Even on the busiest days, there’s enough time to get away from your desk, wage war on love handles/moobs/beer belly/all of the above, eat a decent lunch, and fit in a swift water cooler catch-up, all within a lunch hour. If you’re smart about it.

Aside from the obvious benefits, sitting back at your desk or heading into a meeting with a well-deserved endorphin rush can help push you through the mid-afternoon slump. We’ve done the math, so here is your new lunchtime workout plan – all without needing a gym pass or ending up a red-faced, clammy mess.

Make The Perfect Getaway: 5-10 Minutes

Start by following the advice of personal trainer Georgia Mahony and change into your kit at work. “That way you can jog to the gym or nearest outdoor workout space, saving time, burning calories, and getting your heart pumping,” she says.

Can’t do it in 10 minutes? Cycle if possible.

The Dynamic Start: 4 Minutes

Plyometric (fancy fitness word for jumping) movements are all you need do to warm-up. “They reduce injury risk and post-workout stiffness, get you moving and switch your body into fat-burning mode,” says Mahony.

Hand Walkouts – 1 Minute

From standing, place hands on the floor in front of you without bending knees. Keeping legs straight, ‘walk’ hands forward until in a press-up position, do one press-up, ‘walk’ back to the start, stand up and repeat.

Jumping Jacks – 1 Minute

The old faithful. However, don’t be afraid to search out variations to spice things up, such as ones that incorporate squats.

High Knees – 1 Minute

Jogging on the spot, basically. Try bringing knees up to at least waist height.

Forward Lunges – 1 Minute

Take a big step forward, lowering the back leg’s knee towards the floor, go back to the start and repeat with other leg.

The Short Circuit: 18 Minutes

Effective workouts needn’t be long, but you do need to work hard. “Full-body, high intensity interval training circuit gets the heart rate up quickly, burning calories during and after your session through a hormonal response known as excessive post-exercise oxygen consumption,” explains Mahony.

Plus, it’s all bodyweight stuff so you can do it anywhere. Do each move at high intensity for 30 seconds, then rest for that long between each. Repeat the circuit three times.


Lie on your front, supporting your weight with your elbows. Tense your abs to keep a straight line from shoulders to toes. Hold.

Jump Squats

With feet shoulder–width apart, squat down. When your bum reaches knee-height, jump back up. Repeat.


In a plank position, go from elbows to hands until in a press-up position, and then back down to a plank. Repeat.


Drop to a press-up position, do one press-up, hop your feet forwards and jump back up. Repeat.

Jump Lunges

Do a forward lunge, but instead of stepping back to the start to switch legs, jump into it.

Mountain Climbers

Take a sprinter’s starting position and quickly alternate which leg is at the front.

The Really Cool-Down: 2 Minutes

“Spend 30 seconds holding each of these to relax your muscles and build flexibility,” says Mahony.

  • Stretch up towards the sky, interlacing fingers at the top.
  • Interlace hands behind back and puff chest out.
  • Bend over to reach toes (or as close as you can comfortably get).
  • Hold a lunge position (15 seconds each side).

Return To Work: 5-10 Minutes

The Shower Scene: 8-10 Minutes

It sounds torturous, but starting and finishing your shower with a 30-second blast of cold water lowers skin temperature, stopping you from sweating afterwards.

No time to shower? “Baby wipes and dry shampoo are my top tip,” says Mahony. “Not ideal, but you’ll smell fresh until home time.”

The Fun Bit: 5 Minutes

The best – but also vitally important – part: food. “Your post-workout meal has the potential to undo your good work,” adds two-time world champion rower, personal trainer and shredded man human, Toby Garbett.

“Bring a lunch to work that’s mostly protein and veg with a side of unrefined carbs such as couscous, sweet potato or rice – any carb that isn’t processed, basically.” Garbett’s favourite? Chicken and couscous salad topped with walnuts.

Total Time: 59 Minutes