It's noon and you have a pile of work on your desk. You can either eat lunch while working, head out for a quick workout, or head down to the local cafe for a bite with your coworker.
Which will you choose?
Lunchtime can be an excellent time to schedule your workouts and stick with them because, generally speaking, most people are always in the same place during the noon hour. Unless your career has you traveling around the city, you can find a nearby gym and head there in the 60-minute timeframe.
Still, considering that 60 minutes is all you have to work with, you need to train with efficiency. Every move must count.
On top of that, you'll want your workout not only to boost your fat-burning and muscle-building abilities, but also combat the stress that has been building during the day and have you heading back to the office feeling cool, calm, and collected.
How can you accomplish that? Try this program on for size. It's designed to bring body composition benefits and higher energy, as well as psychological benefits so that your work afternoons are always as productive as your mornings. That's something few people can say.
Hit the Weights
Weightlifting is the foundation of this workout. When the clock starts ticking the moment you step out of the office, the last thing you want to do is waste time plodding along on the treadmill.
Weight training will kick up your metabolism, boost your energy, improve your strength, and even raise your heart rate so you get the same benefits that cardio has to offer. It's simply the wiser choice, so make weight work the foundation of your routine.
This workout focuses exclusively on compound exercises, with 3 sets per exercise to give you a good dose of volume for maximum gains. Perform it as a full-body routine three times per week on every other day, or if you prefer splitting up your body into upper and lower body-part workouts and hitting the gym four days per week—or even five if you have superior recovery ability—that works, too. Just add a second exercise for each muscle group and cut back the total number of sets to two rather than three.
Add Some Interval Work
You do want to add some high-intensity interval training (HIIT) to help spike your metabolic rate even further and optimize fat burning.
After every strength move, hop on your favorite piece of cardio equipment and give it all you've got for 1 minute. Then hop off and rest for 2 minutes.
Note that if you're doing a strictly lower-body workout, uphill walking is the recommended form of cardio, but if it's an upper-body or full-body session, cycling, running, rowing, or using the elliptical are all good, as well.
Balance It Out with Yoga
Finally, after all the intense work you've just done, you need something to settle your mind and get you back to the office feeling ready to focus. You've regained your energy, but now you need to center your thoughts.
Yoga is the perfect solution. If you've never done yoga before, don't worry. These are all very simple exercises that anyone can do, and you're only going to spend 5 minutes doing them—but those 5 minutes will have you leaving the gym feeling better than ever. Plus, they are a great way to finish off your strength development as they all require core strength and stability to execute.
If you do this workout a few days a week, you'll find that you no longer dread your gym sessions but instead look forward to what they bring. Staying consistent can be a challenge, but when you find a routine you like and devote a set time to it each day, you'll be a gym regular in no time.
Your Complete Lunchtime Workout
Start with a 5-minute warm-up, and then complete the exercises as listed. Note that you will be using heavy weights, aiming to be fully fatigued by the time you complete the last rep.
For each weightlifting move, do 4 sets total. Rest for approximately 60-90 seconds between sets or until you feel recovered enough to do the next set. Note that the weightlifting portion of this workout is not designed to mimic HIIT.
- Bridge pose: 1 set of 60 sec.
- Chair pose: 1 set of 60 sec.
- Garland pose: 1 set of 60 sec.
- Extended Side Angle Pose: 1 set of 30 sec. per side
- High Lunge, Crescent Variation Pose: 1 set of 30 sec. per side
Remember to focus on your breathing, making sure you're taking deep, regular breaths. Contract your entire core while doing the poses to ensure you are stable and are reaping all the strength benefits.
Do this workout the next time you hit the gym on your lunch break, and see if it isn't the best noontime routine you've tried yet.