At this stage there really are no excuses for not working out, but many people still struggle to get a workout in, but have you considered working out during your lunch break? Some reasons not to train are valid: Successfully juggling a demanding career and taking care of family commitments usually takes many hours of your day. But if you spend your precious free moments managing a handful of fantasy football teams or keeping up with every new Netflix drama, it's up to you.
And science has proven that a sedentary lifestyle can lead to a variety of health problems. So if you're not ready to do your workout after work, why not within work, like during your lunch break?
If you have an hour to get away in the afternoon, you'll have more than enough time to get in a solid workout. Even if you drive to the gym, changing clothes, showering and getting back to work takes half the time. Back then, a 30-minute workout will get you back on track and put you miles ahead of those waiting for a lunch-break machioto .
A short workout is always better than no workout at all — and training in the long run leads to healthier habits that may lead you to find other ways to stretch out those 30 minutes.
The first step in creating an effective lunchtime workout begins with considering it as an option. Here's how and why it might work for you.
Rawpixel.com / Shutterstock
Why choose a lunch break workout?
Lunchtime workouts don't interfere with your sleep or evening time with family, or force you to go to bed early so you can get up earlier. You'll also get a mental break from work and an energy boost for lunchtime. Regular exercise improves your energy - which translates into increased focus and productivity. You may even find that you are more efficient during working hours and less likely to have to take work home with you in the evenings and weekends.
If you commit to a lunch break workout, also make sure you take your lunch break instead of working through it. Smokers at your workplace also take breaks. Committing to a break places limits on your work and well-being.
Lunch break workouts are less likely to be skipped because of late nights and poor sleep or because of family or social commitments in the evening. An added bonus: you also avoid the chaos of packed gyms in the early evening.
Ideally, you will have access to a gym nearby. Some lucky ones have a gym in their work building and an employer that makes health and wellness a priority. Most cities have gyms a short walk or drive away. Comfort is your number one priority, even if it lacks facilities or amenities. If you can keep your total cycle time under 15-20 minutes, you have more than enough time to put in a great workout. Search online for all gyms in the immediate area. You may be surprised to find some small private facilities or group training studios nearby. Some people hire a trainer or take a class to commit to exercising.
More and more employers understand that healthy and active employees are often happier, more productive and take fewer vacation days. Employees who feel valued by their employer and have the flexibility to prioritize their fitness are less likely to leave. Many employers are more flexible with working hours as long as the work gets done or you've worked the agreed hours. Getting to the office 15 minutes early or staying 15 minutes late so that your lunch break is 75 minutes gives you more time to get to and from the gym.
Talk to your manager, express your efforts to maintain your physical and mental health, productivity and energy, and suggest a little more flexibility around your lunch break—while making sure your boss doesn't show his generosity at the gym exploits (nothing good will happen if you turn an hour into a three-hour workout). Only the most short-sighted (or powerless) bosses will refuse. When you're the boss, learn to give yourself (and your employees) the time they need to put your health first. Business owners can be at their worst when they sacrifice their health for the short-sighted illusion of productivity.
Worst case scenario where there is no reasonable way to get to a gym, you can opt for bodyweight circuit training if you can find a place to hide and work out. Famed trainer and Muscle and Fitness cover athlete Don Saladino is one of many trainers offering inexpensive, quality bodyweight training plans. Aside from other options and with decent weather, a walk during your lunch break can be one of the most stimulating and health-promoting behaviors there is.
Tactics for creating an effective lunch break workout
You may think you need at least an hour for a great workout and won't try if you don't have that window of opportunity. Exercising even 30 minutes a day, especially from scratch, would be life changing. Even fitness fans can achieve a lot with 30 to 45 minutes in a gym. We just have to change our tactics.