I get the typical 1 hour for lunch each Monday to Friday. How can I schedule/structure a good workout which doesn't tire me out for the afternoon and lets me take it flexibly, as I don't necessarily know when that hour will be (though generally somewhere between 12 and 3)?

To be specific, with a general goal of losing weight (fat) and building strength (both cardio and muscular) and being of reasonable fitness to begin with, I want to structure a workout which:

  • won't get stale
  • works toward those three goals progressively
  • doesn't leave me lagging in the afternoon
  • provides enough of a workout that it doesn't require bolstering outside of work

Clarification: We have a fully equipped on-site gym with shower, so travel time is as minimal as it can possibly be, and I can also eat at my desk before/after (this is pretty common.)


Can you work out at your workplace / close to it, or do you have to go to a gym ? if so, I suppose the travel time to be taken in the hour ? Do you also need to eat during this hour ?

If you do cardio you are going to sweat and need to take a shower, so it's probably not a good idea since you don't have time for that. Strength training doesn't really raise your heartrate and make you sweat nearly as much since there are minutes of rest between sets. So, I would advise to do strength training during your lunch hour, but to move any cardio to another time.

Since I'm assuming you're gonna work out at your workplace or close to it to save the travel time, I'm also going to assume you don't have access to a lot of equipment, barbells, dumbells, machines, etc, so it's going to be mainly bodyweight strength training. This is a modified version of https://www.reddit.com/r/bodyweightfitness/wiki/kb/recommended_routine to suit your time requirements

If there is a tree from wich you can hang gymnastic rings in walking distance from where you work, that's ideal. Gymastic rings are light, easy to carry around, and very versatile. If there isn't anywhere for you to hang the rings, drop the dips and pullups, and replace the rows by resistance band rows (these are also very easy to transport and they don't require something to hang)

For the pairs, you're supposed to do one set of the first exercise, rest 90s, do a set of the second exercise, rest 90s and start over.

For the progressions, you're supposed to choose the exercise that you CANNOT do 3 sets of 8 reps of. When you are able to do it, you go to the next exercise on the progression

* = see below for the condensed version, see the link to the recommended routine for more info and videos

Monday Wednesday Friday:

Warm-up dynamic stretches*
Warm-up: 20 burpees
First pair: 3x5-8 Pullup progression* + 3x5-8 Dip progression*. Skip this pair if you can't do 3x8 diamond pushups and 3x8 horizontal rows yet
Second pair: 3x10sec-30sec L-Sit progression* + 3x5-8 Squat progression*
Third pair: 3x5-8 Pushup progression* + 3x5-8 Row Progression*

Tuesday Thursday:

Warm-up dynamic stretches*
Warm-up: 20 burpees
60s Plank
60s Side Plank
60s Reverse Plank
60s Hollow Hold
60s Arch Hold
Support practice*
Handstand progression*

The warm-up dynamic stretches routine (~5min):

shoulder rolls
scapular shrugs
band: straight arm overhead pull downs
band: straight arm chest flies
band: dislocates
wrist mobility exercises
front and side leg swings

Dip progression:

Parralel bar dips (or negative dips if on rings, or dips between 2 chairs)
Ring Dips
Rings L-sit Dips

L-sit progression

Foot Supported L-sit
One-Leg Foot Supported L-sit
Tuck L-sit
Advanced Tuck L-sit or One-Leg L-sit

Squat progression

Assisted Squat
Step-ups (one leg)
Deep Step-ups (one leg)

Pushup progression

Vertical Pushup
Incline Pushup (lowering the incline over time)
Full Pushup
Diamond Pushup
Rings Wide Pushup / If no rings -> pseudo planche pushups (PPPU)
Rings Pushup
RTO Pushup (Rings Turned Out)

Row progression

Vertical Rows
Incline Rows (lowering the incline over time)
Horizontal Rows
Wide Rows
Tuck Front Lever
Tuck Ice Cream Maker
Tuck Front Lever Row
Advanced Tuck Front Lever Row

Support practice

Parallel Bar Support (can also be done on the back of 2 chairs)
Ring Support Hold
Rings Turned Out Support Hold

Handstand progression

Wall Plank
Wall Handstand
Freestanding Handstand

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