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Quick Workouts That Can Be Done During Your Lunch Break

woman exercising outdoors
A survey found that “not having time” is the top reason why people fail to work out.

A survey found that “not having time” is the top reason why people fail to work out. Nearly one in four people also said that they don’t exercise more frequently because “work gets in the way.”

We totally feel that. Making time for exercise when you have a hectic work schedule can seem next to impossible, especially if you typically workout early in the morning or after work. That’s because you’re trading off sleep for exercise early in the AM, which isn’t ideal. Or, you’re trying to find the energy to hit the gym after a long day in the office (or at home), which can lead to you justifying skipping your workout because you “stayed too late at work.” In fact, nearly 25% of people used that same excuse for missing their workout sessions, according to the survey.

So, if early morning workouts and evening exercise sessions aren’t in the cards for you due to your crazy work schedule, it’s time to switch things up and start working out midday during your lunch break.

5 Benefits To Using Your Lunch Break To Work Out

Whether you’re working from home or are back at the office, getting some physical activity in during your lunch break is a great way to incorporate exercise into your busy lifestyle. Plus, there are a number of benefits to using your lunch break to work out.

  • It’ll Help You Put Time Back In Your Day. If you usually exercise in the morning before work or at night after it, working out during the work day will allow you to use your previously scheduled morning or evening workout time to do whatever you want with it. So, if you’re short on sleep, you can sleep in a little longer in the morning. Or, if you haven’t been able to spend as much quality time with your family and friends of late due to your busy work schedule, you now have some more time in your day to catch up with your loved ones.
  • You’ll Be Able To Use Whatever Gym Equipment You Want. Since most people tend to work out in the morning or right after work, there will be less of a crowd if you hit the gym near your office (or apartment) in the afternoon for a lunchtime workout. This will allow you to make the most of your workout session since you’ll be able to use any machines and weights that you’d like.
  • It’ll Help Relieve Stress. A survey found that 80% of workers feel stress on the job. One way that you can reduce stress is to do aerobic exercise during your lunchtime workouts. Scientists have found that “regular participation in aerobic exercise has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilize mood, improve sleep, and improve self-esteem. Even five minutes of aerobic exercise can stimulate anti-anxiety effects.” Not sure what exercises to do at the gym (or at home) during your lunch break workout? Give these stress relief exercises a try.
  • It May Help Improve Your Relationships With Co-Workers (Or Friends Who Live Nearby). Lots of people are different versions of themselves in the office versus outside of work. By working out with a co-worker (or a few co-workers) during your lunch break, you’ll be able to get to know each other on a different level. And if you work from home, you can invite a workout friend who lives nearby over to your place for a quick workout during your lunch break. This way you’ll be able to catch up about whatever is going on in your lives (or at work) and exercise. Plus, if you exercise with a friend or a co-worker, you’ll be able to hold each other accountable.
  • Your Workouts Will Be Extremely Efficient. Knowing that you need to get back to your desk (or in front of your computer) after your lunch break will help you make the most of the time that you have for your exercise session. Since there’s no time for fooling around at the gym (or at home), you’ll be laser focused during your lunchtime workout in order to accomplish everything that you need to in the time that you have.

woman planning a workout

How To Incorporate Exercise Into Your Lunch Break

To fit an exercise session in during your lunch break, you need to be prepared ahead of time. That means coming up with a game plan for your lunchtime workout.

On days that you plan to work out during your lunch break, make sure to bring a gym bag that has everything that you need for your exercise session. It’s also a good idea to wear work clothes that you’ll be able to change in and out of fairly easily. And don’t forget to bring lunch (or a few small meals) to work with you since you’ll most likely be eating at your desk both before and after your exercise session.

If you’re working from home, you can meal prep for the week in order to make sure that you’re fueling your body properly both before and after your workout session. And as an added bonus, meal prepping is also a powerful way to help you lose weight.

woman pouring a green smoothie

What To Eat Before And After A Lunch Break Workout

Pre-Workout Meal

Timing is key when it comes to healthy eating. Before your workout session, you should have a pre-workout meal to prepare your body for what’s to come. So, try to eat a small meal before your lunchtime workout that’s a combination of complex carbohydrates, unsaturated fats, and protein.

Some small healthy meals ideas to fuel physical activity are half of a whole grain bagel with peanut butter and banana slices, a smoothie made with low-fat Greek yogurt, fresh fruit, and orange juice, or eggs on whole wheat toast with fresh fruit.

Post-Workout Meal

After your lunchtime workout, it’s important to replenish your body with the nutrients it requires. For muscle repair, it’s essential to consume protein and carbohydrates within 45 minutes after your workout session for best results.

Some good post-workout food choices are a peanut butter sandwich, a post-workout recovery smoothie, turkey on whole grain bread with veggies, or low-fat chocolate milk and pretzels.

Quick Exercises That Can Be Done During Your Lunch Break

To maximize your midday workout session, consider high-intensity interval training or HIIT. That’s because HIIT workouts involve short, timed bursts of cardio and strength training that increase metabolism – and keep you on schedule!

Quick 15-Minute At-Home (Or Office) Workout Routine

If you’re particularly slammed at work, this 15-minute cardio workout might help reduce some of your work stress. This midday workout involves four moves – push-ups, jumping jacks, step-ups, and walking lunges. For each exercise, do as many reps as possible for one minute and then rest for 15 seconds.

1 minute, Push-Ups.
Rest 15 seconds.

1 minute, Jumping Jacks.
Rest 15 seconds.

1 minute, Step-Ups.
Rest 15 seconds.

1 minute, Walking Lunges.
Rest 15 seconds.

Repeat this circuit three times.

30-Minute Full-Body Workout (No Equipment Required!)

This full-body, no equipment workout will build your strength and endurance in only 30 minutes. You’ll do each of the following exercises for one minute each, three times total, with a short rest break in between each move.

1 minute, Toe Taps.
Short rest break.

1 minute, Squat To Knee Lift.
Short rest break.

1 minute, Sumo Squat With A Side Bend.
Short rest break.

1 minute, Plank To Lunge.
Short rest break.

1 minute, Downward-Facing Dog To Plank.
Short rest break.

1 minute, Roll-Up.
Short rest break.

1 minute, Bicycle Crunches.
Short rest break.

1 minute, Triceps Dips.
Short rest break.

1 minute, Wide Push-Ups.
Short rest break.

1 minute, Jumping Jacks.
Short rest break.

Repeat this circuit three times. And make sure to hydrate as you do your midday lunchtime workout!

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