“Lunchtimes are an ideal time for a workout,” says personal trainer Patsy White. “It’s hard to work up the motivation for exercise in the evenings, so build up slowly at lunchtime. Start with 20 minutes and it will prepare you for the rest of the day. There are psychological benefits too, and you will feel regenerated and ready to go.”
Jamie Baird, fitness coach and trainer suggests the following lunchtime gym workout to gear you up for the afternoon:
1.00: ‘Start your workout before you even get to the gym by walking there. Walk at a gentle pace for the first five minutes to warm up, and then do 10 minutes of brisk walking or running. If you work too close to the gym for this, do a 10-minute warm-up before you begin your workout.’
1.15: Start your aerobic workout. If you’re outdoors, this can be anything from brisk walking, jogging, cycling or swimming. In the gym, jump on a treadmill, bike, rower or stepper. Keep it up for 20 minutes for maximum cardiovascular benefits.
1.35: Move on to resistance and strength-building equipment such as weights or the bench press to strengthen muscles. Work your abdominals, thighs, calves and arms, then stretch for a couple of minutes to increase muscle flexibility. This allows your body to cool down.
2.00 – Head back to the office with a big smile and a healthy glow. ‘This is a really efficient workout’, says Jamie. ‘Follow it in 15-minute segments to give it more structure – it makes it easier to stick to.’
At your desk
If you can’t get out for an hour, get fit with these ideas from Chris Mundle, personal trainer and director of boutique gym, Destination W1.
• Use the stairs instead of the lift – jog up then walk down and repeat.
• Sit on your chair and squeeze your bottom for 10 sets of 10, to work these muscles.
• Do a set of push-ups using your arms against your desk – this will work your arms and desk.
• Leg extensions – sit on your chair, hold your legs out straight and extend them. Great for abs!
• Go for a 20-30 minute brisk walk. It’s an all-round cardiovascular workout and a good mood lifter too.
Claire MacEvilly, a Nutritional Scientist at the MRC Human Nutrition Research Centre suggests eating carbohydrate-rich foods such as bananas or raisins and drinking plenty of liquids an hour before exercise. Afterwards, eat as normal but avoid high-fat foods. A little carbohydrate and glucose before and during exercise can improve performance, conserve muscle and prevent fatigue. Eat little and often before exercising to kick-start your metabolism.