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I love working out at lunch time. I am incredibly lucky to have a gym that I can walk to and if it’s raining outside, I won’t even get wet. When I get back to the office I am pumped up and ready to take on the rest of the day – before passing out for 30 minutes on the Metra ride home. I forgo lunch with friends, coworkers, and bosses to get in a quick workout.

When my gym membership expired at the beginning of September, I had a crazy thought: What if I take a month off the gym? I can have lunch with friends, run errands, and take some time to study for my newest personal training class from the Postural Restoration Institute. I have a ridiculous amount of equipment at home, why not workout in the evening?

If you work out before or after work you have to be really dedicated. Life gets in the way real fast, especially if you have a child. I often bring my 2-year-old son to the basement to workout with me. I love it, but it can be ridiculous:

• Cones are used as hats
• Whatever equipment I’m using is quickly stolen and usually used as a neck tie
• Whenever I’m pressing a kettle bell over my head, a 30-pound ball of energy jumps on top of me (which always scares me).

Gym-Free photo

The many uses of bands and cones.

Often times I wait until my son is asleep before I exercise. It’s about 8-8:30 p.m. after I pull myself away from watching some show I just can’t quit with my wife that I work out. At that hour, it’s really, really hard to stay motivated and focused. When the trainer self-talk (usually, come on Ron, you can’t be the fat trainer) gets me motivated, I finish the workout, but I’m screwed. It’s only 9:30 p.m. but my heart rate will not drop and I’ll lie in bed, jealous of my wife who’s sleeping better than our baby. Long story short, my workouts have not been the best this month.

I know some of you will not like this statement, but I lost a few pounds. It was muscle, however, which is not a good thing. A combination of not lifting as much weight and eating less is the culprit. Switching it up with more stretching and yoga-type exercises have been a nice break for my joints, but it’s not the same for me. There’s something therapeutic to running around a weight room like a deranged person.

The biggest change I’ve noticed during my hiatus is anxiety level. I don’t consider myself an anxious person, but I’ve felt really stressed. Workload, family – nothing has really changed. Am I going crazy? Why am I so anxious? And then it hit me as my wife politely asked, “Did you rejoin the gym yet?” My anti-anxiety medication is the gym! I really miss the routine.

For those of you that do not have the option to pump some iron at lunch, how do you do it?

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