It can be hard to find the time to work out. Most adults opt to exercise before or after work, but this requires a certain level of sacrifice not everyone is willing to accept. For instance, working out before work requires waking up earlier to allow for the necessary time to workout, shower, and get to work on time. Most people do not relish the idea of giving up sleep for any reason. However, working out after work is no picnic either. While people start their day with every intention of working out after leaving the office, they often skip the workout because they are mentally drained. This leaves one viable option for these individuals: a lunch break workout.
Making the Time
You may balk at the idea of sacrificing your lunch break to exercise, but think about your free time as a whole. Your lunch break is entrenched between work hours. You are not relaxing as you do while sleeping or unwinding after work. You also do not have to eat into your limited free time outside of the office. You are already at work; you may as well take advantage of your midday break. Instead of traipsing off to a local diner with your coworkers, pack your lunch and eat it at your desk.
Still not convinced? There are several more benefits to a lunch break workout, one of which is a boost to your energy levels. Many people experience a dip in energy half way through their workday. They falsely associate this with the need to eat. Food provides energy, after all. However, this is not always the case. Otherwise, we would not feel sleepy and sluggish after a large meal. While food does provide energy, it does not provide immediate energy. Exercise gets your blood flowing and stimulates your brain, which helps improve energy and mental performance.
Preparing for Success
The most common reason people resist the lunch break workout is that they believe they do not have the time. However, with proper preparation, an hour-long lunch break provides everything you need. Here is what you need to achieve a successful lunch break workout:
- A gym that is 10 minutes or less away
- A workout that is 30 minutes or less in length
- All of your gear and gym clothes ready to go
This leaves you twenty minutes to get to the gym and back, 30 minutes to exercise, and 10 minutes to take a brief shower. Thirty minutes may not seem like much, but, if you ramp up the intensity of your workout, you will reap more benefits from a quick yet concentrated 20-30 minute workout than you will from an hour of jogging on the treadmill. This means you should opt for heavier weights, perform sprints at an incline, or perform 20 minute AMRAPs (as many rounds as possible) at your maximum effort. Some gyms even offer 20-30 minutes classes around noon for the lunch break exercise enthusiasts.
But What About Lunch?
As mentioned above, opting to exercise instead of going out to eat means eating your lunch at your desk. It does not (and should not) mean skipping lunch. If you are going to work out during your lunch break, prepare a protein-packed lunch to eat after hitting the gym. Working out after eating a meal does not often yield pleasant results. Instead, you should munch on a protein bar or some other high-protein snack. Timing your lunch matters as well. Your muscles will need to refuel after intense exercise, so try to eat within 45 minutes of working out.
There is No Gym Near Me—Now What?
While having a gym nearby would be ideal, it is not necessary. You can go for a run or find a level area outside to perform body weight exercises. If the weather is not cooperating, you can make use of a personal office or an unused conference room. Some tried and true body weight exercises include squats, push-ups, burpees, lunges, and chair dips.
Additional Benefits of Mid-Day Workouts
Working out during your lunch break provides several benefits. As mentioned above, it creates more free time and improves energy levels during the day. It also:
- Reduces the likelihood of getting sick
- Reduces stress
- Saves money by not going out to eat for lunch
- Saves calories as home-packed lunches tend to be healthier than what you can get at a restaurant
- Improves your creativity, brain function, and productivity
Staying active and getting the appropriate amount of exercise is vital to your health. If you are tired of waking up early or dragging yourself to the gym after work, consider trying lunch break workouts. If planning workouts is not your strong suit, check out LoCoFit Leesburg for daily workouts (WODs).