Hi Hayley,

I recently started a new job where the office has a gym (cardio equipment, free weights, exercise balls, etc.) that is available for use. I have half an hour to spend working out at lunch and am looking for some suggestions about how to maximize my time. I tend to get a bit bored of just cardio equipment, and am looking for ways to mix up my workouts.



If you are efficient in the gym, and have your workouts planned and ready to go before you throw on your workout gear, you can be in and out, ass kicked and all, within 30 minutes. But just like everything, this takes planning.

One thing you can do, which I talk about a lot as it is my new obsession, is use the Nike Training Club (NTC) app. But make sure you choose your workout the day before, take the time to download the workout you plan on doing and look at each exercise in detail, even practicing it, to ensure you know exactly what you are in for as well as know how to do each exercise properly.

If you want to create something on your own, try doing a ladder workout where you work your way down, and then back up, a series of exercises. For example, pick one exercise that is your common theme throughout the workout and descend from 10 – 1. Here is how it could look, choosing burpees as your descending exercise:

100 high knees/10 burpees/90 butt kicks/9 burpees/80 jumping jacks/8 burpees/70 skaters/7 burpees/60 mountain climbers/6 burpees/50 scissor jumps/5 burpees/40 spider jumps/4 burpees/30 plank jacks/3 burpees/20 squat jumps/2 burpees/10 box jumps/1 burpee.

This is a great cardio workout that requires zero equipment and will leave you gasping for air. You can do a workout like this with any exercise as your theme, such as squats, or lunges, or pushups, or pull ups, or sit ups. Once you have decided on your theme, then pick 10 other exercises to throw in between. 

If 100 seems like too much, try starting at 50 and go down in increments of 5 (for example 50 squats/10 pushups/45 lunges/9 pushups, etc). You can begin by going one way and then eventually try to go both ways.

You can also create your own mini circuits, and each lunch hour focus on something different. Let’s say Mondays you do cardio and core. Your workout could look something like this:

5 minute treadmill walk where each minute you either increase the incline or your speed then do 5 minutes of core exercises. You could do a 1 minute front plank, 30 seconds of bicycle crunches, 30 second side plank each side, with 30 seconds of crunches in between each and then a 1 minute straight arm plank with another 30 seconds of bicycle crunches. You could repeat this 3 times or make 2 other similar circuits where you do 5 minutes of cardio and then 5 minutes of core. 

Tuesday you could do a full body strength workout, where you pick 10 exercises and do each one for one minute, three times through. Try squats, pushups, alternating forward lunges, dumbbell bent over rows in the plank position, alternating reverse lunges, pushups, alternating side lunges, overhead shoulder presses, step-ups, bicep curls, and tricep cable pulls. 

Wednesday could be a rest day or a light cardio and stretch day and then repeat Monday’s workout on Thursday and Tuesday’s workout on Friday.

If you are off on the weekends, try and get out and do something that you enjoy. Maybe a light cruise with some friends on your bike followed by a patio brunch, or hit a trail somewhere and catch up while going for a long walk or hike. I am a big believer in finding things in your life that you look forward to doing to keep you active. Trying new things is a must too! This weekend I am making some of my girlfriends rent kayaks with me, which they are looking forward to doing but are also terrified! Switching things up on the weekends and learning new activities is a great way to stay inspired and excited about being fit.