How to Stay Fit at Work: The Easy Way

If your job is basically your life raise your hand! Yeah, me too. Or maybe your job isn’t your life but you still spend all of your time at work, ugh. When you spend most of your time at work it can sometimes be hard to stay on track with your fitness goals. Especially if you leave your goals at home.

But because most of us spend so much time at the office it’s really important to make every day, bring your goals to work day. This is especially true if you have a desk job where you’re sedentary most of the time.

You’ve probably heard that “sitting is the new smoking.” It’s a shocking and catchy phrase but is sitting really that bad for you? Well as it turns out, yes. Sitting has been linked to a shorter lifespan as well as diabetes and heart disease, eek! Even worse is that researchers are saying daily exercise isn’t enough to counteract these scary sitting side effects. Some people are calling this the “active couch potato.”

This is exactly why creating an active and healthy lifestyle at home and at work is so crucial for you to reach your fitness goals and support your overall health. It’s not just about your activity level either. Your nutrition habits are a big part of the equation when you’re trying to get lean and toned too.

Here are 6 tips to help you stay on track to reaching your fitness goals even while you’re at work!

1. Workout Breaks and Desk Exercises

I’m not going to lie, working at a fitness company makes this one pretty easy. Everyone in our office is pretty active and it’s normal to see coworkers taking a walk around the building while taking a call. Plus we have a pickleball court which makes taking a break and getting active a lot of fun and a little sweaty (things get pretty competitive).

Our social media team is also a great example to the rest of us and takes a short break every hour to exercise as a department. It’s fun to watch them all jump up and do their short workout as a group.

IdealFit's social media team taking an exercise break.

Even though you might not work at a fitness company and don’t have as many opportunities to get active that doesn’t mean you couldn’t lead the charge to change things up a little. Rally your co-workers to do some squats with you, do jumping jacks while you’re waiting for the bathroom or fit in a few burpees before a meeting.

This is what our social media team does to stay fit at work to get you inspired.

  • Mondays: Arms- Pushups or a pushup variation
  • Tuesdays: Legs- Squats or lunges, etc.
  • Wednesdays: Core- Planks, Russian twists, etc.
  • Thursdays: Flexibility- Stretching or some yoga
  • Fridays: Cardio- Burpees, jumping jacks, etc.

2. Stand Up Every 10 Minutes

Just stand up. No need to do jumping jacks, squats, or burpees (although that’s not a bad idea). Simply standing up and sitting back down every 10 minutes will help you to counteract the ill effects of sitting down on the job all day long.

Dr. Joan Vernikos, former director of NASA’s Life Sciences Division, found in her research that the key to counteracting the side effects of a sedentary lifestyle is for the body to resist/interact with gravity. That’s why simply standing up every 10 minutes is so effective.

If you feel silly standing up and sitting down every 10 minutes, I get that. Try placing crucial things further out of your reach so you feel a little less aimless with your standing. Put your printer, trash can, or sticky notes a few steps away to force yourself to stand up.

3. Sit on an Exercise Ball

So this one might feel a little cliche but it’s still a good solution to the problem. It’s easy to slouch, relax, and stay put when you’re sitting in a traditional office chair. An exercise ball, on the other hand, forces you to engage your core muscles in order to stay balanced. Plus with no chair back to relax into you’ll be responsible for sitting upright.

In addition to engaging your core muscles, occasionally bouncing up and down on the ball will help you get some gravity resistance just like Dr. Vernikos suggested. It’s a much better way to expend any extra nervous energy than biting your nails or annoying your desk neighbor with endless pen clicking.

Exercise balls have a variety of names, including swiss ball and stability ball. Be sure to get the right size for you and your desk. Choose a ball size that allows you to sit with erect posture, with your hips and knees at 90 degrees based on your height and leg length. Most people use a 55 cm or 65 cm ball, but here’s a list of some more detailed measurements.

• 30-35 cm if < 4’10” tall
• 45 cm if 4’8″-5’5″ tall
• 55 cm if 5’6″-6’0″ tall
• 65 cm if 6’0″-6’5″ tall
• 75 cm if over 6’5″ tall

4. Invisible Exercises

Invisible exercises are just little movements that you can do at your desk without anyone noticing. These are great to do at your desk while you’re working because you don’t need to stand up or go anywhere. These are also good if you’re worried about looking like a weirdo doing squats in your cubicle (you don’t by the way!).

Glute Clench
This one is all about the booty. Your glutes are a major muscle group and working it can help you circulate blood, feel more energized and awake, and burn a couple extra calories than you would just sitting on it. All you have to do is clench or flex your glutes and hold it for five or ten seconds.

Flutter Kick
Just like the glute clench, this exercise will definitely help you stay awake and feel energized thanks to increased blood flow. Another benefit of increasing the blood flow in your legs is decreased chances of getting varicose veins which are a result of allowing blood to pool in your veins. Just hold your feet out in front of you and kick them up and down like you’re swimming.

Leg Bounce
I’m sure that you’ve had a coworker who incessantly bounces their knee up and down (I know I have!). Who knew it was actually good for your health? Well, this kind of fidgety behavior can actually increase your calorie burn. Just place your foot on the floor and quickly bounce your knee up and down.

Leg Raise
You might need to push back from your desk a little to do this one if you have long legs and not much legroom. Stretching your legs out straight will not only feel good, it also gives you the gravity resistance that you need to avoid the active couch potato effect. Extend your legs out in front of you and hold for five or ten seconds. You could also alternate which leg you’re holding up to vary the exercise.

Calf Raise
This is one of the most subtle invisible exercises. No one will even realize you’re busy burning more calories as you put together that report. Talk about multitasking! Place your feet flat on the floor in front of you. Press up through the ball of your foot flexing your calf as you do.

5. Stash Healthy Snacks

Getting snacky at work is the worst. Not only are you hungry but you feel distracted from the task at hand. You might end up heading towards the vending machine or wandering around to find the nearest goodie jar sitting on someone’s desk. Chances are, you won’t end up with a snack you’re all that happy with.

Store healthy snacks at your desk instead so you can avoid the candy jar, get your snack, and stay focused on your work too. Beef jerky is a really great desk snack because it’s high in protein and it has a long shelf life. Avoid snacks that are high in sugar as they could cause a spike and drop in energy.

Along with your healthy snacks keep water nearby too. Refilling your water bottle will give you a great excuse to stretch your legs too.

6. Bring Your Lunch

A major part of reaching your fitness goals is nutrition. If you’re trying to burn fat and get lean and toned your nutrition has to be on point. As an active woman you should be getting about 1g of protein per pound of body weight. This isn’t just going to happen on its own and it definitely won’t happen if you’re hitting up the drive-thru every day. All you need is a little preparation to help you keep your nutrition on track.

IdealLean Protein is the perfect way to maximize your protein intake throughout the day. Each serving of IdealLean Protein provides 20g of pure whey protein isolate and NO fat, carbs, or sugar so that you can get lean and toned, not big and bulky.

Bring Your Fitness to Work Every Day

It’s important to bring your fitness goals with you to work because A) you spend most of your time there and B) a sedentary lifestyle carries a lot of potential health risks. Whether your exercises are overt or covert it doesn’t matter, it’s all about getting your blood flowing a little bit more and staying focused on an active lifestyle.

It’s not just about staying active though. Keeping your nutrition on track while at work is also important. That’s where IdealLean Protein comes in. It’s super easy to throw in your shaker bottle and run.

Lindsey Mathews

Lindsey Mathews

Head Trainer & Nutritionist

Lindsey Mathews is the Head Trainer and Nutritionist at IdealFit. She is a NSCA-CSCS certified personal trainer, C-ISSN certified sports nutritionist, Pn. 1 certified nutrition coach, and a nationally qualified NPC bikini competitor. Before joining IdealFit, she ran the largest boot camp program in Utah County.

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