How to Fit Exercise Into a Busy Day

midday-workoutsAfter we linked to our last open thread on midday workouts, a bunch of readers expressed an interest in having another discussion on how to fit workouts into a busy day.  For my own $.02, in my ideal world I get my exercise out of the way first thing in the morning, my socializing in with friends in the evening, with a long day in between to do lots of work.

But of course, that’s easier said than done.  You may have work commitments in the morning, or prefer to use the time for other personal development.  And as a new mother, the thing I’ve realized since having a baby is that your concept of “me time” changes drastically once you have a kiddo.  Particularly that “morning/evening” time — if it isn’t already committed to work, that time quickly becomes blocked as “family time” — either because you genuinely want to see your child(ren), or you literally have no one else on hand to care for them (unless you have a nanny around the clock, lucky you).  So a midday workout is the only way a lot of people can fit in exercise at all.

So if you have to have a midday workout, here are a few ideas:

  • take a fast-paced walk (if you don’t want to change into a sports bra but still feel like you sweat too much, you may want to look at this reader-recommended dohickey that absorbs under-bra sweat)
  • head to the gym for some weights (usually no shower required afterwards)
  • office space/privacy permitting, try a “light weights high reps” workout video — you usually can get a lot of bang out of one set of 5 pound weights, and if you choose one with no cardio component you don’t have to change into a sports bra.  While the trend right now is to intersperse cardio circuits with toning, there are still a few old school “just toning” videos such as Jari Love’s Slim & Lean, Karen Voight’s Streamline Fitness, or Kathy Smith’s Lift Weights to Lose Weight.
  • I usually find the office setup bad for yoga or pilates (computer monitor on desk, you on floor), but if your setup is better, or you’re using something like an iPad that you can bring to the floor with you… then you might want to check out Exhale: Core Fusion 30 Day Sculpt, which has thirty 20-minute workouts consisting of weights with yoga.  I also like 10 Minute Solution: Blast Off Belly Fat and Yoga for Stress Relief.
  • I can also see the appeal of getting to work really early sans shower, and then blocking time for a 45-minute intense workout (spinning, running, time with a trainer) sometime earlyish in the day (say 11:30), and then moving your shower/pretty time to immediately after the class.  The trouble I’ve always had with that kind of system is that work always seems to get in the way, and I never actually make it to the class or whatnot on time, if at all — so you need to really commit to blocking that time out in your day.  (Here’s an article from Refinery 29 on ways to style wet hair; a number of readers have also noted that the Goody Spin-Pins work best with wet hair.  We’ve also talked about what to pack in your gym bag.)

I recently read an interesting article in More Magazine (which I started reading after our discussion on the best magazines for smart women) about how to boost your metabolism, and it talked about the importance of getting small bursts of exercise into an otherwise sedentary day.  Along those lines, office workers might want to try:

  • climbing a few flights of stairs multiple times a day — for example, choose a bathroom on a floor few flights above you
  • kettlebell swings — I started to get into kettlebells after reading The Four Hour Body, where he talks about how just 15 minutes of kettlebell swings can really make over your body, and — again, provided your office has enough space and privacy — I can see them being a great way to kick your heart rate up once or twice an hour (and again, without the need for a sports bra or special shoes, although I don’t think I’d want to do kettlebell swings in heels).  He recommends starting with a weight of 35 pounds for women, but the heaviest I’ve used thus far is 20 pounds.
  • depending on your outfit (and again, your office space and privacy) you can try other ways to get your metabolism up — pretending to jump rope, or even doing a few 10-minute aerobic videos throughout the day (I own a few of them; my favorite is probably the kickboxing bootcamp).

The big component that I’m leaving out, of course, is all of the technical devices to help you move more — FitBit, Jawbone, etc, etc., which I’ve been looking into but don’t yet have personal experience with — but the whole goal of those devices is to encourage you to get more exercise in your life.

So, readers: do you work out in the middle of your workday?  How else do you try to fit more exercise into your life?  Are there any apps or devices that you use and love?

(Pictured: Midday workout at @sparkpeople, originally uploaded to Flickr by JoeRobb.)



  1. I like to work out in the evening, after work and before dinner (small snack before). My office has an on-site gym so I will get in a midday workout if I know I won’t be able to in the evening but I don’t like being rushed at the gym. I would rather work out at 10pm, even if it is after dinner and drinks. I will hardly ever get up extra early to work out. I’ve heard people say if they don’t do it in the morning they won’t get around to it but I make it a priority and pretty much work out 7 days a week. (No kids – just full time job and part time LLM program)

    • My secret to running 5-6 days a week, plus getting other random cardio, is my dog. She needs at least a two-mile walk every day, so when I get home, I have to take her out for at least that far, regardless of how crappy and tired I feel, or how awful the weather is. Since I have to leave my apartment anyway, it’s a fairly easy step to force myself into running clothes and convince myself to run the two miles. Which 99.999% of the time provides the motivation I need to do the longer run I’m scheduled for, happy dog in tow.

      Obviously a needy four-legged animal is not the solution for everyone, but she’s been great for me. I love running, and normally don’t need the extra motivation, but she is GOLD for those days when I just. don’t. feel. like. it. She’s also great for getting me off the couch, more generally. Like I said, I love running, but I have sloth-like tendencies for the other 23 hours of the day.

      • What kind of dog do you have? I am actively researching dogs for when I’m ready for the responsibility. My two biggest criterion are that it can live indoors (I have no yard), and that it will enjoy runs with me.

        • I’m very partial to my Siberian husky. They don’t usually bark (mine will sing at me if she has to go outside), can’t be let loose in yards anyway (my mellow-for-her-breed pup got halfway over an 8-foot privacy fence once, when a cat happened to run by; fortunately I managed to grab her), and love to run. If you’re interested, I’d go through a breed rescuer and ask for a medium-energy dog. My girl is 110% happy to spend all day snoozing on the couch, as long as she gets enough quality exercise (runs and long walks), but some of them can be a lil’ bit more wired.

          • Thank you so much! That’s a great recommendation. My boyfriend who will be sharing the dog with me wants a puppy (I’d rather have a young adult), so unfortunately energy-levels will be hard to measure. I have seen many husky mixes on the local adoption websites, though!

          • Jipsy's mom :

            I currently have 2 Huskies, and I previously owned an Alaskan Malamute. They are great motivators to go running, but there are some down-sides to consider before adopting. 1) They can do an astonishing amount of damage to your home or yard if they’re not adequately exercised and they get bored. You really have to make a commitment to regular, vigorous, long bouts of exercise, especially for younger dogs. 2) They are pretty independent, as they were generally bred to think for themselves and be able to assess risks in the Arctic. If you want a dog that will come with the first call and heel off-leash during your entire run, this isn’t the dog for you. Obedience classes help, but I’ve taken my dog through multiple classes (including agility) and she still will not respond like your average lab or border collie. Some rescues make you agree to never exercise your Husky off-leash in an unfenced area, because they will run and they don’t always return when called. 3) Related to point #2, they have a very high prey drive. If you live near small dogs or cats, or any wildlife, your dog may try to chase and even kill other animals. 4) They’re generally clean, odorless dogs, but 2 times a year they will blow out their undercoat like you’ve never seen. Clouds of hair, all over your house, car, and clothes. I’ve seen questions about removing pet hair from work clothes on this site – if you’re someone who’s fastidious about dog hair – seriously, don’t get a Husky.

        • Greyhounds, whippets, and Italian greyhounds are good apartment dogs (quiet, couch potatoes, don’t shed) who like to run.

          • A greyhound won’t want to go on a two-mile, or more, run. They like very quick sprints (a couple of blocks) followed by a looooooooong nap.

          • Co-sign on the greyhounds not being good running companions. They are sprinters, not joggers, and they run way faster than any human can for their short-ish sprints. They enjoy walking, though, and are great, mellow dogs.

        • Cornellian :

          I adopted an airedale terrier, and he’s great. They’re quiet and easygoing, there are never breed restrictions against them at apartments/homes/housing developments, they are hypoallergenic. I’ve gone on up to 15 mile (10 minute mile) runs with my dog, and my ex-boyfriend would take him on 3-4 mile 6 minute mile runs. He does well with both, although he is not all about humid or hot weather.

          I would also consider adopting a non-puppy. dogs shouldn’t be run until they’re 14-24 mos., anyway, and you get a much better idea of the dog’s personality when he’s a bit older. I got mine at 9 mos. and it was a great choice.

        • You didn’t ask this but on a related note… While mixed/unknown breed dogs can be harder to predict in terms of personality/physical traits, don’t let that stop you from adopting a rescue dog. Many rescue groups have volunteers who foster dogs in their own home and the foster should be able to tell you how much energy the dog has, if it can go for runs, etc. Some people want to go to a breeder to better know what kind of dog they are going to end up with, but you can get just as good if not better information about a rescue dog from the foster parents. Whatever you decide, good luck in the dog search!

          • Thanks to everyone for the dog advice! We are definitely looking towards mixed/mutts from a rescue. While I would love a younger non-puppy, my boyfriend has never had a dog before and insists on training the puppy from the beginning because he thinks it will be “tainted” otherwise. We’ve been through it about the puppy thing, and he’s definitely not budging. Hopefully I can steer him towards the right breed, though!

          • HappyHoya :

            I second this! We recently adopted a rescue dog. Our dog was an adult when we got him, so he’d come into his own, personality wise, and his foster was able to give us a very accurate description of his energy level, comfort with walking/jogging/running on a leash, etc. A puppy may be very trainable but you may not have to raise a dog from a puppy to find a great match already out there waiting for you.

        • Vizslas are AMAZING workout dogs. They are super high-energy, kid-friendly and love people! Growing up with a vizsla was absolutely amazing, and we hope to adopt one once we move.

      • I am looking into getting a puppy (a Brittany) for this exact same reason. I know that to be a responsible pet owner, I have to be committed to her exercise. That has the added benefit of forcing me to exercise as well.

        I’ve also found that exercising immediately after work allows me the mental break I need from the office. I don’t get that same stress relief from morning workouts. Lately it’s been running home from work. That 2-3 miles is just what I need to feel a real sense of seperation–at least until I fire back up at home.

        • I’ve always wondered how people manage this… how do you run home from work with your handbag and work clothing?

  2. One effective workout (depending on privacy) is doing ab and core work (especially planks and their many varieties, pushups, etc.) for 15-20 minutes.

    Lifting a 5 pound weight a million times is pretty much the most worthless thing you can do for your body if you have 30 minutes to work out.

    • Agree on the zillions of repetitions with a very light weight.

      Also, while I agree that getting more movement/activity into your day in general is always a good thing, if you are doing what you deem to be a “workout” and you don’t need to shower afterwards, then I’m going to question how hard you actually worked and what you actually accomplished. If you truly worked out, then you truly need to shower. Unless you are one of those rare individuals who just don’t perspire, or smell, ever (hi Mom).

      • Eh. It depends. In the (thankfully long-ago) days of my 45-minute commute, I did some fairly beastly runs between the end of work and mandatory after-work events. It’s amazing what washing your face and armpits in the sink, scrunching some dry shampoo through your hair, and re-applying deodorant and makeup, can do.

        • SoCalAtty :

          I agree! I usually have my (horse) riding lessons / coaching at 7am during the week. I hop off my horse at about 7:40, jump in the car, and hit work around 8:30. I run the air full blast between the barn and the office, and I’m dry by then. I change in the bathroom (but at my new office they have a SHOWER! So excited, but haven’t been riding), rinse my face, fix hair and reapply products and I’m fine. Those cosmetic wipes that you don’t have to rinse off are really great for that too. Neutrogena has a sport version that I really like.

      • Snarkster :

        I agree with this. And people who think they don’t smell and just need baby wipes etc are usually wrong. We can tell!

      • BigLaw Refugee :

        For me, and I think for many people, walking in what exercise books sometimes calls the “fat burning zone” – 60-70% of max heart rate – does not result in a lot of sweat. But according to a book called Younger Next Year, which was co-written by a Harvard-educated doctor and is what’s motivating me to exercise, exercising in that zone is incredibly good for you – it’s good for your heart and also signals your body that it should be working on making sure other parts of you are healthy.

        I have a FitBit and am using it to try to remind myself to get more steps in and take more stairs; the American Heart Association recommends getting 10,000 steps. On a typical workday I get 7,000 just by walking the distance to and from the subway, plus walking around my very large building to get lunch and coffee. Also no sweat, and all I have to do to get to 10,000 is walk to a further subway stop or take a walk during my coffee break.

        Lifting weights also doesn’t cause much sweating if you rest between sets.

        More intense cardio is also very good for you, but according to the book it can be a couple of times a week thing, as can weight lifting. Just getting up and moving around should be a higher priority and needs to happen daily.

  3. Hormonal birth control for pms? :

    Has anyone gone on hormonal birth control to address pms, etc.? Lately I seem to be a lot more sensitive to pms, which is really frustrating since I’m going through an exceptionally stressful time. I can generally cope when it’s not that time of the month, but for two or three days each month, I have a really tough time holding it together. (I’m afraid that might be contrary to my feminist feelings, but there you have it.) Would a shot or the pill take care of this? If so, any pros or cons? I did the pill for years before my SO had the big V and I did fine. On the other hand, I think I’d like the convenience of the shot, if it didn’t mess with my recent weight loss. TIA!

    • When I moved to the states I had to switch my hormonal birth control brand and the new one gave me raging PMS (3-5 days before and a couple days in). My OBGYN switched me to a different product (but I don’t recall what was different) and I am fine, now.
      If you usually don’t take hormonal birth control then it might take time to kick in, like it does for cramps, etc.
      I didn’t have weight gain issues, I even quit smoking for the obvious reasons, during that time.
      Other than that, if I feel my inner evil come out (of which I have plenty, birth control or not) I usually do an exhausting cardio work out (preferably a long bike ride) and that takes care of the nervous, angry energy.

    • Kerrycontrary :

      Personally, I know my PMS is worse when I’m stressed out or going through major life changes. It was particularly bad when I was unemployed. No BC recommendations, but just talk to your OBGYN about it. They could even put you on an anti-depressent for the few days around your cycle which works for a lot of people.

    • Anonymous :

      I take Lexapro for PMS symptoms.

  4. threadjack – roadwarriors, when you’re going for a combined business/pleasure trip such that you’re taking a larger suitcase, do you prefer a 26″ or a 29″ bag. I’d like more room than my usual carry-on size & am not sure how big to go. Will both of these sizes always require checking it in? does a 29″ look ridiculously large?

    • I have both. I will caution you that it is very easy to get to the 50lb limit in the 29 inch model, particularly if you are packing any significant amount of athletic clothing or equipment. So be sure to check the weight before you head to the airport!

    • Anonymous :

      Yes, both 26″ and 29″ will both require checking.

      I prefer a 26″ bag that is expandable.

  5. hoola hoopa :

    Energy wise, I love a mid-day work out – but I find the switching from work to exercise back to work eats up too much of my workday. I prefer to go immediately after work, because I don’t have to reapply make-up or dry my hair and can cool down in my own time rather than at my desk.

    It’s hard with kids. Really hard. I have had the best success by paying out the ear for a family-oriented gym with a nice kids program and daycare. The kids and I travel to and from the gym together, so it feels like less time away from them. The older kid has fun, so I don’t have mommy guilt, and the baby is close for nursing, so I don’t have to add another pump session. Plus, it makes getting intense weekend workouts excuse-proof. I also set up routine walks with other moms of small children (facing the same dilemma) at my office over lunch. It may not be a gym work-out, but it’s a heck of a lot better than nothing and doesn’t cost any family time.

    • Amen, sister!

      My workouts consist of living in a 2-story house and lots of lifting of heavy children. And not sitting in front of the TV — lots of nature places to explore. Even if it is slow, it is better than nothing.

  6. funkybroad :

    I have the Nike+ FuelBand and really love it. For the days when I don’t get up early enough to run before going in to work, it encourages me to keep moving throughout the day to meet my goal.

    Caveat: I’ve had two die on me when trying to update the firmware, but have brought them back to the Nike store for an immediate replacement, no questions asked. If you don’t live by a Nike store, maybe hold off on this till they get their act together.

    Caveat 2: its odometer systematically underestimates how far you’ve run/walked/etc. so don’t use it for that. But for its own metric of how much you’ve moved (“fuel”) and for counting steps it’s pretty awesome.

    • I use a fitbit and it is really motivating to try and make my 10,000 steps each day. It helps particularly on busy, stressful days when I don’t get a workout but do get to note that I’ve walked loads over the course of the day.

      • YAY!!!! I have one to! My dad gave it to me. My onley probelem is that it is SO light that I WORRY that I might loose it. I wish they made the FITBIT with something I could MORE Securely put on that would NOT slide off. FOOEY, b/c it cost’s over $100, and my dad tells me all the time to be CAREFUL b/c the deductibel on my home owner’s is over $100. DOUBEL FOOEY if I loose it.

        As a result I keep it in my pocket or my PURSE, but I do NOT think this is the best. The new fitbit is put on your WRIST, but that is NOT to styelish as I would prefer silver on my wrist’s.

        Dad keep’s croweing to his friend’s that he is abel to monitor my tuchus without even bieng in the same COUNTY. He is right. But I should be abel soon to wear even size 2’s as my size 4’s are all fiting looser! YAY!!!!

  7. Statutesq :

    I work out every morning around 5:30 a.m. before work. I have too many obligations (non-work meetings, client dinners, etc) after work to be able to work out in the evenings consistently, and I will never be a mid-day workout person (too many logistics!). I am absolutely not a morning person, but daily workouts are very important to me.

    For short workouts I like bodyrocktv (free online videos). Some workouts are 10 minutes. The instructor is…not someone I identify with, but the workouts are amazing, and it’s a great metabolism boost that’s easy to squeeze in a hectic day.

  8. Houston Attny :

    I try to do 4 5-minute workouts throughout the day. I close the door, kick off my shoes, and do a variety of lunges (maybe 10 or 20 each leg), squats, modified pushups putting my hands on the edge of my desk, kicks, random kickboxing moves, whatever strikes my fancy with not much rhyme or reason. I’m not sure if I’m totally wasting my time. I am pretty sure that I am not good at going to the gym in the morning and if I don’t go in the morning, I’m sure not going to make time to go at night. For now, it works, and I get my heartrate up a few times a day though not for long periods of time. Also, if you’re starting to try to incorporate movement in your day, I recommend a pedometer. Absolutely stuns me how little I walk. 10,000 steps?! I’m thrilled if I make it to 7,000!

  9. I have the Jawbone wrist band– I find the “sedentary” reminder works wonders. I have it set to buzz if I’ve been sedentary for 30 min’s– and then I take a lap around the office or get up and go to the bathroom. For people who sit a lot and lose track of time through an intense project, it is a great reminder to even just stand up and pace your office for a few seconds.
    I love running at lunch. No shower necessary– just a stash of baby wipes to clean the sticky skin and a reapplication of deodorant.

    • This thing sounds amazing. How does the alarm clock work out? I’ve been eyeing alarms that wake you up in the optimal stage of sleep closest to when you actually need to be up and functional… Do you use this feature? Hope their Android app comes out soon!

    • hoola hoopa :

      Oh, I need that idle alert. That looks like way more device than I want, though.

      Does anyone know of a pedometer with an idle alert?

    • I heard the original Jawbone had technical malfunction issues- is the new one working well? I was pretty tempted to buy one, mostly for the idle alert.

  10. Quick TJ: I’ve been looking for both black and nude-for-me flats for a while, and I finally found a winning pair. It comes in both colors, so I’m going to buy one and see how it wears, before investing in the second. I have neither color, think both would slot equally well into my closet, am tired of waffling, and so am crowd-sourcing it. Which one would you get first?

    • hoola hoopa :

      Since we’re heading into spring, I’d do nude first.

      • Agreed. Black generally seems to harsh to me during Spring/ Summer. Even with black pants, I seem to prefer nude shoes in the warmer months. Maybe I’m weird though?

      • Merabella :

        This. Since spring colors are lighter I would go with nude, unless most of your clothes are darker/black. Do not wear nude with black pants, very weird. If you are doing skirts though I think that could work.

    • Anonymous :

      Hmmm. Help me understand the concept of nude flats. I get nude pumps – it gives a leg-lengthening effect, but I don’t understand what nude flats “do”.

      • I plan to use them as a neutral. I don’t wear heels very much.

        • Anonymous :

          I did do a double take at a woman wearing nude flats because I thought she was barefoot, and I have never seen nude heels that had that effect, so I would be a little cautious of nude flats versus nude heels (although I’m not a big heel wearer either, so I sympathize).

          I would get both if it’s in the budget (and you can return them somewhat easily in case they don’t work at all). If you want to start with one, I’d go with black. I’m assuming you have seen these online–can you really tell if the nude color will be the right shade for you? Might as well go with the sure-bet (black) while you are testing them for comfort and fit.

          • Whoops, that was me (not that I have a huge persona here, but I didn’t want to get confused for Anonymous @3:02).

    • Diana Barry :

      If they are not too expensive, I would get both!

    • Veronique :

      Definitely get the nude first. If they sell out, it will be a lot easier to find another pair of black pumps than to find another nude (for you).

    • AttiredAttorney :

      Will you share the link? I’m always looking for flats that are dressy enough to wear to work. So many flats are just casual ballet flats that do not work with formal suits or pencil skirts IMO.

  11. anon in-house :

    I can’t force myself to wake up any earlier, nor extricate myself off the couch once I get home, and my co. has an eat-at-your-desk culture so no mid-day workouts at all for me. The only way I’ve managed to stay fit is by going to a fitness class (yoga, pilates, cardio, etc.) _directly from work_.

    I sign up online for a class at a studio close to work, that way I’ve committed to going. I wear non-wrinkle clothes so that I can easily change either at work or at the studio, then fold work clothes into my tote with no collateral damage (sometimes I even wear my gym leggings under wide leg trousers for quicker changing). I don’t even need a bulky gym bag because none of these classes require sneakers so my clothes all fit into my work tote. Throw in some makeup wipes and you’re golden.

    • I have to completely agree with you. No matter how hard I try I just CANNOT get up in the morning! And evenings are just busy or lazy. I will definitely try your idea of committing to a class to stay focused!

  12. I’ve worked out in the evenings since high school (I’m 46 now). I’ll allow for one, maybe two nights a week off and that’s all I’ve got. Once I’m booked, I’m booked and there is no way no how I will miss a workout more often than that. Usually those are the nights my son plays sports, so socializing is on weekends only (I can work out during the day on weekends). I get up at 5 am to get ready for work so morning workouts are not happening here. There have been times when I’ve had shower facilities at work and did the lunch time workout but getting dressed for work and doing my hair twice a day is just a pain.

    • Diana Barry :

      I hate lunchtime workouts also because of the getting-ready-twice problem. Right now I don’t work out much at all. Boo! Maybe when I am not so sleep-deprived, I will be able to get up and go in the morning.

  13. Anne Shirley :

    The only way I’ve found is to pre-pay for a convenient expensive 6am class. And at 5:30 tell myself I have no option but to go. I also use a fit bit to nudge me to move more throughout the day.

  14. I’m a big fan of for workouts. I sign up for sessions with a personal trainer that can be done from home, late in the evening or early in the morning. Once they’re paid for and on the calendar, I feel obligated to make time for them, but they’re not so expensive that I’m angry if I have to cancel last minute for work-related items. And, since I get to do them from home without traveling to/from the gym, I feel like I don’t lose as much time to transit.

  15. Sydney Bristow :

    I’m still trying to figure this out myself. I’ve found that its never going to happen if I schedule it for early morning. I just can’t force myself out of bed a minute before I need to in order to get to work on time. My body doesn’t seem to remember how I made it to early morning gymnastics and dance classes for years.

    The key for me right now seems to be either working out immediately whe. I get home or doing something else productive immediately (like doing the dishes) and then working out. Once I sit down on the couch or at my computer, its all over for me.

    I’m working out at home right now because I can’t afford the gym membership in my neighborhood and joining one that requires me to take the subway doesn’t work for me either. It’s all about making it as simple as possible for me to develop a habit right now. I read the book You Are Yur Own Gym and bought the ipad app that goes with it and just started doing the program last week. Since I know my habits and what mindset I need, I’m hoping that I can really get into it.

    The other thing I do is similar to Houston Atty. I share an office, so whenever I go to the bathroom I do lunges in the stall. I figure anything is better than nothing. I also walk a lot and take the stairs in NYC so I am getting in tiny bits of exercise throughout the day.

  16. I run either in the morning or at lunch. I was intimidated by the logistics at first, but enough of my male colleagues manage to do it without any problems (and with wet hair afterwards)- as long as I pull my hair back in a ponytail, I don’t need to worry about the hair dryer.

    I actually read like the lunch workouts, as it forces me to get outside, away from the computer and gives me time to think. It’s particularly beneficial on high stress days, as I’m able to work out my stress productively.

  17. Praxidike :


    So I am going to Cuba next week with an alumni group. Anyone been there? Tips? Thoughts? Things you hated or things you loved? I really can’t get a sense of what it’ll be like, and though I am excited I’m also a little nervous.

    We have a packed itinerary, planned by the university, so there’s going to be stuff to do. I am also wondering if there’s a dress code that’s different than what I’d wear in the US in the heat.

    • I went to Cuba in college through my school. Definitely bring small bills: lots of ones and fives. It can be difficult to get change for large bills, especially when you’re outside of Havanna. The dress code isn’t any different. If you’ll be there for awhile (I was there for a month) pack things that can be hand-washed and will air-dry quickly, and pack some dry detergent.
      At least when I was there about 8 years ago, internet access was very limited. Internet was only availabe in the large hotels in the big cities, and only one one guest computer in the lobby for which you had to pay for your internet useage.

  18. I just moved my office to a downtown location, requiring public transit, from a prior location in a suburb that required driving in my car. When I moved to my suburban office, I gained 20 pounds. Hoping to shed them with walking to/from transit, taking lunchtime walks to shopping at nordy’s/macy’s and extra morning workouts. Morning workouts are 5-10 minutes of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and some body-weight exercises.

  19. TO Lawyer :

    On this note, does anyone have suggestions for short yet effective workouts? My condo building has a small gym with treadmills, ellipticals and some free weights. I feel like I need a step-by-step plan to start getting back to the gym so any suggestions would be much appreciated!

    • Anonymous :

      I think weight training circuits are the best for short yet effective workouts.

      I usually start out with 5 minute warm up, do 2-3 workouts for 3-4 reps with active rest (walking on the treadmill) for about 5 minutes in between circuits. Finish off with a 5 minute cool down, or use the walk back to my apartment as a cool down.

      You can do more/less depending on your schedule, but I always feel worked out in about 30 minutes start to finish.

  20. Joana Toews :

    I use my lunch breaks three times per week to go to on-site gym. Because I never work out unless someone’s expecting me, I set up dates with gym buddies in advance… many of whom I never see elsewhere, as we work in different areas, so going to the gym doubles as a social outing.

    I only do weights and ab circuits these days, so I don’t break too heavy a sweat and need to shower. That said, I lift really HEAVY weights, so I don’t need to do too many reps. This makes for a shorter time committment: I can walk to the gym, change, work out, change back, and walk back to my office in out hour exactly.

    • I also love doubling up on friends and gym – I wish more of my friends were up for that, it would make my life so much more convenient and save me so much money on eating out/alcohol, and make me healthier because of the less eating out/alcohol and seeing my friends at the gym instead. I have one friend that we do the gym + hangout time, and it seems to work pretty well for us, or at least I enjoy it.

  21. Oh, this thread makes me so sad. I haven’t been to a gym since I accepted a new in-house job. That was 6 months ago. I LOVE the gym, and the last time I went so long without it was probably in high school.

    I miss the gym, and the not great but decent free time I used to have as a Biglaw lawyer. When I was in Biglaw, my gym was across the street from work and I could always squeeze in 45 minutes between 6AM and 10PM. Now that I am in house, I work all day and all night, and no gym nearby means that I cannot even do something for myself as basic as staying in shape.

    It is killing me.

    • Is this backwards? :

      As a new lawyer, my understanding of the usual pattern is that you work crazy hours in BigLaw and then go in-house for better hours… Do you think yours is a unique situation, or do I totally misunderstand the in-house concept? Of course, it depends on the office, and maybe yours is just an outlier, or exceptionally busy right now? Good luck to you, hope you get a better balance here soon.

      • In-house hours vary by company.

      • Most in house attorneys work pretty regular hours. Certain groups, like litigation and M&A, have more fluctuating schedules. For me I do commercial transactions and work about 40 hours/week, except at quarter ends. It is very predictable, I know I will be in the office until midnight the last day of each quarter but right after quarter end it is very quiet.

        • anon in-house :

          I work 50 hrs/wk at a financial services co., I know others in-house working much longer at bigger firms in my industry. In-house is not always a panacea for biglaw ills.

  22. LackingLuster :

    My six-month-old has not slept longer than 3.5 hours at a time since I went back to work (thus, neither have I). I can’t wait until I have the energy to work out again.

  23. This is super timely. I’ve been on a kick recently trying to lose weight and not be such a sedentary workaholic. I’ve been doing little stuff like building in vigorous walking and taking the stairs into my day. Really, the best things I’ve found so far is using myfitnesspal for tracking how calories burned (so motivating — I had no idea!) and, which is has online yoga classes. No more excuses for missing my class when I can do the class anytime. Really tight schedule? Then I just do a 15 or 20 minutes class. Also — this may sound really silly, but I got a core stabilizer ball and I sneak in a bit of core workout while drying my hair in the morning.

  24. Different anon :

    I work from ~8am to 11pm every day, except Fridays (~6pm) and weekends. I only seem to be able to find time over the weekend to exercise. During the week, it’s an achievement if I get to shower and wash my hair in the same day! I’m clocking in ~5-6hrs of sleep per day during the week. Can someone tell me when to exercise? Should I sleep 4hrs?

    I’m a consultant so I travel a lot (if that helps). No concept of ‘after work and before bedtime’ for me.

    • So are you at the client site for 15 hours a day? Or do you head back to your hotel at a certain time and continue to work? It may be that you only get to schedule in a workout on non-travel days (or find an airport gym in some cities). But, to the extent that you figure you are stuck in a hotel room with nothing else to do so you might as well work, I would have to have some me time in there.

    • Working out is important, but so is sleep! It sounds like with your schedule you can’t get a full workout in so I would just suggest doing little things throughout the day – taking the stairs, tightening your abs at your desk, quick walk at lunch, etc. It all adds up! Here is where a fuel band or pedometer helps.

  25. I work-out with DVDs. It eliminates travel time back and forth to the gym, and with pre-mixes, there’s no excuses. I can always find a work-out that fits the time I have allotted. I like Cathe Friedrich’s Travel Fit (Intermediate, resistance band based) for travel. Lately, I’ve been using Kelly Coffey Meyer’s new DVDs most often. They’re made up of 2 30 work-outs with several pre-mixes. There’s a lot of variety within those time constraints, so I don’t get bored.

    As a long-time Jari Love work-out fan, I would not recommend her workouts unless you can shower afterwards. I get totally drenched, and I’m a “glistener.”

  26. I know what you about losing me time when you have kids. On top of that, mornings and evenings are the only time I get to have time with the kids, so I am reluctant to give it up. I have found half an hour at the gym at lunchtime to be working well for me; never to strenuous but enough to make the difference.

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