On an average busy day it’s challenging enough to kick all your work goals, let alone build exercise time into a packed diary. Without the luxury of time, it’s all too easy to let your fitness fall away.
It’s a challenge best met with the same strategic thinking you’d apply to your job, says business coach Nikki Fogden-Moore, who works with high achievers to maximise their personal wellbeing and professional success.
“There’s a lot to be said for smart, effective fitness, and working out without even realising it,” she says. “Especially when you only have an hour and can’t return to the office sweaty and out of breath, rushing into your next meeting.”
She recommends some basic strategies for re-energising at work. “Turn your meetings upside down and take your colleague-connect sessions into a walk and talk,” she says. “Either stroll the corridors, or grab some fresh air to discuss key topics, then come back and write up the key points.”
Fogden-Moore urges ditching the lift for the stairs whenever possible as well as engaging your core while sitting, walking or standing, to inject micro-exercise into your day. “And use a stand-up work desk if possible, if you really do need to be glued to your computer.”
Nothing beats escaping the office entirely – and fortunately there are increasing options for time-poor, exercise-hungry workers. Gyms, clubs and trainers in major Australian cities are jumping aboard the lunch hour express train with daytime classes that pack maximum energy into concise windows of 30 or 45 minutes.
The Victorian capital is a proudly cycle-friendly city, so take advantage and hop aboard one of the city’s blue hire bikes for a lunchtime spin. There are docking stations across the city, and all you need is your credit card as many of the bikes come with courtesy helmets. Trips of up to 30 minutes are free, with only your access fee – which can be as little as $3 – to pay.
At Bourke Street’s Virgin Active, there are multiple ways to maximise a lean lunch hour; 30-minute lunchtime classes include the high-intensity Grid Strong and stress-busting Power Plate Recovery as well as Kettlebell and Cycle. You can clamber up the climbing wall, or even recharge with a 20-minute power nap in a zero gravity sleep pod (don’t forget, sleep’s good for your health too). On Tuesdays at 12.30pm a free 30-minute meditation session from Buddhist teacher Gen Kelsang Dornying in Federation Square’s Atrium brings city workers some quick and easy inner peace.
A packed timetable of 30-minute high intensity classes at Sydney’s eight Crunch Fitness gyms includes Power Half Hour, Tabata, Absolution and Adrenalin. The fierce names don’t lie – these 30-minute daytime sessions pack maximum energy into a tight timeframe, delivering fast and furious cardio, resistance and speed workouts to keep your blood pumping all afternoon. There’s also 30-minute Express Yoga for a quick hit of bend, stretch and chill.
Meanwhile, at Westfield Sydney’s Yogabar, you can follow up a 45-minute lunchtime yoga, barre or pilates class with a healthy lunch from the in-house cafe – think Raw ‘Slaw tuna salad, a Superstar Workout smoothie and raw caramel slice. Healthy Habit Fitness runs twice-weekly group training sessions at midday at Sydney Park (Mondays and Friday) and Observatory Hill (Tuesdays and Thursdays). The quick, intense 40-minute workout is designed to increase energy levels, fire up metabolism and boost fitness. Currently there’s a winter offer of five weeks for $50. And for peak mental fitness, check out Centred Meditation, a CBD oasis where you can book an armchair for easy, stress-busting and productivity-boosting 30-minute lunch hour guided meditation sessions.
Surge Fitness has daily 45-minute lunch hour classes including Bodypump, Vinyasa Yoga, Pilates, Barre and Stages Cycle (on training bikes used by Tour de France champions, no less). The indulgent change rooms with giant lockers and towel service make for an easy swift trip, and if you’re heading straight out to a meeting, GHD hair dryers and straighteners plus an ironing board will help you arrive facetime-ready.
The Yoga Vine has Lunchtime Express yoga classes every weekday at 12.15 for 45 minutes, and throughout winter 2017, WA’s leading contemporary dance company, Co3, is holding lunchtime beginner ballet classes every Friday as part of the City of Perth Fitness Fridays. Taught by company artists and suitable for all abilities, the classes update their vacancies on Co3’s Facebook page.
Studio Pilates in Brisbane City has back-to-back 45-minute classes throughout the day, so whenever you happen to grab your lunch hour, you can still fit in a session at the tranquil, stylish space. At Stretch Yoga, where the mission is accessibility, fun and friendliness, there are at least two 45-minute classes during the 12-2pm lunch period daily on weekdays, including Meditation, Simple Stretch and Deep Stretch.