Squeezing in a workout during your lunch break, in theory, seems like a great idea. However, take a dive into the logistics, and the idea may get stuck in the theory stage. Unless your organization has a liberal lunch break policy, it will require minute-by-minute timing. Also, there is the sweat factor. A hard workout will wipe out your morning grooming. Will you have time to put yourself back together for the afternoon? Don’t forget, at some point during that break, you need to actually eat lunch.
It’s not impossible. With some planning, you can leap over these hurdles. Use these steps to get you started.
Choose a place to workout
A gym within a quarter-mile of your workplace, or one in your office building, is ideal. A brisk walk to your workout could serve as your warm-up. If there is no gym nearby, consider using area streets and local parks for a lunchtime power walk. Add a set of small hand weights and swing your arms as you walk to ramp up the burn. As with any new exercise program, check with your healthcare provider. Gripping weights for an extended period may raise your blood pressure.
Seek out indoor spaces for periods of inclement weather. If you work in a multi-storied building, you don’t need to look further than the staircase. The UC Riverside Stair Workouts combine cardio and strength building exercise. For added motivation, consider forming a group of stair climbers with your coworkers. Another option for indoor workouts is a nearby shopping mall. Keep a rolled-up yoga mat in your office for days you need to stay in your office during lunch. This is the only equipment you’ll need for this no-equipment workout.
Create a routine
Whether your workout is indoors or out, you’ll need to get the timing down. Having a set routine ready to go will be a timesaver. If your workout is at a gym, keep in mind that lunch hour at the gym can get crowded. Your choice of equipment may not be available, and you will need a backup plan. For neighborhood power walks, walk your route to figure out how much time you need to complete your circuit, and adjust to fit your schedule. Also, plan your change of clothes. Clear your gym bag of any clutter so you may quickly find what you need to dress for your workout.
Plan to meet your nutritional needs
Bring your own food to work. You won’t have time to stand in line at a cafeteria or restaurant. You don’t want to work out on a full stomach, yet you don’t want to be starving. Plan a substantial mid-morning snack that will see you through your workout. Include protein and carbs. Follow your workout with a light lunch.
Return to work mode
If you don’t have access to a shower, you will want to limit your lunch break workouts to strength training and moderate aerobic activities that won’t cover you in sweat. If you do have a shower, pack your gym bag with body wash, a mesh shower puff and towel so you will be ready to jump in, rinse off and jump out. You may want to use a shower cap so you will not have to spend time drying your hair.
Once you get into the groove of a routine, it will become a habit. Not only will you make good use of your lunch break, you will return to work energized and wonder why you didn’t start lunch break workouts sooner.
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