Hit the snooze on your morning fitness? Have plans that interfere with evening exercise? Instead of thinking you’ve wasted any chance for workout time, the noon comes to your rescue. Using your lunch break is not only a great chance for some midday calorie burning, but also a chance to de-stress after a morning of meetings, or to get a boost of energy for an afternoon time with a temperamental toddler. You might have to sacrifice social cafeteria time, but some moments spent solo can be mentally good for you.
Intervals: Slow and steady may help you win the race, but bursts of speed and strength gets the fat burning. Interval training combines high and low intensity movements into one workout and are effective when paired up with cardio exercises. Running, swimming, jumping rope, cycling, and even walking can be done more efficiently by raising and lowering your speed for minutes at a time. If using a cardio machine, change up the course, adding in hills, for example, to create intervals at the same pace.
Tabatas: Named after Japanese scientist Izumi Tabata, tabata is a type of high intensity interval training that can be completed in four minutes–yes four! The idea is to perform an exercise for 20 seconds with a ten second rest, eight times. Sounds easy, but pair it up with push ups, sit ups, burpees, sprints, or air squats, and you’ll be begging for mercy at the end of the four minutes. If you have more time (say, eight minutes), do two tabatas. When doing multiple tabatas, switch up the muscle groups to work the full body.
Row: Use a rowing machine when you want a quick cardio session that will work your entire body. In less than 20 minutes, you’ll burn fat and work multiple muscle groups at the same time.
Yoga: If you want to work out but don’t have the luxury of showering before you head into your afternoon, roll out your mat for a solo session. Since you are in control of the pace and duration, keep things slow but focus on strengthening muscles through sun salutations, standing poses, and floor positions.
Class It Up: When working out on your own doesn’t provide the structure or motivation you need for effective exercise, see what classes are offered nearby. Start to see if the company you work for offers lunch time yoga, aerobics, or spinning classes. If those aren’t available, check with local gyms, park districts, and studios. Many lunchtime classes are set up to get fitness goers in and out with enough time to get back to the grind.
If you decide to use your lunch hour for fitness, good for you! However, don’t forget to still grab a healthy bite to eat, even it means munching at your desk while you work. Starving your body and burning calories during the midday can make for a disastrous afternoon of wanting to binge eat on bad things. No sense in wasting time working out if you end up sabotaging your efforts later in the day.
What is your favorite quick workout? Share it in the comments!