I’d classify working a 9-to-5 desk job as the antithesis of a fit lifestyle. Being that sedentaryis absolutely miserable for your health and being caught-up right in the middle of it kills me a little bit inside every day…literally
It’s been pretty well documented that sitting down for a prolonged period time is a quick route to obesity and heart disease, but a study recently published by the AAP is straight up terrifying. The AAP tracked the lives of over 200,000 Australian men and women and found that “those who sat for more than 10 hours a day had a 48 per cent increased risk of death compared to more active people who sat for less than four hours a day.”Say what…48 percent!? It gets worse. No matter how intensely you run, lift, or cardio kick-box during your free time, the negative impact of your desk job really isn’t mitigated by much at all.
The sheer fact that my health is inevitably going to decline–even though I’m absolutely busting my ass in the gym every day–is straight up frightening and makes very little sense to me. Quite frankly that’s unacceptable. At least for me. I won’t let that happen.
Naturally, being the neurotic fitness/nutrition geek that I am, since I’ve started working full-time I’ve worked hard to get really creative and discover little ways to infuse health and fitness into my day-to-day routine. Unlike a lot of magazines that suggest absolutely ridiculous work fitness fixes, I’m not suggesting that you start doing jumping jacks, p90x, or crunches in your cube, although if that’s your style then hey…jump around to your heart’s content (you’ll probably live longer than most people). I’m practical and a realist. These 7 fixes will improve your health & fitness, they’re easy to start doing, and they’ll even preserve your workplace integrity! It’s a trifecta.
The 7 Spot of Work Fitness
1. Work Your Grip.
Major Problem: You’re at work for 8+ hours, but you’re not physically improving your body.
Quick Fix: Work your grip. Building grip strength & massive forearms is the one area that’s absolutely perfectly suited for the work environment. You won’t break a sweat, you won’t look like an idiot, and it’s a fantastic stress-buster. I love and highly recommend the 6-piece Strongman Grip set–it comes full with 6 different grips, ranging from 100-350 pounds of resistance. Similar to when you train your chest, legs, or biceps, progressively increasing the amount of weight lifted is 100% key to muscle growth.
Once an hour take a break and do a set of 12 reps per hand…during the average 9-to-5 that’s a total of 96 reps/arm! Once you’re able to do a full 12 reps per hand with the 100 pounder and successfully “graduate,” move on up to the 150 pound grip.
2. G-g-g-get Up!
Major Problem: When you sit down for long periods of time blood begins to pool in your lower body and circulation is reduced to your upper body and brain. Translation: You’re less productive and not thinking as clearly as you should be. Not only that, but chronic sitting puts you at seriousrisk for deep vein thrombosis, a.k.a blood clots.
Quick Fix: Once an hour take an extended walk to refresh your body and get your blood pumping. Go to the bathroom, water cooler, a colleagues desk, outside…it doesn’t matter, just go walk somewhere occasionally.
Bonus: You’ll burn calories.
3. Skip the Elevator.
Major Problem: You’re sedentary at work and don’t burn any calories.
Quick Fix: Take the stairs instead of the elevator, or walk up-and-down stairs for the heck of it. According to Livestrong, a 150-lb person burns about 6-7 calories/minute walking up/down the stairs–nearly 7x more calories than when taking the elevator. Think about this one: taking the stairs for just five minutes/day will result in an averageweight loss of 2.5 pounds per year. DO IT!
4. Get Out of the Coffee Habit.
Major Problem: You’re in DESPERATE need of an afternoon energy boost, but you’ve already had 2+ cups of coffee.
Quick Fix: Drinking 1-2 cups of coffee per day is completely healthy and does a fantastic job of revving up metabolism, but drinking any more than that, well…becomes excessive. Two great alternatives are Emergen-C and green tea.
Emergen-C is loaded with vitamins and minerals–most notably 1,000 mg of the antioxidant Vitamin C and a plethora of different B Vitamins for increased energy production. The antioxidants help fight off disease, prevent aging, improve skin, and reduce inflammation; B vitamins help convert food into fuel.
Green Tea contains compounds that improve mental focus and attention, enhance concentration, and accelerate the metabolism. All of that equates to bumped up mental and physical energy without the jitters or anxiety of coffee.
And while we’re on the subject of green tea…
5. Drink MORE Green Tea.
Major Problem: You’re getting FAT FAT FAT at work.
Quick Fix: Drink a lot of green tea…it’s THE ultimate weight loss drink. It a) reduces appetite b) increases metabolism, which bumps up calorie burn c) increases thermogenesis–which means that your body produces more heat, and thus incinerates more calores, and d) the big kahuna, it reduces the body’s ability to absorb AND increases its ability to use it. Check this…a recent study by ACE looked at a compound in green tea known as ECGC and found that mice who consumed ECGC “gained weight 45 percent more slowly.” Um, wow…
6. Start Vacuuming.
Major Problem: You feel like your abs aren’t getting enough attention.
Quick Fix: There’s a legit way to sculpt a 6-pack at work…and you don’t even have to leave your chair. Do Ab Vacuums. Ab Vacuums strengthen your transverse abdominis–the under layer of the abs that helps to shrink the stomach region, compress the abs, and create an all-around flatter, tighter appearance. Sit up straight in your chair and suck your belly button inwards towards your spine, hold it in for 30 seconds, and repeat it for a total of 3 sets. Do as many sets as you want throughout the day…the more you do, the tighter your abs will get
7. Hit the Gym @ Lunch.
Major Problem: You don’t have time to workout.
Quick Fix: If you work long hours and can’t find any time to hit the gym before/after work, work out (no pun intended) an agreement with your boss that allows you to exercises for 45 mins – 1 hour at lunch time. Obviously you’ll be able to actually get in a workout like this, but you’ll also be MORE productive, think more clearly, and feel reinvigorated afterwards. Focusing on exercise also helps YOU stay healthy and take fewer sick days, which in turn costs the company less money…I just gave you the rationale, go do some convincing.
Owner/Editor-In-Chief of LeanItUP.com, Contributor for Men's Health. I like abs, Cam Newton, silliness, burning cals, & vacation breakfast buffets.
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