I don’t mean to imply by that title that I have come anywhere close to “mastering” this art. And it is an art. I’ve always squeezed in workouts on my way home from work, but for a variety of reasons lately that has been a challenge. But I’ve always been in the camp that if you prioritize your health and your body, you’ll find a way rather than make excuses. So I’m trying to find a way. With varying degrees of success on any given week.
I’m lucky to have a gym with showers right in my building, and to work in a rather picturesque part of DC. So in theory, a lunch hour jog should be perfectly feasible! But we all know how easy it is to remain at our desks and get lured into more and more work.
But I read again recently how dangerous sitting is for long periods of time. And when I do manage to get a run in, I am so much more productive the rest of the afternoon. So it really is worth it to take the time for yourself — as hard as it can be to take those steps out the door, I’ve never regretted a workout.
So I try. And here is what I’ve learned along the way:
Pack ahead. Because let’s be honest: there is no way in hell I am going to spend my precious few minutes as I’m rushing out the door in the morning to gather my gym clothes. And if I did, I’d surely forget a crucial element. You certainly do not want to return from your run, all sweaty and gross, and realize you forgot your shower flip flops. Ugh.
Pack your bag the night before and leave it by the door.
Arrive prepared. Heading to the gym locker room when you’ve got a single hour for your workout is like the transitions in a triathlon: you try and shave off as many seconds as you can. Outfit permitting, I will put my socks/sports bra/etc on in the morning and carry my normal workday ones to change into in my gym bag. I mean, it can take a long time to have to change your socks twice!
It’s also honestly a little weird to be changing in a locker room when at any moment you could run into one of your colleagues. So I try to minimize my time there…
Have a plan. I know how far I can run down the mall before I have to turn around. I’ve timed it perfectly so that at the end of my 5 minute cool-down, I am walking through the door of the gym.
Transition #2. One of my longtime hesitations about working out before or during work was: how do I do my hair and makeup? Do I really have to lug the entire contents of my bathroom drawers with me to work? The thought of blowdrying my hair in the gym locker room was kind of a deal breaker for me.
So guess what? I don’t. I jump in the shower, rinse off quickly, but avoid my hair. And it’s fine. Nothing that a little dry shampoo can’t handle. If you have long hair, you can pull it back too and no one will know the difference.
Sweat, unlike makeup, is water soluble so all it takes is a quick rinse in the shower with water to clean up — just make sure you have removed your makeup beforehand. I don’t wear much makeup on days I head to the gym — just foundation and eyeliner, really, and quickly wipe it off as soon I get there. When I finish my workout, all it takes is just another quick re-dusting of foundation and I’m good to go.
Now, if someone has any advice for how to still make it to the gym when your boss unexpectedly drops a pile of work on your desk just as you were heading out and the rest of your afternoon is filled with meetings? I’m all ears…