8 tips to get fit in your lunch break

Combining physical activity and lunch could be the best way to fit a workout into your workweek. And, since your strength peaks around midday, you’ll be able to train harder. Plus, getting moving during lunch will energise you and prevent that unproductive afternoon slump.

But, can you really get enough exercise, eat an adequate meal, and be back at your desk in a measly 60 minutes? Try these tips and you’ll see it’s easier get fit in your lunch break than you might think.

1. Pack ahead

Pack your exercise gear the night before so that when you get up in the morning, you can just pick up your bag and run out the door. That way you’re less likely to give it a miss, especially if you’re running late.

Bring a packed lunch to work so you don’t have to waste precious time preparing food or going out to buy it. You’ll also be able to make sure you eat the right pre and post workout food and don’t cheat with any unhealthy ‘rewards’. Check out our week of work lunches for some inspiration here.

2. No gym required

Even if there aren’t any gyms near your office, you can still get a good workout in other ways. Try cycling, rollerblading or walking if the weather’s good.

Otherwise, if you have a private office or there’s a free meeting room with a few feet of space where you can shut the door for 30 minutes, you’re sorted. There are loads of exercises you can do with a couple of simple props like dumbbells, a balance board, a resistance band or foam roller. Even a chair offers plenty of PT potential.

No space and no time? No excuse! Try running up a flight of stairs at full speed, doing five burpees at the top, then running back down again. Repeat this as many times as you can to burn 10 calories a minute.

3. HIT it hard

Even when time isn’t a factor, the trend these days is towards shorter high intensity workouts. Research has shown that just 20 minutes of high intensity exercise can give you the same results as an hour of normal cardio. Plus, the calorie burn lasts longer after you finish, so it's great for losing weight. As a rule of thumb, alternate two minutes of all out action with two minutes of lower intensity during your workout sessions.

4. Step it up step by step

If you haven’t been exercising for a while, you should start relatively slowly with some light activity and then work up steadily to the point where you’re pushing your muscles to the max. Your workout sessions shouldn’t leave you drained or in pain, so grade up gradually.

5. Stick to a schedule

Spend some time each Sunday scheduling your week’s workouts. Put them in your work calendar so that the time is blocked out, and put reminders on your phone. If you have a colleague who’s keen to train with you, this can also help you commit, as you’ll be less likely to let them down.

6. Pre-fuel for performance

Make sure you eat a healthy breakfast on days when you plan to exercise. It also helps to have a nutritious snack, such as a small smoothie or some cottage cheese and crackers a short while before your workout to help you push to peak performance.

7. After action satisfaction

Don’t even think about skipping lunch. It’s essential to eat after exercise. Experts agree that you should eat a light meal within 45 minutes after finishing your workout. Keep it something low fat and high protein to make it easier to digest and maximise muscle building.

8. Skip the shower

If you keep your lunchtime workout short, you’re less likely to work up a serious sweat. And, even if you do, a quick sponge bath, a splash of cold water, some deodorant and a change of clothes (including underwear) should be all you need to get back to work looking and feeling refreshed. If you’re prone to sweaty hair, a wide headband and some dry shampoo will work wonders. And, if you must shower, make it a cold one to cool you down.

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