You are determined to exercise at work over your lunch hour. You have blocked the time on your calendar – and you are never one to miss an appointment or a meeting. You have prepped your gym bag and your healthy, post-enjoyout lunch the night before. You hit the office gym for an AMAZING weight session. And then you have to go back to your office.
How are you going to manage going back to work when your face is all red and you are a sweaty mess? AHHHH!
The idea that your co-workers might see you looking anything less than completely professional and polished can be intimidating. But before you allow this to become another exercise roadblock, check out some tips on how you can freshen up after your office enjoyout and look as good at 3 p.m. as you did at 9 a.m.
Change out of Your Enjoyout Clothes
You’ve probably heard the saying “dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” Well, unless the job you want (or have) is that of a fitness instructor, be sure to change out of the spandex and sneakers after your enjoyout. Not only can such attire be inappropriate in an office setting — particularly one where clients and vendors might drop by — it may also violate your corporate dress code. At the very least, post-enjoyout clothing can be sweaty and just plain icky.
When you’re not wearing it, be sure to keep your work clothing neatly folded during the workout. Coming back to your desk a wrinkled mess after you exercise at work is not much better than returning in your athleisure wear. And, depending on how intense your lunchtime exercise regimen is, it’s also a good idea to pack spare socks and undergarments in your workout bag. I speak from experience – just do it! It is NO fun wearing a sweaty bra under your clean clothes!
If your office has an onsite gym, there might be a locker room with it. That will be the best place for you to change. If no such area exists, you may be relegated to changing in an office restroom. Just be sure to spare your co-workers a view of your birthday suit by seeking privacy in a stall or private restroom. If you have your own office, it’s acceptable to change in there only if your door locks and there are no windows. Again – speaking from experience – spare yourself and anyone else the embarrassment!
Take Time to Cool Off
We’ve all seen “that” person at the gym. The one who can work out for an hour and still look as fresh as a spring morning. Unfortunately, that is NOT me. Drinking water, both during and after a fitness session, can also help cool you down. After you exercise at work, you can also try some of these cool-down tips recommended by Woman’s Day:
- Cool your pulse points first. Applying ice or cold water to your wrists, behind your knees or inside your elbows can help cool you down faster.
- Chew minty gum. Mint, whether in your gum or in your body lotion, has a cooling effect on your system.
- Calm down. Fanning yourself exerts energy. The quickest way to cool down is to sit still and chill out.
Improvise a Shower
Whenever you get hot, sweaty or dirty, your first instinct is probably to take a shower. (Or hopefully it is!) Not only does it revive and cleanse you, but it also spares those around you from your less-than-fresh self. If you’re at home or your regular gym, a quick shower is readily available. When you exercise at work, however, you may be left with nothing more than a bathroom sink.
Here are some tips that I have used:
Use dry shampoo. It doesn’t require water or a lather, just a comb.
Bring a clean towel. Use it to wipe excess sweat off of your body.
Have wipes on hand. If you don’t have access to a shower, baby wipes are the next best thing for removing bodily grime.
Sprinkle baby powder. Talcum powder absorbs moisture. Throw a bit of it on your feet, back, thighs or underarms to soak up some of your sweat.
Tidy up Your Hair and Makeup
There are probably a couple of reasons why you started exercising. A top reason for many people is to improve their health. But another reason might be to look better. And a regular fitness routine can certainly help you achieve that. However, the immediate effects of exercising — hair flattened to your head, mascara smeared under your eyes — aren’t so pretty. Fortunately, a few primping tricks will have you looking polished right out of the gym.
If you have long hair, pull it back in a ponytail. Headbands can flatten your hair. Applying dry shampoo or baby powder to your hair’s roots, and then combing it through, can absorb sweat and add volume to your locks. When it comes to makeup, don’t reapply everything. Not only will it be time-consuming, putting concealer, foundation and powder on over a sweaty face can create a masklike look. Just adding fresh lip-gloss and mascara (once you’ve wiped your old application off with makeup-removing wipes) should give you a presentable look.
Here is my MOST important tip if you want to exercise at work. Because no matter how you look when you return to your desk after a workout, the most important thing is how you smell — or, rather, how you don’t smell.
When it comes to deodorant/antiperspirant and enjoyouts you have a few options. Clinical formulas claim to provide protection through many hours, even remaining strong after a shower. So, if you don’t plan to keep an extra stick of deodorant at the office, at least be sure you wear the heavy protection, which most major brands now offer.
However, if you want to be on the safe side — or if you wear a regular formula that’s put to the test during a workout — pack some in your bag and apply it after you’ve cleaned up.
So – there you have it!
Move your body (at work), put good things in and ENJOY every day!