The Ultimate Do-Anywhere Lunch-Hour Workout
Working on a PowerPoint presentation while planning happy hour? Making a shopping list while texting your mom? If this sounds familiar, it’s because you have a packed schedule. Zero free time means you’ve got to get in the best workout possible during those tiny pockets of unscheduled time. Why not work out during your lunch hour? To maximize your break, plan to have lunch afterward at your desk, so pack a meal that’s ready to eat when you finish. For this do-anywhere workout, the only necessities are a resistance band and your workout gear. Ideally you’ll be able to find a nearby park so you can enjoy some greenery, but this is a workout you could even do in a parking lot or empty office if necessary. If you aren’t able to shower afterwards, bring deodorant, a pack of wipes, facial cleanser and even some dry shampoo. Your co-workers won’t even notice!
1. Warm Up
Start your lunch-hour workout with a warm up. If you’re hitting the pavement, make certain your workout clothes are bright so you stand out to drivers. Alternately, you can do a stationary high knee jog to get your muscles warmed up and stretch at the same time. Start the warm up with 5 minutes of jogging, but if you aren’t able to jog, fitness expert Jaime McFaden suggests a power walk for 25 minutes outside your office. No matter what shape you’re in, each day offers an opportunity to begin an active lifestyle.
Once you’ve done your warm-up, get ready to do 5, 45-second sprints. This is going to challenge your aerobic and anaerobic systems of oxygen in your body, which burns more calories in a shorter amount of time. Again, if you are doing this workout in a confined space, alternate 45 seconds of fast jumping rope (even without the jump rope) with basic jumping jacks.
3. Squats and Bicep Curls With Resistance Band
After your intervals, start by placing your feet hip width apart with your resistance band under the arches of your feet. Sit down into a squat position as if you’re sitting in a chair, pushing off of your heels. Go down into your squat then rise up and do a bicep curl, doing 3 sets of 10 reps.
Push ups are a great exercise that can be done anywhere. Make sure your arms are shoulder-width apart and start with 3 sets of 10 pushups. If you don’t have a soft, grassy spot or can roll out a yoga mat, try doing a wall push up instead. The farther you are away from the wall, the more effort it will take.
5. Lunges and Shoulder Raises With a Resistance Band
Lunges are fantastic for targeting your quads and glutes, but try this compound variation that’s a full body exercise certain to allow you greater pump in less time. Take your resistance band and put the band under your front foot and do a shoulder raise right after each lunge. Make sure your back is flat and your core is engaged. Stay on the same leg for 3 sets of 10 reps.
6. Star Jumps
Star jumps will get your heart rate up and give you a surge of energy to help you get through the rest of the day! Bend your knees slightly and position your feet shoulder-width apart then squat and jump vertically, feeling the explosive energy before you land in a squat. Repeat for 1 sets of 10 reps.
7. Tricep Extensions
This is the best move to strengthen, define and tone the back of your arms. Take your resistance band and place it under one of your feet then extend your arm up over your head so that your hand is straight above your head. Hold for just two seconds and bring your hand back down towards your shoulder. Repeat for 3 sets of 15 reps, and before you know it your arms will be looking fabulous!
8. Box Jumps
It’s time to get your heart rate soaring again with a quick interval! Try 15 box jumps with your feet hip width apart and straight ahead of you. Instead of using a plyo box, you can try jumping from a curb, a low wall or even a sturdy park bench. Sit down like you’re sitting in a chair, jump as high as you can and squat back down before you repeat.
9. Jumping Lunges
You’re rounding third but to keep your heart rate up, finish your workout strong. Step into a lunge position with your left foot in front of your right. As you lower into a lunge, make sure your front and back foot are straight in alignment and use your arms to help you jump as high as you can and switch feet. Alternating legs, do 20 reps.
10. Calf Raises
This move can be done anywhere and anytime with no equipment needed. Start by lifting your heels off the ground so that you’re on the balls of your feet, hold for one second then slowly lower your feet down. If you’re advanced, you can try this on one foot at a time. Do 3 sets of 10 reps for toned and strong calves.
11. Bicycle Crunches
Bicycle crunches are great for tightening your core and toning your obliques, but if you can’t get down on the ground comfortably, you can do standing bicycle crunches instead. With your feet hip-width apart, put your hands behind your head and touch your elbow to your opposite knee. Do this for 2 sets of 15 reps on each side.
12. Stretch and Recover
You’ve made it through your first lunch-hour workout! Congrats on your determination to take time out of your busy day to focus on your health. Make sure you stretch your muscles out and that you’re hydrated before you go back to work.
Join the Conversation
Do you work out during your lunch break? What are your tips for getting motivated to work out during the day?
Holly Roser is a certified personal trainer and fitness expert in New York City and San Francisco. Holly is regularly featured on top broadcasts and publications including Self Magazine, Prevention,Men's Fitness magazine, Livestrong.com, Dr. Oz, Shape, and Women's Health Magazine. In 2014, Holly created Girl Fit, a non-profit for high school students in Los Angeles, CA, focusing on motivating low-income teens to live healthy lives.