Do you have the type of flexibility at work where you can sneak off to the gym and get in a training session mid-day?
If you do, consider yourself duly endowed: research shows mid-day workouts can do everything from slash anxiety to improve mood to boost productivity and energy. Plus, getting your exercise done at lunch time spares you the hassle of trying to squeeze in a workout super early or super late in the day when you may be too tired, less motivated, or even more crunched for time.
But if it seems unreasonable to take time out of your work day to lift weights, hit some HIIT (high intensity interval training), or even just go for a brisk walk in the sun (hello, Vitamin D!), we’ve got a few suggestions to help you make the transition from weight room to boardroom seamlessly.
After all, we know you’ll feel great when you get back to the office — but you still have to look (and smell) great, too.
7 Things to Have in Your Gym Bag After Your Mid-day Workout
1. Comb or Brush
Tame that mane! Assuming you don’t have time to shower, a bristle brush is fine (and you’ll need it for our next item). If your hair is wet, stick to a comb instead, since brushing wet hair can cause breakage. Are you a short-hair-don’t-care type of person? Skip to number two or three.
2. Dry Shampoo
Dry shampoo is the perfect fix for minimizing that look of an oily hair and scalp. To use: hold the spray bottle about ten to twelve inches away from your head, part your hair, and spray a little bit at the roots. Use your fingers to blend the product in, then gently brush out to add volume and cut down on static.
3. Baby Wipes or Facial Wipes
If you don’t have time to shower until you’re home after work, baby wipes are a perfect solution for quickly wiping away any sweat and grime on your face, arms, torso, and legs. Be sure to grab an extra wipe or two to clean the harder hit spots like your axilla (armpits) and groin, and if there’s a towel available simply use that to dry off a bit afterward.
Fairly obvious, but it’s pretty embarrassing to forget this must-have, and loading yourself up with cologne or perfume can cause a lot of headaches back at the office (figuratively and literally). If you find your body sweat is just the gift that keeps on giving even after you’ve cooled down, consider getting an antiperspirant deodorant and plan your outfit accordingly (think: absorbent undershirts, dark clothing, and looser-fitting tops).
5. Post-Workout Protein
Sure, your gym may be close or even in your place of employment, but if you don’t bring your protein supplement with you and then get caught up in the bustle of work as soon as you return to your desk, you may end up skipping your shake altogether and miss the optimal window for post-workout protein intake that would otherwise enhance muscle repair and recovery.
So, keep it simple: bring your favorite protein shake supplement (bags and single serve pouches are easier to transport than large plastic containers) and take the recommended dose with water immediately after your mid-day workout. We should add that it’s a good idea to have a clean shaker bottle with you, too.
6. Fruit Puree Pouch
These little guys offer a perfect shot of carbohydrates that can give you some energy, especially after aerobic or sprint workouts. Research also suggests that consuming carbs with your protein may enhance the rate of mid- and post-exercise effects like glycogen synthesis, protein synthesis, and heightened insulin sensitivity.
While post-workout carbs likely aren’t necessary after every single gym session — researchers note factors like type, goal, and frequency of exercise influences how much and if a person needs ’em — we like these pouches since they’re super portable and convenient, plus they’re readily absorbable by your body.
Oh, and they taste good and offer a decent dose of micronutrients. Use high quality brands like Peter Rabbit Organics which have just fruits and veggies. You can also find certain brands like Fuel for Fire which contain whey protein as well as carbs.
7. Clean Underwear
Let’s be honest: things get a little sweaty in certain places, and nothing feels stranger than putting back on your nice work clothes only to still feel a little — ahem — damp. Clean undies are a must not only for comfort but for hygienic and health purposes, especially if you wear tighter fitting clothes.
Don’t Let the Little Things Stop Your Mid-day Workout
The science is clear (and at this point, fairly obvious): exercise can make you a better boss, colleague. employee. How? Because regular physical exercise has been shown to improve all sorts of cognitive metrics, like concentration, creative problem solving, stress management, recall, and learning capacity.
So, pack your gym bag and plan for an awesome mid-day workout this week. A healthy body plus healthy mind equals a healthy career.