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The Lunch Break Workout - 30 Minutes a Day for a Healthy Life

Updated on August 29, 2016
A quick jog around the block is also a great way to burn some time during your lunch break.
A quick jog around the block is also a great way to burn some time during your lunch break. | Source

Like many of you, I work in a typical office setting. On a normal day most of my time is spent sitting in front of a computer screen typing out reports, manipulating GIS maps, and responding to e-mail messages. I also usually clock a few thousand steps on my pedometer each day as well. While walking is a great exercise, I don’t do enough of it each day to see the health benefits that I need to maintain my body. This is why I have created a thirty-minute lunch break workout that I wanted to share with all of you. No equipment is necessary to complete the workout and all of the exercises can be performed right in your office. If you work in a cubicle you may be a little cramped and may want to go to any empty break room or conference to complete the workout.

Since many people only get a thirty minute break for lunch (and they are usually hungry too) the plan is to use 25 minutes to perform a complete workout followed by 5 minutes for eating. This does require some planning as your lunch will need to basically be ready to eat as you won’t have much time to cook or prepare a meal during this short break.

The Warm Up (5 Minutes)

Like any workout, your lunch break workout will begin with a nice 5 minute warm up. This will help to get your blood circulating and to prepare your muscles for the upcoming workout. Your warm up should consist of roughly 4-6 low to moderate intensity cardio-vascular exercises completed in a circuit. Here is a list of several great warm up exercises that you could choose from to begin your work out.

Example Warm Up

As an example, a typical warm up could be:

  1. Jumping Jacks (45 Seconds)
  2. Jogging in Place (45 Seconds)
  3. Half Squats (30 Seconds)
  4. Knee Highs (30 Seconds)
  5. Repeat Above List Once

  • Jumping Jacks
  • Knee Highs
  • Side Step Lunges
  • Kneeling Hip Flexors
  • Jogging in Place
  • Long Jumps
  • Butt Kickers
  • Half Squats
  • Laying Hip Raises
  • Windmills
  • Rotation Jumps
  • Arm and Shoulder Rotations
  • Power Skips


The Workout (17 Minutes)

Seventeen minutes is not really a lot of time, however, given the right exercises this could be more than enough time to get you sweating and burning some significant calories. Your workout should consist of several moderate to high intensity movements designed to elevate your heart rate followed by a limited or very short period of rest. To get the most effective workout, the exercises should be performed in circuit. Below I have provide 2 example workouts that you can perform:

Workout #2: Plyometric Circuit

  1. Jumping Jacks (60 Seconds)
  2. Jump Squats (60 Seconds)
  3. Lateral Shuffle (60 Seconds)
  4. Jump Rope (60 Seconds)
  5. Running in Place (60 Seconds)
  6. Jump Squats (60 Seconds)
  7. Knee Highs (60 Seconds)
  8. Jump Twists (60 Seconds)
  9. Rest (30 Seconds)
  10. Repeat Circuit Once

Workout #1: Core-Cardio Circuit

  1. Jumping Jacks (60 Seconds)
  2. Squats (60 Seconds)
  3. Pushups (60 Seconds)
  4. Chair Dips (60 Seconds)
  5. Plank (60 Seconds)
  6. Jump Squats (60 Seconds)
  7. Burpees (60 Seconds)
  8. Plank (60 Seconds)
  9. Rest (30 Seconds)
  10. Repeat Circuit Once

I am willing to bet that either of these workouts with push your body to its limit and cause you to burn some serious calories.

Cool Down (3 Minutes)

It's always a good idea to cool down your muscles after a good workout, especially an intense one. Cool down exercises should consist most of stretches and other exercises designed to relax and cool down your muscles. These stretches should not be skipped as they will help keep you limber, reduce soreness and tightness, and help prevent future injuries. All stretches should be held statically (without moving) for 15-30 seconds each. It's also important that any stretches you do actually targets the muscles that you worked the hardest. An example cool down is shown below.

  • Quadriceps Stretch (15 Seconds Each Leg)
  • Hamstrings Stretch (15 Seconds Each Leg)
  • Glutes Stretch (15 Seconds)
  • Back Arches (15 Seconds)
  • Chest Stretch (15 Seconds)
  • Toe-Touchers (15 Seconds)
  • Shoulder/Triceps Stretch (15 Seconds Each Arm)
  • Body Twist/ Core Stretch (15 Seconds Each Direction


Lunch (5 Minutes)

Now that you have spent 25 minutes working out your body, it's time to spend the next 5 minutes flexing your jaw and stomach muscles. It's important to choose meals that require very little preparation during your lunch break - you won't have much time to mess with a microwave or toaster oven. It's also important to choose meals that are full of fresh ingredients and high in protein. This will help ensure that your body can recover properly and get the most out of your workout as possible. Below are a few examples of some healthy post work out lunch meals that you should be able to eat in 5 minutes.


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