Work Out Postwork

The most popular time to work out is after work. While scores of your cronies saunter up to the corner bar, you'll be loading iron onto another kind of bar— one that will leave you without a headache or a cash deficit.

Let's look at the pluses of working out after work:

> You'll have more time to do a thorough workout. >- It's a fine time to schmooze with the workout set.

>- You'll head home feeling refreshed after a long day at the office.

> You're less likely to kick the dog or quarrel with your mate.

That's the good news; the bad news about an after-work workout includes the following:

> A crowded gym can be a tough place to get a good workout. Unless your facility is spacious and well-equipped, you might have to wait for a particular apparatus (bad for the flow) and/or be rushed off the station you're using. (We'll give you some strategies for how to deal with this later.)

>- Too much chatting. It's one thing to be social and another to try to work out at a cocktail party. If you're trying to work out efficiently, it can be disconcerting when someone is telling you the latest "good news/bad news" joke. Sure, your repertoire of bad jokes may increase, but you may find yourself barely breaking a sweat.

Before you go to the gym, eat yogurt, a piece of fruit, or some nuts, which w'll provide you with some preworkout energy. After lunch, try a turkey, lettuce, and tomato sandwich with mustard on whole wheat bread. The combination of carbohydrates and protein will prevent fatigue; the mustard is less fattening than mayo; and whole wheat bread is more nutritious than the white stuff.

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Before you go to the gym, eat yogurt, a piece of fruit, or some nuts, which w'll provide you with some preworkout energy. After lunch, try a turkey, lettuce, and tomato sandwich with mustard on whole wheat bread. The combination of carbohydrates and protein will prevent fatigue; the mustard is less fattening than mayo; and whole wheat bread is more nutritious than the white stuff.

The fact is, the hardest part of working out is getting to the gym. The "just take the day off" devil sitting on your shoulder is a loud and divisive force, especially if you've had a hard day of work.

That's why location should become an important consideration when you're choosing a gym. We'll talk more about this in a later chapter, but to ensure that you get the most out of your gym, choose one that's near your home or job. We all know people who chose a fine gym with a reasonable membership fee but who are unable to take advantage of it because it's such a pain to get to. If you have to take a train, bus, or rickshaw to get there, you're more likely to blow it off, promising yourself that you'll "work out harder and longer tomorrow."

Clearly it's important to listen to the rhythms and whims of your body—exercise is, after all, supposed to enhance your life, not turn you into a guilt-ridden mess. (Always remember: A fitness regimen is not punishment for a flawed body, but a way to enhance your natural gifts.)

Keep in mind that the fatigue you're feeling is usually all in your head. After a few minutes of working out, you're likely to get your second wind. Once this happens, you'll be glad you exercised your willpower as well as your body. As fitness expert Steve Ilg writes, "You are developing inner strength in addition to outer strength." Put another way, Shakespeare said: "Our bodies are our gardens, to which our wills are gardeners."

Just to show you what's possible if you're really motivated, consider Joe's Ironman architect friend who typically runs before work, swims at lunch, and cycles after work. While he might not have the world's most exciting social life, he does shower more than a supermodel and gets to consume more calories than your average circus elephant.

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