Three days a week I haul a Trader Joe’s bag filled with exercise gear to work, and use my lunch hour to get sweaty. I could get up early and exercise before work, but there’s that little thing called “sleep” that is better than almost everything else in life. I could exercise in the evening but any resolve I have disappears in a pffft of smoke once the dishes are done. It’s a fact: after the sun sets there are 7 million reasons to skip sweat and slam on a new Netflix show instead.
So, lunch time it is. I’m not a mega expert, seeing that I’ve only been doing this for a year, but I do know that you require the following accoutrements to make your mid-day work out a glowing success.
There is no logical reason why I come back to the office smelling like a Texas smoke house after a workout, but I do. If you think you can just change back into your work clothes, slide your earrings in and attend to important emails without a thorough wipe down first, think again, Bacon Vagina. The travel size sanitary wipes are your best friend – buy them in bulk and use in this order: under boob, back, armpits, then, finally, the vagina – the haunted entrance to the smells that we don’t like to talk about. The ones I use have a vaguely pharmaceutical scent to them that lingers but, hey – better that than Uncle Jack’s Fiery Barbecue Clitoris Juice.
When running or power walking (running’s shut-in spinster sister), distraction is key. Dogs barking and trucks narrowly avoiding you as you CLEARLY WERE WALKING HEEYAH are not enough. When I’m out power walking (look, I hurt my butt, okay, and I can’t run, so I walk, really fast, with my arms swinging so hard I alter the fabric of time), I need to listen to something. I love a mix of audio books, podcasts and Songza. All are excellent ways to pass the time and mask the sound of NOT being whistled at. (When I used to run I was good for at least two catcalls from a mechanic’s parking lot. When the walking started there was a perceptible change in the wind as every one of their boners deflated).
So, when I ran my way through a wet winter last year in a hoodie, the fluid wrung out of my clothing afterwards could have satisfied a small African village. Dumb. I live on the Wet Coast. If you plan on sustaining this lunch time routine once the inevitable grey season rolls in, having comfortable and practical gear ensures you don’t have any excuses. A light, breathable and water proof jacket is a good start, with inside pockets for your keys and phone/iPod. You’ll need sneakers that are light but mostly leather to keep trench foot at bay. Finish the look with running pants/tights that don’t turn into wet newspaper as your thighs make contact over and over for an hour. Bonus points for a hat with a brim if you can pull that off. I look like my Dad in drag as an angry tennis coach.
Snacks on Snacks
Don’t go out all Gladiator-style on an empty stomach. I split my lunch into two portions and have some 30 minutes before I work out and the rest 30 minutes after I return to the office. It’s a lot of water, vegetables, good protein and carbohydrates, and a whole bag of burnt popcorn. (KIDDING. But every office has that asshole that burns microwaved popcorn, right? Even though the machine itself has a fool-proof dedicated popcorn BUTTON. Assholes.)
The first week you work out at lunch will be weird. It’s tiring. You will not want to do it. You will forget your face blotting wipes, catch your reflection and scare yourself. You will have to explain to others that you’ve been in the bathroom for so long because you’re changing your outfit and wiping your pits and NOT in fact pooping while finishing that Gawker article on your phone.
It’s all worth it, I promise. Exercising when it’s inconvenient and difficult burns *TWICE as many calories (*Lies I tell myself). Exercising in the midst of the most food porn-y of seasons is *TWICE as admirable (*Absolutely true).
So, strap on your sneakers, and let’s get this smoke show on the road.