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20-Minute Full Body Workout and Quick Breakfast for Busy Nursing Students

Updated: Jul 14, 2023

As a nursing student, finding time for exercise and maintaining a healthy diet can be challenging with a busy schedule. However, taking care of your body is essential to ensure optimal well-being and improve productivity. I encourage all my students to incorporate a habit of physical activity into their schedules. I personally exercise 20-30 minutes 4-5 days a week because it makes me feel healthy and strong, I am in a better, more positive mood, and I fall asleep fast at night. I'm sharing my 20-minute full body workout routine and a quick breakfast idea that will help you kickstart your day with energy, even on the busiest of mornings.

Set Yourself up for Success
  • Set your workout clothes out the night before

  • Set your water and towel out the night before

  • Workout at home! I workout in my basement. It makes it so easy to wake up, change my clothes, and go downstairs. It takes out the work of leaving the house and driving. It also saves time!

  • Review the workout and exercises the day before you exercise.

  • Plan your week ahead- know which days you are exercising and which days are for rest.

20-Minute Full Body Workout

This 20-minute full body workout targets major muscle groups and incorporates both cardiovascular exercises and strength training. It is designed to get your heart rate up and make you sweat! After each exercise or set, take a 30 second rest before continuing. Remember to warm up before starting and stretch at the end. Equipment: Exercise mat, jump rope, light to medium dumbbells

​1 minute- Jumping Jacks 1 minute- Jump rope 1 minute- High Knees 1 minute- Mountain Climbers 2 Sets- 10 Dumbbell bent over row 2 Sets- 10 Dumbbell deadlifts 2 Sets- 10 Overhead dumbbell squats 2 Sets- 10 Leg raises 2 Sets- 10 Deadbug Stretch and Cool down

How To:

High Knees:

Jog in place while lifting your knees as high as possible, aiming for a quick and energetic pace for 1 minute.

Mountain Climbers:

Get into a push-up position, then alternate bringing your knees towards your chest as if climbing a mountain. Maintain a quick pace for 1 minute.

Dumbbell bent over row:

The dumbbell bent over row is an excellent exercise for targeting your upper back muscles, including the rhomboids, traps, and rear deltoids. It also engages your biceps and core. Here's how to perform the dumbbell bent over row correctly:

  1. Begin by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart while holding a dumbbell in each hand. Keep a slight bend in your knees.

  2. Hinge forward at the hips, keeping your back straight and your chest up. Your torso should be almost parallel to the floor. Engage your core for stability.

  3. Let your arms hang straight down towards the floor, palms facing each other. This is your starting position.

  4. Keeping your elbows close to your body, exhale and pull the dumbbells up towards your chest. Focus on squeezing your shoulder blades together at the top of the movement.

  5. Pause briefly at the top, ensuring that you maintain a stable and controlled position.

  6. Inhale and slowly lower the dumbbells back down to the starting position, fully extending your arms.

Dumbbell deadlifts:

Dumbbell deadlifts are an effective exercise for targeting your lower body, particularly the hamstrings, glutes, core, and lower back. They also engage your core and help improve overall strength and stability. Here's how to perform dumbbell deadlifts:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes pointing slightly outward. Place a pair of dumbbells in front of you on the floor.

  2. Bend at the hips and knees, keeping your back straight, and lower your body down to grasp the dumbbells with an overhand grip. Your hands should be just outside your knees.

  3. Prepare for the lift by engaging your core, keeping your chest up, and maintaining a neutral spine position.

  4. Drive through your heels, extend your hips, and stand up straight, lifting the dumbbells as you rise. Keep the dumbbells close to your body throughout the movement.

  5. As you reach the top of the movement, squeeze your glutes and maintain a tall posture. Your shoulders should be pulled back, and your hips should be fully extended.

  6. Lower the dumbbells back down by bending at the hips and knees while keeping your back straight. Lower them to the floor in a controlled manner.

Overhead dumbbell squats:

Overhead dumbbell squats are a challenging exercise that combines the benefits of squats with the added difficulty of holding dumbbells overhead. This exercise primarily targets your lower body, including your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and core. Here's how to perform overhead dumbbell squats:

  1. Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and hold a dumbbell in each hand. Use a weight that challenges you but allows you to maintain proper form.

  2. Lift the dumbbells to shoulder height, palms facing inward, and elbows bent. This is your starting position.

  3. Engage your core, keep your chest up, and maintain a straight back throughout the exercise.

  4. Take a deep breath and initiate the squat by bending at the hips and knees, as if you were sitting back into a chair. Lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the ground or as low as your flexibility allows.

  5. Pause briefly at the bottom of the squat, then push through your heels to stand back up while pushing the dumbbells overhead, fully extending your arms. Your biceps should be alongside your ears, and the dumbbells should be directly above your shoulders.

  6. Lower the dumbbells back to shoulder height as you return to the starting position.

Leg raises:

Specifically targets the lower abs. Here's how to perform leg raises:

  1. Lie flat on your back on an exercise mat or the floor with your legs extended and your arms by your sides.

  2. Engage your core by drawing your belly button in towards your spine.

  3. Slowly lift both legs off the ground, keeping them straight and together, until perpendicular to the floor. Your feet should be flexed.

  4. Hold the raised position for a brief moment, focusing on maintaining stability and engaging your lower abs.

  5. Slowly lower your right leg down as low as possible without your back lifting from the ground and then lift back up.

  6. Repeat with your left leg. This is 1 rep.


Targets the abdominal muscles, particularly the deep stabilizers. It also helps improve core stability and coordination. Here's how to perform the Deadbug exercise:

  1. Start by lying flat on your back on an exercise mat or the floor. Bend your knees and lift your legs, so your thighs are perpendicular to the floor, and your shins are parallel to it. Your knees should be at a 90-degree angle.

  2. Raise your arms straight up toward the ceiling, directly above your shoulders. Keep your shoulders down and relaxed.

  3. Engage your core by drawing your belly button in toward your spine. This will help stabilize your lower back throughout the exercise.

  4. Slowly lower your right arm overhead toward the floor while simultaneously straightening and lowering your left leg until it hovers just above the floor. Keep your lower back pressed into the mat.

  5. Pause briefly at the fully extended position, then return your right arm and left leg back to the starting position.

  6. Repeat the movement on the opposite side, extending your left arm overhead and lowering your right leg. This is 1 rep.

Quick Breakfast Idea:

After your workout, it's crucial to refuel your body with a nutritious breakfast. This one is quick to prepare, healthy, and keeps me full and alert for 4-5 hours in the morning. It takes me less than 2 minutes to prepare in the morning, which is why I like it so much, but you can also make it and refrigerate it. I eat this for breakfast after my workout- I've been doing it for over a year now and I'm still not tired of it. I hope you like it too!

Chia Fruit Yogurt:


- 1 tablespoons chia seeds

- 1 cup low fat vanilla yogurt

- 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup

- Fresh fruits (berries, sliced banana, etc.)


1. Pour the chia seeds into a bowl and add the yogurt.

2. Stir well, ensuring that the chia seeds are evenly distributed.

Optional- Cover the jar/container and refrigerate overnight or for at least 4 hours.

3. Top with your favorite fresh fruits. 6-7 blackberries are my favorite topping!

4. Add honey on top of the fruit and enjoy!

Notes: Chia seeds can be eaten dry. Simply mixing in yogurt is enough prep, but you can refrigerate overnight to let them plump up if you prefer.

This 20-minute full body workout and quick breakfast idea are designed to help you stay active and nourished, even on the most hectic of mornings. Remember, small lifestyle changes can make a big difference in your overall health and productivity.

Good luck!

Professor C.



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