Not much of an early bird, and cringe at the thought of hitting the gym during peak hours after work? You’re not off the hook from working out just yet — there’s still your lunch hour. For many, it seems like the land of milk and honey.
A flexible schedule where you can pump some casual reps, clean up and eat all within an hour’s time. And, you’re right! While you won’t be able to do the same routine you could leisurely do on the weekend, it’s completely possible to stay in shape while working out during the middle of the day.
As an added bonus, you won’t just have an opportunity to post #LegDay photos on Instagram and brag to coworkers that you’ve literally been running around all day. You’ll also perform better at work, as the benefits of working out are plenty. Studies even suggest that a midday workout can give your productivity and mood a major boost. For many, it’s a way to recharge the brain and get the blood flowing again.
Here are some workout tips for those who would rather hit the gym during lunch so they can make it to happy hour later. Or sleep, whatever your thing is.
Even if it means keeping a special gym bag under your desk or in your car, commit to bringing your gear to work every single day. You never know when you’ll be surprised by extra time at work that can be spent taking a walk around the block, or actually making that lunchtime rowing class.
Make sure to keep the bag stocked with a variety of workout clothing so you can adjust your routine on the fly. For example, bring running shoes for beautiful afternoons where you don’t feel like being inside, or your boxing gloves for stressful days that warrant an MMA class. By having a stocked gym bag, you’ll never miss an opportunity to get moving.
Going off that last point, some days you won’t be able to make it to your power hour yoga class. Instead of skipping your workout on days that require you to stay closer to the office, keep some basic equipment on-hand instead.
Stash gear like a set of lightweight dumbbells, resistance bands and/or a medicine ball at your desk or in your car. Try sneaking in some reps between meetings, or when you have a spare 20 minutes. There are plenty of quick and easy workout routines you can find online that will show you how to tone your muscles in the shortest amount of time.
Careful choreography is crucial for a successful lunchtime workout to make it as efficient as possible. If you plan on hitting up the gym or a nearby fitness studio, factor in how long it will take to drive there. Try looking for a location that is within walking distance from your workplace, or consider taking an Uber so you don’t need to worry about finding parking.
This counts for cleaning up as well. Dumb down your beauty routine so you can look fresh-faced again when coming back into the office. This includes dry shampoo, baby wipes, body spray and face wash for soaping away sweat.
Oh, and don’t forget the one thing you definitely need to make time for within the hour; your actual lunch! Whether you sneak in a workout or not, food is your body’s fuel, and without it, you’ll find yourself struggling to get through your routine – or the end of the day. Bring along a packed lunch to eat after your workout, as well as a snack to give you energy an hour beforehand.
Obviously, each workplace has its own levels of flexibility. For those with laidback teams, discuss carving out time for your workout every day. Then, be transparent about where you are when working out during the work day. Instead of sneaking off for a run, block the time off on your calendar. Be open with your team and boss, and let them know that making time to sweat each day is necessary for your own well-being and performance at work.
Even with the best planning, there will be some days when you’ll have to skip your routine — and that’s understandable and should be expected. Maybe a coworker was handed a tight deadline and needs a hand with their workload, or you’re slammed with back-to-back meetings. Don’t beat yourself up over it, flat-out refuse or let yourself get distracted from your actual work. If you’re also willing to be flexible with your team when it’s crunch time, they’ll show you the same courtesy with your daily workout routine.
Lead image via Getty
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