platform that has viewers from all around the world who will be watching and performing Sara’s classes.

She has big plans for bringing knowledge of body awareness, general health, well-being and an education of Pilates, along with communicating the benefits it has across all aspects of functional movement to everyday life.

Instagram and Twitter: @Pilates_Sara | #Pilatesbysara

Facebook: www.facebook.com/pilatesbysara

Website: http://www.saracolquhoun.com

Website: http://kipilates.com.au/ (Coming soon)


Your Questions Answered

Do You Want to Read More Health and Fitness Questions and Answers? Then Click Here 🙂

Disclaimer: The information published in this column is based on each of the author’s own professional and personal knowledge and opinion. This information and opinion is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment of any manner. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding any medical condition and consult a qualified medical professional before beginning any nutritional or exercise program. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on InShape News.


InShape News Pages