Staying Healthy and Working the 9-5

Working a non-fitness, office-based 9-5 job and staying fit and healthy is incredibly hard! So if you’re sitting at a desk all day and still killing it in the gym and eating clean – props to you because I know first-hand how difficult it can be!

This is by no means a blog to bash those who are full time bloggers/PTs/students and smashing the fitness game because we’ve all got our own stuff going on and living a healthy life is admirable no matter what! I just wanted to post a helpful blog for my fellow full-time workers on my top tips to staying healthy even when you’re working long, inactive hours in the office.

1. Squeeze in activity wherever you can!
Park on the far side of the car park, get off a tube stop earlier and walk the last 10 minutes, take the stairs instead of the lift, take a walk over lunch time, go to the toilets on the other side of the building…..it’s silly little things like this that can add up and make a real difference! Be creative with how to get some more movement in to your day.

2. Walking meetings are life! 
If you’re meeting with 1 or 2 others and you don’t need to be sat down for, do the meeting whilst walking laps of the office. Sure you might look a little insane but it’s a great way to get some steps in and the activity will add a bit of energy to your meeting to (top tip courtesy of my director/Fitbit Work Week Hustle rival Jon Walbancke).

3. Prep healthy snacks so you’re not tempted by office cake!
It seems to be someone’s birthday/leaving do/bar mitzvah every other day in the office…there is ALWAYS cake and treats around! Great for morale, terrible for waistlines. Prep yourself some healthy snacks so when you turn down the third piece of cake you’ve been offered that day, you won’t have to go back to your desk and cry hungrily in to your keyboard. I’ve written another article that you can find here on my favourite healthy snacks.

4. Keep hydrated all day!
It’s easy to do but equally as easy to forget to do. Keep a big bottle of water with you at all times and make sure you drink it! (Aim for 1-2L of water over the day, especially if it’s hot). Extra hydration bonus, grab yourself some metabolism friendly teas throughout the day – my favourites are PG Tips Lemon Pie Green Tea and Protein World Slender Teas.

5. Workout in the morning before you have a chance to make an excuse!
I am definitely not a morning person, so getting up at 05:30 for Kobox with Georgie Spurling is a struggle but I always feel SO good for it! If you wake up early and get straight in to exercise before work, your body won’t have time to hate you and you won’t be in a position to make a ‘I’m too tired/I had a bad day/I really need to stay late and finish these emails’ excuse. Get up and get it done so you can carry on with your normal busy day.

6. Pack your own healthy lunches!
It might seem deathly uncool to bring your Tupperware along when all of your colleagues are going out to Tesco/Pret/Gregs for lunch but a) you’ll save so much money and b) you’ll have much more control over what goes in to the food you eat. Even ‘healthy’ high street food can be laden with sneaky sugar and saturated fat!

7. Manage your stress!
I am a self-confessed worrier but it’s really important to manage the amount of stress you’re experiencing. Stress is incredibly bad for so many elements of health but it encourages the release of cortisol (makes you crave junk food) and can slow your metabolism right down. Try meditation to refocus your racing mind. I’m currently loving the Headspace app – check in with your occupational health team at work as a lot of companies now offer this, or similar services, for free (a mindful employee is an efficient employee!). Furthermore, try to effectively prioritise your work load, learn to say no, surround yourself with positive people and take sufficient breaks!

8. Make your workouts tough but time efficient!
Although it’d be lovely to spend an hour and a half in the gym, warming up, stretching, cardio, weights, foam rolling, more stretching maybe even a little swim…sometimes that is just not possible! If you’re pressed for time, squeeze in a 20 minute HiiT workout (try 20 seconds on, 40 seconds off, sprinting on the treadmill/deadmill/stepper). 20 minutes is always better than nothing! The higher the intensity you’re working at, the less time you’ll need to spend to burn the same calories as a low intensity workout, you won’t even need to spend a luxuriously long hour at the gym! (When did an hour become a luxury aye? Adult life….)

9. If in doubt, dry shampoo!
I AM NOT HERE TO SHOWER SHAME YOU!!! Washing my hair after a workout adds on a good 15 minutes to my post shower routine. Sometimes you have a very limited amount of time to go to the gym and maybe you’d prefer to spend more time working out than washing your hair….no judgement!! Give your hair a blast with some dry shampoo, maybe even a stint under the hairdryer if you’re particularly sweaty, whip it up in to a chic messy bun and you’re good to go! There is more value in hitting the gym over lunch than looking the picture of perfection for your 1pm meeting.

10. Balance!
I completely understand that trying to spin a lot of plates is pretty difficult. If you do end up having a really stressful day at work and you eat some cookies on the couch rather than hitting that spinning class you signed up to, brush it off, drink some green tea, get an early night and start again with a more positive outlook tomorrow. There is literally no point beating yourself up, bad days happen and perfection is expected from nobody. Just keep trying to be the healthiest, best version of you that you can be! In the ever wise words of Schmidt:

I hope that was useful. I really admire my PT/blogger/model/student friends who’re doing an amazing job with fitness but our realities are quite different (and that’s okay! It’d be boring if we were all the same). I juggle quite a demanding brand management job at Unilever, teaching kickboxing classes, blogging, my own health and fitness and some social life in there somewhere too. I’ve definitely been through some struggles of ‘I just don’t have enough time for everything’ but I’m working hard to figure out how to balance everything.

Hopefully this blog has helped someone else who’s trying to get fit whilst balancing a lot of responsibilities. And if anyone has anything specific you’re struggling with, you can always drop me an email or an Insta DM. Thanks for reading 🙂

2 thoughts on “Staying Healthy and Working the 9-5

  1. mikeandtiffblog says:

    Great post! I would also add that if you don’t like the gym then there are other sports/hobbies which can help you get fit.

    I don’t have any motivation when hitting the gym on my own and spend half the time wondering around aimlessly which was one of the reasons for finding a love in Crossfit. I can be told what the workout is and never have to think about what I’m going to do.

    Find something you love and it will rarely feel like a workout. – Mike

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  2. charandtheweb says:

    Great read. I sit at my desk from 9 to 6, sometimes 7 and after that I’m often too tired to go to the gym. To still squeeze in some exercise I often do 3 or 4 exercises during the duration of 3 or 4 songs. Squats are my favorite, and luckily it is not difficult to fit in 15 min of exercise a day, especially when it can be done at home.

    Would you be interested in sharing your thoughts and posts with our community of health, fitness and nutrition enthusiasts over at “The Active You”? We’d love to hear what you have to say. You can check us out over at https://www.facebook.com/groups/theactiveyou!

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