To be quite honest, I'm kind of ashamed that I haven't written this blog entry sooner. I think that it is a gaping hole that I should have filled a long, long time ago. When I was in Peru, my future brother-in-law, Francisco, started asking me about how to get into shape. He quizzed me about many things, including how much time he needed to spend a day getting into shape.
I asked him how much time did he have. He replied, frustrated, that he wanted to know how much time. I again asked him, how much time did he have. He didn't get it, and frankly most don't. There isn't a specific amount of time. There is no easy, cookie cutter answer to this question. People frequently dig themselves into a hole when attempting to get themselves into shape. They think that there is a certain amount of time that they absolutely must do in order to get into shape. Then, if they don't have that amount of time, then they can't exercise. This is a huge mistake. It shouldn't be that rigid. You should look at the time you have not like: "Oh, I only have 20 minutes, I can't exercise!". Instead, think: "I only have 20 minutes, how can I make the most of it?"
Yes, you can absolutely get a good workout in only 20 minutes. Francisco didn't believe me. I asked him what to do. I asked him what COULD HE DO? He told me that he could do 20 pushups and only 2 pullups. So, I told him alternate between the two for 20 minutes. He asked me if that was the best workout. I told him that if it was what he could do and what he had the time to do, then it certainly was. He couldn't comprehend that it could be that simple.
Yes, you do need to modify your life to fit in some exercise but don't shoot yourself down by setting up this rigid protocol that must be obeyed. Any exercise is better than none at all. 20 minutes of pullups and pushups may not be as good as an hour but it's better than 0 minutes of pulling and pushing. Your routine should, to some degree, tailor to your life as well. Use some creativity in shaping your exercise routine. If you do it right, you can make a lot of progress out of just 20 minutes. Above all, be positive. Don't look at your time limitations as a death sentence to your training. FIND A WAY TO MAKE IT WORK!