Unless you’re one of the lucky few, you’ll probably be able to describe your normal working week in one word: Busy. Professional lives are now packed with constant meetings, ever demanding deadlines and longer hours chained to your workstation. Added to this are family commitments and the (important) need to socialise.
There’s one other thing that we should all be doing, but when our lives are as jam packed as described above, it is the thing that nearly everyone always sacrifices. That thing? Exercise.
You’ll have the best intentions to squeeze a workout into your day, but often things pop up that you deem should take priority over any planned training. So it’s all too easy for days to whizz by without having done any exercise. If this sounds familiar, you really do need to do something about it. And we’re here to help, with some suggestions.
1. During your commute
Firstly, cycling (or running) to and from work is a great way to add some exercise into your day. Granted, some factors can inhibit this – the weather, no showers at work, too long a distance, and dangerous city roads. Fair one, it’s not for everyone, and we respect that. But if you can, you definitely should.
2. Before work
If using your commute as your exercise isn’t possible, then you need to start even earlier.
We’re big advocates of a morning workout, for a number of reasons:
- They free up the rest of your day, meaning those last minute impromptu get-togethers are even easier to accept.
- Fewer distractions. The only thing really stopping you is your ability to pull yourself out of your bed. Yeah the early starts will be difficult to begin with, but only because you’re body isn’t used to them. Get a few of them under your belt and your body clock will soon adapt. Investing in some good coffee will help too.
- You’ll feel more focused, alert and in a better mood when you begin your working day. Endorphins and a sense of achievement are big stress busters, and highly motivating.
- Morning workout boosts that metabolism of yours, so you’ll burn more calories for the rest of the day.
- ‘Yeah go on then, I’ll have a mid-morning cake, I’m going to the gym at lunch anyway, so I’m allowed’. Gym at lunch, unsurprisingly, doesn’t happen. However, going to the gym first thing in the morning means you’ll carry your healthy mind-set to work and it’ll stay with you throughout – ‘Thanks for the cake offer, but I’ve already got a (healthy) mid-morning snack, cheers’.
- There is a strong chance you’ll improve your quality of sleep. Obviously rising earlier will likely mean you’ll feel the need to bed down earlier. In contrast to when undertaking evening workouts; as exercise stimulates your body you’ll find it much harder to unwind and drift off to sleep.
The last point above should show you that we’re not huge advocates of evening exercise. Evenings should be spent relaxing with family and friends. But for some of you we know that it could be the only time of day that works. So again it’s your call, we’re just here to help guide.
That pretty much leaves just one other part of your working day where you have room for some exercise...
For the majority of you, this will probably be your best option. You’re not a morning person, and (wisely) you acknowledge evenings are best spent relaxing, socialising or with family.
Also you know that an afternoon session:
- Helps break your day up – lets you escape from your work.
- Endorphins help do away with your afternoon slump, meaning you’ll notice an improvement in your afternoon performance when back at work.
- Research shows that mid afternoon is the body’s optimum time for exercise.
Lunchtime training sounds good, but it shouldn’t be approached lightly. You need to plan for it. As with pretty much everything in life, time is the big issue here...
If an hour is all you have available to you, then an hour is what needs to be worked with. But do try to increase it. If it means coming into work earlier and leaving slightly later, then so be it. Have a word with the boss explaining the new regime you are on, and hopefully you can stretch that workout to an hour and 20/30 minutes - Giving you time for a decent warm up and cool down, a quality session, and then time for some proper nutrition.
Remember, long rides are what weekends are for, whereas lunchtime training is all about quality over quantity. Serious attention needs to be given to planning and organisation, both on training and nutrition.
We are going to create a series focussed on lunchtime cycling training, which will involve best practice, and a number of lunchtime workouts focusing on specific training themes. Nutrition will be a big factor we incorporate into our lunchtime training guides too, as effective lunchtime training will more than likely involve a change in your eating habits.
Keep your eyes peeled for our first post in the ‘Lunchtime Cycling Training’ series, and sign up to our newsletter to be sure not to miss anything.