Getting back into the habit of going to the gym can be challenging, I know from firsthand experience. There will be weeks or months when I’m dedicated and have my routine down, and other times when I have zero motivation to get my butt into the gym. Most recently, I went through a 4-month span where I didn’t set foot in the gym. Yikes. Well, one of my resolutions for the new year was to start back at the gym – the way I’ve been able to stick to this goal is by going to the gym at lunch!
Going at lunch has been exactly what I needed to recommit myself to going to the gym and start a new routine, committing to at least 3 days a week. And in sticking to my new routine over the last few months, I’ve realized a few benefits that are unique to going midday. Here are the 5 reasons I love going to the gym at lunch.
1. You’ll actually go
This is a huge one for me! Before committing to a regular lunch-gym schedule, I’d often go to work, go home with the intention of going back out to the gym – but end up getting stuck on the couch. Or worse yet, I’d bring my gym clothes with me to work and head home instead – finding any excuse to skip.
I know I’m not alone here. Going to the gym after a long day can be challenging.
During the day though, you don’t have any of the I’m too exhausted to go or I’m too busy in the evenings excuses anymore. At midday, you’ve got a ton more energy and aren’t dealing with the fatigue that leads so many of us to want to skip the gym. So, by going at lunch, you’re prioritizing gym so that you’ll actually go.
Which brings us to number two.
2. Free your evenings
Another great aspect of going to the gym at lunch is that your calendar is completely wide open in the evenings! While I’m not quite the weeknight social butterfly, for those who are – going to the gym during lunch is perfect for you! Getting your gym time frees you up for happy hours, dinner plans, and anything else you might want to get into, without feeling the guilt of skipping the gym.
I have friends who complain that they’re too busy with happy hours to go to the gym – if you’re like them, hit the gym or take a jog at lunch, and you’ll still have your evenings for other fun.
It’s not all about happy hours though, going to the gym frees you up to continue to be productive in the evening, too. I’ve found that by going earlier, I’m able to get practical things done like cooking and laundry.
3. Stress-free mornings
I tried out running in the mornings before going into the office. I found that the pressures of getting up, running for the right amount of time, and then getting ready in time to make it into the office at a decent time were a little too stressful.
If you’re not a morning person (like me) or find your mornings to be too cramped when working out – a lunchtime gym routine can ease your stress.
Instead of running around like a crazy person, simply pack your clothes in the morning (or better yet, the night before) and enjoy your morning at a calmer pace.
4. Improve time management
I’ve gotten much stronger at managing my time. How? You may ask. Well, I now set specific goals to achieve before I get to the gym along with goals to complete in the afternoon. While I typically make a list of things I want to accomplish each day, on the days I go to the gym, I get more granular with my planning. I’ll list out the three or four tasks I will get done before leaving the office and then another set of goals.
This has been super helpful in pushing me to check off more things throughout the day, making me more productive. Rather than putting things off until later or letting tasks go unchecked, adding gym time is like turning each day into two. This was unexpected, but a well-welcomed benefit of going to the gym!
Tip! Block off your calendar during the time you’re working out. This ensures that everybody can see you are busy and it’ll discourage others to schedule conflicts during this time.
5. Take an actual lunch break
Who else eats their salad or sandwich at their desk most days? The statistics say that as many as 75% of office workers do. I definitely make an effort to get up, get fresh air, heck just get my eyes off my screens, but some days it can be a challenge.
The days I go to the gym though, I experience a marvelous one hour and 10-minute lunch break. Getting out, walking to the gym, working out, then heading back to the office gives me a much-needed break that helps me to reset. Taking this real break helps me to feel the benefits of taking a step away and clearing my mind.
By going to the gym at lunch, you get a proper break away from your desk. Following a gym lunch, I’ll typically eat a small salad or smoothie and have another snack later on in the afternoon.
A quick note on being flexible…
The important thing to remember is that even though you may plan to make a lunchtime HIIT class, work comes first. Of course, occasionally there will be the inevitable last-minute project that pops up and needs to get finished, so I remember to be flexible. I’ll bring in gym clothes every day with the understanding that realistically, I’ll most likely only make it in 3 days a week. Which, hey, is a lot better than no days.
And of course, working out during lunch is only an option if your company embraces it, your location allows it, and your schedule permits it. Lucky that all of these work in my favor, I’m embracing lunchtime workouts!