Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

GETTING fit

Making a lunchtime workout work

Workout gear. Women’s running shoes and dumbbells for training

iStockphoto.com

Workout gear. Women’s running shoes and dumbbells for training

It can be one of the most exhilarating things you do during the workday, but nailing the lunchtime workout can be tricky. Should you eat before or after? How much should you pack? Shower? No shower? And most important, how much exercise can you squeeze in during a lunch hour?

The good news is that there are all sorts of tricks for getting the most out of your midday workout and several products that make it easier to navigate.

How to prepare

The key is to have a plan. The night before, pack a light bag of just the essentials: a change of underwear, travel-size deodorant and wet wipes — if you won't have time for a shower.

Need to shower no matter what? Consider throwing in a bottle of dry shampoo to cut down the amount of time you spend away from your desk, said Tami DeVitis, an instructor at Vida Fitness in Washington who teaches several lunchtime classes. She also recommends (if your hair is long enough) wearing a ponytail that requires no maintenance postworkout.

Another way to stay prepared is to keep a pair of sneakers and toiletries in your desk at work. That way, you can just grab what you need and go. Personal trainer Lee Jordan has noticed clients bringing no more than what can fit into a rolled-up T-shirt. In other words, pack light.

What to eat

Scarfing down a hoagie right before a run might not be the best idea, but you should eat something, said Nancy Clark, author of Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook.

"The goal is to enter into your workout with a normal blood sugar level," Clark said. "If you're exercising at a pace you can maintain for a half-hour, your body can digest the food and use it during the workout. You could eat five minutes beforehand; it all depends on your tolerance level."

If you're planning a high-intensity workout of burpees or jump squats, she recommends eating a hearty breakfast. For less strenuous exercise, Clark said, it's perfectly fine to eat a banana or half of your lunch before getting started.

What you eat postworkout also is very important. To recover from a tough routine, Clark says, down a smoothie, peanut butter sandwich, chocolate milk or any other minimeal with a balance of carbohydrates and protein.

"Protein builds and repairs muscles, but it does not refuel muscles. Carbs fuel, so you actually want three times more carbs than protein," Clark said. "The mistake people make these days is just having a protein shake after the workout, but you'd be better off having a fruit smoothie to get carbs and protein."

Where to work out

If you're lucky enough to work near a park or somewhere with good trails, going for a run outdoors is a great way to break up the workday. Too cold? Hit the treadmill at the gym and add in some intervals. One minute of sprints followed by a 30-second jog for several rounds could help you get the most out of your run.

Circuit training is another option for burning calories that also could build muscle if you throw some weights into the mix. Jordan recommends four to five sets of compound exercises, the kind that work two or more parts of the body. You could, for instance, grab a pair of dumbbells for a squat with a bicep curl or lunges with a lateral raise.

"You can either time your reps, say 45 seconds or a minute, or do a set number, say 10 or 15 squats with a curl," said Jordan, an American Council on Exercise-certified health coach.

If designing your own routine is a lot to ask, there are apps for that. Nike Training Club, Sworkit, Spitfire Athlete and a host of other apps have cardio and strength-training routines that you can do in 30 minutes.

Even Fitbit is getting in on the act. The company recently released Fitbit Blaze, a touch-screen tracker that comes with access to the workout app FitStar. The app offers diagrams that show you how to execute the moves in each routine.

Game for a class? Just about every gym has a variety of 45-minute classes, allowing you enough time to get in, get to it and get going.

"Consider classes where you don't get as sweaty, a barre class. You're going to sweat, but you can clean yourself off and go," DeVitis said.

Leaving the office in the middle of the day is a no-go for some folks. In that case, Jordan recommends heading to a stairwell, one without traffic, for a quick workout. All you need is a pair of sneakers, if that much, to do a few sets of calf raises. Or you could do high-knee runs or squats or sprint up two flights for eight- to 10-minute intervals.

Making a lunchtime workout work 04/14/16 [Last modified: Thursday, April 14, 2016 5:28pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Washington Post.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Lightning edges Red Wings on road

    Lightning Strikes

    DETROIT — The digs were different, the Lightning seeing the masterfully-done new Little Caesar's Arena for the first time.

    Lightning center/Red Wings’ killer Tyler Johnson gets past defenseman Trevor Daley on his way to the first goal of the game.
  2. Armwood pulls away to defeat Plant 27-7, remain undefeated

    Footballpreps

    SEFFNER — First-year Armwood coach Evan Davis pulled out all the stops to get his team psyched for Monday's annual grudge match against Plant.

    Armwood defensive end Malcolm Lamar (97) gets fired up before the start of the game between Plant High School Panthers and the Armwood High School Hawks in Suffer, Fla. on Monday, Oct. 16, 2017.
  3. Clearwater police: Car thief dead after owner fires gun

    Crime

    CLEARWATER — One man is dead after the owner of a car fired shots at the thieves who were stealing it Monday night, police said.

  4. Iraqi forces sweep into Kirkuk, checking Kurdish independence drive

    World

    KIRKUK, Iraq — After weeks of threats and posturing, the Iraqi government began a military assault Monday to curb the independence drive by the nation's Kurdish minority, wresting oil fields and a contested city from separatists pushing to break away from Iraq.

    Iraqi security forces patrol Monday in Tuz Khormato, about 45 miles south of Kirkuk, a disputed city that the government seized in response to last month’s Kurdish vote for independence.
  5. Trump and McConnell strive for unity amid rising tensions

    National

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump and Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, tried to convey a sense of harmony Monday after months of private feuding that threatened to undermine their party's legislative push in the coming weeks to enact a sweeping tax cut.

    President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell field questions Monday in the Rose Garden of the White House. “We have been friends for a long time,” Trump said.