Most of us are super busy these days, and it can be hard to fit exercise into that jam-packed schedule. I’ve posted before on the benefits of morning workouts, which have helped me establish a regular fitness routine. Mornings don’t work for everyone, though, so lunch breaks are the next best opportunity to get in some exercise. Plus, if your office has a gym inside or nearby, you can take advantage of those amenities with a workday workout.
But squeezing in a workout over lunch can be challenging. And I hate to say it, but the transition is even more difficult for ladies. Unlike most guys I know, I can’t have a full shower and be ready to get back to work in ten minutes flat! So when it comes to mid-day exercise, I can’t afford to waste time or effort in getting it done. Preparation is key to making your workday workout work for you. Here are some of my tips for doing just that!
Schedule Your Activities
More than any other time of day, your time constraints on a workday workout are often the most strict. You probably can’t afford to dawdle around the gym, deciding what machine to use next. Prepare your workout plan ahead of time, ideally on the weekend before things get too crazy. I personally follow the Tone It Up Daily Workouts, so it’s all laid out for me. But if you’ve got a personalized plan, make sure you can fit everything in over lunch. Don’t forget to include time for a post-workout stretch!
Always Have the Essentials on Hand
I personally carry a backpack to the office, rather than a laptop bag or a purse. It’s super convenient for stocking workout essentials. Preparing up front means less planning on a day-to-day basis, so you’re way more likely to stick with your exercise routine! I’m talking about things like:
- Hair tie
- Dry Shampoo
- Extra socks and undies
- Water bottle (if you don’t carry one with you at the office already)
- Brush or comb
- Cleansing wipes
- Embarrassing story: I once backed out on my workout because I forgot mine! I couldn’t fathom working out without music. It’s best to be prepared!
If your in-office or local gym has lockers, definitely take advantage of those for clothes, shoes, towels, etc. But if your fitness routine is variable, especially if you work long hours, I find it’s better to keep these portable essentials with you wherever you go.
Dress for Success
This applies both to your workout gear and your office attire. For the former, choose more compact clothing if you can. Bulky outfits are harder to lug between home, work, and the gym, so you’ll be less likely to pack them daily. If you have a place to store your clothes and shoes somewhere in the office, even better! (Keep in mind, though, you might have some odor issues to contend with.)
As for your work wear, prepare for two scenarios: sweat and storage.
No matter how cold of a shower you have after your workout, you might still feel residual heat. This can make traditional outfits pretty uncomfortable. Make sure you’re wearing work-appropriate layers, so that you can remove or add them as your body changes temperature. Don’t get stuck wearing a heavy cardigan to cover the straps of your camisole if you’ve been working out!
While you’re in the gym, your office clothes are (obviously) not on you. It’s important that if they’re in a locker or folded up in a bag, they won’t wrinkle or become otherwise damaged. This can be particularly hard for men, as traditional workwear is usually predisposed to wrinkling. Try wearing non-iron dress shirts, like these from T.M.Lewin. Alternatively, pick up a set of travel hangers for your tops or blouses, so they’re not held up by a single hook in your locker; here’s a set from Amazon. With these tips in mind, you’ll hopefully get the “Did you just work out?!” question a little less often when you’re back in the office!
Have a Backup Plan for your Workday Workout
Crunch time at the office can sometimes mean working through lunch or staying a few hours late. That’s why banking on your workday workout can be a bit dangerous for your overall fitness routine. Be sure not to use long hours as an excuse for avoiding exercise altogether! Forgoing fitness will only hinder your productivity in the end. Swap in another workout, whether it’s early in the morning, later in the evening, or at least on the weekend. Your body and mind will thank you!
How do you prepare for your workday workout? Let me know in the comments below!