How to Go From Work to Gym and Back Again

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The main reason so many people eschew exercise is the seeming lack of time. Indeed, working out can require hours; even if your time in the gym is limited to 30 or 60 minutes, you need to devote time to getting to and from your gym, showering, changing clothes and more.

When you have a family to care for before and after work, your only chance to hit the gym is in the middle of the day — and most people simply can’t take a three-hour lunch break and maintain employment for any length of time.

Getting fit doesn’t have to jeopardize your career. Here’s a better way to fit a workout into your workday without feeling like you are wasting precious time.

The Right Workout

Because time is limited, you want to make the most out of your workout that you can. Thus, you search for “the best” workout, the one that will melt the most fat, build the most muscle and generally produce the most results.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the right strategy. Instead of forcing yourself to complete a workout that seems to be objectively the best, you need to work out in a way that is subjectively the best for you. Typically, that means you need to find a type of exercise you enjoy doing, so it doesn’t feel like a chore to hit the gym in the middle of your workday; rather, it will feel like a much-anticipated (and much-deserved) break.

You should spend a month or two experimenting with different styles of exercise. You can take fitness classes, like kickboxing, yoga and Zumba or self-guide your workouts in running, weightlifting and interval training. Because you will be heading back to work, an ideal workout won’t get you too sweaty or exhausted, but if you find that what you love leaves you drenched and flat-out, go with it.

The Right Schedule

You don’t need to work out every day. In fact, working out every day is a recipe for burnout, which will leave you right where you started: not going to the gym. Instead, you should ease into exercise, starting with maybe one gym trip a week and increasing your frequency as you develop the habit. Even then, you need to give yourself rest days, probably three per week, to allow your body to build strength, shed fat and generally recover from the stress of exercise. You should consider your work schedule and plan your gym days and rest days appropriately.

The Right Attire

You don’t want to be on the elliptical in your casual business attire. However, you also don’t want to be taking meetings with clients dressed in a sports bra and leggings. In fact, walking around the office in any type of fitness attire can be uncomfortable, considering that most activewear is skin-tight and relatively revealing.

The best solution is to bring a gym bag filled with your workout attire and change outfits in the gym locker room. However, this does require extra time; if you are already especially pressed, you might want to look into women’s activewear that easily transitions from work to the gym. Fortunately, because athleisure has grown in popularity, there are plenty of options to fill your workout wardrobe.

The Right Gym

If you are wasting half of your time commuting from the office to the gym and back, you need to find a new gym. Perhaps you can transfer your membership to a sister gym closer to where you work, but if this is not an option, you shouldn’t be afraid to cancel your membership and apply to a completely different gym that is more conveniently located.

If you’re lucky, you might not even need to become a gym member. Plenty of workplaces offer on-site gyms, which workers can use for free. If your employer doesn’t already have a gym, you might be able to convince them to create one or else provide discounted memberships to employees for the sake of lowering healthcare costs.

Then again, if you can’t find a gym nearby and your employer won’t offer any sort of exercise space, you don’t have to despair. It’s possible to get a good workout in without any equipment whatsoever. Jogging, yoga and calisthenics can all be performed anywhere at any time, so you don’t ever have an excuse to skip a workout.

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