Friday, February 20, 2009

How to Make Lunchtime Workouts Work...

The key to lunchtime workouts is planning ahead. I workout at lunch during the week because I have a long commute and I can't exercise before or after work since I'm gone almost 12 hours. At previous jobs, I've worked out in the morning or evening, but for my current schedule lunch is the only way to fit it all in.
Lunchtime workouts are great if you want to be productive at work. They can help you stay on schedule with your work tasks so can make your gym-time and come back to work refocused and destressed.

Here are a few practical tips that can help you organize yourself for the lunchtime workout.
  • Book the time in your calendar: Block the time in your calendar 3-4 weeks ahead and keep to it as much as possible. Set expectations with your coworkers so they know you workout at lunch to minimize conflicts. Last minute meetings happen, but if you make it most of the time, that's what counts.
  • Be realistic on time away: Try to block out from the total time you're away from your desk so other meetings don't conflict. I give myself a 15 minute buffer time so I don't feel rushed.
  • Pack your bag: I keep a small gym bag in my car with toiletries to shower at the gym and my cycle and running shoes. Then, in my commuter bag, I keep a small zip bag with just my clothes and heart monitor. The small bag is convenient because when I get home, I replace the dirty clothese with clean clothes as soon as I get home at night.
  • Bring your meals to work: Eat a nutritious breakfast a few hours before and pack your lunch so when you get back to work you can quickly head back to your desk. If you get hungry right before your workout, try a few almonds or half a grapefruit to help keep your energy up.
  • Hydrate: Drinking water before, during, and after your workout is important. I always have a 1-liter bottle at my desk and it minimizing refills throughout the day. I aim for 3-4 liters of water per day.
  • Shower quickly: To fit in a workout in at lunch, you really have to move fast. I think of ways to be fast and efficient when I'm in the locker room. Not washing your hair after the workout may work, if you have clean hair in the beginning of the day.
  • Find a gym or outdoor trail closeby: Whether you prefer to walk/run outside with coworkers or exercise at a gym near your office, finding an option that is convenient is the best bet.

Lunchtime workouts can be your only chance you can fit in your exercise routine if you have small children or long commutes to work. Make it count. Check out these 20-minute workout ideas from Fitness Magazine, if you're really crunched for time.

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