I got so fit working from home. How do I stay in shape and healthy when I return to the office?

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Going back to the office doesn’t have to mean losing your fitness progress. Getty
  • Going back to the office doesn’t mean you can’t maintain healthy habits.
  • Meal prep and scheduling your workouts will help you stay on track.
  • Make training as convenient as possible by joining a gym near your office.
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Dear Rachel,

How do you find a balance of healthy eating and fitness when returning to the office? I’ve been working from home for over a year now and it’s been great because I have so much more time to exercise and make healthy meals. But my company is returning to the office soon and that means I’ll lose an extra two to three hours of my day just by commuting and general office life. I’m really worried about how to have not only the time but the energy to maintain the health and fitness goals I’ve reached during the pandemic.

– Worried Worker

Dear Worried,

A change of routine can be nerve-wracking when it comes to health, so it’s understandable to be scared about losing your progress.

The busier life becomes, the less time (and headspace) we have to focus on our fitness goals. But patience here is key.

It took us all a while to adjust to working out, working, and eating at home at the same time, so it’ll take a while to settle back into “normal” life again.

Preparation is key

The most important factor for staying fit while busy is preparation.

Every Sunday, I schedule my workouts and meal plan for the week ahead.

Coach and gym manager at WIT Fitness Jess Rosart and registered dietitian Tai Ibitoye both recommend meal prepping. Simply batch cook your meals at a designated time each week, and start making it a habit now.

“You can ensure that your meals are balanced by including a variety of fruits and vegetables, good sources of protein, starchy carbohydrates (especially to maintain your energy levels), and dairy or non-dairy alternatives,” Ibitoye told Insider. “Knowing that you’ve thought ahead of time of what you will eat during the week may put your mind at ease.”

Start the day well

Whether you eat breakfast at home, on-the-go, or in the office, start the day with a nourishing meal.

“Breakfast is the first meal of the day and an initial opportunity to fuel and provide nutrients to your body like fiber, vitamins, and minerals,” Ibitoye said.

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I’m a big fan of overnight oats because it’s ready to eat in the morning, and Ibitoye recommends oatmeal topped with nuts, seeds, and fruit. You can also pair eggs with whole grain toast or yogurt with oats and fruit.

Make healthy choices on the go

Don’t worry if you can’t always have lunches prepared – just make smart choices from cafes and grocery stores.

Ibitoye said reading nutrition labels will help you keep an eye on your intake of added sugars, saturated fat, and overall calories.

“Snacks can provide energy for your activities during the day and also provide you with vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber,” Ibitoye said.

Cookies and cakes in the office can be hard to resist. You don’t have to cut them out altogether, but eat them in moderation by bringing your own snacks.

Ibitoye suggests fruit, unsalted nuts and seeds, unsalted popcorn, plantain chips, low fat yogurt, rice cakes, crackers, or vegetable sticks with hummus, salsa, or low fat cheese dip.

Eat mindfully

Ibitoye recommends stepping away from your work to eat lunch without distractions.

“Mindful eating provides an opportunity to become more aware of your physical hunger and satiety cues to guide your decision to begin and end eating,” she said.

Drink plenty of water too, as we sometimes mistake thirst for hunger.

Make fitness as convenient as possible

You’re more likely to stick to your fitness regime if it’s as easy as possible, so try out a gym close to your office or on your commute.

Rosart recommends looking into whether class times fit with your schedule and training preferences (ie. morning, lunchtime or evening).

If you find yourself being drawn to happy hours or having to work late in the evening, it might be best to train in the morning.

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“Consider the community and energy of the space,” Rosart said. “It’s often overlooked but really important that you are excited to go to this gym or studio.”

Although commuting can be time-consuming, you might also find your step count increases without trying. Going back to the office isn’t all bad for your health – just give yourself time to settle into a new routine.

Wishing you well,


As a senior health reporter at Insider and a self-described fitness fanatic with an Association for Nutrition-certified nutrition course under her belt, Rachel Hosie is immersed in the wellness scene and here to answer all your burning questions. Whether you’re struggling to find the motivation to go for a run, confused about light versus heavy weights, or unsure whether you should be worried about how much sugar is in a mango, Rachel is here to give you the no-nonsense answers and advice you need, with strictly no fad diets in sight.

Rachel has a wealth of experience covering fitness, nutrition, and wellness, and she has the hottest experts at her fingertips. She regularly speaks to some of the world’s most knowledgeable and renowned personal trainers, dietitians, and coaches, ensuring she’s always up to date with the latest science-backed facts you need to know to live your happiest and healthiest life.

Have a question? Ask Rachel at [email protected] or fill out this anonymous form. All questions will be published anonymously.

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