How to get the best workout during your lunch hour by

I know I’m not the only one who has trouble getting myself up an hour earlier to fit in a morning workout. And with family, work, and friend obligations most evenings, I end up skipping my p.m. workout plans all too often. So how do I make working out a priority with such a busy schedule? My very favorite time to hit the gym is actually midday. I love how a lunchtime workout breaks up a busy workday. It leaves my mind and body feeling refreshed, and makes it so that I’m not just sitting at a desk all day. I call this my ‘lunch hour workout,’ but the truth is that you’ll really want an hour and 15 minutes to fit in a full sweat sesh. But if you have a job that allows for the flexibility of a slightly longer lunch break, it’s so worth it! Here are my tips for squeezing in a workout at lunchtime…

Choose Your Workout Wisely

When you’re working out at your leisure, you might opt for an extra-long yoga class or a favorite cross-town studio. But when you’re working out on your lunch break, you want something quick, highly effective, and conveniently located. Think of it as a ‘power hour’ workout. Start by scoping out gyms or workout studios near your office. When you only have an hour or so, you don’t want to waste any precious time driving. Many gyms and studios offer slightly shorter versions of popular workout classes midday, knowing that most of the people attending will be rushing to get back to work. You’ll also want to make sure the studio you choose has showers, since you’ll need to make yourself presentable enough to go back to work afterward!

To recap, here are the three main things to look for in a lunch-hour workout studio:

  • Less than 5 minutes away
  • Offers a 45-minute class (or machines that you can use on your own time)
  • Has showers and a locker room attached

The Post-Workout Primp

The most common reason that people avoid working out at lunchtime is their concern over going back to the office post-workout. No one wants to look like a sweaty mess in front of their coworkers. But with the right products, I’ve found that I can get myself office-ready again in 15 minutes or less. My post-workout routine involves a quick rinse-off shower (don’t bother washing your hair); applying dry shampoo or throwing my hair up in a bun depending on how sweaty it got; using blotting papers or reapplying some powder; and touching up my lip-gloss and mascara. I also keep a travel size bottle of makeup remover handy just in case my mascara does run a bit during class.

When Do You Eat?

Of course eating at your desk is an option, but there’s something kind of sad about picking at a wilted salad while staring at your computer. If I opt for a sweat sesh over a lunch break, I will usually sip a protein-packed smoothie afterward. If you’re lucky enough to have a gym with a smoothie bar attached, that makes things super easy. Otherwise, I recommend packing a single-serving smoothie in a bag. Portion off the right amount of frozen fruit, greens, protein powder, nut butter, etc. to store in your work fridge. Then, just dump the contents in a blender at work, add some ice and liquid, and you have yourself a light yet filling lunch.

The Timeline

I always like to see things in timeline form, so I wanted to share a minute-by-minute breakdown of my lunch break workout:

The ultimate lunch break workout schedule by

What do you think? Are you going to start working out on your lunch break this year?

I hope you get into the habit like I do!

xo Ilana
Team LC

  • Whitney

    Yep we can’t all be this lucky….guess it’s back to 5 am workouts 🙁

  • The Modern Day Girlfriend

    Whether someone has the time to get this in during their lunch hour or not thank you for sharing and inspiring woman.

  • Erika Ramirez

    They just opened a yoga studio two floors down in my office building that opens on 5/5 & I cannot wait!! Unfortunately though, they only have hour classes during lunch, which I thought was odd? But better than nothing! =)

  • Danni

    This is perfect! I can’t take an hour but with a little modifying I am going to create a lunch workout that works with the time I have. Thank you for the inspiration!!!

  • Jessica Gambrill

    The typical Japanese office worker works crazy hours six days a week. Probs the only time they actually get to exercise! Those with less hours (in America’s 9-5 office culture and those lucky lucky Swedish) can have the option to find time to exercise during the work week

  • Haley Howey

    I’m lucky enough to have a gym next door to work, but you can even get a 30-minute HIIT workout in and still make it in an hour! I always eat something light and fast at my desk 30 minutes before (Quest bar and some fruit and nuts), then I head over. After I’m done working out, I do a quick rinse in the shower or use body deodorizing wipes. Then dry shampoo, Dove dry spray, and spritz of perfume. If I have time, I’ll use makeup remover wipes and reapply some makeup. Working out midday always makes me feel refreshed and frees up so much time after work!

    At my previous job, there wasn’t a gym close by. I would go for walks while eating my lunch or walk up the flights of stairs in my building and add in some squats, lunges, or tricep dips.

  • Samantha Scharf

    I was trying to get to a nearby studio but just found it was too much an issue of time! My coworkers and I use a ‘spare’ room for workout videos, which I think is more realistic for most people. It’s a good way to boost work morale, and I think so important to do when you sit a desk all day!

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