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Exercises and Essentials for Working Out at Work


We're all so busy that most days it's tough to fit in the time for a workout. One solution to consider: work out at your office during lunchtime. It’s a great way to break up your workday AND burn some calories.

Many large companies - including Silicon Valley companies such as Google and Yahoo — offer at-work gyms for their employees to use, and here in Santa Monica at Demand Media where we create LIVESTRONG.COM our office has a small workout room with showers and yoga classes on Fridays. It's a great benefit, and one that my co-workers and I take advantage of as much as possible.

Even if you don't have a gym or shower at work, read on for some tips to sneak in some workouts during your workday. For example, scroll to the very bottom for portable products to get you clean fast and high-protein quick new post-workout snack ideas!workout_work_blog

The toughest part of working out at work is committing to doing it. So, whether you have a company gym or not, I challenge you to try just one day of getting moving and working out at your office during lunchtime.  Once you start, you'll find that it helps to break up your day and clear your mind (and burn some extra calories) during your busy day.


If You Aim to Avoid Sweating ...

1. Go walking outdoors during lunch. LIVESTRONG art director Ed Moore lost 16 pounds walking (and tracking his calories on MyPlate) over this past year. If that’s not enough inspiration for you, my mother (who is a 61-year-old nurse in Massachusetts) walks during her lunch break even in the rain and snowy weather. All you need is to wear comfortable clothes (consider bringing layers that you can add or remove, depending on the weather) and remember to bring or wear supportive shoes or sneakers. You can also use the pedometer in the free MyPlate app for iPhone to track your steps or any other similar device such as FitBit, Nike Fuel, Jawbone Up or Polar Loop. Another option is to track your calories and heart rate using a Polar F14 heart rate monitor.

2. Do some quick stretching and strength-building and fat-burning exercises that don't need any equipment — except a chair — and won't make you too sweaty.  Some options include Jeremy Shore's office stretches and Trainer Jo's chair dips and squats.

 3. Try Tara Stiles' 3-minute yoga routine to relieve tension at work.

 4. Join us for the planks, V-Sits, scissor kicks and bicycle crunches in the LIVESTRONG 30-Day Ab Challenge. We created the workout calendar so that the sweatier, longer STRONGER workouts are meant to be done on Saturdays when most people are at home and have access to a shower. You shouldn't sweat too much during the Monday-Friday routines, but you will still find them challenging!

Boat post

I’m just hanging out at the office in my boat (pose).

If You're Ready to Sweat (and Burn Tons of Calories)…

1. Create your own stair-climbing workout.

2. Try Jenn Cassetta's 5-minute calorie-blasting routine.

3. Try the 8-week STRONGER workout challenge. These workout videos are free and they're about 30-40 minutes long so that they can be done during your lunch break (which is what my co-workers and I did for at least 4 months straight!) No equipment is needed, and if your office doesn't have a gym (or an available conference room), you can watch the videos on your mobile phone and do the exercises outdoors on the lawn or in the parking lot.

4.  Go running at work! My co-workers Lindsay and Raquel and I often go running together during our lunch break. We do anywhere from 2 to 4 miles and burn 250 to 400 calories. You can track your mileage and pace using free apps such as Strava or RunKeeper. Here’s info on how to get started running and 17 motivations to get you running.

Lindsay, me and Raquel getting ready to run during lunchtime in the lobby at our office

Lindsay, Raquel and me getting ready to run during lunchtime in the lobby at our office


Tips and Essentials for Working Out at Work:

1. Keep sets of clean gym clothes and sneakers (and socks!) in your car and near your desk, so if an opening appears in your day, you can take advantage of it.

2. If you don't have access to a shower at your office - or you don't have time for a post-workout shower as I often don't if I'm running immediately to my next meeting, pack Action Wipes (full body wet wipes made with natural ingredients such as eucalyptus and tea tree essential oils - I've been using these for weeks; they are incredibly cleansing and refreshing), Pura Naturals soap-infused sponges, biodegradable, compostable and compact Essential Wipes, and a dry powder shampoo to freshen up your hair such as Oscar Blandi Dry Shampoo Powder in your gym bag.

3. Keep a toothbrush in your desk or gym bag to freshen up your mouth before or after exercise. We've recently tried the new Reach CompleteCare and eco-friendly sustainable, biodegradable bamboo-handle toothbrushes from Woo Bamboo. If you don't have time to brush your teeth, keep some mouthwash handy to swish your mouth clean pre- and post-exercise.

4. If you work out during lunchtime, when do you have time to eat your lunch? You may have to pack something that you can eat (or drink) quickly during your next meeting. Optimally, it includes a decent amount of protein and nutrition and doesn’t contain any bad ingredients or additives. Some new healthy food items we've enjoyed recently for quick post-workout lunches include Botan plant-based protein drink, Perfect Bars peanut butter and superfood meal replacement bars, Greek Pastures grassfed greek yogurt in their unique Black Cherry & Port Wine and Peach & Ginger flavors, Clean, Lean and Sexy Honey Almond Bars, Steve's PaleoGoods Chicken Jerky and Kitchen Table Baker's chia seed parmesan crisps.

So, why not try working out — or just getting moving — at work this week?  Let me know how it goes!


Readers — Have you gone walking, running or worked out at work? How has it gone? What workouts have you tried at work? Do you have access to a gym or shower at work? If you haven’t worked out at work, what’s stopping you? Leave a comment below and let us know.

Jess Barron is Editor-in-Chief of LIVESTRONG.COM. Read some of her other health and fitness articles here. A longtime foodie and fan of farmers markets, Jess particularly loves heirloom tomatoes, fresh figs with burrata cheese, and anything with pumpkin or peanut butter in it! Her love for food fuels her desire to exercise daily. In the summer of 2012, Jess lost 20 pounds in a test group for a new fitness program. Some of her favorite workout routines include walking, running, yoga, P90X, INSANITY and mixed martial arts. Jess's writing can also be found at She has appeared on MSNBC's The Most, ABC News Now and XM satellite radio , and her writing has appeared on and Yahoo.

Follow Jess on Twitter @jessdandy. Also, you can add her on Google+ and follow her on Pinterest.

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