Mid-Day Workouts: Yay or Nay?

midday-workouts2018 Update: We still think this was a fascinating discussion on mid-day workouts — but you may also want to check out our more recent discussion about lunch workouts.

Today, let’s talk about a subject that we’re sure is near and dear to everyone’s hearts, particularly given the new guidelines that women should get at least 60 minutes of exercise a day: is it acceptable to sneak in a mid-day workout? How can it be accomplished with style and grace?

The main problem that we’ve always had with a mid-day workout is the fact that the hour dwindles pretty quickly if you head to the gym and plan on showering afterward. Let’s say that you have an hour to workout:
– Subtract 5 minutes for the trek from your office to the gym (assuming it’s somewhere very close, like around the corner)
– Subtract 5 minutes to get into your workout clothes, get “checked in,” get your towel, and secure your locker.
– Let’s subtract another 20 minutes for a shower after your workout — by which we mean disrobing, bathing, and getting re-dressed in your work attire.*
– Subtract another 5 minutes to return to the office … with dripping wet hair and no makeup.

Which means that if you have an hour to work out, you’re left with … 25 minutes for a workout. And you’re still stuck with wet hair and no make up. For that reason, we’ve always tried to save the kickboxing/interval/running workouts for before or after work, and stuck to milder forms of midday exercise. For example:
– A 30-60 minute walk around the neighborhood. Bonus points to anyone who doesn’t do it in white aerobic shoes.
– A Pilates or yoga video at your desk (assuming enough privacy in your office). We’re not proud of it, but we’ll ‘fess up to watching a Pilates DVD from our office computer. You can (for the most part) stay in your work clothes or (see above re: privacy) change into yoga pants in your office. Still: lock the door, tell your secretary something to keep her and others out, and keep the DVD’s volume low.
– A trek to the gym for weightlifting. You still have to deal with changing/traveling, but for the most part you can skip the shower afterward. (You can, of course, bring a variety of weights in to your office — a set of 5-8-12 pounds should serve you well for most instructional videos. (We’re huge fans Get Ripped! with Jari Love: Slim & Lean (available at Amazon for $12.49.) (We like her other DVDs also, but this one is particularly great because there’s no explicit cardio component — plus, if pressed for time, you can split up the segments so you do lower body and upper body on different days.)

* Obviously, you can skip washing your hair, and use a showercap instead — but by our estimation you only save about a minute or two.  And while we’re fans of dry shampoo sometimes, we generally find that they work best when our hair is dry — and not wet with sweat.  But maybe we’re wrong?

Readers, how do you fit in a mid-day workout?  Any products or tips to make it more efficient?



  1. Great question. I’m lucky to have a gym right in our building, which I use probably about once a week (I know I know, but something is better than nothing – right?). I limit my exercise to fast walking on the treadmill and lifting weights. As a general rule, I don’t sweat much at the gym at all. I skip the shower and just towel down with a damp cloth and reapply deodorant. I freshen mymakeup if need be, but like I said, because I hardly sweat, I usually don’t need to.

    I usually go to the gym around 4 pm or so, so even when I get back to work, I’m usually only there for another 2 hours and most people don’t even see me. The advantage of working in big law is that no one keeps tabs of when I’m out of the office and frankly, not sure anyone really cares.

    When I go to our gym, I usually see a mix of partners/associates there as well. I initially felt really awkward about seeing colleagues in gym clothes, but heck, the gym is free and I quickly got over it.

    • Try baby wipes/moist towlettes instead of a damp towel — faster/more refreshing – and take up less room in your gym bag :-)

    • Yes about that, I have been meaning to send a question about this.
      There is a very upscale gym (the best in the country). My company has a plan for employees to their gym membership costs about 30% less than normal.
      It seems that everybody is going there now that summer is getting close.
      I am very tempted because of the quality of service and equipment.
      However, my issue is whether I am still expected to pay attention to what I would wear at the gym. I know this is where the socialties of the country meet to workout (and sign contracts) but I still want to have a good heartfelt sweaty workout.
      How do you manage such situations?

      • Personally I wear my ratty gym clothes and don’t care who sees me sweat, but if you’re running into people you work with professionally and you think they might be judgy, I’d just find another gym.

        In college I once saw my German professor coming out of the gym shower totally nude. This is not something you want to happen to you.

      • My $0.02 – I’ve never run into a co-worker at the gym, but I wouldn’t have a problem if I did. I think it’s fine if your coworkers see you sweaty and enjoying a strenuous workout at the gym.

        I think the more difficult question – which I think was covered in a previous post at some point – is what to wear. I personally only wear spandex as a base layer (sports bras, underarmour, etc.) and workout in tshirts and longer shorts, so I wouldn’t feel inappropriately exposed (for me, personally) if I bumped into a coworker. Sweaty? Yes. Revealing, no. Maybe I would feel embarrassed if I was exercising in a tight tank top and short shorts, but I don’t do that anyway.

        • I totally agree with the “Sweaty? Yes. Revealing? No.” I used to go to the gym at lunch and would run into higher-ups. They were sweaty too and dressed in old T-shirts, no big deal. When i workout on the weekends or in the morning at my local (not office) gym, i wear tighter dry-fit shirts and typically dry-fit spandex pants. i would NEVER wear this to the gym at lunch though. It gives the wrong impression.
          As for working out on my lunch break, I really enjoyed it. I’m pregnant now, so the classes are kind of limited and i hate the treadmill. I know i’ll pick back up after the baby, seeing as my time will be even more limited. My job is flexible and understanding that i take about an hour twenty minute lunch and they don’t mind me eating at my desk. I don’t smoke or take any other kind of break during the day so i feel my extra 20 minutes isn’t too big a deal. I also factor the walk to and from the gym as part of my warm up and cool down. I’m usually booking it there and back.
          I also think my employer is extra understanding b/c health is very important to them. i work for a large corp. and they are always encouraging employees to get active and be healthy. it lowers their healthcare cost in the long run, so they are supportive.

      • I have worked out for 7 years in a gym frequented by colleagues and executives at my company. I find if I dress conservatively (as the other poster said, no spandex), then I feel fine. They are there to get sweaty too, after all.

      • Houda,

        I am in a similar situation as you… I go to an “upscale” gym, probably the nicest in my city, and since it’s so close to work I often see executives there.

        I sweat when I work out, and I like to wear black yoga pants and a tank top, or a black or white tee. I feel perfectly confortable with the executives seeing me that way, and it doesn’t show much sweat. The gym gives out gray t shirts and shorts for those who want it, but I could never wear those without looking like a wet dog!

  2. katherine :

    I usually just finish my midday workouts with a swab of deodorant and some face wipes to combat the shiny forehead problem. Obviously, this won’t work if you have somewhere nice you have to get to afterwards, but it’s one of those you-do-what-you-can type scenarios.

  3. I can only pull off the mid-day workout if I’m very slow. On most days, I’m lucky to have time to grab my salad out of the office fridge so that I can eat-while-working at my desk. Working out over the lunch hour usually takes me at least an hour and a half round trip — more like 2 hours if I get in what I consider to be a “full” workout. My gym carries most of the stuff you need (shampoo, conditioner, hairdryers, etc), has laundry service, and is located a few blocks from the office, and I still can’t realistically do this on a daily basis. Being out of the office and unavailable for 1.5-2 hours is just not an option.

    I know of several women who had one of those mini-stepper machines in our old office. However, we recently moved offices and now the interior walls are frosted glass (aka everyone can vaguely see what you’re doing). That eliminates a lot of possibilities — I don’t mind taking a 10 minute break to do some push-ups, lunges, and squats, but not if there is (relatively highly probable) chance that one of the partners is going to “see” me doing them.

  4. divaliscious11 :

    Love the idea..have only been able to make it work successfully when there was a full gym in the building. I always had to block of an hour and a half, but the job I had at the time was one that icould take the time and still keep up on my caseload.

    now I go to a place that is half-way between work and home and has classes that start within an hour of my normal leaving time. If I get all the way home, I am not going back out, but I have found that having the workout halfway between works well for me….

  5. I hate mid-day workouts. I can’t do them, so mornings are best for me. Not that you asked, but I wake at 6:15, out the door by 6:40, and arrive to the gym by 7:00. Weather permitting, I run 3-4 miles outside in a nearby park, go back inside the gym for stretching and a shower. Then I’m off to work by 8:45. I do this 2-3 times a week, and I always run one day during the weekend.

    • That is amazing. Morning workouts make me want to cry I’m so tired. I never feel invigorated afterwards, just exhausted. I usually work out between dinner and bedtime.

      • Just hav ea cup of coffee before your morning workout.

        Or if after dinner works for you, stick with that.. wahtever gets it in there.

        • Yeah, the coffee doesn’t work. Even when I was an athlete in school I couldn’t do mornings. About an hour after dinner is perfect for me, except it means I don’t get a workout in if I have evening plans.

  6. Since I tend to like the hour long classes that are offered by my gym, mid-day just doesn’t work for me. I have to get to the gym, change into workout gear, take class, shower (b/c I’m not going back to the office all sweaty), change back into work clothes and make it back to the office.

    I’ll stick to working out after work in the evenings and on weekend mornings.

  7. About the only thing I do mid-day is walk around the block. I’d love to have 4 p.m. workouts, but that just wouldn’t do at my office, so I either do before work or after (I’m lucky in that my office is an early to get in early to leave kind of place, so I can usually workout between office and home after work).

  8. I used to run around my work campus every day at lunch. I had an office that I could close and lock, so I changed right there, headed out the door for 40 minutes of running, came back and would wipe down my arms, armpits, and legs with wet towels, reapply deodorant, touch up my makeup and brush my hair. It was grodier in the summer, but I managed to make it work. Actual food eaten was in small amounts in the morning and afternoon. If I went over my hour, I would just stay at work that extra amount in the afternoon. A shower/changing room right at work would have been perfect. I miss it.

  9. Sherry, Chicago, IL :

    Until my office moved recently, there an Equinox within a block and I would do yoga 2x/week from 12-1, leaving the office about 11:50 and returning 1:15ish. Loved it and would return in such better spirits, now I have a gym in the building and just need to get into a good routine.

    • And now Equinox has a fridge full of chilled, scented towels you can use to “wipe down” after mid-day workouts.

      During a recent trial, one of the partners paid a yoga instructor to come 4 times a week after dinner (before we went back to work for the night.) It was amazing.

      • Not to be graphic but how were you not all ill? Yoga is supposed to be practiced on an empty stomach. Nor should you run/lift/otherwise exercise immediately after dinner! I’m kind of shocked that people didn’t end up getting sick.

        Kudos to your (law) partner for having his heart in the right place though…next time, BEFORE dinner :)

        • That’s the “classical” teaching, Anon, but I don’t think yoga as it’s taught or practiced in the U.S. needs to be so dogmatic. As a yoga teacher [who also happens to be a partner at my law firm], I’ve found (both in my own practice and observing my students) that every body is different, every person’s needs are different, and the traditional rules (I’m thinking more of practicing on an empty stomach, not all the classical yamas and niyamas) don’t apply in equal measure to every practitioner.

          • Thanks, jojo. Interesting to hear a different perspective, I appreciate it! As a competitive athlete, I’ve found that my fuel requirements are different for different types of training, but for yoga, anything other than water in the 2-3 hours before my practice will only set me back.

        • and FWIW, there’s also lot of debate in the yoga community about the “traditional” rule that women should not practice inversions during menstruation, the “traditional” rule having been propounded largely by men.

          Just sayin’ ;)

    • I would need to block 90 mins for a 40-45 min workout (but I have to shower as my workout is running/jogging and I sweat a lot). But I hate the whole routine at midday so now I just run 30 mins daily before I get to work – makes me come in rather later than most folks, though with a global job, no one really cares!

  10. I cannot see myself taking time during the day to workout. And, frankly, I don’t think it’s healthy to eat while working (or watching TV, or etc.), so if I don’t have to, I will avoid that. Taking an hour to work out would mean eating while working & it seems silly to add something “beneficial” while simultaneously taking something “beneficial” away.

    Instead, I just try to move throughout the day (which besides being good for my body is also good for my mind). This means, taking the stairs to the 5th floor a few times a day (vs. the elevator), walking to the bathroom further away, walking briskly to get lunch somewhere a few blocks away, and getting off at a subway stop or two further away.

    That said, I do know someone who keeps a treadmill in her office and does 30 minutes of brisk walking every day before leaving. It seems to work for her. I just don’t have the office space.

    • Delta Sierra :

      Agree about making decisions (the bathroom farther away) to increase movement during the day. When I’m out running car-errands I park as far away from the store as possible, barring, of course, time constraints and the need to carry heavy stuff back to the car.

      I’m not aware of the not eating and working/tv at the same time, expand, please?

      • anon - chi :

        I’ve always heard that eating while you do something else means you are more likely to overeat because you are not focusing on your food or physical sensations like getting full. I doubt this is a big problem at work where you would only have a limited amount of food available (i.e. whatever you brought in for lunch). But there is also something to be said for taking even 15 minutes to chill and relax while you eat – in my experience, it recharges you much more than if you eat while working, and you’re really only saving those 15 minutes anyway.

        • Delta Sierra :

          anon – chi: thanks. Oh, the bliss of ditching work for however long you can afford at lunchtime, eat your lunch, even if all you can manage is to switch your computer away from work and over to your favorite websites (hi, Kat;)) for 15 min. I’m a big believer in taking a short break even if you think you can’t afford it.

  11. I’ve got it down to 1 hour and 15 minutes.
    5 minutes to walk to gym
    5-8 minutes to change into gym clothes & get to class
    45 minute spin class, followed by 5 minutes of push-ups, wall balls, thrusters, or other upper-body exercises.
    2-3 minute shower (rinse off with soap provided)
    3-4 minutes get dressed
    1 minute Use blow dryer to dry hair which has gotten sweaty (generally around the nape of the neck)
    5 minute walk back to the office

    I skip makeup on the days I’m going to the gym. Just takes too long. Obviously the most important thing about working out is finding the time to do it — whether morning, noon or night.

    Also, if you do yoga, you can skip the shower & should be able to get away with the most minimal reapplication of deodorant.

    • I think that depends on the individual and the type of yoga practice. There is no way I could skip a shower after 90 minutes of yoga!

  12. At my old job, a small group of women in my office (ranging from 3-5, depending on the day) hired a personal trainer to meet us at the office at noon every Tuesday and Thursday for a half-hour power weight training session. We’d change in the bathroom and then meet our trainer in a large vacant room in our building. We brought in limited equipment–mats, free weights ranging from 5-12 pounds, blow-up balance balls, i-phone speakers, and we took turns with the playlists. We didn’t sweat, but we got a good work-out. Also a good time with the colleagues. Once we brought in a belly-dancing workout video on a day when the trainer had to cancel, but that pretty much just resulted in hysterical laughter.

    • That’s hilarious. One of my friends tells me that laughing burns a lot of calories, so at least you still got in a workout! :)

      • Delta Sierra :

        I swear this is true: I live in one of yer more hippy-dippy west coast towns, and there is an actual laughing class. Never been to one, but I gather they meet on the beach, and I suppose someone tells a joke, and they all laugh as hard as they can, for half an hour, in the morning, and then go on about their day.

  13. In a previous position there was a fitness center a short walk away, and I had a flexible lunch hour — as in if I took a little longer it was fine (especially since I worked 12 hour days more often than not) – I would walk over, change, go on the recumbent bike for half an hour, use baby wipes/towlettes to clean up, and head back… and honestly, it was fine – I wasn’t doing crazy cardio, I just needed to move… Now though I can’t fit in the time to get to a gym, change, work out, etc etc etc in a reasonable frame- less flexible office, less convenient fitness center… but I loved being able to do it when I could!

  14. Delta Sierra :

    Lunch-hour workout, ugh, not for me. Too much rushing around, and I hate getting dressed immediately after a shower. Evening workouts here: walk 15 min. to gym, which is deserted, so no line-up for machines, workout, walk home, shower, jammies, bed. Lovely.

    • How do you get to sleep? If I get a really good workout, it takes me at least 2 hours for me to feel cooled down and relaxed enough to go to bed. When I work out at night, it’s at my apartment building, so I don’t have the commute to include in that time.

      • Delta Sierra :

        The evening workouts are weight-lifting only, half an hour of fairly intense machine-work, so by the time I’ve walked home I’m cooled down, and the shower relaxes me. I have short hair, so there’s not a lot of after-shower fiddle with that. The weight-lifting has done wonders for hip and upper back pain, and wrists weakened by frequent tendinitis. Mr Sierra and I go to the same gym, really really helps with regular attendance, we egg/encourage each other on re: getting ourselves there, which I really need since I haaaaate working out at all. We have a light supper before the gym, and healthy snacks at bedtime. I can’t sleep on an empty stomach, so I usually save up some of the day’s calories for that anyhow.

        I envy you about the gym in the building. If there were a pool, too: heaven.

    • I feel the same about lunch hour workouts. Except, I go early. Up at 6:00am, gym is within walking distance of my house – either a quick workout there, or a couple miles run, then back to my home, my closet, my products, a few more minutes with the kids and then out the door by 8:00 or 8:30 to be at work by 9:00 am. I dont get to do spin, yoga classes, etc, but it works.

      At least on my ideal days.

      • Delta Sierra :

        Walking distance gym = great. I’m making it a point of honor to never drive there. So far, so good :)

  15. Chicago K :

    I am a big fan of the lunch time work out. Of course, it depends on my work load, sometimes I am so busy I can barely get away to go to the bathroom or eat lunch.

    But for the past month, I’ve been walking to a nearby gym and running for 30 mins at lunch. I shower (with my hair tied up, I don’t wash it) and head back to the office where I then eat lunch at my desk. To save time, I don’t wash my make up off either. I pat my face with a towel, and touch it up if needed. I have a longer walk then most, so all of this takes me about an hour to an hour and a half.

    I made this commitment to myself after realizing I had no problem or guilt blocking out time for Dr’s appointments. Working out is a comparable way of taking care of yourself and lunchtime works best for me. I am never going to get up and drive to the gym in the AM (although in summer months, i will definitely run outside before work) and after work I go to 90 min yoga classes or I am in graduate school classes.

  16. Blonde Lawyer :

    Delta – so you eat dinner at work then and exercise after? My problem is working until 6:30 or 7 most nights I want to get home and eat w/ my husband instead of going to the gym. I also don’t want to go to the gym right after eating unless I’m just doing some weights.

    • Me too, I don’t leave work until 7 pm most days and am usually exhausted by that time. That’s why I work out around 4 pm or so, it breaks up the day, and it’s before dinner so I don’t worry about working out on a full stomach. I love the idea of getting up in the morning and working out but my body doesn’t love it so much.

    • Delta Sierra :

      As I said in more detail above, evening workout = just weights, and Mr Sierra and I go together. Light supper before, healthy snacks when back home.

  17. At my old job, I was lucky to have a boss that was pretty flexible on the length of our lunches, so I would come in early, then take a 1 1/2 to 2 hour lunch. Another option would be going for a run in the middle of the afternoon, assuming I had no meetings. It fit with the office culture, and I’ve found that sometimes when I’ve been working on a tough problem, running clears my head, gives me some time to think about it, and I’m much more productive when I get back to the office.

    Here at my new job, they’re much stricter on the lunch breaks, even if you come in early, you’re expected to be gone for no more than an hour at lunchtime, and that’s just not enough time to really feel like I got a good workout in. As a result, I’ve had to switch my workout to early mornings or after work.

  18. I do it a couple times a week. Just take a 90 minute lunch. Leave at 1145, get changed and get ready in time for a noon or 1210 class, work out till 100, get ready and back by 130. I have a flexible job and if I have no meetings, its fine. I find when I do work out at lunch my afternoons are far more productive and I feel more energetic. No post lunch slump.

  19. Ugh. I can’t really make working out mid-day work despite a gym in the building dedicated to my firm. There is no way I could wash my hair, and I’ve smelled too many male partners who didn’t clean up well not to be self-conscious (I’m sure none of you ladies smell). The only thing that works for me is a 5:00 a.m. wake up to go walk/run on the treadmill or outdoors in nicer weather, then shower and get ready for work. If I wait until the evening, it’s just not happening.

    • I’m impressed… I don’t think I’ve ever made it up early to exercise… if I exercise after work its to go for a walk – so that’s pretty much limited to the times of year when its still light out when I get home

      • I’m in bed by 9 most nights, so don’t be too impressed! :)

        I’m totally a morning person.

  20. When I had a gym in the building, I could fit in a trip at lunch in 1.5 hours. Zip downstairs and change, 20 minutes on the elliptical, 10 minutes of weights, 15 minutes of abs and stretching, and put in my lunch order before hitting the shower. Get dressed, blow dry hair and pick up lunch on the way out, eat at my desk while back at work. 1.5 hours and done! Boy, do I miss having a gym in the building. Really the key to the success was the really nice locker room and showers, though – it was a pleasure to go there.

  21. I wish I could do the midday workout! I’ve certainly tried, but it just takes too long, and when I rush to get ready (even after showering) I just get sweaty all over again. Gross.

    What works for me is having a gym that I love, that is close to my house. The key for me is changing into my gym clothes before I leave the office, so I can go to the gym, zip upstairs, get in my workout, and come home. For some reason I feel like having to change out of my work clothes at the gym just really zaps my momentum. After the gym, I come home and take a nice warm shower to unwind and relax, have a light dinner, and then I’m good. On days that I actually have a “life” and need to go out after the gym, I just bring a change of clothes to shower and get ready there.

    It helps that I have a fairly predictable 9-6(ish) job that gets me out at a decent hour.

    • I like your routine;
      I usually wake up at 6:30 am and have to commute to work so I am only back home at 8:30pm -I live in a different city than my workplace.
      I am planning on moving to my work city within a couple weeks.
      I think that I would join a gym that is ten minutes from home and work. It is a chain-like gym so I can workout at any center, which is good if I feel like changing places (the two gyms are 10 to 15 minutes away from each side).
      I would do like M in CA and just workout after work, it should work for me since I have a rather stable schedule 9 to 6

  22. I really admire anyone who can pull this off. I simply can’t do it. I rush enough getting ready in the morning, I can’t imagine a lunch break being anything less than leisure time to stroll around and catch some sunrays. That is, if I didn’t already work at a place with an “eat-lunch-at-your-desk” culture.

  23. Add me to the people who would much rather work out in the morning. You have to shower and get dressed anyway, it’s easier to squeeze the workout in before you go to work. Even when I was able to successfully change, work out, and get re-dressed over lunch I always felt stressed because I was so rushed. Stress reduction is a big reason why I exercise, so feeling more stressed after my workout didn’t really work for me.

  24. What is everyone’s workout routine? I think there was an old post on this, but it was way before Corporette’s readership exploded, so there was not much of a discussion. I’m always interested in other women’s workouts!


    Quickie before work, try for at least 3/5 days – 20-30 minutes of interval training (running) for cardio, plus if there is time, 20-30 minutes of strength training. I don’t have the tolerance for longer cardio, even if I’m watching TV!

    If I can make it to the gym at the right time – hour-long conditioning class (hard cardio + strength training).

    On the weekend – 50-90 minute hike in the mountains or racquetball w/my husband or gardening work which can be surprisingly strenuous.

    If I’m in the mood – yoga at home or at some free class (can’t stomach paying $12-15+ for an hour of exercise. If it weren’t so expensive, I would love to take dance classes too).

    • I usually take classes, and I bounce between, aqua aerobics (which I love), step, mat pilates and body sculpt, which is a low weight/high rep class. I took tap dance classes when I was a kid, so I found a dance studio in my city that allows “drop ins” for a modest fee, so I take an occasional tap class as well- and I get to wear tap shoes with a heel this time around (cuz I was so jealous of the shoes that the “big girls” got to wear when I was younger).

    • 25-30 minutes of conditioning/strength training followed by another 25-30 minutes of cardio. I work with a trainer and that’s how he structures my workouts. I meet with him every 2 weeks and he gives me a new routine. Every now in then if I can’t make it to the gym (mine closes surprisingly early on the weekends), I’ll do a workout video from home – the Dancing With the Stars one I have is a lot of fun!

    • Walk to/from work (3 mile round trip) and everywhere else too, and do 30 minutes on the elliptical about 3 times a week.

    • My workout routine is P90X. When I finish this round (90 days), I’m thinking of RevAbs or maybe Insanity by the same company. I exercise 1st thing in the mornings, and as much as I previously hated it, I’ve got into the routine.

      • I’m a competitive athlete in addition to being a lawyer, so my workout routine involves morning workouts (530am wakeup) daily and evening workouts 2-3 days a week, 5 if I’m training for a particular goal. I generally work out one day on the weekend and rest one day.

      • I’m currently on the 6th week of Insanity….and it really is insane! I thought I was in decent shape to begin with, but this is tough and it really works. I do it early in the morning too, and it’s been great. I’m loving it. I would highly recommend it, especially because you’ve already done P90X.

    • Lawyer and competitive athlete here, my week looks like this:

      Morning workout daily (up at 530am)

      Evening workout 2-3x a week (up to 5x a week when training for a particular competition)

      Weekends I’ll train one day and take the other day as rest.

      • My post was deleted, apologies if it ends up appearing twice at some point.

    • divaliscious11 :

      Hour of Zumba 3 days a week. Am hoping to another class on the weekend when my husbands travel slows down for the summer. We have weights and elliptical at home, but I like the classes, but need to add weights back in….will this summer after we move and set up our workout room…

  25. Can’t do a midday work out. I hate the thought of getting sweaty and hot, then trying to get back into my pretty work clothes. And I definitely need more than 25 minutes for a solid workout.

  26. Lawyer B. :

    This is such a timely topic for me, since I’m moving offices and was wondering about changing into my workout gear at work. Currently my door has a window in it, so I have to go down two hallways to go to the bathroom to change before I leave work to head to the gym. (If I waited to change at the gym it would throw off the timing, because there are no spaces left just as I’m pulling into the lot and the lockers fill up quick after work.) In a few weeks I move to a new office, and the door is solid, so I could change in my office. Would that be weird to lock the door and put on my gym clothes? I don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable knowing I’m changing inside my own office, but it would just be so much simpler than hoofing it to the bathroom.

    • When I had an office with no window in the door, I changed in it all the time and also did yoga. My coworkers knew to knock.

      • frstrated academic :

        I change in my office all the time–just make sure that the door is locked!

      • I need your co-workers – we don’t have locks on the door and there’s a few of the older partners who cannot remember to knock. I don’t think they’re malicious, just clueless, but it definitely precludes things like changing. Sigh.

        • If the culture of your firm is such that no one would frown upon your doing yoga in your office, I suggest you make a sign that says “please knock – I’m doing yoga! ” and hang it on the door when you’re changing (regardless of whether you’re actually doing yoga).

        • Delta Sierra :

          Get one of those little wedge things that are used to hold a door propped open, shut the door and stick it under it. Works good.

    • Delta Sierra :

      Can you tape a piece of paper to the window while you change?

  27. Oof, count me out! I can enjoy a head-clearing walk outdoors in nice weather, but I can’t do a real workout in the middle of the work day. Maybe that’s because my chosen form of exercise is Bikram yoga – 90 minutes of fairly intense yoga in a humid room heated over 100 degrees. No scented chilled towel is going to make me presentable after that! ( That said, I do like the idea of scented chilled towels generally.) So it’s a 2 hour commitment, when you factor in travel time, yoga, showering, and dressing. But this post and the comments are making me wonder whether I couldn’t work some light weight lifting into my day. Hm.

  28. A related question:

    I walk to and from work. In the 90 degree summers, I feel pretty disgusting by the time I get there. I already wear bike shorts or a culotte slip under my skirt to prevent chafing and wear Tevas on the walk so my feet don’t smell, but does anyone have any other tips on how to stay relatively fresh on a hot commute?

    • Baby wipes and baby powder. They’re a must!!

      • Second the baby wipes. And wear as little of your work clothes as possible — e.g. I’m thinking of wearing a different bra so you can change into a clean one at the office — I’ve never actually tried this before but it sounds like a good idea, if that’s a spot where you sweat. Also they make things you can put under your arm at your armpit to protect clothing from sweat — it’s like these cloth “garment saver” or something — if that’s an area where you sweat, then look into these. Finally don’t apply any makeup before leaving the house, just wash/rinse your face at work and apply it there.

      • Wipes are a good idea. I use baby powder but never thought of wipes. And changing my bra also sounds good – I don’t usually want to carry a big bag of clothes with me, but i can easily stick a bra in my work bag. Thanks!

        • L from Oz :

          I commute on a bike in my regular clothes (mostly – there are certain skirts I can’t cycle in without showing more thigh than I’m comfortable with), and the biggest tip I can give is to go relatively slowly. I did the same when walking to work/the bus stop back in Australia – the extra ten minutes or so it takes by dropping the speed is made up in feeling less icky on arrival and having to do extensive clothes/makeup repair. Also, consider what sort of bag you have – anything pressing on large parts of the body will leave those parts more sweaty. Admittedly, dangling-on-the-shoulder is bad for one’s back, so it’s a matter of preference there. (No problem with a bike – I have a basket.)

          Oh, and if you skip the makeup before the walk, don’t forget to at least apply some sort of sunscreen!

    • Delta Sierra :

      Do you wear a hat? I’m not a really a hat fan, but for hot weather, it’s really a good idea.

      Love the culotte-slip with a skirt idea for chafing. I use Bodyglide, but this would be for thin summer dresses.

      • L from Oz :

        Agree about hats. I have very thin hair, so hats do not have a fashionable aftermath when I remove them, but as someone with a natural skin colour of ‘ghost’, they’re a lot better than skin cancer.

        I wear thin cotton bicycle shorts under dresses in summer when necessary. If the dress fabric is thin enough for them to show, then I’d need some sort of petticoat anyway. I like the idea of a culotte-slip in really hot weather, but I can’t remember the last time I saw one in a shop.

      • I do wear a hat. I also have used Bodyglide, but it doesn’t really do the trick on my inner thighs. Works well for shoes though.

  29. Lunch breaks are a rarity in my office, so no mid-day workouts for anyone. I’m lucky if I get to go out for a quick walk around the block. And I generally stay until 10pm, so if I don’t work out in the morning, I don’t work out at all! I’ve been under tremendous stress at work, so I make sure to get out of bed to exercise, otherwise I’m a nervous wreck!

  30. I’m trying a new experiment – so far, I’m a week or so into it, and really liking it. I’ve been ridiculously overloaded at work lately – 80-hour weeks, getting home at midnight or later some days, that sort of workload. Lunch hour? Forget it – a quick 15 minutes is as much as I get, some days. So any kind of workout would have to come out of my sleep time – and lack of sleep is much more harmful than lack of exercise.

    Here’s what I do. I brought a kettlebell to the office, and every hour, I get up and do kettlebell exercises for a minute (it’s a very versatile implement – one can get a whole-body workout with it). A minute is not enough time to get me sweaty, but it is definitely enough time to load my muscles, get my blood circulating, and get my oxygen levels up. So far, no one at the office has said anything – I’m not sure anyone has even noticed. The kettlebell is easy to hide under my desk when not in use, and a minute out of every hour is really not enough to have any effect on my work.

    Even after a week, I’m noticing a certain change in my muscles – they seem stronger and firmer, somehow. I’m very curious to see what happens in the long term. I do also walk to and from work (about 1.5 miles altogether), so if you add up all the mini-workouts and the walk, I get about 45 minutes a day – but that’s pure workout time. I presume that the hour a day recommendation includes a few minutes of rest between weight-lifting sets, and the time it takes to walk from one weight machine to another, and so on. I think that if I can keep this up, I’ll be just fine.

    • I would, however, like to add that what I’m working on at the moment is document review – 10-12 hours a day’s worth of fairly mindless document review. I’m not sure how well this exercise strategy will work once I have some more brain-intensive work to do, but I figure I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

      • Delta Sierra :

        What about ankle weights (strap-on kind) while you sit? Sometimes I do this for long desk-sessions, mini-leg-lifts, any sort of movement that occurs to me.

        • Blonde Lawyer :

          I’m thinking about sitting on a yoga ball while doing doc review to keep my ab muscles in shape.

          • I did that in law school. I would sit at my dining room table for 2-3 hours studying while sitting on the yoga ball. It was great. I’ve been doing that off and on since I’ve been working, but not as consistently as I did in law school.

          • I keep a yoga ball in my office and sit on it and use it for stretching. I love it. It also makes me popular because everyone wants to come bounce on it.

          • I want to bring mine to the office, but I’m too chicken. :)

        • I’d worry that it’s not enough exercise all by itself, though it would be a nice supplement. The great thing about the kettlebell is that it’s intense exercise – the equivalent of sprinting. A nice set of 20 squats with a 18-lb kettlebell is about as many as I can do at present without needing to stop. I wanted this one-minute-an-hour thing to replace my regular workout, so I wanted it to be intense.

  31. I wish I could go mid-day, it would break up the day and not leave me rushed in the morning and feeling guilty that I did or did not spend time at the gym that day.

    Currently morning workouts are the only way I can do it, but I have to get up VERY eary because I refuse to shower at the gym, so I come back home, and this all takes extra time. (and sometimes I try to do some quick work-related stuff in the morning too, like as I’m waiting to fully wake up) And then I still manage to get in late to work, but everything’s fine until I konk out at like 4pm and want to go home early but can’t. But I can’t imagine doing it any other way — the evening absolutely would not work, I’m soooo tired by then and can’t have caffeine that late; and mid-day doesn’t work because no one does that at my office, and besides I sweat a ton and would need a shower, and I’m really slow at that kind of stuff. Also I’d be very stressed during my workout, thinking that people may be trying to get in touch with me, since that seems like an all-day thing, doesn’t matter if it’s a “lunch break” or not.

    • I know what you mean, sometimes I bring my Blackberry to the treadmill at the gym. I am trying to relax a bit more though…my work load is very project dependent, and when another aquistion starts up my lunch time work-outs aren’t possible.

  32. I used to work out before work – get up at 445 to get to the gym at its opening time of 530. Then I would work out and get to work by 630 or 7. No shower needed, I sweated but dried off quickly in the early morning. I would work 630 until 5 and then sometimes go to an evening (545) yoga class, get home at 730, then have dinner. Crazy woman! Now that I have kids I can’t figure out when to work out so I just haven’t. :( I think that I will have to start either (1) super early morning again, or (2) after kids go to bed @ 7.

  33. I’m all about the lighter workout at lunch. When the weather is nice and not too hot, I like to use my lunch to take a nice walk through the City. Living in Chicago and having an office on the lake gives me terrific access to the lake shore path, which provides a nice workout, and also a good time to take a few deep breaths and step back from the stress of the office. I sweat a lot — and while I used to have a more flexible schedule and time for 1.5-2 hours at the gym during my lunch hour, I’m not so lucky anymore. So, for my heavier workouts, I’m a morning exerciser. Up at 5:30 and at the gym by 6:00. I was never a morning person, but I have slowly become a convert. They key for me is just to get up right when my alarm goes off. Once I get out of bed, I figure that since I’m up, I might as well hit the gym (or run outside if it is nice out). I used to exercise at night and I found that I had a lot of trouble sleeping and I also found that I skipped workouts on many days because of work and other social events. Now, I get it out of the way in the morning and I feel great during the rest of the day.

  34. Since having a baby, lunch is the only time I can find for work outs – I have a “rule” that if I have no meetings between 11 and 1 (and no pressing deadlines), then I go to the gym. I can do the routine in an hour, hour and a half for a bit more intense work out. I typically do a mix of cardio and weights – alternating so I don’t get too sweaty with the cardio. Routine looks like: 10 minute cardio warm up, stretch, abs, squats & lunges, weights, 10-20 minutes more of moderate cardio. then I shower with my hair pulled up, pat my face with a damp towel, and repair my makeup. Not the best workouts in the world, but it’s better than nothing and it works in the middle of the day.

  35. Liz (Europe) :

    I was wondering what you guys were doing to sweat at the gym, until I read the weightlifting comment. Heh, the only reason I go to the gym is to lift weights. What can I say, I like to feel strong. Running, on the other hand, is really not for me.

    Recent research suggests that 10 minutes of strenuous exercise per day may already suffice though, provided there’s a few long breaks inbetween (so it’s a 10 minute total, but the full workout would take much longer), and that some of us – those who use the public transport system and run on occasion to catch a train or whatever – may already be filling our fitness requirements like that, at least as far as our cardiovascular health is concerned.

    • That’s interesting and makes a certain amount of intuitive sense, no? I mean, our ancestors presumably didn’t go jogging for a half hour – they’d put on bursts of speed when they needed to, like, spear a mammoth or whatever. :-)

    • Delta Sierra :

      Liz (Europe) – me too I haaate running, just can. not. do. it, not going to happen. But weight-lifting I can bear. You do what you can.

      I take all these new announcements, like the 60-min-per-day for exercise, with a grain of salt. Having worked in the newspaper biz, I know full well that reporters are always desperate for an eye-grabbing headline. The panic over 60-min-etc is very likely more about that, than a real scientific need for that much exercise. Of course it would do us good, but ya gotta be realistic, we all have other commitments for our time.

      • I go by how I feel after working out. Weightlifting is the only workout that, if I do it on a regular basis, improves my mood. I’m not competitive, I don’t like sports, I hate running, and the only reason I work out is to be a healthy and happy couch potato rather than a sickly and depressed one. Weightlifting is an efficient way of getting there, for my body and my physiology.

        When I read that 60-min a day of exercise thing, my first question was “60 minutes of what?” 60 minutes of Tabata intervals would kill you. 60 minutes of slow walking wouldn’t do much at all. 60 minutes of back squats would get your legs very strong, but wouldn’t do much for your upper body. 60 minutes of hanging out in a gym, occasionally trying out one machine or another, won’t do much for your weight or your activity level. Lumping all “exercise” together is kinda silly, IMHO.

  36. Liz (Europe) :

    (And does sex count as workouts? Definitely not a lunch-hour activity, but for those who say they don’t exercise – don’t you? Really?)

  37. I work a 9-6 job but have a toddler at home. In the morning I can’t work out as I need to be home until the babysitter arrives. And in the evening I’m rushing home to cook dinner and spend time with the toddler before she goes to bed at 8.

    The only solution for me is that I now walk to work. I used to take the subway which was hell in the mornings. Walking is wonderful and relaxing and since it’s a half hour walk each way I get an hour a day of exercise.

  38. I don’t generally like the mid-day workouts b/c I don’t like to sweat and then get back into my work clothes. Showering adds too much time to my workout, and requires me to re-do hair and makeup, and I don’t like doing those getting-ready activities twice a day. Waste of time.

    I have a flexible enough job that I could go in the middle of the day, but I haven’t found any lunch-hour yoga classes near my office. That’s the only thing I would do in the middle of the work-day.

    A few years ago, I was working on a university campus, and I used to attend a 50-minute lunch-time yoga class once per week. I’d usually change in my office, then head to class. I’d be gone a little longer than an hour, but my schedule was pretty flexible in that job too.

    Now, I prefer early evenings. I do mornings sometimes, but I’m often just dragging to much and don’t get as good of a workout. Late night workouts are usually too energizing and keep me from sleeping, although I have found that a 9:00 pm Bikram class can have me home and sound asleep by 10:45.

  39. I’m lucky enough to have a gym in my office building (although I shamefully admit that, for the past few weeks, I haven’t been using it at all). Love your suggestion to use a Pilates DVD at the desk. Never thought of that.

  40. I work on the one hundred push ups program

  41. I’ve found a great solution (since I just can not block out a solid hour+ to work out in the middle of the day, and I would need to shower): I replaced my office chair with an exercise ball! By paying attention to posture (so as not to fall over), and working my abs staying upright, and giving my elgs a chance to move and flex, I’ve found that I’m not nearly as sedentary as if I were seated in an office chair all day. I also make 5-minute walking trips around my office floor once per hour, adding up to 40 mintues of walking in an eight-hour workday. Finally, I keep 5-lb hand weights beneath my desk, and do a few bicep curls from time to time. Works great!

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