At the same time, I struggling to find a time to go to the gym. It was too hard waking up early enough to go before work. I was too tired at the end of the day to go after work.
The answer quickly became going on my lunch break. With some planning, I've managed to make it work... and not make my co-workers run from my smell!
Before the gym
- Plan your work clothes wisely
Yes, your work clothes, not your workout clothes (though plan those wisely too!). The faster you can get in and out of the locker room the better. Dresses are great because they are an outfit in one piece, but tights tend to get stuck on post-shower legs. I find wide legged trousers, a shell and a cardigan work best. It's easy to put on, and easy to still be appropriate when you are just too warm to be fully layered up. If you want accessories, stick with quick to remove items, or items that can remain on while you work out (without endangering your life)
- Bring snacks
It's hard enough to get motivated to go to the gym, so if you're hungry and it's lunch time, it will be that much harder! I bring a snack to eat during my morning coffee break to help tide me over until my work out is done. If I was smart, I'd also bring one for the middle of the afternoon - my workouts really kick my metabolism up a gear, and making it to supper gets difficult!
- Make sure you have everything you need
I share a locker, so I have minimal space to store stuff. I keep my shoes, knee braces, and (during the week) my gym clothes in there. I carry a fresh towel, shower flip-flops, shower gel and basic hair & makeup care in my bag. And of course deoderant. If I forget a single thing, I don't go to the gym at lunch. Maybe after work, but the job comes first.
- Keep your stuff organized.
It's easier getting everything ready for your shower before you're sweating, running late and here are 10 other women in a contained area all trying to make it back to their desks before the clock strikes one. I keep my shower stuff on top of my gym bag so I can just grab and go.
- Be aware of the time
Make sure you know how long it takes to get from work-out mode to working mode. This awareness includes knowing how much longer it takes to take the skywalk back to the office when it's cold, rather than dashing across the street.
- Know how your body reacts to a work out.
I know I have to make time to stretch my hips after a good run, or I won't be able to walk after a few hours of sitting and seizing up. I know how much and where I tend to sweat. I know I need to ice my knees, (but never do. After all, who is perfect?). Make sure you have the time to stretch, shower and do anything else your body requires
It's an hour after you usually eat AND you've just put in a work out, your body needs to refuel! Eat slowly (wolfing down food after cardio is never easy on the body!), and make sure you hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! After those exercise-induced-endorphins wear off, it's easy to get sleepy, but a cold glass of water always helps!
- Accept you won't look perfect
Even if are taking a yoga class, your hair might have a bit of frizz, your makeup might be a little MIA. Your strategically layered outfit may be a little more pulled on than pulled together. It happens. I have rosascea, so the best of times, I'm a little red. Every morning, I mix up a concoction of 4 different products to tame the red, but there is no point in trying to mask it after a 4km run. Yes, I look like a tomato for at least an hour after the gym. It consider it my battle scar and wear it proudly.
Yes, the rush to the gym and back may have prevented you from pulling out your cellphone to send some text messages, and logging into your personal email account, but resist the temptation to "just take a couple minutes" when you get back. If your lunch break is over, it's over. Just like there is a code (especially important when your gym is at your place of work) that you don't talk work in the gym, don't bring any vestiges of the gym to work.