From CEOs of million-dollar companies all the way to college students, working out during a lunch break is growing in popularity.
Combining fitness and lunch is one of the best ways to incorporate exercise into a busy lifestyle. Known as the power hour, afternoon exercise may be beneficial for those who seek serious improvement in their training output and sports performance (Chronobiology, 2009). Another bonus is improved productivity at work. A study from the University of Bristol showed that after exercising, participants returned to work more tolerant of themselves and more forgiving of their colleagues. Their work performance was also consistently higher, as shown by better time management and improved mental sharpness.
But is it really possible to fit in an effective workout session while still having the time to eat, shower, and get back to work–all within 60 minutes? The answer: YES!
The Power of Intensity
Effective lunch hour workout may take some planning, but the impact is created by the accumulated effect. It’s never about the length of the workout, instead it’s about the intensity and focus–that’s what makes the difference. High-intensity with short-bursts of effort (HIIT) is effective during this hour as it pushes your muscles and cardiovascular system to the point of temporary fatigue. The deep intake of oxygen upon recovery will leave you energized rather than sluggish when you return to your afternoon obligations. A secondary benefit is the residual impact of recovery, providing an extra calorie burn that lasts well after your session, ideal for those who want to lose weight. If you prefer a lower intensity workout, studies show that even a casual lunchtime walk can provide benefits of improved mood and reduced stress (Scandinavian Journal of Medicine, 2015).
So, how do you get started in planning your power hour lunch workout routine?
Generally, it can be any desired workout, just in an abbreviated form. You could log 20-30 minutes on your favourite cardio machine with an interval program for a higher-intensity workout. For all lifters out there, you might work a different body part at each lunchtime session, or alternate strength-training days with cardio days. Or to save you some time planning your workout routine, you could opt to come to any of the group fitness classes offered at SNFC that caters specifically to the lunch hour crowd. Noon hour classes are typically 45min in length allowing for time to get in and out within 60min.
Try this schedule for a well-balanced week of workouts, and don’t forget to visit our Group Fitness class schedule for the best class options near you:
Beat the Monday Blues with Shred Express; a 45min interval cycling experience for those wanting a serious no-nonsense sweat. Spin, push, pedal, climb, recover and repeat!
Hit all your bases with The Works; a power-packed circuit class using all kinds of cardio and resistance training in an interval style; no workout is ever the same and guaranteed to be boredom-proof in every session.
Slow down your midweek madness with Flying Fitness; a mind/body and strength hybrid class using anti-gravity hammocks for suspended fitness training and a workout experience like no other. Unique inversions allow for fully lengthening the spine and decompressing your vertebrae. While Flying Fitness is not available at every SNFC location, any Yoga/Stretch class format will improve flexibility and balance out your high intensity workouts.
Pump up those muscles with Buff Body; a muscle conditioning class that targets key body parts for ultimate strength and confidence. This class is all about sculpting & toning to buff your way to your best body ever!
Gear up for the weekend with TABATA. Touted as "the world's greatest fat burning workout", it is a simple yet effective interval training technique designed to boost the body's calorie burning mechanisms.
The Power of Nutrition
While a lunch-hour workout is great, please don't forsake food in order to fit one in. Your body needs to be ready for energy output as well as re-fuelled properly post-workout. Opt for a light easily digestible snack 30-60min prior to your workout (e.g. banana with Greek yogurt) so you feel energized and won’t have hunger pangs distracting you during your workout. Then aim to eat a well-balanced meal within 30-60min post workout. Consuming a meal with a balance of carbs and protein after exercise is essential. It will stimulate muscle protein synthesis, improve recovery and enhance performance for your next workout. Last but not least, replenishing lost water and electrolytes can complete the picture and help you maximize the benefits of your workout. If you want to know more about the importance of nutrition, our experienced Personal Trainers are more than happy to help you get started. Book a free nutrition consult today!
The benefits of a lunchtime workout habit are endless: enhanced consistency, increased energy, better time efficiency and improved results will keep you going strong for the long term.