Core-Po-rate Fitness (Staying Fit in the Office)
You might be thinking… why is the title written in such a manner? Well, this article is being published because of a single man who I consider to be a brother. I am sure in time you will find out more about some of my closest friends but “Po” and “Pablo” (these names are used to protect identities) are almost definitely my oldest closest friends. I have known them for the longest time of the few friends I stay in touch with on the regular. Therefore, the core comes from what you will be doing, the Po is for his name and it somewhat misspells but spells out the word corporate.
So Po texted me this morning and said that I “should do a post on a sweat-free guide to corporate fitness” because he seems to “feel all fat and bloated sitting at my office desk.” As he pointed out, “sweating is crucial to a healthy workout… but not conducive to business attire.” Well, Po is obviously very accurate in what he is saying. I know that everyone watches Bond movies and says how does Sean Connery/Roger Moore/Timothy Dalton/George Lazenby/Pierce Brosnan/Daniel Craig manage to be in such good shape and chase criminals at full speed for miles while wearing a very tight tuxedo or suit? We all know that it’s a movie and it’s very challenging to workout in that business attire for a few reasons.
First, you don’t want to ruin expensive clothes. Second, you lose a whole lot of range of motion when wearing button down shirts or skirts. Third, when you have those tight-fitting clothes on, your body temperature raises faster… causing you to SWEAT MORE. So we have to figure out how to increase someone’s physical fitness in the corporate world without sweating? Well, let’s talk about sweat, baby.
Sweat, more properly known as perspiration, is the release of fluids in mammals from two different glands that are more or less distributed over the skin of your whole body. Sweating is the body’s way of regulating its temperature in hot weather. In tropical climates near the Equator, especially in Southeast Asia, spicy foods are staples in diets because they help stimulate a sweat response which leads to water on one’s skins evaporating causing a cooling effect. Depending on the individual and many factors, the secretion of fluids can range from not so much to a ton. I have never perspired a lot, however a high school friend who captained the football and wrestling teams perspired just by sitting still. That is why we should not compare ourselves to one another and deal with your body when figuring out what you need to do. Males can perspire anywhere from 2-4 liters in an hour… which is a large range. Finally, men start perspiring much quicker than females, even though both genders have the same perspiration when they are exercising at the same intensity.
Now that we know the basics about sweating, how can we avoid it? Obviously, we sweat more when we exert more force on our muscles because they heat up and this doesn’t help our problem. We need to figure out a way to not sweat but still exert force on our muscles. It seems impossible. The issue here isn’t being able to find a way to exercise intensely while wearing business attire. It is how can we change our overall lifestyle, while coping with our occupation, in order to feel good all the time. That can be challenging when sitting down at a desk for eight or nine hours, even with a lunch break in the middle. I know how that feels when I am tied to my desk on Fridays, some nights and some weekends. So let’s outfit a day that can make us feel better because not everyone can afford a treadmill desk or is allowed to use a stability ball instead of an office chair.
Aside: That’s right everyone… there is something called a treadmill desk and you can research it more to find out about it. Otherwise, if you are working at a place where they don’t mind swapping office chairs for a stability ball, then please make that purchase and switch. Sitting on a stability ball forces you to utilize your core muscles while sitting and typically that results in better posture and a workout that lasts all day long. You can also bounce up and down and get a leg workout when people aren’t watching you! Do that in moderation and you won’t even break a sweat.
This is going to come back to the three basics of a healthy lifestyle: Exercise, nutrition, and rest. Make sure you are getting an ample amount of sleep every night before you have to wake up to go to work. I say 6-8 hours, which makes 7 seem like the magic number. Some professional athletes sleep 10-12 hours but there are studies that show that can actually have negative effects.
Make sure you are eating healthy meals throughout the day. If you are trying to stay lean, it helps to keep your metabolism fired up by spacing out 6-8 small meals that meet your macronutrient goals. If you don’t want to measure macros, then just don’t eat garbage. Eat well! Ask away if you want recommendations for office snacks that can help fight cravings for junk food and help keep your metabolism fired up.
Finally, try to get some physical activity in every day. You don’t need to hit the gym if it doesn’t fit your schedule. Fifteen minutes are all you need. I recommend working out when you wake up if you have a corporate job because then you can be happy with what you did and not have to think about what you’re going to work out for the rest of the day. Mike Chang just did a YouTube video on the same topic so check it out. But here is what I recommend for physical activity in the office to keep you loose. These are exercises that will not make you sweat but will help keep your metabolism up, joints healthy, and muscles loose.
Flexing – I’m not joking. When you flex your muscles, you are contracting them and then releasing the contraction. It’s the same thing you do with a weight but there is less resistance. When I drive for more than 3 straight hours I will typically sit straight up with my back off the chair and start contracting my abs. All of them one at a time (upper, lower, obliques) in a circuit. You can do it without thinking.
Bring a resistance band to work. Tie it up under your chair and do some side deltoid (shoulder) raises or front deltoid raises. You can do some curls also. If you want to wrap it around your ankles then you can do some leg extensions. Just by using proper posture and some very light weight exercises you can FEEL better. That is what this is all about.
Po is an athletic guy that is in good shape but sitting around makes him and all of us feel LAZY and bad about ourselves. Just by doing these exercises, with a range of motion that fits your attire, you can feel so much better about yourself while you are sitting down because you are trying. And a lot of these don’t take much time or effort but they can keep you loose, strengthen your joints, help stretch, and keep your metabolic rate up throughout the day. If you want recommendations about resistance tubes and bands, just ask away in the comment section below. Some are better suited for certain people. Plus, they are very easy to transport unlike heavy weights. And like I said, you can do those exercises without even thinking. Low risk of injury when using that type of resistance.
I will try to make a video of me dressed in business attire sitting at a desk doing these exercises so you get the idea but remember that this is about feeling better so do what you need to do to stay happy, hungry and fit! (REMEMBER that we are here for YOU and are willing to do posts on just about anything that you want to know more about. We will answer all requests and questions to the best of our ability no matter what the topic is related to. Just put what you want us to write about in the comment section below or email it to firstname.lastname@example.org)
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