It's becoming more common for people to work through their lunch break, but this time is precious and you could use it to make a real difference to your health. Instead of staying at your desk, you could burn up to 300 calories doing a quick HIIT workout on your lunch break!
What is HIIT?
HIIT stands for High-Intensity Interval Training, a training method which involves short bursts of all-out effort exercises followed by short rest periods. The aim is to maximise your calorie burn during a short amount of time by cranking your heart rate up with tough exercises. During HIIT you should be aiming for your heart rate to be in Zone 4 or even Zone 5, breaking the anaerobic threshold.
How does HIIT work?
The reason HIIT works so effectively is that it causes what we call an ‘afterburn’ effect. When you do HIIT, the intensity of the exercise causes an increased need for oxygen so we end up with an oxygen shortage. This means your body has to find more oxygen in order to recover, known as EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption). This, in turn, boosts your metabolism and burns more calories.
How long do I need to do HIIT?
A HIIT workout doesn't need to last hours and hours because of the intensity so they're perfect if you're short on time. Typically, a HIIT workout will last around 20-45 minutes to give your body a chance to burn enough calories for it to be worthwhile.
Lunchtime HIIT workout routine
What’s great about HIIT is it can be done using just your bodyweight, which means all you need is a little bit of space. If your office is cramped why not take this circuit outside? It’s intense enough that it will soon warm you up if it’s cold!
Before commencing a HIIT workout, be sure to warm up for 3-5 minutes. This can involve anything from jumping on the spot to star jumps, anything that will raise your heart rate and warm your muscles up so they are limber and protected from injury.
Top Tip: A lot of HIIT bodyweight circuits contain lots of exercises which put strain on the wrists such as planks, pushups and mountain climbers. Be sure to prepare your joints by circling your wrists back and forth before you get stuck in.
For each of the following exercises try 40 seconds of work vs 20 seconds of rest and then repeat from the top:
- Mountain Climbers
- Push Ups
- Jumping Lunges
- High Knees
- Heel Flicks
- Frog Jumps
- Plank Up Downs
- Shadow Boxing Sit Ups
These badboy’s are often given a far less PG name for a reason, they’re tough. A great all over body exercise to elevate your heart rate and kick things off.Burpees
This move fires up your abdominals whilst keeping your heart rate high. Assume a standard pushup position and run each leg in towards your chest as though you were running off the ground as fast as you can.
Another great all over exercise, push ups can be intensified by lifting a leg, or eased up by coming down to your knees. The trick with push ups is to make sure that despite doing as many as you can at speed, you still make the full range of motion – it should look like your nose is near touching the floor.
Adding plyometrics to any move makes it far more of a challenge. Assume your lunge position sinking nice and low, then as you extend through the legs jumps as high as you can and switch legs, so you are alternating the leg you lunge off, land in a lunging position with the other leg now leading the way. These are sure to set your quads on fire, but keep pushing through and use your arms to help drive you up.
Jog on the spot bringing your knees up as high as you can in front of you, tilt your pelvis forward and lean back slightly to get more abdominal activation.
Now reverse! Jog on the spot flicking your heels up to your bottom as fast as you can to keep that heart rate up.
Start with your legs together and feet facing out, squat down allowing your knees to turn out and then explode up straightening the legs before returning to start. Ribbit.Ribbet.
Start in a slight squat, so your legs are loaded with power, then jump sideways to the left and land on your left leg, with your right leg lifted off the ground. Now jump leading with your right leg and land on the right leg, with your left leg away from the floor. Use your arms to propel you further, opposite arm to opposite leg.
Plank Up Downs
Start in a plank off your hands, keeping your bum down and shoulder blades squeezed together to ensure your spine stays in neutral alignment. Bring you right hand down to an elbow plank position and then follow it with the left, now bring the right arm back up to a hand plank and follow it with the left. Avoid looking up as it puts extra strain on the neck.
Shadow Boxing Sit Ups
Lie on you back with your knees bent ready for a sit up, but this time as you brace your abs and bring your upper body up, throw a jab and a cross, punching towards the opposite knee. This adds some extra oblique engagement and makes the exercise a little bit more of a challenge. Breathe out as you lift up and punch.
What are the benefits of HIIT?
As well as the obvious benefits of keeping you busy during your lunch break and generally more active, HIIT also boasts these benefits:
- Training anaerobically increases your VO2 max.
- HIIT is anabolic, meaning you lose weight from fat and not muscle.
- HIIT increases Human Growth Hormone by up to 450% during the first 24 hours after your workout, which repairs damaged tissue and helps build muscle and burn fat.
- Evidence suggests HIIT can actually help suppress your appetite. Research in The International Journal of Obesity found those who participated in HIIT style exercise consumed on average 200 calories less and had lower levels of ghrelin which is your hunger hormone.
So next time your lunch hour strikes, why not grab your colleagues and challenge them to this anytime, anyplace workout. Don’t forget to pack your deodorant!
Workout at work, How to workout at work, Lunchtime workout routine, HIIT workout routine, What are the benefits of HIIT, How long do I need to do HIIT?
Functional training is all about movements not muscles. Instead of focusing on a muscle in isolation, functional training looks at how the muscles work together to improve the way we “function” in everyday movement.
What is Functional Movement?
Author, speaker, and pro trainer Nick Tuminello explains what is meant by functional movement. “Many personal trainers define “functional training” as exercises using three-dimensional movements or standing on unstable surfaces. Many strength coaches feel that “functional training” has to do with just getting stronger in the basic lifts. Many physical therapists and corrective exercise-oriented trainers think that “functional training” is about regaining your muscle balance and fundamental movement ability before you begin doing either 3D exercises or the basic lifts.”
In truth, functional training is a combination of all these skills. Functional training is training to improve for a purpose. What this means is that functional training will differ slightly for every individual, however there are principles of movement which mimic the way the body is built to move, and these tend to apply to almost everyone.
Functional Movement Patterns
Exercise, at its very simplest, is just movement. These movements are primal; our bodies are designed to move. There are 7 basic movement patterns, which most exercises will fall into. Practising exercises which develop and master these movement patterns will build functional strength which can be transferred into all other aspects of your life, from sport to daily function. If you watch a child, they will naturally learn these moves as they develop their range of movement.
The squat is one of our most primal movements, we are designed to be able to move in this position, which is why you will see many toddlers playing in a squat.
To complete a squat, your head should remain facing forward to keep your spine in a neutral position and you should sink your weight back into your heels and lower towards the floor. There are many arguments as to how low you should go. Your range of motion will depend on your flexibility, but it can (and should) be worked on.
The lunge is a single leg exercise, where one leg takes the lead and the second leg bends as it remains stationary. Originally we’d use this movement for functions such as stepping over obstacles or as we threw a spear to catch our dinner. Now the move is popular for building leg strength as well as to improve sports performance.
When lunging, you should keep your front knee tracking over your foot, but not in front of it. Hold your head high and make sure your back stays straight (try sticking your chest out if your shoulders arch).
The push range of movement requires you to move something away from your body, or move your body away from a force, ie the ground. We have two primary pushing movements, the vertical and horizontal push. A vertical push lifts something above your head and a horizontal press pushes it forward.
The top tip for correcting your push up is to keep your back straight and not let your chest drop; you can do this by squeezing your shoulder blades together. If you can’t keep straight, drop to your knees to make the exercise easier.
Pushups - Indoors or outdoors. Take them anywhere.
Pulling is the opposite movement to a push, bringing an object towards you. Much like with the push up we have two pulling motions, horizontal and vertical.
An example of the pull motion is a pull up. If you can’t do a full pull up you can start with negatives and work your way up.
This is where our third plane of motion gets involved and the movements become more functional. Here we involve the transverse plane.
If you think about lunging down and reaching across your body, or throwing a ball, running, or even walking, most human movement has some element of a rotation involved.
You bend your torso by hinging at the hips. This is one of the most commonly used movements; think of how many times you may bend throughout the day, to open a drawer, pick up your bag, tie your shoes.
Taking the weight through your hips, glutes, and legs is the key to lifting weight in a bent over position. This is done by keeping your low back in a neutral, to slightly arched position, as you bend over to lift an object off the ground.
Arch your back and you're prone to all sorts of injuries, in particular a herniated disk. Ouch.
Walking, jogging, running and sprinting all require a combination of movement patterns which we define as gait. This covers all our movement patterns required to keep the body in motion.
In order for our bodies to move in these particular ranges of motion, our muscles have to work together to create movement. Where bodybuilding isolates muscle groups, functional training brings them together in what we call muscle slings.
Anterior Oblique System:
External and internal oblique with the opposing leg’s adductors and intervening anterior abdominal fascia.
Posterior Oblique System:
The lat and opposing gluteus maximus.
Deep Longitudinal System:
Erectors, the innervating fascia and biceps femoris.
Glute medius and minimus and the opposing adductors of the thigh.
The systems tell us which muscles work together, and help us to analyses how to notice gaps in the sling to develop improved movement.
Anterior Oblique System
The obliques help provide stability and mobility in gait. They are both important in providing that initial stability during the stance phase of gait (running etc.) and then contribute to pulling the leg through during the swing phase. This system is important in helping the body create more stability as speed increases in activities such as sprinting, but also as important as the body tries to decelerate during change of direction.
Posterior Oblique System
This is most commonly used during gait movements where the glute max of one hip works with the lat of the opposing side to create tension in the thoracolumbar fascia. The action of these muscles along with the fascial system is thought to fight the rotation of the pelvis that would occur during gait as well as store energy to create more efficient movement.
Deep Longitudinal System
This system uses both the thoracolumbar fascia and paraspinal system to create kinetic energy above the pelvis, while the biceps femoris acts as a relay between the pelvis and leg. What is also important to note is the relationship between the biceps femoris and anterior tibialis, which creates stability and helps build as well as release kinetic energy to help more efficient movement.
The lateral system provides lateral stability. The lateral system is often used to create stability in the pelvis during walking, stepping, etc.
Squats - a pulse-raising exercise you can do anywhere
Functional Training is training for life
If you haven’t tried functional movements or training slings, try adding moves which challenge these areas into your routine to improve your training.
If you work at a desk job, you probably spend more time at your desk than anywhere else in your life and that comes with its drawbacks. The problem being that we know there is a problem, but sitting is so deeply rooted into office culture, it’s difficult to change it. So how can you stay healthy at work?
Be smart with your breaks
Sundried believe that supporting staff health should be part of our healthy company ethos, which is why we created the concept of EHOH. EHOH stands for ‘every hour on the hour’ and is simply the way we break up our long periods of sitting by adding workouts or just stretching our legs whenever an hour passes. The addition of exercise into your working day doesn’t have to cost your staff focus or paid time either.
A standard office worker will spend their entire 8 hours of work sitting down. Add to this another potential 2 hours each day commuting by car or train and you're spending most of your waking hours sedentary. EHOH proposes we shake up this regime. Instead of having a one-hour lunch break, we suggest breaking the 60 minutes into 6 10-minute breaks at hourly intervals throughout the day. This can help to alleviate back ache and other issues associated with long periods of sitting at a desk.
Research supports working out at work
Research published in the Journal of Workplace Health Management by the University of Bristol found that employees who enjoyed a workout before going to work or exercised during lunch breaks - were better equipped to handle whatever the day threw at them.
It also found that people's general mood improved on days of exercise but they became more anxious on days without exercise.
The research, published in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management, is the first of it's kind to prove that exercise during work hours has mental, as well as physical benefits. Of those involved with the research, seventy two per cent reported improvements in time management on exercise days compared to non-exercise days, seventy nine per cent said mental and interpersonal performance was better on days they exercised and seventy four per cent said they managed their workload better.
A study by the Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine found that incorporating just 2.5 hours of exercise per week into the workday led to a noticeable reduction in absences.
So a happier more time efficient, focused workforce who get more work done can be achieved just by encouraging exercise at work.
But what about all the cakes and office snacking…
Working out at work can make you hungrier yes, but typically eating at the desk is brought on by boredom and not physical hunger. Therefore having the mental stimulation each hour of a short workout can help to encourage you to eat less and stay more focused.
Working out at work shouldn’t be a matter of frantically doing dips off your desk every time the boss leaves the room, exercise should be a priority for employers. Fit and healthy staff also means less sick days.
Workout at work to be all day active
Research has shown that even those who exercise after work are at risk of severe health issues if they continue to sit for the rest of the day.
Dr. David Alter, a heart expert from the University of Toronto and senior scientist at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute found that sitting too much—even among people who exercise regularly—led to higher rates of hospitalisation, heart disease and cancer and even premature death.
The researchers looked at 47 studies that asked people how much time they spent sitting and exercising, as well as rates of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and death from any cause. The more hours people in the studies spent sedentary—like watching TV or sitting behind a desk—the higher their risk of all of these negative outcomes. Heavy sitters showed a 90% higher risk of developing diabetes than those who sat less, an 18% higher chance of dying of heart disease or cancer, and 24% greater odds of dying from any cause. These rates were the average among people who both exercised regularly and those who did not.
The Sundried collection has been developed to encourage all day activity, where exercise is intrinsic. From working in the office to cycling to meetings our activewear is smart and functional.
It doesn’t have to stop at EHOH either, a pilot study on walking meetings conducted at the University of Miami discovered that office workers who swapped one seated meeting a week for a walking meeting added an extra 10 minutes of physical activity easily into their regular routine.
The research saw 17 employee’s from the university conduct one of their 30-60 minute meetings whilst walking. They were encouraged to bring water, sunblock and other necessities.
On average their moderate - intense physical activity increases as a result, from 107 weekly minutes to 117 weekly minutes by the third week following the new protocol.
The researchers also noted that whilst the walking meetings were not large calorie burners, what they did do was significantly improve the employees moods by breaking up sedentary spells.
"The data collected from this pilot study suggest that walking meetings were not only well accepted by our sample of workers but were easy to implement and feasible to conduct," Alberto Caban-Martinez and his team wrote in Preventing Chronic Disease, published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
We need to create a shift in office norms, instead of bringing in a cake on your birthday, why not have the birthday burpees ? Earn that cake! All it takes is one office worker to start EHOH and eventually the other’s will follow (even if they don’t want to, eventually the guilt will get to them)!
A shift in office culture has to start somewhere, so join us and get your office moving with EHOH and workout at work.
Whether you need to stay home to look after your children or just don't want to spend money on an expensive gym membership, there are plenty of options for you to workout at home.
Benefits of Exercising at Home
Money is one of the biggest factors when it comes to choosing a gym membership and prices can be anywhere from £20- £100 a month, that's £1,200 a year. Save your money and train at home, if you need more kit, the chances are it’s still going to work out cheaper.
Time is another major factor when it comes to training. Whilst having no time to go to the gym may seem like a valid excuse, everyone has time to go home. Training at home means you can fit exercise into your regime as and when the opportunity arrives, even if it's broken into multiple smaller workouts.
No waiting for kit
Queuing for kit at the gym can be frustrating and a busy gym can leave your heart rate dropping whilst you feel frustrated and unmotivated waiting for the machine you need next. Training at home guarantees no-one can slip in front of you onto your kit and your heart rate stays elevated throughout your training, as you switch from one move to the next seamlessly.
No watchful eyes
Sometimes going to the gym can get you more motivated, as you don’t want to be seen putting in a poor performance. Other times people can just be frankly, annoying. Whether it’s awkward moments where you catch someone's eye doing hip thrusters, or someone who just seems to be more interested in staring at you than in their own workout. Avoid all the annoying people and workout at home.
Fueling your motor a) isn't cheap and b) isn’t great for the environment, so kill two birds with one stone and train at home instead. You can spend the extra time you saved driving throwing in a few extra sets to your workout instead.
If your gym doesn’t have a creche it can be hard to find someone to watch your children while you go workout. Working at home means you can workout and still play parent, granted you may have to stop every now and then, but it’s worth it. Your children seeing you staying active also encourages them to join in and move more, with obesity being such a huge risk in the UK it's great to encourage your kids and set the right example.
It's You vs You
We hear this all the time in gym motivational talks, but when it boils down to training at home, it really is you vs you. There’s no-one but you to answer to, so it’s time to really go for it. No one will see how sweaty you get so you can push that extra bit harder, knowing your showers only around the corner.
Training at home is more hygienic, providing your not a real mucky pup. Despite gyms being cleaned, the gym environment breeds germs. The perfect environment for bacteria to spread is the warm moist environment of the gym. The list of bacteria most gyms carry is longer than my arm, so we’re not going to go into it with too much detail. Just the sheer volume of people handling the same kit you are can lead to spreading bacteria. Even if your house is messy, at least it’s your mess.
Downsides to working out at home
Lack of Equipment
Its nice to have the variety of different equipment and when you first start you may not have much kit. Technically, most of it isn’t really needed, but it’s nice to shake things up every now and again. After training at home for a while, most people will find their collection grows and what started as a set of resistance bands soon becomes a set of resistance bands, a dumbbell tree, a chin up bar, a punchbag, a TRX ….
No One to motivate you
Some days even the best athletes lack motivation, it happens. Getting yourself to the gym can often be the hardest part, but once you're there you’ve got to do something with yourself or you’ll look lazy and the PT’s will soon be over to give you an extra earful of motivation. When your at home, there’s no-one but you and maybe the voice on a DVD to motivate you so it can be hard to get in the right mindset.
No spotter or trainer
Without a trainer or a spotter you are more susceptible to injury, from either executing the move wrong or lifting heavier than you can handle on your own. Having people around you can be really beneficial from a safety perspective, especially if you're lifting.
Lacks social aspect
We’re social creatures and training at home lacks the social aspect of going to the gym. If when you go to the gym you spend more time exercising your mouth than other muscles however, this could be a good thing!
Tips for working out at home
Working out at time is one of the biggest culprits for getting distracted during your workout. Zone in. From telephone calls to the front door to pets or children, home workouts are at risk of interruption. Your best bet is to remove all the distractions before you work out. Switch your phone to do not disturb, put your pets in another room and remove your children. Kidding. Just warn them what mummy/daddy is getting up to so that they know you’re busy, give them something which will keep them occupied for long enough for you to work out or let them join in.
Create adequate space
When you're short on time it can be easy to just try and get your workout in without clearing the room you actually need to move. If you can, try to dedicate a space as specifically your workout zone, this will make it more official, as well as avoid you kicking and breaking something. Make sure any equipment you have and might need is stored here. The last thing you want is to be hunting around for kit at the crucial moment.
Try to schedule your workout into the day, be more specific than just “when I get home from work”. Try more “I get home at 6, so I’m going to do some chores and then workout at 6.30pm”. Set an alarm for this time, so whatever you’re doing, you’ll get a reminder and be more likely to keep your workout date.
Just because you’re at home, doesn’t mean you should be working out in your PJs, especially if you're a woman. Training without support for your breasts can damage tissue. Wearing the right activewear supports your training and will enhance your efforts. Check out the Sundried collection.
Consistency is key
As with any form of training, the key to success is consistency. One home workout routine won’t make a difference, nor will one healthy meal. In order to get fit, you need to be consistent with your training, whether that’s at home or the gym. We are what we repeatedly do, so try to incorporate your workout into your routine so it becomes a natural habit.
Plan your workout in advance
Plan your workout in advance so you know what’s coming and aren't left guessing what to do next. Whether you're following a written routine, dvd or app make sure you know what moves are on the agenda so you don’t waste any time wondering, what’s next?
Comes at a price: Motivation. With the fridge, your tv and sofa all within walking distance, it can be hard to find the motivation to really go for it. You have to stay motivated or your gym equipment will gather dust and become nothing more than extra clutter in your home.
Being active doesn't have to be a chore and it doesn't have to mean slogging it out at the gym every night. With the right mindset, clothing, and imagination, being active can happen all day long at any opportunity.
1. Find transitional clothing to be all day active
A pair of jeans or set of high heels will prevent you from being active throughout the day. Finding activewear that is smart and stylish enough to be worn in the office that still functions during your workout can be tough, but Sundried’s Ortler trousers tick all the boxes. Inspired by cycling and working in the city, the Ortler trouser fuses tailoring with function. Smart enough to wear in the office but functional enough to remain all day active. Find clothes that offer a flexible fit to allow exercise to flow seamlessly into your daily routine.
2. Maximise your lunch breakInstead of working through lunch or sitting in the break room, take this opportunity to have a brisk walk. You get a 60-minute break per day, which means you could even squeeze in a 5k run with enough time to change and eat your lunch before returning to work. With the right smart activewear, you won't need to worry about getting sweaty, and if you take your trainers to work with you, it'll be seamless! Sundried's Dom Polo is super smart and wouldn't look out of place in the workplace. The breathable, sweat-wicking materials mean you'll stay cool and comfortable all day, even if you're getting active.
3. Be all day active at home
After a long day at the office, it can be challenging to find the motivation to stay active at home, but it's easier than you think! Make small changes like getting up earlier to squeeze in a quick run or cycle or get up and do quick exercises during the ad break while you're watching TV. If you don't work in an office or you work from home, try incorporating your daily tasks into your workout routine.
4. Be all day active in the office
- Always take the stairs, you know lift phobias exist because people are afraid of being lazy taking the lift right? Seriously.
- Don't phone/email colleagues in the same office, get up and go and speak to them.
- Go for a walk at lunch time, the fresh air will do you good. Ask a colleague to join you and enjoy the break.
- Cancel your sandwich delivery and walk to the local shop instead.
- Always take phone calls standing, it generates more energy in your body and voice, making a more successful call as well as keeping you active.
- Organise the layout of your office space in such a way that you have to stand up to reach oft-used files, the telephone, or your printer, rather than having everything within easy reach.