The dos and don’ts of working out at work

'On the Job'

The dos and don’ts of working out at work

Maybe you’re fortunate enough to have an onsite gym or walking track at work. Or maybe your company sponsors a softball team and you practice during lunch.

When work and workouts mix, forget no pain, no gain: a figurative misstep could actually be painful to your career .

Here are a few of those trickier – yet important – etiquette tips to keep in your bag while working out at work:

Q: If I see someone doing an exercise incorrectly, possibly dangerously, and no staff are around, do I speak up? What if it’s someone I recognize from work?

It’s typically preferred if you mind your own business, advises Peter Grosso, health and wellbeing consultant at Unum. Of course, he says, if someone is in immediate danger it’s perfectly ok to help them out. But if someone is simply using improper form, don’t offer unsolicited advice. If you want to be a personal trainer, ask the manager for a job application on your way out.

Q: Is it ever OK to workout and return to work without a shower?

If you’ve sweat enough to wonder if you need a shower, the answer is probably yes, says Grosso. Even if it’s just a quick wipe with a washcloth and some soap. A quick walk around the building at lunch and you’re probably ok, but much more activity than that and it’s always best to play it safe with a shower.

Q: My manager is OK with me flexing my hours a bit to allow a workout in the morning or at lunch. Do I owe my co-workers an explanation?

If you’re delivering quality results, hitting deadlines and not asking them to cover for you, no explanations are required.

However, adds Grosso, there’s nothing wrong with inviting them to come workout with you. In fact, he says, they may start to admire your discipline rather than worry about your time away from the office.

Q: How much skin is “in” — or more to the point, out?

Most people aren’t interested in seeing a coworker half-dressed in the gym, so it’s always better to err on the side of the caution and stick with loose-fitting athletic wear, says Grosso.

Q: Is it OK to ask a business question while someone is working out or is that super-annoying?

It’s important to respect a coworker’s free time, says Grosso, especially since many people go the gym to escape their workday routine for a bit. If they are open to a work conversation however, Grosso says keep it short and to the point.

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