Express Workout Tips for Busy Women from Trainers Chris and Heidi Powell

That jam-packed schedule probably leaves you with very little time to take care of your fitness routine. Still, you don't have to make that trip to the gym or put yourself through a long and grueling workout at home to stay in shape.

Celebrity fitness trainer Chris Powell from "Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition" and his wife Heidi Powell are both committed to fitness in spite of a super-busy schedule, and the couple has some valuable advice for busy women who want to keep up with their healthy lifestyle.

Whether you want to lose a few pounds before summer or just be in great shape this year, you can make simple changes to your lifestyle AND reach your goals -- without even setting foot in a gym.

Here are some of Chris and Heidi Powell's best express workout tips for busy women:

Best At-Home Exercises for Getting in Shape Fast

When you only have 15 to 20 minutes to get your workout done, you'll need to do some targeted exercises that engage your largest muscle groups and strengthen your core.

The burpee is a great core strengthening exercise you can do at home. Chris and Heidi recommend these three exercises:

#1: The Burpee

"This total body movement can be done alone (as many times as possible in x minutes, for example), or can be incorporated into any exercise routine to spike your heart rate and challenge nearly every muscle in your body."

How to do it: Start in standing position, feet shoulder width apart, hands by your sides.

Place hands on the ground and jump your feet back to a plank-pushup position. Do a pushup.

Add the butterfly swing up to your at-home workout routine. Jump your feet forward toward your hand and immediately stand/jump upward, clapping your hands above your head.

#2: The Butterfly Swing Up

"Who doesn't want killer core strength? We sure do! Swing ups will help you get there. The best part is that they can be done ANYWHERE!"

How to do it: Lie on your back with arms overhead, bottoms of feet together, with knees bent and butterflied out to the side.

Quickly swing your arms forward, using the momentum to raise your torso off the ground and "sit up" to touch your toes.

Do the back lunge exercise to tone up your lower body. Lower yourself back to starting position with arms above head.

#3: The Back Lunge

"Kiss the saggy bottom goodbye with the amazing back lunge."

How to do it: Start in standing position with feet together and hands on hips. Lunge backward with one leg, keeping your weight steady on your front leg.

Plant back foot firmly on the ground approximately 3 feet behind you, and allow the back knee to gently 'kiss' the ground.

Keeping most of your weight on the front heel, pull the back leg forward to upright standing position. Repeat with the other side.

Express Workouts 101

As you put together you're at-home routine, make sure you're not making some common fitness mistakes. Whether you're doing a strength training routine or revving up your metabolism with cardio intervals, here are some important things to keep in mind:

Q: How often should women do any type of strength training at home?

HP & CP: "A minimum of two days per week, and a maximum of five days per week."

Q: What about cardio? How much is enough and how much is too much?

HP & CP: "We always say that 'enough' is whatever amount of time you can commit to and fulfill. If five minutes is realistic at first, then five minutes is enough for you. Over time, grow your smaller commitment to 30, 40, 50, upwards of 60 minutes. The most important thing though is never to over-commit if you cannot fulfill! There is nothing worse for your integrity and dignity than breaking a promise you have made to yourself.

'Too much' is a tricky thing. Each person is at a different fitness level. What might be too much for one person could be not-enough for other. Also, the time you commit to cardio could be dependent on your goals - for example, one training for a marathon will be doing upwards of 3-4 hours of cardio at a time, which would be too much for someone else.

Rules of thumb: 1. Listen to your body. If you ever feel light-headed or dizzy, you're doing too much for that day. Stop, fuel up, hydrate, and rest. 2. If you're experiencing any muscular or joint pain, you may be overdoing it. This doesn't mean STOP; this just means to scale back a little bit while your body catches up."

Q: What are some simple cardio routines to do at home?

HP & CP: "Forget routines -- instead play tennis, rollerblade, challenge the kids to a game of tag, race the kids to the mailbox, run further than you did yesterday. Have fun getting your heart rate up!"

Q: Any other tips for staying motivated and on-track with an at-home fitness program?

HP & CP: "Remember that fitness should be fast, fun, and convenient! Don't make it a chore.

You should set small, attainable goals each day that challenge you to be a little better than you were yesterday. This is a never-ending progression toward being a better person.

Buy the bikini you want to wear this summer or the dress you're dying to fit into…in the size you want to be. Hang it on your bedroom door or somewhere you will see it often as motivation to get to your goal weight or size."

Sources:

Interview with Celebrity Fitness Trainer Chris Powell from Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition

Interview with Heidi Powell: Trainer, Life Coach, and Healthy Living Expert