When I first started on this fitness journey I had very limited access to a gym, let alone one that was inexpensive or affordable.  Some of my worksites had gyms, but they usually lacked in all the equipment I needed. My apartment gym was a struggle. Paying monthly fee’s for a nice quality gym in my area started to add up as a single parent. With the cost of living in the DC area a gym membership is a luxury item. Also as a single parent it was challenging to find time in the evenings to work out. Of course gyms’ had kids clubs, but that was another fee I was not looking to afford. Besides the 2 nights off a week, I was pretty much limited to finding active things for myself and my son to do and that meant I could do any strength training with weights effectively on those nights he was with me.

My solution, was to workout midday or late morning and take advantage of my lunch hour essentially. I ultimately opted for a midday workout during my lunch hour and would eat lunch after my workout at my desk. Rearranging my day like this had a few advantages.

  1. I made better food choices for lunch. Instead of traveling to unhealthy buffets or other sit down restaurants where the calories pile up quickly, I found myself after my workouts craving a salad and clean protein with lots of water.
  2. My breakfast started to improve.  After 2 weeks I started to notice that my energy level was depleting mid workout. It was crazy and I couldn’t understand why. Having this mid-day workout began to make it extra clear that what I fueled myself with right away in the morning made a difference for my workout..meaning it probably made a difference for the whole day.
  3. It re-energized me n the middle of the day. While co-workers were coming back from lunch with their “to-go bags” and tacos, I sat at my desk with some wonderful experimental blend of foods, salads, grains, and recipes at my desk I felt accomplished. I felt like I had an advantage because my mind was clear and re-focused for the afternoon.  With 2-3 hours left to go in the day I was able to leave my morning frustrations at the gym and have a productive power afternoon.
  4. It inspired my co-workers to get more physically active. My coworkers in the cubes next to me began to change their habits, began to run more and take an interest in their own health. That was probably one of the coolest things to see.
  5. It left time on the nights off of kids, to go out and be social or work overtime, pursue my own personal interests. Ironically I found myself playing tennis, basketball, hiking or biking in the evenings with friends as my social outlet, essentially giving me a second workout each day. This spring and summer I hope to nail down some kayaking and paddle boarding.

Mid-day Workout

5 minutes: Change your clothes. Be efficient about this, don’t dawdle. Get into your gym clothes and be ready to go.

10-15 minutes warm up on a treadmill, rowing machine or get outside for a run. Optionally do some dynamic warmups during this 10-15 minute period (5/10 minutes treadmill, 10/5 minutes dynamic warm ups). The remainder of the time will be dedicated to strength training. The disadvantage here is that I don’t get time to really stretch out after the workout but just about 3 minutes..5 if I am lucky, but it is something that I build into later in the day.

Choosing your weight is always a challenge. For every person this is going to be different. Do not compare yourself to others. Your own personal strength gain is up to you and you doing better than you last performance. Initially choose a weight that you can comfortably perform the first set of reps with good clean consistent form. Then progress through each set maintaining good clean form. As it gets more difficult, maintain form while learning to engage your other supporting muscles to maintain that form through the motion. Your later sets may be so challenging initially that you do not or are not able to complete the number of reps for that set. That is ok. Your goal is to work at that weight until you can comfortable complete and also have mastered that weight at that exercise before moving on to a higher weight or in some cases a different exercise.

Speed: Vary speed between sets. Do some slow, some fast and explosive, some slow and. I personally like to start slow, speed up each set and end my last set with the same slow speed I started to really challenge and fatigue my muscles.

Superset #A /  30 seconds rest in between each set.
Chest press : 5 x 5 reps
Squats or leg press: 5 x 5- reps
Bicep curls: 5 x 5 – 12 reps
Inverted crunches or weighted crunches: 5 x 5 reps

— 60 second rest between next superset —

Superset #B /  30 seconds rest in between each set.
Overhead triceps extensions or machine tricep press down: 4 x 6 reps
Dead-lifts or leg curls: 4 x 6 reps
Bent over row’sL 4 x 6 reps
Russian twists: 4 x 6 reps each side

— 60 second rest between next superset —

Superset #C /  30 seconds rest in between each set.
Pull ups 3 x 8
Hanging crunches (weighted) 3 x 8
Shoulder press 3 x 8
Split Squats or Lunges 3 x 8

— 60 second rest between next superset —

Superset #D /  30 seconds rest in between each set.
Triceps Cable press down 2 x F
Cable Bicep Curl 2 x F
Cable standing row 2 x F
Cable crunch 2 x F


#Lifestyle Tip …add another 30 minutes of cardio somewhere in your day. By cardio I mean do something fun as in go play tennis, soccer, basketball, but some boxing gloves on, bike, whatever works for you. Make it a social sport and make it part of your lifestyle. Making it part of your lifestyle.


Coach says: Exercise and health are matters that vary from person to person. Viewers of these programs should speak with their own doctors about their individual needs before starting any exercise program. This Web site is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice and supervision of your personal physician. Any application of the recommendations set forth in the following pages is at the viewer’s discretion and sole risk. If you are over 35 or have been inactive for a few years, see your physician before beginning any exercise program. This is especially important if your family has a history of heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, arthritis, obesity, cigarette smoking, or other health conditions. If you have any doubts whatsoever, consult your physician.

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