One Size Fits All

fitness equipment

Staying in shape – depending on what you read, watch or listen to – requires a whole host of equipment, apparel, plans and superhuman motivation.

When in reality, just getting to the gym is a challenge, especially in the current heatwave we are all loving hating – where instead of weights being lifted, pint glasses are!

Putting on your trainers can feel like an achievement all in itself. But if you can get yourself through that door that’s one small step for man, and a decent leap on your fitness journey.

Spending time in the gym or thinking about what else you could be doing is often a resounding factor in people putting it off. But what if we told you, that you could be in and out in 15 minutes, with a good solid muscle building workout behind you?

Crazy right? Wrong. Some exercises can and will hit your body hard and in all the right places – in a brief period of time

This advice is for when you either really don’t have much time or are seriously struggling to motivate yourself to go to the gym. 15 minutes is just short enough to convince yourself you do have time and/or record that moral victory over your apathetic conscience.

We’ve spoken to a whole manner of fitness experts to get the lowdown on what exercise they would do if they could only ever do one, or if really short on time.


Easily the most bang for your buck exercise in weight training is the clean and jerk. Comprising a deadlift, upright right row, power shrug, calf raise, full front squat, push press, split jerk plus grip weight lifting to stay in shapestrength, shoulder stability and an incredible amount of core all in the one movement. That’s a bang! No exercise on the planet comes close to hitting this much muscle in one workout.

Not only do you have to be strong, co-ordinated but extremely flexible to do this lift.

It is a tough exercise to do correctly, and one that to be honest, 90% of the population shouldn’t ever be doing (including athletes ) due to their lack of joint mobility.”

Brad Stocks, Personal Trainer


Sona D’Cruz had thrown us a curveball right out the gate when she suggested you take a spin class.

Now, this goes our time promise again, as usually 45 mins to one hour, however, as spin classes tend to be frantic – you could just as quickly hop on and off the bike for a 15-minute burnout.

Following the instructor’s advice, but rack your resistance up to a few more notches than usual. Now you can definitely go hard before you go home.


One exercise that we can totally get on board with is burpeesBurpess to stay in shape

As explained by Stephanie McCurdy “They use all the major muscle groups, raise your heart rate and will get you fitter and stronger fast. The best

thing is that they are free and can be done anywhere!”

If you can do 15 minutes of burpees, then you’re a better man than I am, and utterly insane! Just 3 rounds of 10-20 burpees with 60 seconds rest should totally exhaust your body and fulfil all your workout needs!


 running to stay in shape

A simple and effective idea, not to say the most basic or well-known form of exercise is running.

As explained by David in his article Lose body fat by running

you can burn an impressive amount of calories and have an excellent overall calorie burn in 10-15 minutes. Mix it up with fast/slow intervals to really test yourself, or merely jog to your gym/workplace and take a shower once you’ve got there.



An underrated, but not unknown exercise is pole dancing.

Wrongly associated as a specialist activity. This activity as put forward by Katrina Jane “is all about your strength and hanging upside down on a pole requires focus, stability and stamina.

It’s all about being able to hold your own body weight, not necessarily building big muscles.

Strength to weight ratio is key here! There’s a reason pole dancers perform their routine to just one song because it’s a lot shorter than 15 minutes.

You can find pole dancing classes pop up around the UK these days, failing that – you can utilise smith machines and free weight machines at your regular gym. Perhaps in quieter times though 😉



Roberto Mascarenhas feels that if only one exercise would matter to him, it’s the one aptly called The Founder – more details can be found here – and Roberto adds:

“This is the signature move of Foundation Training, a series of highly developed correctional exercises created by Dr Eric Goodman that alleviates pain, corrects posture and improves athletic performance. While there is no silver bullet to training, exercise, or health, if one was to focus on a single exercise only, then they should focus on muscle chains instead of a single muscle; if focusing on muscle chains, focus on the strongest muscle chain – the posterior chain – which The Founder is best suited for among other things.”



For one exercise that involves a series of movement (a little cheat exercise I admit) is the 10 point bodybuilder.

Put forward by Chief Brabon of it involves

  1. Drop down into a deep crouch, with your hands on the floor beside your knees.
  2. Kick out into a dead straight push-up position
  3. Kick your feet out to shoulder width.
  4. Kick them back together again.
  5. Lower your chest to the ground.
  6. Drive back up.
  7. Kick back into the crouch position.
  8. Stand up straight and reach up, grabbing the bar in an overhand position.
  9. Pull your chest to the bar.
  10. Lower your body back down again to the start position.




Kettlebells to stay in shape

Tara Mitchell would instead be cooking up a storm of sugar-free tweets rather than spending her life in the gym.

Nutrition is important, if not the most important, but that’s a whole new article entirely.

When pushed to get out of the kitchen, Tara brought her kettle with her. Not entirely the hot water one, but the ergonomically shaped, some may say re-designed (better) dumbbell.

The shape of the kettlebell distributes weight more unevenly than the humble dumbbell. This requires your muscles to provide more stability in the movement, activating more muscle fibres for durability. Kettlebell swings proffer a cardio/weight workout in one. Perfect when short on time, but not on fitness!


Among all the singular or solo exercises listed above, it’s important to note not all are suitable for everyone. Proper form and coaching should be sought before embarking on any new or unfamiliar exercises.

Whatever exercise you pick, when short on time, you should go as hard as you can (safely)  Ruben Rosa advises “. Basically, try your hardest at everything that you can get your hands on!!! Without sounding too cliché, it’s all in the journey, not in the destination.”

This article was written by Brett Downes, SEO Magician, in association with