fitness running who am I

What is stopping women from exercising before or in between working hours

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Monday was a tube strike day here in London. It’s not a regular occurrence, thank god, but it does happen a few times a year and it means that trains, buses and trams are running but not the tube. That in turn means that all hell breaks loose because a bazillion people who normally use the tube to get to work/school, use the trains and the buses instead.

I get to work by tube as well but I’m lucky enough to live near a train station as well so on Monday morning I crammed the lightest clothes I could find into my husband’s cycling backpack (it’s so comfy to run in but sooooo tiny), jogged to the train station and squeezed into a train to Waterloo.

As I then ran from Waterloo to my office in Canary Wharf I saw just one other woman running with a backpack. I saw many more men, both running and cycling.

Once a week I run at lunchtime and twice a week I go to Crossfit at lunchtime and – I don’t usually see many women out and about exercising at lunchtime either.

I’m often the only female in the lunchtime Crossfit class and when running on a very busy running route from Canary Wharf to London Bridge and back, I usually see one female for every 10 male runners.  I totally count.

So what is stopping women from exercising right before or in between working hours?


This is not a London lunchtime run. This is an Australian evening run.

For some it’s probably their work environment – either they have no showers in the office or the nature of the job is such that there are meetings throughout the day and one cannot take a run break.

For many women though, I suspect the reason is their hair.


If you want to have fabulous hair in the office AND want to exercise before or during work – you have to choose one or the other. I’m afraid it’s not possible to have great hair AND a lunchtime exercise habit.

I have obviously chosen the exercise habit – my hair is constantly wet and in a bun. Fitness over fashion. Buns over bouncy locks.

But seriously, even if I could (read: didn’t find blow-drying my hair mind-numbingly boring) take extra time to blow-dry my hair in the office – I can’t actually blow-dry my hair. It’s curly and insanely big and blasting it with heat makes me look like I’ve been electrocuted. I need to either let it air dry, but I’d rather pull it back than sit with dripping wet hair at my desk OR I need to dry it with a rotating Babyliss, but our shower/changing rooms only have built in cheap hairdryers and no electricity sockets for other equipment.

Can’t win.

I didn’t choose the bun life, the bun life chose me.

Oh wait. I did actually choose it.


Do you exercise right before or during work?
If you do – what’s your hair situation?
If you don’t – what’s stopping you?
Do you think women worry about their hair too much?
Would wet hair be acceptable in your office?

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  • Laura Moran Thursday, 12 January 2017 at 14:30

    I’m really lucky – I have a great work gym that’s ~5 minutes from my office, with good showers. My boss/colleagues are totally used to me being in gym stuff, eating at random times and I give zero fucks about my hair! :)

    • MrsB Thursday, 12 January 2017 at 16:36

      Good to hear :) I’m wondering though – are you over 30 or below? I have a feeling 20-year olds give many fucks about their hair…

      • Laura Moran Thursday, 12 January 2017 at 17:15

        Haha. I’m 26.. I bought my first blow dryer when I was 24, and use it only because it’s too cold to let my hair dry naturally. I am a big fan of the bun!

  • Katie@TheseGirlsDo Wednesday, 11 January 2017 at 20:07

    Yeah I really don’t care about my hair…working in sports means that no-one really has any issue with working out before/during/after/during work as long as you get the work done that you need to get done. I mean they are also okay with us all sitting at our desks in cycling gear eating breakfast whilst waiting for the shower which is pretty handy really.
    However, I do realise that not all women are built the same – I have been in the gym in the morning before blow-drying sweat out of my hair whilst someone else was putting in hair extensions…which says a lot. Top tip I learnt when doing a lot of bikram was french plaiting my fringe and hair around the front of my head…and then no-one would ever know I hadn’t washed it.

  • Helen Wednesday, 11 January 2017 at 18:43

    Short hair is the answer! Having fine hair also helps. :D
    I shower in the gym, don’t use any machinery on it whatsoever, and my hair is as good as dry before I finish the 3-minute walk back to the office. Lucky me!

    • MrsB Wednesday, 11 January 2017 at 19:15

      I am soooo tempted to cut my hair really short but I have never had super short hair and maybe 40 isn’t the time to experience with big changes like that.

      • Helen Wednesday, 11 January 2017 at 21:33

        On the contrary, 40 is an excellent time to experiment with new haircuts! You can always blame it on a mid-life crisis.

  • Scallywag Wednesday, 11 January 2017 at 18:29

    At my new work I can’t exercise in lunch- it isn’t enough time and there are no washing facilities even if it was enough time.

    I exercise before work but it isn’t part of my commute as the commute is not really runnable (all motorways and very far). I also wouldn’t be able to change and wash on arrival

    You can run little on the way back (from work to train station no1) but its only a few miles and on a pitch black traffic busy a road… When it gets light out there is a nearby country park so I will try that then!

    • MrsB Wednesday, 11 January 2017 at 19:16

      I have never worked in a place that didn’t have showers, it almost seems like it’s against some law – discrimination against fit people :)

  • suslik Wednesday, 11 January 2017 at 14:57

    the bun, of course :) i go to lunchtime crossfit classes and there is no other way than the bun. and it means a messy wet bun as it would take forever to dry my hair :D i have no idea whether it is acceptable or not in the office, i think people just do not mention it (or have accepted this as one of my many weirdnesses).
    but lunchtime excercise is great :) i’d do more than twice a week but unfortunately there are just two days with lunchtime classes in my box.
    i have thought about running to the office and back…but the morning routine involves dropping the little one off to the kindergarten and i haven’t figured out how to handle this exactly. we do cycle in spring/summer/autumn (fingers crossed i will still be able to ride along this 15+ kg in the baby seat).

    • MrsB Wednesday, 11 January 2017 at 19:19

      I’m so glad my boss and colleagues are also ok with my lunchtime Crossfit habit (and my wet hair and me eating my lunch at my desk afterwards). A couple of years ago I worked on a project that meant I couldn’t take 1.5 hours at lunchtime so I did my Crossfit at 7am before work or 5:30pm. I prefer lunch – it breaks up the day nicely and gives me energy for the afternoon.

  • Anna @AnnaTheApple Wednesday, 11 January 2017 at 13:38

    Yep, it’s mainly my hair that stops me working on mid-lunch. The shower in our ladies is always TERRIBLE. I’d rather just run straight after work then I can drive home and shower there. Plus I hate having to rush to eat my lunch and I don’t feel justified to take it slowly if I’ve already been running for a significant amount of time.
    I do envy you though! I’d love to do something like Crossfit during a lunch time.

    • MrsB Wednesday, 11 January 2017 at 19:22

      I always eat at my desk after Crossfit but I don’t ever feel like I need to rush. I just get on with stuff and chew on the side. Whenever I run or go to Crossfit after work, my digestion is always giving me trouble :|

  • Jem Wednesday, 11 January 2017 at 13:28

    Hair has never been an issue for me – mostly because I don’t have a lot of it – but it was always a lack of changing/shower facilities that stopped me from running or cycling to work when I worked in an office. I’ve found that it’s uncommon to have anything like that outside of big cities.

    • MrsB Wednesday, 11 January 2017 at 19:24

      It’s that not illegal a little bit – not having showers / not providing people with an opportunity to go and move before/during/after work? I’m sure it’s not, but it should be :) And your hair rocks. I wish I were as brave as you.