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.

Pilates Vlog: Joe and the Small Barrel

a fairy tale…

Remember Joe?

Pilates Vlog: Joe and the Small Barrel

By now you've seen him grace many a Pilates vlog of mine. He does a good job, he's a good sport and he's got a lovely sense of humor about his Pilates workout. Read more about his workout here.

He also professes to do only the Mat.

Which is mostly true…

Don't get too excited, only in my dreams does he beg me to teach him a Reformer exercise.

But he does use the Cadillac. He enjoys Leg Springs, Arm Springs and as you all saw, Rolling Back.

More recently, however, he's become a fan of the Small Barrel.

Pilates Vlog: Joe and the Small Barrel

I know, the small round apparatus… SO CUTE!

Battling the Computer Slump

It came to pass one day, after Joe had completed his Mat exercises, that I suggested he add some stretching over the barrel to his routine. For over a year now Joe has been in school for web design. Since that time, he's logged countless hours slumping sitting in front of his computer.

Hence my subtle suggestion.

“Stretch over the Barrel” (the Ladder Barrel I was thinking).

Now please keep in mind, if he were my client, I would have never decided to begin his barrel career with a Backbend on the Ladder Barrel…he also wouldn't exclusively be doing the Mat…etc…you know how this goes…

Joe is quite flexible (not quite loosey-goosey, but darn close) especially bending forward (my 1st clue) and he is not short.

And he's my husband, he does the full advanced Mat, and in the spirit of totally trying to look the other way and not pick-pick-pick his entire workout…blah blah disclaimer, blah…

This was indeed a day for learning.

Goldilocks and the Three Barrels

One second of beginning to lie back over the Ladder Barrel made Joe groan and abort.

“Whoa, that's hard…”

Okay, let's get the Spine Corrector…Joe sits on the step and tries again.

“No. I think it's too much here too…” Ix-nay on the Ine-spay Orrector-cay…

Small Barrel? For a man? That is not stiff?? (or so I thought) Well, one barrel left to try – let's give it a go.

“Oh yeah, this is doable…

Not ‘fine', not ‘good' but possible. And quite hard work for him, even now. The Small Barrel (we did a few Arm Circles only) was a good challenge for him.


Small Barrel. For a man. That evidently cannot bend backward nearly as easily as he can bend forward…

Yup. Now I get it.


Paying it Forward

I notice that with each workout Joe includes the Small Barrel.

He clearly sees the value, or moreover, feels the value of Small Barrel exercises in his body. He speaks of seeing various body types of older men, 20 or 30 years his senior, some of which have a hunched forward posture.

Joe sees the Small Barrel as his #1 way to remain upright for a lifetime.

The Vlog

In this short video Joe does 3 exercises on the Small Barrel:

  • arm circles – using 1 pound weights (he sometimes uses 2 pound weights)
  • one arm up/one arm down – using the weights
  • breathing (using a light pole)

Thanks so much for watching!

Related videos to combat the computer slump:

Computer Refresher 

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