Pre/Post Work Exercise

Pre-work gym

I’m not really a morning person when it comes to exercise. I went through a brief phase at university of getting up really early (about eight am – an ungodly hour for a student) and heading to the college gym before breakfast. This invariably had the unfortunate effect of me nodding off in a lecture around eleven am…

However, some people thrive on morning exercise: researchers have even found that working out in the morning seems to have more positive effects. You also get that lovely “healthier-than-thou” feeling, walking into the office having already done your thirty minutes of cardio for the day when most of your colleagues are still bleary-eyed.

If you do plan on a dawn trip to the gym, lay out your kit the night before, and put it on as soon as you get up – now you HAVE to do some exercise! If you’re going straight from the gym to work, don’t forget to take your office clothes along with you…

Exercise Duration Calories
Jogging (moderate pace) 15 mins 160
Rowing machine (moderate) 15 mins 105
Rowing machine (vigorous) 15 mins 165

Post-work gym

By choice, I have little experience of gyms in the post-work rush. During my slacker student holidays, I used to head to the local gym before four o’clock and duck out as the stressed workers started surging through the doors at five. If you don’t mind the crowds (or even get a buzz from them), or if you’ve no other chance to work out, then it’s worth going straight from work. If you’re anything like me, you’ll find that the best intentions evaporate completely once you’re in the front door and ensconced on the sofa. But go to the gym first, and you’ll arrive home feeling virtuous, unwound and ready to relax.

Most exercise classes are scheduled in the evenings, and these are an excellent way to make yourself work that bit harder. I never want to look like a wimp in front of people (though, in my experience, everyone else is too busy concentrating on getting their own limbs to co-operate to care about what you’re doing.) Again, if you can get in a routine of going straight from work, you won’t have to force yourself out of the house.

Exercise Duration Calories
Aerobics class 45 mins 350
Body pump class 45 mins 215
Yoga class 45 mins 130


You undoubtedly already spend a chunk of time getting to and from your office every day: why not use this to keep fit? It’s almost always possible to squeeze in a bit of exercise, with some ingenuity.

If you’re tied to tubes or buses, can you get off a stop earlier and fit in a ten-fifteen minute walk? If you drive, how about parking a bit further from work and walking the last bit of the journey – or, if you only live a few miles away, why not try cycling?

I confess to being somewhat fanatical about cycling, though not so much so as a good college friend who used to see an entire day spent cycling as a special treat (I have some odd friends). For me, the bike is purely a convenient tool to get from A to B, and two wheels as quick as four during the rush-hour. If you’ve never cycled before, or not recently, practise on grass and get some lessons.

To make the journey more interesting, especially if you walk, buy an MP3 player and headphones – you can download various workout programmes, or just listen to your favourite music.

Exercise Duration Calories
Cycling (moderate) 30 mins 175
Walking (moderate) 30 mins 110
Walking (faster) 30 mins 145

(All calorie counts in this article are based on an 11 stone woman.)

(Image of yawning woman by bloomsberries)
(Image of bike wheel by medico Maceti)

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