How to crush a workout at lunch for fun and profit


Ben Wilson
Ben Wilson

on 2/26/2015

I’m not here to discuss standing desks, treadmills or walk breaks. I will tell you how to achieve a quality workout at lunch, and use that as a springboard to smashing your afternoon, rather than slowly drifting into a pixel-induced coma.

I won’t tell you what to do during lunch – a run or a ride or some yoga are popular choices – but I will try to fill in a gap I see in the Internet’s wisdom. These are my helpful hints on how to actually achieve a lunch workout, remain productive and still smell as fresh as a bed of roses come 5’o’clock.

Carve out a block

If you want to get serious about exercising at work, it’s best to come up with a plan prior to the week, and tune it to your daily schedule. The biggest opponent to the lunch workout is poor planning, either prior to the week in the hours leading up to your lunch.

Over the weekend, set out a goal like “I’m going to workout at lunch 3 times this week” and then schedule those blocks on your calendar. Day of, be mindful of your morning and afternoon tasks and be ready to hit the lunch hour like you would another task. Don’t let work get in the way of the workout – and I mean that without a hint of sarcasm.

Finally, make sure to take what you need to workout – clothes, shoes, washing up kit, etc. This might take a couple of tries to “get right”, but once you have your “workout kit” set, you can adjust your schedule on the fly.

Treat your workout like a core part of your workday, and benefit

I’m never more awake and alert than in the afternoons after a stirring lunch workout – thanks to those wonderful chemicals we know and love: endorphins.

Running or riding a bike, for me, is prime thinking time. Away from distractions both physical or digital, I tend to noodle on large, complex issues (like “how would I frame a blog post about exercising at lunch?!”). Some of my best work has come while meditating to my own plodding footsteps or while huffing and puffing up a steep hill.

Make a list of things you need to put deep thought to, and knock them down. Oh, and write them down quickly once you return to work.

I also recommend making your lunch workouts intense – use the whole hour as efficiently as possible. This keeps the prep-to-calories ratio low!

Getting clean

A consistent refrain from my co-workers is “I don’t want to be sweaty and gross at work”. Well, neither do I – and that’s why I clean up after the lunch workout. So far, I’ve never had an odoriferous issue, even on the hottest of summer days by following these simple tips:

  • Shower before you come into work
  • Clean up immediately after the workout
  • Cool down as quickly as you can

The key here is to have as little bacteria on you for the shortest amount of time. Showering before you come into work minimizes this, as does cleaning up immediately after the workout. Cooling down with a tall glass of ice water or a fan on hot summer days works wonders. You really don’t even need soap if you wash up and cool down quickly.

Don’t have a shower like VIA Studio does? No worries – you’d be shocked at how well unscented baby wipes stand in for a shower. A bathroom sink, when judiciously applied, can also help tackle washing hair and cooling down quick. Hair drying is obviously an issue for ladies and long-haired gents, but one that can be overcome with a towel, hair dryer or better yet – a fashionable pixie haircut.

Perhaps this goes without saying, but pack a towel.

Bring a buddy

These lunch hours are a perfect time to make connections with your co-workers and collaborate on tough ideas. Outside the walls of the office have a glorious effect on creativity, and both of you being gross and sweaty has the knock-on affect of removing politics or hierarchy as well. Plus: it always helps to have someone to urge you on, or at least guilt you into getting out!

I hope this guide helps you on your way to getting out and seeing the amazing benefits that working out during the work day will have.

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