5 Lunch Hour Workout Plans

If you’re struggling to find time to keep fit or finding that fatigue strikes after lunch, a mid-day workout may be just what you need. Fitting in a workout, shower, and meal in your allotted break may sound like a lot, but it is possible. Related: 6 Workouts To Do At Your Desk Also, the latest trend in fitness is toward shorter high-intensity workouts, which make it easier to get a serious burn going before getting back to the office. In fact, a 15-minute workout can do nearly as much good as a 60-minute workout if you really push yourself, according to Phil Tyne, a former conditioning coach for the San Diego Chargers. “I find that spending 20 to 30 minutes on a rowing machine is the only way I can make it through the day," One mid-day exerciser says. "None of my co-workers originally thought the habit would last, but the more overtime I took on, the more I came to feel the workout was essential. In order to make time, I would often eat during my 10:00 A.M. and 3:00 P.M. coffee breaks, and spend the entire lunch hour at the gym. While the others eased sleepily back into their work after lunch, I would hit the ground running and finish the day feeling great.” Here are five other lunch hour workout plans that will leave you feeling as good:


1. In-Office Workout

If you don’t have access to fitness facilities or time to travel during lunch, you can do a quick workout with little or no equipment in the privacy of your own office. Begin with a three to five-minute walk around the office to loosen up, followed by stretching the neck, arms/shoulders, back/legs, thighs, and calves. Then move on to squats, shoulder shrugs, dumbbell curls, bench dips, and assisted push-ups.

2. Swimming

If you can access a pool or other body of water during your lunch break, swimming is one of the best workouts available. Swimming combines a cardiovascular challenge with working every muscle in your body against the resistance of the water, making it a multi-faceted full-body workout. Depending on the routine you choose, you can vary the level of intensity and increase heart health or muscle mass. Swimming also keeps you cool, ensuring that your co-workers won’t smell your workout for the rest of the day!

3. Circuit Training

Circuittraining is an exercise system championed by Curves gyms, where you do a series of resistance exercises in quick succession, alternating with aerobic exercise. Because you work out different muscle groups one after another, circuit training requires no rest between sets. And because you don’t rest, the exercises boost your heart rate, which means that you build strength while getting a cardio workout. A complete workout generally takes 15 to 30 minutes, and the intensity can be adjusted to suit anyone.

4. Bike Ride

A quick medium-to-high intensity bike ride is an ideal way to burn some calories mid-shift. One of the great things about biking is that it also takes you somewhere, which means that you can bike to your favorite eatery and pick up a healthy lunch to eat when you get back to the office. For added exercise, biking to and from work is also a great way to work out. It’s also environmentally friendly!

5. Crossfit

Crossfit is an organization that has been at the center of the trend towards shorter, more varied high-intensity workouts. They post a new 20-minute workout on their website every day, and these demanding routines deliver all the exercise you need in a quick burst of activity. Learning the movements can take extra time for beginners, so many gyms offer 60-minute classes including a warm-up and an introduction to new techniques before the 20-minute workout. This is an excellent option for more athletic individuals or for those with longer lunch hours who want to learn a new approach to the gym.
Melissa Woodson is the community manager for @WashULaw, one of the premier LLM degree programs offered through Washington University in St. Louis. In her spare time, she enjoys running, cooking, and making half-baked attempts at training her dog.

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