Workouts during lunch have their pros and cons. If done right, they're a great way to get your daily workout in without having to get up early or miss post-work plans, they help break up your day and give you a much needed break in the work day, and they can help energize you for the afternoon. However, lunch workouts can also be rushed making them not as effect, make you feel stressed as you try to rush back to work, and leave you feeling frazzled if you don't plan them well.
I'm lucky in that I have a gym right by my work with great group fitness classes so I don't even have to plan my own workout and can get back quickly. I also usually see my patients in the morning so I often skip reapplying my makeup and doing my hair again so I can keep my post workout routine short and spend more time working out. I've included a few tips for getting the most out of lunchtime workouts as well as a sample high intensity workout below. Again, everyone's job is different and those that don't have the luxury of a longer or set lunch break may not be able to squeeze in a workout.
I'd also like to thank everyone that donated to Cycle for Survival!! My team, MPower for the Cure, has raised almost $6,000!!! So far for the 2015 Cycle for Survival season over $23 million towards research and clinical trials for rare cancers. I am just $30 short of my $500 fundraising goal- if you'd like to be the lucky one to push me over the edge click here to donate NOW! I'll be riding this Sunday in New York City, however, rides are continuing until April 1st so you can donate anytime between now and then.
Tips for Fitting Your Workout in Your Lunch Break
- Interval Training: When you're pressed for time interval training is the best way to maximize your calorie burn for those quick workouts. I've included a tabata workout below. Tabata is a type of interval training where you alternate between 20 seconds of all out high intensity work (your goal is to go breathless) and then 10 second of rest for a total of 4 minutes of work (8 times through).
- Find a group fitness class near your work: Again this isn't possible for everyone, but you'd be surprised how many local gyms have 30-45 minute group fitness classes at lunchtime so you can get your full workout in for the day and be back at your desk in time for afternoon meetings.
- Pack a nutritious snack and lunch the day before: One of the hardest parts of working out during lunch is you are hungry. Packing a snack helps you get through your workout, and having the lunch on hand will make sure you don't miss out on eating because you had to rush back to work. My favorite pre-workout snack to pack is apple and peanut butter. A yogurt and banana or granola bar are also great alternatives pre-workout.
- Plan out your gym schedule at the beginning of the week: I usually look at my calendar Sunday and pick out two days that are best for a lunch time workout. I try to make it days where I'm planning to do homework or babysit after work so I'm not too worried about getting ready after working out. Looking at my calendar ahead of time allows me to plan those days around days where I have afternoon meetings or patients.
- Dress appropriately: On days where I'm planning to workout during lunch I dress in outfits that are easy to get in and out of quickly- no tights, boots, or complicated dresses/skirts. I'll also try to wear loose fitting clothing that I can get away wearing my sports bra underneath to save myself some time once I get to the gym. I also keep my sneakers under my desk so I can slip them on quickly and get out of the office quickly.
- Head straight to the shower after group fitness classes: Since everyone is rushing back to work the showers can fill up quickly. If there is a line you can stretch and help yourself cool down a little more.
- Go into work a little early and leave a little late: Coming in 15 minutes early and leaving 15 minutes late can give you an extra 30 minutes at lunch to either allow you to workout a little longer or give you more time to shower and get back.
- Make sure you pack your gym bag ahead of time: This will ensure that you don't forget any of your essentials like deodorant, a change of undies, or a hairbrush.
- Recruit a coworker: Bringing a coworker will not only eliminate some of the guilt of cutting out of the office in the middle of the day, it will also keep you accountable and make sure you don't skip your workout.
Once again tabata is a high intensity workout consisting of 8 cycles of 20 seconds on/10 seconds off. If you do 6 tabatas with 1 minute rest between that is the perfect 30 minute workout. Best way to know if you're doing your tabata correctly? At the end of those 20 seconds you are struggling to breath, you need every bit of those 10 seconds recovery, and you're a little nervous to start the next 20 seconds on. If you feel like you are going to puke at the end- you've got it down!
I like to alternate between two exercises during my tabata so you do a total of 4 sets of each exercise. Here is a sample workout:
Lateral Shuffle // Forward Shuffle
10 high knees, jump to left, reverse lunge // 180 degree squat jumps (squat facing the front, jump up and switch the direction your facing)
Walk out plank, burpee (repeat) // Plank
10 high knees, jump to right, reverse lunge // 180 degree squat jumps (squat facing the front, jump up and switch the direction your facing)
10 jumping jacks, burpee (repeat) // Russian twist