Suggestion Box: Working Out At Work

One thing that has totally revolutionized my fitness lately is the fact that I can work out at work! I started my current job in October, around the same time I joined Weight Watchers and started my weight loss journey. I had joined a gym near my home and worked out there, in my living room and outside at local parks. All of these workouts were very effective in jump-starting my weight loss but once I completed my first 5K, it started getting harder and harder to stay motivated enough to work out at home after hitting a big milestone in my fitness. Not to mention, I was ready for some variety.

Working out a lot not only does wonders for your health, weight and energy levels, it’s also completely exhausting. Around mid-April, I started to really struggle with getting out of bed in the morning to run or do a dvd in the living room and I had quit my gym to save some money since I wasn’t really going anymore. I really wished for some sort of class or group that would motivate me to work out and also try to squeeze it into the middle of the day instead of getting up extra early or leaving the house in the evening.

Then, my wish came true! Come early May, my job opened up a small fitness studio and bam! I have been smitten ever since. Tuesday-Thursday, I have the option to do Yoga or Tabata during my lunch hour. The classes are nice and small (4-6 people at yoga and 1-5 people at tabata) and I have enough time to workout and get back to work without skipping a beat. This means I get to sleep in in the morning and not venture out at night! Now granted, my running has taken a hit lately but I plan on getting runs in at work too, Mondays and Fridays when there are no fitness classes are offered for the lunch hour.

Many have asked me how I do it. How does one work out, get all sweaty and then get back to the office looking fresh and clean? Well, let me just say that it takes some skill but it’s more so about preparation! Here are a few tips that have worked for me to make the best out of your at-work workout.

  • Stay hydrated! This may not be true for everyone but I find that if I’m drinking enough water before, during and after my workout, it’s much easier to get my sweating under control. I aim to drink at least 48 oz of water before hitting the gym, taking a few sips throughout my workout, and then chugging another 24-48 oz immediately following a workout so that I can cool down faster. This helps eliminate or cut down any sweating once I’m back in my real people clothes.
  • Fact: I don’t always shower after a workout. Eww right? Well, no not really. If I’m only doing yoga or HIIT/strength circuits, the cool down for those workouts are usually long enough that the excessive sweating has ceased by the time I have to change. I do bring the following to stay super fresh afterwards:
    • Fresh undergarments (this is a really good idea for your skin, don’t hang out in wet underpants, please!)
    • Antibacterial or baby wipes for the body
    • Face cleansing wipes
    • Deodorant
    • Hand towel to dry your hair and skin
    • Hair refreshing spray (I recommend tresemme’s cuz it’s cheap and fruity!)
  • If you are going to sweat hard, plan on a shower! If you have had a super sweaty workout like on the days when I run on the treadmill, I stick to a 35ish minute workout to make time to shower. I pack a towel, bar of soap and flip flops for a quick hop in the shower. I take a cold shower to cool down faster too and I don’t wash my hair, there’s no time for that. Reach for your hair refreshing spray instead.
  • Pack a plastic bag to keep your sweaty clothes in and be sure to dump them straight into your washer when you get home. Run the wash when it’s full so you’re ready for your weekend/next week’s workouts!
  • Get a great gym bag! I have a confession: we now own 4 gym bags, only 1 is mancakes’ (and I still use it on occasion!). I do blame Fitbloggin’ for one of those bags though, thanks a lot Reebok! (no really, thanks yo!) But my favorite bag of all is a new one I found at Target made by Puma (Procat bag: $40)! I’m obsessed with this bag because it has sections! It’s divided into three sections: a huge middle section that can be zipped shut and has interior pockets. This is great for storing your shoes, clothes, towel and little things like toiletries, heart rate monitor, jewelry etc. The outer pockets are great for commuting, I throw my phone, wallet, ipad, etc. in there, making it easy to find. I tried to find you a link for it but can’t seem to find this exact bag. Here’s a picture of it to give you an idea!  2013-07-15
  • Pack your lunch and snacks! That gym bag also holds all of my food. I can’t make friends on public transportation with how much space it takes up but no matter. Since my lunch hour is spent at the gym, I have to plan to eat at my desk. I am now in the habit of packing all of my food for the day for work or keeping supplies in our fridge at my office. I try to pack the night before but that usually never works out and I pack in the mornings but I not only pack my lunches, I also make sure to have pre-workout snacks packed with protein like hard boiled eggs, protein bars or hummus and an afternoon snack that boosts energy like a protein + complex carb (example: apple with peanut butter or greek yogurt and a banana).
  • But how do you have time!? Fortunately, the least sweaty of my workouts (yoga) is 50 minutes, leaving me with 10 minutes to get dressed and back at my desk two buildings away. Tabata is usually only 40-45 minutes so that gives me more time and if I plan to run, I don’t go beyond 40 minutes so that I have time for a quick shower and change. Know your body, know your grooming habits and give yourself enough time or plan outfits and hair styles around your workouts so you’re not rushing back half dressed or show up way past the end of your hour. For example: on tabata and running days, I sport a bun or ponytail for the day to cut back on hair time. On yoga days (50 minutes) I try to not wear too many layers or complicated articles of clothing to get back into my clothes (no button downs!). Since the gym is so close, I might leave a layer behind in my office or change into my gym shoes on running/tabata days before leaving the office so that I’m just slipping them on and off at the gym instead of changing from work shoe to gym shoe in the locker room.

I hope that helps! If you are like me and have a kid or kids and/or a lot of other stuff going on outside of work, working out at work is a great way to stay on top of your fitness without feeling like you are stretched too thin at the end of the day. Not to mention, using your mid-day break to get physical is way better for your energy than anything else! I’ve noticed a huge reduction in how much caffeine I consume each day now that I work out at work. I don’t need an afternoon coffee anymore. I also feel like I can get back on task and focus on my work more since I’m not feeling so sluggish. Not to mention, checking fitness off of my daily to-do list without having to add it onto the start or end of my day is priceless!

What other tips/tricks have worked for your lunchtime workouts?? Please share!

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3 thoughts on “Suggestion Box: Working Out At Work

    • i hear you! that is a perk of working from home but i’m a creature of habit and need structure and if i can compact it all into my workday then i find i’m more likely to do it.

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