Newly Corporate

Work, life and the pursuit of happiness for the young professional.

Get Physical at Work

Workout This is a guest post from Seth Travis, a Gen Y young professional who is excited to share his experiences in one of the world’s largest corporations. This week he fills us in on the answers to basic questions every Newly Corporate worker asks about on-site gym workouts.

Remember the days back in junior high when you had to wrestle with the thought of changing in the locker room and getting pegged in dodge ball class? Just when you thought you put the gym class days behind you, you find yourself sweating it out next to the Senior Human Resource Manager at your company’s on-site gym. Yes, working out at work is a great way to distress and stay healthy, but how do you ensure you are keeping it professional while working out at work?

Work out attire

Do your clothes tell your boss too much about you?

Does your t-shirt say something with a double meaning from your days in a frat? If it says more than your Greek affiliation, substitute it with your favorite Big Ten T-shirt, who knows maybe it will be a great conversation starter for that tough-to-crack co-worker who loves to talk Penn State football 24/7.

Do you look like you just ran a marathon rather than a quick jog on the treadmill?

If you are set on losing some pounds, and putting on some muscle, your workouts are likely vigorous which means you are sweating, a lot. Remember that saying, “Never let em’ see you sweat?” It’s almost 2009, and thanks to Nike, Under Armor, and other brands, there are some great workout clothes that wick the sweat from your skin, and help you stay cool, and dry. This dry-fit technology is great, comfortable, easy to launder, and most importantly it keeps you looking calm, cool, and collected even while running your 5th mile on the treadmill.

Taking Classes

Are you afraid of what others may think of you?

Don’t worry; everyone in that classroom is thinking that. You are at the gym, and you are there to be challenged, get fit, and blow off some steam. Chances are this may be the class you take where you run into a co-worker that you have been meaning to catch-up with.  Without talking business through the entire T.I song, make a connection, and let them know it is good to see a familiar face in the class. Networking happens everywhere, even during abs class!

What to do about the “gym class” hero in spin class?

From personal experience, I have attended classes where my co-workers seem to “live” for spin. All I want to do is get in a good workout, and enjoy the mix-cd that’s blasting. If you experience this, and think the answer is to skip the class, consider two other options first. 1. Invite some of your co-workers to the class, this way you will focus on them rather than the one “gym hero”. 2. Ask the trainer to consider reviewing etiquette during spin class; a friendly reminder that others are in the room may bring “super-spinman” back down to earth.

iPod etiquette

Can I wear my iPod to the gym?

Yes! Be sure your music is in good taste, or your volume is turned down. The louder those ear buds are, the easier it is for the person next to you to hear you jamming to Vanilla Ice, which is fairly embarrassing, but not as bad as a co-worker or boss hearing explicit lyrics booming from your head as you build those biceps. It may be a good idea to consider your play-list if you NEED to pump up the volume, while you get pumped up.

Free Weight Training

Can I lift heavy at work, if I am trying to bulk up?

Find a friend in the cube next to you who you see at the gym a lot and ask them to spot you. Don’t take on so much that everyone can hear you huffing and puffing, or worse you injure yourself and have to be escorted to the on-site medical center for a strained muscle. You do not want to portray that you take your workout more serisoly than your job. No one wants to be known for that at work. This is a great place to remind everyone you are always revealing your personal brand at the gym.

That’s My Machine!

How do I get my workout in, if I need certain machines to be available?

Plan your workout smart. If everyone floods into the gym at noon, start your lunch earlier, and get in and out before the rush on the treadmills, and in the showers. Also, stay at your machine. Take :30 secs between each set, and continue. If you stick to this, you will only occupy a piece of equipment for a little over 3 minutes. If you are taking more rest, and doing super-sets, offer to let someone “jump-in”.

No Sweat

Should I bring a towel out on the floor, while I workout?

Yes. Most every gym requests that you have a hand towel. They are great if you are lying on equipment and you don’t want to leave sweat spots and like to stay on top of the sweat running down your face. Also, they are great during cardio; you can workout hard, while hardly sweating.

Hit the showers

How do I keep it professional in the Locker Room?

Skipping the shower is not an option; you still have 6 more hours to work so consider taking your under-garments to the shower area, and change into them after showering and drying off. Now you can be dressed and back to the office in 5 minutes without feeling exposed. This issue of concern is more important to some and less to others, so find your comfort zone and stick with it. Finally, if your boss and or co-worker feels like chatting it up while your dressing and your not comfortable with this, just respond to them with a smile and tell them you would love to catch up later in the day.

Don’t forget to eat right at work with healthy cube snacks as well! Do you have tips to share about at-work fitness?  Please leave a comment!

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  1. I’ve always found it awkward to be working out on an aerobic machine next to a coworker. Especially when that coworker insists on carrying a conversation while you’re trying to squeeze in a 30 minute workout.

    Do you sacrifice your workout to be nice to your coworker, or risk coming off as rude if you stop talking and get back to your workout?

    I’m anti-conversation when working out, but that’s just me …

  2. Marie-
    You are there to workout, if you wanted to chat with your co-worker you both would be at lunch chatting it up….but to save face without looking rude….take a magazine, or buy an i-pod, they have so many and within anyone’s budget. If your co-worker still tries to chew your ear off, then tell them you just down-loaded the new David Archuleta album and you were really looking forward to listening to it, and ask if you could catch-up later in the day…..good luck!