15-minute office workout routines for busy entrepreneurs

As a business owner you get more done in a single day than most people do in a week. So we understand that when you get home from work, the last thing you want to do is go to the gym. However, if you put your well-being at risk, you also risk the health of your business. Failing to put yourself first can have negative impacts on your business, such as lower productivity.

According to a Funding Circle Survey of over 1,300 small business owners, 45% of small business owners say they feel less stressed after working out and 35% said they feel happier. Nonetheless, over 70% of business owners say they spend fewer than three hours per week exercising.

But with clients to call, sales to make, payroll to organise, and marketing opportunities to explore, how do you find time to work out outside of work?

“Start by carving out just 15 minutes per day to do something active”

That advice comes from David Acker, who has started a number of successful businesses centered on health and wellness, including Turnstyle Cycle and Love Story Yoga.

Below, David provides a quick 15-minute office workout routine to help busy entrepreneurs reduce stress, boost their energy, and increase mental clarity throughout the day. Start with the general routine below.

Phase 1: Cardio & Lower Body — 5 minutes

Complete these four exercises in order with minimal rest between each. Then, rest for 60 seconds and repeat the whole round again.

1a. Jumping Jacks

Jump while raising your arms and separating your legs to the sides. Jump back as you bring arms and legs to midline. Repeat for 30 seconds.

Build intensity: Increase your speed and/or cross one foot in front of the other each time you land, alternating feet.

Focus point: Keep your core tight and remain in a lateral plane. Make sure your elbows are straight throughout this exercise.

1b. Lateral Jumps

Pick a line or a point on the floor. Keeping your feet together, jump side to side over this point for 30 seconds.

Build intensity: Jump over something higher off the ground such as a ball or a step.

Focus point: Stay on your toes and keep your eyes focused on one point.

1c. Lunges

Start standing with your feet hip-width apart and hands on your hips. Step forward with one leg directly in front of you, lowering your hips until both knees are bent at a 90-degree angle. Keep your chest tall and shoulders back. Propel yourself back to standing with your front leg. Switch legs and repeat 20 times.

Build intensity: Hold dumbbells at your side and add a bicep curl as you lunge forward. Straighten your arms as you push back up to standing

Focus point: Be sure that when pushing back up from the lunge your heel is the last thing to leave the ground so that you avoid overworking your quads.

1d. Burpees

Jump towards the ceiling with your hands in the air. Immediately go into a squat position with your hands on the floor and then kick your feet back into a plank position, keeping your arms extended. Immediately return your feet into a squat position to jump up again. Repeat 10 times.

Build intensity: Add a push-up after the plank before you stand up.

Focus point: Try to point your toes forward as you jump towards your hands so that your knees are pointing forward as much as possible.

Phase 2: Core & Upper Body (5 mins)

Complete these three exercises in order with minimal rest between each. Then, rest for 60 seconds and repeat the whole round again.

2a. Jackknife

Lie flat on the floor with legs straight and arms extended behind your head. Lift your arms and legs to meet in the middle as you crunch.  Your legs should be straight at about a 35-45 degree angle from the floor, and your arms should be parallel to your legs. Return arms and legs to the floor and repeat 30 times.

Build intensity: Try this exercise without ever letting your legs or upper back touch the floor between reps.

Focus point: Try to lift as much of your upper and lower body off the floor as you crunch so that you are only balancing on your tailbone.

2b. Overhead Press

Start by holding dumbbells just above your shoulders with your arms fully bent and your shoulders rotated out to the side. Raise the dumbbells above your head and straighten your arms. Lower your arms back down, staying in the lateral plane, as if you were standing against a flat wall. Repeat 15 times.

Build intensity: Stand on an unstable surface as you do this, such as a bosu ball, to simultaneously challenge your core and leg muscles.

Focus point: Choose a weight you can’t do more than 15x on the first set. Be sure to keep your shoulders low without raising them towards your ears and do not arch your lower back as you push up.

2c. Plank

Start by getting into a push-up position on the floor. Then bend your elbows and place your forearms on the floor, with your elbows directly under your shoulders. Keeping your toes tucked and spine straight, hold this position for as long as you can up to a minute.

Build intensity: Try lifting one foot for up to 30 seconds at a time while you hold this position, keeping your back straight.

Focus point: Bring your navel in towards your spine as you hold this position and do not let your hips drop.

Phase 3: Stretching & Cool Down (5 mins)

Perform each stretch in sequence holding each for at least 4 deep breaths.

3a. Hamstring & Adductor Stretch

Start by standing up with your legs wide apart and feet planted on the floor. Reach your arms towards the floor and then towards each foot. Return to centre and bring your torso upright.

Bend one leg and shift your weight to that side as you stretch out the other leg. Rest your forearm on your bent leg. Point your toe of the straight leg to the ceiling to enhance the stretch for your adductors. Repeat on each side.


3b. Side Twist Torso Stretch

Lay on your back and bring your knees to your chest. Lower your knees to one side and stretch your arms out to either side. Turn your head to the opposite direction of your knees. Repeat on each side.


3c. Yoga Stretches

Start in Downward Facing Dog, move into Low Plank, then to Upward Dog and back to Downward Facing Dog. Repeat this sequence at least 5 times.