How to get from your desk to the gym and back in an hour


I'm grinning as I type this post.  I’m sitting in my office, sweaty from a run with a fan blowing in my face.  Today, I have time to grab a shower later, but most days I don’t. I go from teaching to meeting with a client to covering our fitness floor without showering.  #trainerlife got me thinking – most of my clients, our amazing SAS programmers, need the express lane as far as fitness.  SAS encourages our employees to get their work done at work, including a midday workout, so when they leave campus they can be with their families.  That being said, work is busy. An hour (or less) a day is what they can dedicate to their fitness plan including getting to and from the gym.  We're all short on time these days, so I polled our sweat experts at the RFC to provide some time saving hygiene hacks to help you get from your desk to the gym and back in an hour (or less!)

Step 1:  Plan ahead.

I use ipsy cosmetic bags to keep my gym bag organized and reuse a large zip lock bag for my sweaty stuff. Bags, like this one, with a shoe compartment are awesome at keeping dirty shoes separated. Thanks IRONMAN!

Ok, we hear this ALL. THE. TIME.  But that’s because it really works!  Block out an hour on your calendar for your workout.  At the Cary HQ, we see the highest gym attendance at lunch and after work.  When should you come to the gym?  The time that’s most convenient for you.  Research supports:

  • Early morning (less excuses not to)
  • Lunchtime/midday (ideal for a mental refresh during work)
  • After work (great way to unwind and re-center your focus to your family)

Depending on the time you’re coming to workout, pack your gym bag with your workout or work clothes and breakfast, lunch, or a pre-workout snack the night before so you don’t have to include "time to grab lunch" in your hour.  Although, if you need to, don’t forget we have a sweet To Go Café at the RFC!

Jennifer Strobel, Trainer and Swim Instructor, recommends keeping a grocery bag in your gym bag:  “I don’t put stinky stuff into my gym bag. Use grocery store bogs and keep dirty laundry separate.  Only clean items in gym bags.”

Pam Cole, Fitness and Wellness Manager, recommends a “dryer sheet in your gym bag (or suitcase) to keep it smelling fresh!  Also a spritz of essential oils on a previously used dryer sheet works the same – reuse/recycle.”

Step 2: Go to the gym or head outside.

The obvious next step, but excuses exist. If you need some motivation to get out of your office, schedule your workout with a friend or hit a group class.  When you’re really short on time, remember, SOMETHING IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN NOTHING when it comes to exercise (unless you’re on a rest day 😉  )  Dr. Christine Carter recommends devising a Better-Than-Nothing-Plan in her book, The Sweet Spot.  A Better-Than-Nothing Workout is something you can do without needing to change clothes or have specific equipment.  It's so easy, it seems silly that you don’t do it. This has become a regular assignment for my clients.  Have a Better-Than-Nothing Workout Plan for your office, and you’ll be golden the next time your workout is sandwiched between meetings.

Step 3: Maximize the time.

Wanted to get in a 50 minute run, but only have that 1 hour that needs to include clean up?  How about squeezing 50 minutes of effort into a shorter, 35 minute workout?  Warm up for 5-10 minutes.  Complete intervals of HARD or MAX effort, followed by intervals of recovery for 10-15 minutes.  Cool down for your remaining time.  Need to shorten a strength training workout?  Pick up slightly heavier weights and complete only 1-2 set of each exercise.

Express Leg Blast

Here’s a workout I used in Body Sculpt on Monday that took 25 minutes and I’m still feeling it!  Complete 1-3 rounds of 8-12 repetitions of each exercise moving directly from one into the next without taking rest breaks.  1 round = performing all exercises on one side and then using squats or plié squats to transition to your second side.  Need more?  Add dumbbells.

  • Squats or Plié Squats
  • Lateral Lunge
  • Back Lunge with a Knee Lift
  • Single Leg Deadlift or Deadlifts
  • Curtsy Squat

Step 4:  To shower or not to shower?

I grab a shower when I have the chance, but, at the very least, I wash my face or grab a Trader Joe’s Spa Natural Facial Cleansing Pad, blow dry my hair, and change ALL my clothes.  I often skip makeup, because, well, the whole sweaty job thing, but, thanks to ipsy, I’ve found two products that are pretty fabulous at staying in place throughout a sweaty workout:  eyeko London’s Eye Do Liquid Liner and tart’s Lifted Sweatproof Mascara . Apply eyeliner first, then your choice powdered shadow, and follow up with mascara for, as my sons say, “sparkly eyes” that will make it through your next sweaty workout.  To refresh post workout, a quick brush of your favorite shadow will do.  Here are a few more pro hacks:

“The Quick Rinse: I go from locker room door back to locker room door in 8 minutes.  I come in sweaty, get in the shower (3 minutes max--no hair washing), dry off and get dressed.  I don't even look in the mirror on the way out because it's not about looking better, it's about feeling better!!”  ~Rebecca Allen, Trainer and Fitness Instructor

“Peppermint essential oil on a cold cloth works [as a face wipe.]  I keep oil in my locker and have taken paper towels and dampened with cold water and put a few drops of peppermint on it and wiped over my body.   And for my hair, Living Proof Dry Shampoo but most of the time I just take my ponytail out and dry hair upside down on cool for a minute and the dirty gives my hair body.  I have also sprayed essential oil mist in the air and walked through so it lands on my hair to make it smell better.”  ~ Celeste Cooper-Peel, Assistant Manager

Cheryl Wheelock, Trainer and Fitness Instructor, manages her long hair by braiding for a workout when she knows she won’t have time to wash and dry it right away.  “Long hair can be a tangled mess post workout if not braided.”  For her face “Burt’s Bees Cucumber Facial Wipes or a quick spritz of Trader Joe's Rose Water Facial Toner for a post sweat quick cleanse.”

Lisa Hinkle, Assistant Manager, keeps Olay Daily Clean Wipes in her locker.  “Cleansing wipes to get the sweat and grime off if I don’t have time to shower.  I really like them.  They leave my skin smooth, light, and not over greasy with chemicals!  Great for summertime and outdoor activities!”

Angie Calli Fernandez, Trainer and Fitness Instructor, keeps a spare make-up bag in her gym bag.  “It’s see-through so I can quickly grab what is essential.  My favorite mascara for working out is Thrive by Causemetics.”

Have time to shower and want to head off the post-workout funk in your clothes?  Jennifer likes to walk right into the shower in her stinky, sweat drenched clothes and stand under the water.  “Sometimes I will use the soap in the shower for quick wash.  Then, rinse each piece as I take it off before throwing them into my grocery bag to take home and wash.”

And….back to your desk!

Don’t forget to eat your pre-packed breakfast, lunch, or post workout snack!

When you get home, set yourself up for success the next day unpacking and repacking your gym bag at the same time.  I like to unpack my sweaty stuff in the laundry room and throw it directly into the wash machine, or, if I don’t have a full load, rinse with a splash of white vinegar and then hang up the sweaty stuff so it doesn’t marinate in sweat (and bacteria.)  Celeste follows this same routine, but includes a spritz of essential oil at the end.

Kasey Joiner, Trainer and Fitness Instructor recommends “adding a cup of baking soda to your washer as it is filled, along with detergent.  Seems to help get last workouts smell out and the garment doesn’t seem to get as smelly during the next workout.”

And for those smelly shoes and helmets –

“Bike helmet gets washed post extra sweaty rides in the kitchen sink with warm water and soap.  Straps get so yucky!”  ~Cheryl

“Pantyhose filled with cat litter, dryer sheets, magazine or paper balled up and shoved into the shoes -especially after a wet run.”  ~Jennifer

“I made a mason jar of 1 cup of baking soda and 6 drops of tea tree essential oil and 7 drops of lavender.  I shake this into my husband’s shoes and probably should in my own too!” ~Celeste

And then, there’s always the Peet Shoe Dryer, that’s been a shoe-saver in my household between wet workouts and little guys who like to play in mud!  Thanks Mom, for one of the handiest Christmas gifts ever!

Next time you’re thinking you don’t have time, think again!  Try the 1 hour (or less) workout experience!  You have time for something!  🙂

And, on that note, have a great hygiene hack?  Please do us all a favor and share below!


About Author

Amanda Pack

Sr. Recreation and Fitness Program Coordinator

Amanda received her B.A. in Exercise and Sport Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. At SAS, she has shares her passion of wellness with SAS employees as a Senior Recreation and Fitness Program Coordinator. When she’s not teaching others how to squat, chaturanga, and run or coaching expecting moms and Ironmen-to-be, you’ll find her exploring the outdoors with her husband, two sons, and schnoodle, cooking, propagating succulents, and training for endurance events. She’s a 2x IRONMAN finisher and multi-marathoner who loves to be on the trails or on her yoga mat! Amanda is registered through Yoga Alliance as an Experienced 200 hour Yoga Teacher (E-RYT200), certified in personal training and group exercise instruction through the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA), an IRONMAN Certified Coach and has training in prenatal yoga, Cosmic Kid's Yoga, and as a postpartum doula.

1 Comment

  1. Love this! I cloth diapered my kids so I have these amazing wet bags. Perfect for wet swim gear or sweaty clothes. I keep a change of underwear and baby wipes in my desk drawer for the days I can’t shower after a mid day workout.
    My favorite is coming in first thing and not showering or getting ready until after I work out. Makes my morning more kid focused rather than focus on getting myself ready and I’m saving on my water bill by showering at the gym.
    My soccer bag is similar compartments to your IM bag minus the 140.6 🙂

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