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The Proven Benefits of Lunchtime Workouts

If you are having trouble squeezing workouts into your busy schedule, midday workouts are a great choice. Not only can you get a great workout in a short period of time, you'll boost your energy for the rest of the day. However, the logistics can be a nightmare. What if you don't have access to a gym? Where do you change clothes and how do you clean up after? When do you eat and what do you do if you only have 20 or 30 minutes?

There is great news: with a little planning and preparation, you can make lunchtime workouts a reality.

The Proven Benefits of Lunchtime Workouts

Lunchtime workouts may not work all the time, but just one or two a week can help fill in any gaps in your workout routine or help you burn a few extra calories during the week. A midday workout can:

  • Reduce stress - Exercise is a proven way to reduce stress and is much better for you than what some of us do to get rid of workplace stress - Sit at our desk and snack!
  • Boost your energy level - You may feel a dip in energy reserves after lunch, but a short workout may give you more energy for the rest of your work day.
  • Provide more free time - Working out on your lunch hour means you're ultimately free for other activities after work!
  • Clear your mind - Getting away from the computer and moving your body can clear your mind and help you refocus for the rest of the afternoon.
  • Save money and calories - Working out at lunch means you won't eat out as often, which may save you both money and extra calories
  • Much needed time to refocus - A brisk walk or jog is a great way to release your mind, solve problems or come up with new ideas for your projects.

 

The Logistics of Lunchtime Workouts

To make lunchtime workouts happen, you'll need to do more planning and preparation than you normally would for a typical workout. This is one reason you may want to keep your lunchtime workouts to a minimum at first. Once you practice a few times, you'll figure out exactly what you need for a midday workout. A few basic tips include:

  • Schedule your workout: Look at your week and choose the day(s) with the fewest obstacles in your path for a lunchtime workout. Schedule it in your calendar just like you would any other appointment or meeting.
  • Pack your lunch: You may need to plan your meals more carefully if you're working out during lunch. Eat a light snack (such as yogurt and fruit) about an hour before your workout and then eat your normal lunch later. Another option is to eat part of your lunch an hour or two before you exercise and the rest later in the day.
  • Keep your gym bag ready: Keep a gym bag at the office or in your car so you're always ready for a workout. If you don't have access to a gym, all you need is a pair of shoes for a low-sweat walking workout. If you're doing something more vigorous and don't have a shower handy, use no rinse body wipes, wear sweat-wicking clothes to keep you cool and dry and use a dry shampoo to get fresh, clean hair without water.
  • Be creative: Think outside the box sometimes: use a conference room for your own aerobics session (with the boss's approval, of course). Leave essentials in your car (money or a file you'll need later in the day, etc.) and taking the stairs to get them throughout the day. Think of your own creative ways to make exercise more accessible as well as necessary to stay fit.

 

What Can Lunchtime Workouts Look Like?

If you don't have much time, the workouts below give you ideas for what you can do to get the most bang for your buck.

Circuit Training

When you don't have much time, this is a great way to hit all your muscle groups in a short period of time. You can choose 5-8 exercises, either all cardio, all strength or a mixture of both and do each for 1 set (or for a timed period) before moving onto the next exercise. The idea is to hit all your muscle groups and move at a fast pace to keep the intensity high.

Staircase Workout

This simple workout is perfect if you have a low-use staircase in your building or a set of stairs at a nearby park:

  • 3 minutes Warm up: Walk up 3-4 flights of stairs at a slow, easy pace (if you only have one flight of stairs, walk up and down for 3 minutes)
  • 1 minute: Walk up the stairs as fast as you can
  • 1 minute: Walk down the stairs at an easy pace
    • Strength Circuit:
    • Step Ups - 12 reps with the right leg
    • Squats to Step - Stand with your back to the stairs and squat until your backside just touches the second step (or as low as you can) - 12 reps.
    • Step Ups - 12 reps with the left Leg
    • Triceps Dips - 15-20 reps
    • Cardio Circuit:
    • 1 minute: Walk up the stairs, taking them two at a time
    • 1 minute: Walk down the stairs to recover
    • 2 minutes: Walk up the stairs at a slow, steady pace
    • 1 minute: Walk down the stairs to recover
    • Strength Circuit:
    • Split squats - Elevate the left foot on the bottom step behind you for 16 lunges.
    • Squats to Step - 12 reps.
    • Split squats - For this set, do the lunges with your right foot on the step for 12 reps.
    • Triceps Dips - 15-20 reps
    • Cardio Circuit:
    • 1 minute: Walk up the stairs, taking them two at a time
    • 1 minute: Run up the stairs as fast as you can
    • 2 minutes: Walk down the stairs to recover
    • 1 minute: Run up the stairs as fast as you can
    • 2 minutes: Walk down the stairs to recover

 Let us know how this is working for you!


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