I’d like you to reflect a bit on this: when it comes to working out, it’s never about whether you have time to do it, but whether you make time to do it. The thing is, even a short 10 to 20-minute workout can be super effective–and worth it. What I’m trying to say here is that if exercise matters to you, you’ll get it done. Simple as that. So, on those honestly full-to-the-brim days when you’re packed morning till night with work and kids’ activities and errands, what are you to do? If you’re not taking a rest day, try a lunch break workout. Yes, they are possible. No, you do not have to sweat like the dickens (though if you have access to a shower and can make time to rinse off, go for it). And no, equipment is not necessary.

Try This Lunch break Workout: A 20-Minute Bodyweight Circuit

You’ve got an hour for lunch. Like a lot of us, it may not be convenient or possible for you to skip out to the gym. Instead, change into those sneakers and give this 20-minute circuit a try:

lunchtime workoutMinute 0-5, (or “A1”): perform as many rounds as possible of:

  • 10 bench or chair dips (find something sturdy! Aka. not your rolling desk chair)
  • 10 sit ups
  • 10 bodyweight squats.

Minute 6-10, or (“A2”): perform as many rounds as possible of:

  • 30-second plank
  • 30 bicycle kicks
  • 30 lunges (15 each leg)

Minute 11-15: Repeat A1

Minute 16-20: Repeat A2

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Whether at home, in a private room, or somewhere outside, this bodyweight circuit is a quick, safe, and effective way for you to get a great workout done without getting super sweaty. Not feeling a circuit session? Try a brisk walk with a colleague instead!

Important questions: Should you workout before or after eating your lunch? While individual factors vary a lot, here’s my take: start your day with a good breakfast, and if you’re hungry then have a small snack full of protein and healthy fat mid-morning. At lunchtime, workout first, then within 30 minutes post-exercise eat your lunch. This maximizes the fat-burning effect during the workout and the muscle building effect after the workout. Talk about bang for your buck!

I can think of a ton of reasons why working out during your lunch break is a good idea…at least on some days. Here are 4:

1) Getting up to workout prevents excessive “chair time,” which is especially helpful for anyone who sits a lot on the job. And since “sitting is the new smoking,” it’s clear that the less sedentary you are, the better!

2) Exercise can increase your energy and prevent that afternoon slump–which means you stay productive even when a lot of your co-workers start slowing down.

3) Exercise has been shown to improve mental focus and retention (this has also been shown in kids who study right after a workout or sports practice!).

4) By completing your workout at lunch during an otherwise busy day, you’re freeing yourself from the stress of trying to squeeze in a workout at an odd hour. Plus, the sense of accomplishment you get after exercise can give you a much-needed confidence boost. Who knows–your high spirits may even rub off on your co-workers. Better health and better workplace environment? Sign me up!

Got a favorite way to get moving during lunchtime? Let us know about it in the comments below!


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