If you’re trying to get into a fitness routine but are finding it hard to squeeze in the time, take advantage of that hour lunch break in the middle of the day. Sure, it’s a little limited—you can’t necessarily go to a workout class or get access to a shower—but it’ll be worth it in the end! You’ll still get that endorphin boost, you’ll feel awesome for staying motivated and pushing through, and you’ll feel a whole lot more productive for the rest of the day!
Yet, it can seem like a drag when first starting out, where you haven’t quite gotten into the swing of things. And it can be a little stressful if you’re short on time and have a million tasks awaiting you on your desk. Then the workout seems like just another chore—and it shouldn’t, as it should be something uplifting and empowering instead!
Here are a few tips for getting your workout in without hating everything in life—your job, lack of options, hunger pangs, and so forth. Try one of these and then eat your lunch at your desk afterward. Bonus? You’ll get the after-burn effect to torch a few extra calories off of your protein-packed salad and grain-free pretzels (which have Himalayan sea salt to boost electrolytes lost from sweating!) or protein puffs for that immediate recovery. Keep body wipes, deodorant, body spray, and dry shampoo in your gym bag to freshen up with on days when you don't have time to take a full shower before returning to work.
1. Bring Easy Equipment
Make sure you have what you need at your office to make that workout easy, where you don’t need to hit the gym, a class, or weight room. That way, you’ll still feel as though you’re getting a killer workout without compromising. Keep dumbbells in your cubicle if you can or simply just bring a jump rope! You can take the jump rope to the stairwell and jump during the break. It’ll get your heart rate up fast.
2. Hit the Stairs
Another option? Hit the stairwell to do work on the stairs. You can even play some music or pop your headphones in—the stairwell likely won’t be too busy! You can do lunges, lunging every other step, bunny hops up and down, running up and down, side lunges, and more.
3. Get Outdoors
Being out in nature is good for the soul, and it can make you feel less stressed and happier, so you’ll arrive back at the office ready to tackle what’s next in store with a peppy, productive mood. You can go for a jog or run outside (no matter the season really!), or if the weather isn’t cooperating, stand by a window to do jump rope or some other bodyweight moves where you can look outside. Just glancing outdoors can still improve your mood—that’s why windows at the office desk are so preferred!
4. Take a Class
If you have time to get to a 45-minute or 30-minute class during your break, go for it! Group fitness is super encouraging and it builds a sense of community. That fun you feel, between the EDM music, camaraderie, and group sweat, will make that lunch break sweat session seem more like a party than a chore.
5. Recruit a Buddy
Got a co-worker who has been talking about getting in shape? Or does your BFF work close to your office, too? Schedule fitness dates with people in your life so you have an accountability partner to offer both support and fun! That way, you’ll know you can’t bail and you’ll have an awesome time catching up and sweating it out with someone you’re happy to see midday.
Isadora Baum is a freelance writer, certified health coach, and author of 5-Minute Energy. She can't resist a good sample, a margarita, a new HIIT class, or an easy laugh. She writes for various magazines, such as Men's Health, Women's Health, SELF, LIVESTRONG, POPSUGAR, Allure, Health, Cooking Light, and more. Learn more about her on her website: isadorabaum.com.