Make the Most of Your Lunch Break

Six easy ways to squeeze in a workout, no matter how busy your day

Sep 1, 2015
Outside Magazine

Signing up for fitness classes and recruiting a group to join you can be great motivating factors.    Photo: kupicoo/iStock

Whether you’re an avid trail runner, road cyclist, or obstacle course race junkie, you’ve probably fallen victim to the problem of letting a crazy week derail you from your training plan. But we’re here to let you in on a little secret for those days when you miss your morning run or know you’re going to be at the office until late: the lunch break workout. 

“This little vacation during your work day has also shown to have an increase in job satisfaction,” says Patrick Frost, Master Instructor at Barry’s Bootcamp. “Not only are you getting in a good workout, but you come back a bit saner and ready to take on the rest of the day.” Here are some tips for maximizing that small window of time, not matter how crazy your day. 

Stairs/Squats in Stairwell

Sometimes getting 60 minutes away from the office is pushing it, no matter how organized you are with your time. On those days, go to your office stairwell and jog up the stairs and do 10 air squats at every floor. If you don’t want to break too much of a sweat, even walking up the stairs and doing slow tempo squats will burn calories, sculpt muscles, and get your metabolism going. No stairwell in your building? Find a place nearby (a parking garage, hotel, or somewhere outside) to get the same quick burn. 

Rock Climbing

Not all of us have offices at the base of a mountain, but if you want to use your lunch break to get a great workout that is also mentally stimulating, consider finding a local rock climbing gym. V-sum bouldering or laps on the autobelay are both great ways to pump out efficiently. is a great source to find a facility close to your office.


If you’re like many who prefer to have someone push you through your workout with a little HIIT (high intensity interval training), you might want to consider finding a bootcamp-type class near your office. Group classes like these can be super beneficial. Look into a ClassPass membership, which offers a massive network of fitness studios for one monthly price. 


The workout that requires the least amount of planning. Lace up and start running immediately from the office—no wasted time allotted for travel to and from a gym or studio. Try organizing a running group with your coworkers for extra motivation.


Dropping in at a local CrossFit box is another great midday option. Most classes are 60 minutes or less, and you’ll get weightlifting in addition to a cardio burn at the end. Plus, most now have showers. With over 10,000 CrossFit affiliates worldwide, and about 7,000 of those in the U.S., you’ll have no problem finding a box close to your place of business. Check out for an interactive map of verified options near you.

Drop to a Plank

Absolutely no time in your day? Consider taking your next conference call while planking. Even better? Do 10 sit-ups and 10 push-ups every hour on the hour throughout your day. You may get some interesting looks from coworkers, but it’ll all be worth it in the end. Just be sure to put your call on mute if you start breathing too heavily.

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