How to Workout While Traveling & Utilize Lunch Break Workouts When You Are Short On Time

How to Workout While Traveling & Utilize Lunch Break Workouts When You Are Short On Time

How to work out while traveling or on lunch break

I often work with clients who are short on time and think it is impossible to fit in lunch break workouts. In the past, I have worked out on my lunch break about 3 days a week. Recently, my manager decided she no longer wanted me to workout on lunch or leave campus. (the gym is literally across the street from the hospital and is associated with my company) But who am I to go against management #rebelstatus. I was destroyed when I was told this because working out on lunch brought so much goodness to my day. As an avid traveler, I love my travel workouts and love to workout while traveling so I can stay energetic on the road.

Benefits of a Lunch Break Workout or Workout While Traveling

Energy Booster

Researchers from the University of Georgia studied a group of sedentary young adults who reported feeling low energy and fatigue. They were assigned to do low- or moderate-intensity exercise three times per week for 6 weeks. They reported a 20% increase in energy levels and a 65% decrease in feelings of fatigue (Puetz, Flowers & O’Connor 2008).

Job Performance

Researchers from the University of Bristol and Leeds Metropolitan University, both in England, found otherwise. Volunteers completed surveys on exercise days and non exercise days. On exercise days, they reported improvements in mood and performance. (Coulson, McKenna & Field 2008).

Workplace Happiness

They found that job burnout and depression were highest among those who did not exercise. Conversely, subjects who achieved the highest levels of physical activity reported the lowest incidences of depression and burnout (Toker & Biron 2012). After 6.5 years at my current position, I can attest to this fact. The less active I am the more I feel burned out and overwhelmed!

Better Brain Power

Staring at a computer for hours on end is not the best way to achieve a critical mental breakthrough­­—the longer you stare, the further away the solution seems to get. Research finds that physical activity is a viable alternative for shaking loose those stubborn ideas.

In a recent study, researchers wanted to learn about the immediate benefits of exercise on cognitive ability (Hogan, Mata & Carstensen 2013). They recruited 144 people aged 19–93 who either did 15 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or joined the non exercise control group (which spent 15 minutes rating neutral images). Overall, everyone in the exercise group experienced significantly more improvements in mental ability than the control group did, the authors stated.

Better Sleep Quality

“Many people have a hard time sleeping in hotels or new spaces, especially after the stress of traveling. Including a training session will help you fall asleep quicker and stay asleep longer.” You will be prepared for the adventurous day ahead.

Overcome Jet Lag & Illness on the Road

“Improving overall well-being and sleeping on your trip will do wonders for adjusting your body clock and exercise even helps with handling the physical symptoms of pressure changes during flight.”

I chart at my desk for 6 of the 8 hours I am at work and working out on my lunch break was a way to get my heart rate up. It’s very depressing working in a hospital but this change of scenery was a mood booster. I also have a really long commute (3 hours round trip) and this mid day break allowed me to still maintain my fitness during my hectic week. If you wanna know how to make a travel commute better, you need to check out my last post! Lastly, my mental clarity was #onfleek when I would leave the gym, meaning no 3pm fatigue or sleepy commute home-it was like an espresso shot!

Ways to Incorporate Exercise into your Day

Travel workouts and lunch break workouts are similar because we are usually short on time. Exercise is crucial in staying healthy. Here are some tips for better lunch break workouts and ways to workout while traveling, for those of you short on time!

First, choose to drive to the gym to save precious workout time, if you have a semi off campus gym. If you are lucky, you can walk or bike to your work gym or outdoor space. Next, change as soon as you arrive and keep your items in a locker or gym bag. Skip the chit chat in the locker room and get to it. I find it works best if your gym has a fitness class that runs 30-45 minutes long. I love circuit training routines because they provide you with weight lifting and cardio in one session which optimizes your workout in a short time frame! I go into more details about those gems in my “staying fit on the road post“!

Your gym or facility doesn’t have exercise classes? No worries! Another option I’ve had success with is workout videos. If you have WIFI or a data plan on a smartphone device, you have a workout waiting for you! I often do Pilates, yoga, HIIT (high intensity interval training) or kickboxing videos from an app. I love Youtube and Sworkout for workout ideas. You are able to customize your workout based on time limits and whether you have access to weights or not. Bodyweight exercises can be as effective as using dumbbells when done correctly! Here are more health apps I like to use to keep me healthy!

Alternatively, you can hop on a treadmill and do some interval training. Interval work will Increase your calorie burn and improve your metabolism by starting with 5 minutes of running or jogging then switching to a 5 minute power walk interval. Continue to switch back and forth like this for 30 minutes. Jogging gets your heart rate up but the walking pushes you back into that fat burn zone so you get the best of both worlds.

Afterwards, pat yourself on the back for getting fit on your lunch break. Grab a shower or bring body wipes to freshen up. Switch back into your work attire and dominate the rest of your day on your energy high!

Now, I walk around the perimeter of the hospital on my lunch break and try to do squats, calf raises, and butt kicks at my office desk. I sit on a medicine ball to chart which helps with my posture. I also opt for the stairs. It’s not as much activity as I would like to have in a day but doing something…albeit small… is better than nothing at all!

Remember to consult a doctor before starting a new workout or exercise routine and if you have pre-existing medical conditions.

Be Well and Travel Often!

Maegan White is a coach with Teacup Wellness. Maegan holds a Master of Arts degree in nutrition. She has worked as a clinical dietitian in a hospital and is president of her local dietetic chapter. Her areas of focus are weight loss and disease management through nutrition and meal planning.

Photo used with permission from

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