Get a Fantastic Workout on your Busiest Day

Get a Fantastic Workout on your Busiest Day

I dearly love my Pilates workout. Last week I was on a family vacation and I got in an invigorating Pilates Mat workout each morning in the lovely hotel fitness center.

I've got ample time for my Pilates workout when I am away from my studio. Sure I miss the Reformer, but daily Pilates is luxurious.

How can I aspire to a daily workout at the top of a busy workday? This is my conundrum.

“I can't do anything in less than an hour!”

Yes. I can. And you can too.

My beef for years was how to get in the full-on hour workout – a big Reformer workout – during a super-packed busy day. My morale runs high in the morning, dips around lunch time and at the end of my day I've really got my sights on dinner and not the Hundred.


My Go-To Pilates Workout for Busy Days

Today I'd like to share with you my new plan to workout little by little throughout your day.

And you'll still feel fabulous!

At the end of my day I'm also more inclined to want closure for the workout I started earlier. Usually it feels too daunting to begin my workout at 7pm.

And I'm hungry.

3 Cheers for the Small Apparatus!

In today's video I share the apparatus and exercises I use daily. I will change up the major apparatus, whether I'll be doing Mat, Reformer, Cadillac or Chair. But the small apparatus ritual at the top of my workout remains the same.

For now.

If I've got more time I will do all of my small apparatus exercises, and if I am running late in my morning it only takes about 5 minutes to do a pared down version.

A couple scenarios…

No time to workout? There's an exercise for that.

Busy Day #1


Small Barrel: Arm Series (Circles, Up/Down, Hug, Breathing) and Leg Series (Circles, Walks, Beats, Scissors, Bicycle, Hip Twist).

You'll finish in about 4 minutes.


Foot Corrector: all the exercises included in the video

Mat: Hundred, Roll Up, Roll Over, One Leg Circle, Roll Like a Ball, Single Leg Pull, Double Leg Pull, Scissors, Lower Lift, Criss Cross, Spine Stretch, Open Leg Rocker, CorkScrew, Saw, Swan, Single Leg Kick, Double Leg Kick, Thigh Stretch, Neck Pull

In about 20 minutes you've done all your Foot Corrector and jumpstarted your Mat exercises.


Mat: High Scissors, High Bicycle, Shoulder Bridge, Spine Twist, JackKnife, Side Kick Series, Teaser, Seal

Yes, you could finish up all your Mat exercises at this point at the end of the day, but dinner is often a real concern…

Or maybe you'll workout on the Reformer:

Busy Day #2


Foot Corrector – all the exercises included in the video

Small Barrel: Arm Series (Circles, Up/Down, Hug, Breathing) and Leg Series (Circles, Walks, Beats, Scissors, Bicycle, Hip Twist).

Reformer: Footwork, Hundred, Overhead, Coordination

In just 15 minutes you've visited 2 small apparatus. You've also gotten the ball rolling with your Reformer.


Reformer: Long Box (Pull Straps, T, Backstroke, Teaser), Long Stretch, Down Stretch, Up Stretch, Elephant, Long Back Stretch, Stomach Massage Series

In about 20 minutes post-lunch you can complete Long Box 1 Series, Long Stretch Series and the Stomach Massage Series. Maybe you can get it done in 15?

Not too shabby.


Reformer: Short Box Series, Short Spine Massage, SemiCircle, Knee Stretch Series, Running, Pelvic Lift, Side Splits, Front Splits

Mat: Roll Like a Ball, Open Leg Rocker, Seal

At the end of the day you'll finish off the major exercises in what you may know as an Intermediate Reformer workout followed by an invigorating rolling ending.

Well done!

Give it a try and see how you do. Share your tips and successes in a comment below 🙂

I hope you'll enjoy this workout as much as I do.

Thanks for watching! 

Oh and about this video…

My body generally avoids the Shoulder Bridge on the Small Barrel. It's always my intent to include this exercise after the Bicycle but alas, as I edit this post I realize my body has gotten the best of me AGAIN and I “forgot” to include Shoulder Bridge in the video.

Bad Pilates Teacher!

You should still do it (and so should I).

Let's help each other…

Classes, Private Lessons and Much Much MORE!

October 5-8, 2017 I'll be in Portsmouth UK at Everybody Pilates. Private lessons are filling up! Reserve your spot by using the link below:

Everybody Pilates Mind Body Online

I look forward to seeing you there.

And here's where to find me this Fall.

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  1. Deborah Wagman says

    Hi Andrea,

    Please show us more…great little workouts for us that are on the go !

    Thank you,

    • Hi Deborah,

      Yes, thank you so much for the feedback and I will continue to share my workouts so we can always have time for Pilates! Thanks for reading and for sharing your thoughts here – it is nice to have you 🙂

  2. Alessandra Niccolai says

    Ah!! Now there’s an idea ????.. breaking up our workout into manageable chunks… hadn’t thought of that one!! But that’s why we need you????.. you have all the good ideas!! ????????.. I have to admit I try to do footwork on the reformer at least to get connected before I start my day.. if I have time I’ll add The 100 and frogs and circles too…and at the end of the day I’m normally a Cadillac girl with the joy of roll backs (my ongoing project ????), push throughs and leg and arm springs … and then the barrel as a grand finale ????????????????
    So much to choose from!! We lucky pilates peeps! ????????

    • You are correct! So many exercises so little time – LOL. Some days you have to get in a little bit here and there and it still feels like a good workout. Yay! Keep up the good work. See you soon in Portsmouth. xox

      • Totally jealous you gals are in Portsmouth doing Pilates 😉 and I won’t see you, Andrea, until Oct 13ttttthhhh! gasp 🙁 I’ve been coming back to this post a lot. Trying to get to the P-bunker in the a.m. before work for just you know, for a little P-love, and then I eat the “real” Reformer potatoes later. It’s true, just 10-15 minutes in the a.m. to align and wake up really is making a difference, except then I sorta obsess on Pilates all day, like when I was mopping and you push that handle thing down to get all the water out of the mop, it is the one handed PUSH DOWN on the Wunda chair 🙂 Pilates is everywhere….xoxoxo

        • OMG you are so right! Pilates is everywhere 🙂 I cannot turn off my Pilates brain either. I tried out some standing-in-the-museum-looking-at-art-while-trying-not-to-look-too-weird back stretches while in Vienna. Mostly successful LOL

          Just got into Portsmouth last night and start to work on Thursday. Today I must get into the studio for a workout. Feeling a bit Stiffy McStifferson… yes Alessandra and I will miss you – maybe next time I am in Portsmouth you can come too and we’ll all have a British reunion.

          Sounds good that you are squeezing in a bit of Pilates wherever you can. I think it just leads to more Pilates later in the day when you may have more time! woo hoo! I look forward to seeing you when I return. The time away has flown by actually. And Austria is amazing! I highly recommend it. Have a good Pilates week! xox

  3. I haven’t been here in years and this is a perfect post to come back to because I am needing to re-invigorate my personal Pilates practice after a ridiculously crazy pre-school year that took me off the rails in every way. It’s day three of the rest of my life – my child is finally in Kindergarten! It’s great to see you still posting great blog posts Andrea!

    • Hi there –
      Lovely to see you here again. Sounds like you have been very busy – but yay! welcome to the rest of your life! I’ve been posting still but also having some time to travel and enjoy the summer…which flew by too fast LOL. I hope we can see each other again in the future – all best to you 🙂

  4. Hi Andrea,

    I’ve been following you for some time and love the way that both your deep knowledge and enthusiasm shine through your blog posts. I don’t come from a Classical background – I am Balanced Body trained – but hey there are far bigger issues than squabbling over which approach is better or worse! When well done and thought through, Classical and Contemporary Pilates are perfectly complementary IMHO.

    I especially like: your thirty day challenges; structured workouts that make the best of difficult situations (like the one above) and your personal observations into both the Method and your own practice.

    Above all I appreciate your humility:

    — “Bad Pilates Teacher!”
    — “You should still do it (and so should I).”
    — “Let’s help each other…”

    You are a wonderful example to follow. Thank you for everything – please keep it coming!

    • Hi Miguel,

      Thank you so much for your high praise. Wow. I so appreciate your feedback and so SO glad to hear you find the posts to informative and engaging. Pilates is hard sweaty work so it’s nice to have fun while you are doing good things for yourself, right? And thanks for being an ongoing reader and subscriber.

      I have some additional 30 day challenges in the works – I still have to complete my own Wunda Chair one first LOL. More on that in next week’s post (I promise).

      And again, wow. You do me great honor…

      Have a great rest of your week and cheers to you!

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