WORKPLACE / FEB. 22, 2014
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Which Workout Boosts Productivity Most?

They say that exercise is the key to productivity, and I can tell you for a fact that this is true! I know that when I sit down to work after hitting the gym first thing in the morning, my fingers fly across my keyboard and I can hammer out a whole lot more than I would just dragging myself into my office fresh out of bed.

It's something promoted by just about every high-powered, successful person in the world. For example, the founder of Twitter and Blogger, Evan Williams, likes to hit the gym in the middle of the day - when he's feeling least productive. It helps him to get back into the mood for work, and gives him a nice energy boost when all he wants to do is take a nap.

So when should you work out?

When To Hit the Gym

Some people hit the gym first thing in the morning for their workout, while others struggle through those last few hours of work to hit their Yoga session at 5 PM on the dot.

So which is the best time of day?

  • Early Morning -- For busy parents, the early morning is often the only time of day they can get in a workout. You'll have lots of energy for the first few hours of the morning, but expect a crash around 1 or 2 PM.
  • Midday -- The first few hours of the day will see you drinking lots of coffee, but a workout at midday will be wonderfully refreshing. Be prepared for plenty of productivity in the last few hours of your work day, and a lot of energy when you get home.
  • Evening/Night -- After you leave work, it's often hard to push yourself to hit the gym or Yoga session hard. However, it feels great to sweat it out after a day of being seated, and it will help you get to sleep easily at night.

The middle of the day is the best time to exercise, so consider taking your lunch break to hit your workout hard!

Best Exercise for Productivity Boosts

So, we know when to exercise, but now let's take a look at what types of exercise will be the best for your productivity:

Best: Yoga -- Yoga is an odd combination of relaxation and exercise. You sweat like an animal, but your mind and body are both incredibly relaxed when you leave the session. When you sit back down to work, you'll have a clear head ready to work!

Excellent: Cardio -- Running, cycling, jogging, and using the various cardio machines is a repetitive activity that almost acts like self-hypnosis. It too will clear your head while pushing your body, and you'll be far less stressed when you sit down to work again.

Great: Weight Training/Cardio -- Weight training activates your metabolism, firing up your body and causing it to burn more energy after your workout. The mixture of weights and cardio will be excellent for fat burning, best when you do weights first and end with a cardio session.

Good: Weight Training -- Weights will help to get your body burning fat and producing more energy, but it's pretty exhausting to just lift weights for an hour. When you sit back down, you'll be energized, but you'll crash within an hour or so unless you get something to eat.

Good: Interval Training -- High intensity training isn't the best for productivity, though it's great for weight loss. This is another type of workout where you'll have lots of energy for a short while, followed by a period of sleepiness.

Less Good: Martial Arts -- Imagine sitting down at the office with a bloody nose and a bruised rib - not easy to be productive with those distractions. It's great exercise that will be invaluable, but not the best exercise in terms of productivity boosting. 

Do you work out during after or before work? If so which exercises do you find the most effective?

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