5 Steps to Building a 30-Minute Lunchtime Workout

A lunch time jogger running

A lunchtime jogger running | Greg Wood/AFP/Getty Images

If you’re fortunate enough to have some leeway with your lunch break, finding a way to make it serve you, rather than just sitting somewhere and staring at your phone, can prove to be a valuable addition to your daily routine. Specifically, turning your lunch break into a solid 30 minute workout, or just a 20 minute bout of exercise of any sort of physical activity, can put your productivity back on track, and leave you better prepared to tackle the last half of the day.

A midday workout can seriously improve your cognition, clear your head, and set you up for a killer, productive afternoon. The issue, for many people, is actually making it work. It’s not easy to squeeze a workout in, especially if you are only given 30 minutes or so for lunch. If you have more time, you obviously have some more flexibility — but if you’re on a tough time constraint, planning is of the utmost importance.

Having a plan in place, and sticking to it, will ensure that you can make the most of your lunch time, and get back to your desk/kiosk/workstation on time. The question is, how do you piece together a fool-proof agenda? We’re here to help.

Follow these five steps to make sure you can make the most efficient use of your time, and turn your lunch break into a productive and healthy break, while your coworkers are choking down fries and Coca-Cola.

1. Clothes

Jogger in San Francisco

Jogger in San Francisco | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Clearly, you’re going to not going to want to work up a sweat in your work clothes — so bring a backpack or bag of some kind with shorts, shoes, and a T-shirt. If available, see if there are lockers of some sort around your building, or if your workplace has a gym nearby, you’re golden. Basically, you don’t want to waste time changing and finding a place to store your clothing. Be ready to change fast, and get moving.

2. Food

snacks and food

Snack foods | Scott Olson/Getty Images

One good thing about a midday workout is that it can help keep your diet in check. You’re not going to want to eat some filling, calorie-dense foods in the morning or mid-morning if you know you’re going to be putting in a workout soon. For many folks, that can make them sick. So, have a lean, healthy breakfast before heading out, and bring some snacks — both for pre-workout and post-workout — from home. That might mean protein bars, protein powder, etc. Or, just some fruits or vegetables. And stay hydrated.

3. Clean up

shower head

Shower | Source: iStock

Have an idea of how you want to clean up after your workout before you head out. The last thing you want is to find yourself dripping with sweat, smelly, and have no way to clean up. Many offices have showers — see if you can get access. Or, if a nearby gym has showers, see if you can use those. If you’re without any viable option, you’ll need to improvise. Find a place you can change, and access water. Bring deodorant, of course, and a comb. Try to cool down a bit before changing back to your work clothing, to stymie any sweating. And if you have to, use a sink to give yourself a quick cleanse.

It sucks, but it’s better than nothing. And cleaning up is important, especially if you’ve been sweating. You don’t want to end up having a George Costanza moment:

4. Your workout

runner leaning against a wall, exercise

Runner stretching | Source: iStock

As for the workout itself, what you do and how you do it are really going to depend on what resources you have available. If you have an in-building gym, you have more options. If not? Maybe just a 20-minute run is the best you can do. The point is to get your heart rate up, and to burn off some energy. But again — it’s all about being efficient and making the most out of the time you have. Assess your situation, see what you have available to you, and plan out what will work out best for you.

5. Returning to work

office worker stretching

Office worker stretching | Source: Thinkstock

The real trick to pulling off a lunchtime workout is nailing the transition back to work. While coworkers fall into food comas, or hit that afternoon slump, you should be energized and ready to get back to work. If you’ve followed the steps, and put together a solid plan, you shouldn’t have any issues. Just make sure you’re cleaned up, and back on time before you sound the alarm. You’ll feel better, eat better, and in all likelihood, set yourself up for success in terms of your fitness goals.

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