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From Desk to Workout in 20 Minutes – Four Tips for More Exercise in Your Daily Life

4th February 2022

Family, friends, work – frequently, we don’t find the time to integrate sports into our stressful everyday lives – even if we actually want to. “Lack of time is the biggest obstacle to achieving athletic goals and staying in training,” says David Harmer. The True Motion Tech & Brand Representative and former running coach for the British Athletics Association is familiar with this problem that many runners have. “But there are life hacks we can use to get from desk to workout in a matter of minutes.” David Harmer tells us how we can quickly get from the office chair into our running shoes with four everyday tips.


  1. Life hack 1: get dressed for running – early!

  2. Life hack 2: integrate your workout into your everyday life

  3. Life hack 3: optimize your warm-up

  4. Life hack 4: plan when and what you will eat during the day

Clearly, a lack of time is the biggest obstacle to running or staying in training. There’s never enough time, for family, friends, or at work. Sport quickly takes a back seat. That’s a shame. And annoying, most of all for ourselves. The good thing is, however, that we can fight it – namely when we become aware of our time problem.

The past few years in particular play a special role here. At the beginning of 2020, our lives changed drastically – in a way that we probably never could have imagined. But the changes also had some positive aspects: the chance to work from home and more flexible working hours, for example.


These changes also affected us as runners. Suddenly, we found new ways of integrating our training into our daily lives between job and family. With the help of four simple life hacks, we can stay in training also on stressful days – and use our time effectively to achieve our goals.


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Life hack 1: get dressed for running – early!

When we put on our running gear, we are mentally preparing ourselves to actually get the workout started. That’s why it’s extremely important to change before we start running – and to do so early. This works especially well when working from home.

If we work from home, we can quickly wheel our desk chair to the closet and slip into our running clothes. Once we’ve hung up after our last video call in the evening, all we have to do is lace up our running shoes – and we’re ready to go.

It gets more difficult when we work in the office. At least a little bit. However, even then we can prepare ourselves mentally for our run in the evening by either taking our running clothes to the office or laying them out at home.

If we pack our running clothes and shoes in the morning, we can already get changed in the office in the evening. That way, we can start training as soon as we get home – or even start our run at the office.

If that’s too stressful for us, option two helps: Before we leave the house in the morning, we put our running clothes on the bed and our running shoes next to the door. When we return home in the evening, these are the first things we see. The TV or the filled refrigerator no longer stand a chance; nothing gets in the way of our training.

Life hack 2: integrate your workout into your everyday life

Besides job, family, and friends, time is scarce. Household chores take up extra time. So why don’t we combine running with picking up our package at the post office, for example? Our running gear also helps us do this.

"Why don’t we combine running with picking up our package at the post office, for example?"

Nowadays, many running pants and jackets have useful little pockets to stow a key or bank card, for example. A cell phone usually fits in well, too, for contactless payment in the store.

It was only recently that I put this idea into practice. I converted my light warm-up run – and used it to drop off a package at the post office. Then I continued with my actual training run, which ended at the supermarket. There, I bought a few things for my dinner, packed them up – and brought them home with a slightly brisker walk – in a way, my cool-down.

If performance is all that matters to us when training, then this run certainly wasn’t perfect, that’s for sure. But a unit like this is still suitable as a small training session in between – and we can get tedious chores done at the same time.

Life hack 3: optimize your warm-up

Especially on days that are particularly stressful, we don’t have time for long training programs. Before we start our actual running session, we should still warm up though. The good thing is, with small adjustments, we can shorten our regular, possibly lengthy warm-up program and get our body up to temperature, even on cold days.

It takes about eight minutes to warm up our bodies sufficiently. However, it doesn’t matter whether we do a moderate run or other exercises during this time. We can sit on a spinning bike at home and pedal for eight to ten minutes – or do some light bodyweight training in the living room.

Before we start our actual running session, however, we need to warm up our running muscles. For about five minutes. The best way to do this is with knee lifts, so-called A, B, and C skips, and one or two other running exercises. Then we can get started.


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Life hack 4: plan when and what you will eat during the day

Whether and when we can go running at all is also determined by our meals before training. If we eat too much at lunchtime, we will still be stuffed in the early evening. Exercising is out of the question then. On the other hand, not eating at all during the day is not a solution either. Then we won’t have the energy to go running – and instead of thinking about training, we can only think about eating. For us runners, this means we should plan our meals.

If we plan to go running after work, we should eat lightly during the day and avoid high-fiber and acidic meals. However, sometimes we do get hungry before our workout, especially on busy workdays. My tip is to keep rice cakes and porridge on hand. Both help us get through the day – without feeling bloated or hungry.


However, it is not only important to plan your meals before, but also after a workout. After all, what could be worse than staring into an empty refrigerator after a tiring run? This sight only makes us feel hungrier and delays our regeneration.

Maybe that’s why the best solution is to meet up with our running partners after the workout for food and drinks at a nearby restaurant. There, the fridge is sure to be filled – and we’ll save time, too.


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