ashley lutz ask the insider

Ask the Insider columnist Ashley Lutz answers all of your work-related questions, including the awkward, sensitive, and real-world ones. Have a question? Email

Dear Insider,

I am a 30-year-old female who has recently decided to get in shape. After a friend talked about going to the gym during his lunch break, I decided to try it myself. I love it! I come back to work feeling recharged and focused for the remainder of the day. I also love the convenience of working out without having to get up early or stay up late. 

But because my gym isn’t in the office, I need to leave work for about an hour and a half to drive there, shower, and come back to work. I feel guilty doing this because most of the people on my team don’t even take a proper lunch break, instead picking up food and eating at their desks. Should I continue going to the gym a few days during the week? Is it necessary to get my manager’s approval? Should I offer to stay later to make up for the time I’m at the gym?


Aspiring Daytime Gym Rat 


Dear Aspiring:

My first instinct is your office should be supportive of this habit, especially because you’re willing to stay later to make up for lost time. If you stay in good health long-term it means you’ll be happier and more productive at work.

Healthy employees could mean lower insurance premiums for the company, giving higher-ups a financial reason to support your habit. This perk is a reason many companies (mine included) offer discounts on gym memberships for workers. 

But based on what you say about your office culture, it seems like going to the gym several times a week on company time is too much. It’s going to stick out if you’re consistently gone and your coworkers don’t even get lunch away from their desks. 

I’d work out a compromise. Choose one day a week you’d like to make your “gym day.” Tell your manager you have a standing appointment on that day for the allotted amount of time. I’d choose a day that is typically less busy than others. Then you can choose another day to go before or after work (or on the weekends). 

Building your fitness level doesn’t have to take an hour. If you’re crunched for time you can also try this 7-minute workout that is optimized to get you in shape quickly. I also love the 30 Day app, which provides 10-minute workouts that feel very effective. 


Ashley Lutz is a senior editor at Business Insider answering all of your questions about the workplace. Send your queries to for publication on Business Insider. Requests for anonymity will be granted, and questions may be edited.

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