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.

"Po" with a delicious donut

“Po” with a delicious donut

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.

Up and coming James Bond

Up and coming James Bond

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.

If dogs could sweat, SHE WOULD!

If dogs could sweat, SHE WOULD!

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.

Beautiful picture of Alana sweating after a Spartacus workout

Beautiful picture of Alana sweating after a Spartacus workout

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.

Salad

Salad

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.

This can make the difference! Photo from FitSugar

FlexingI’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.

Flex!

Flex!

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 hungryandfit@gmail.com)

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BONUS KITTY PIC

Nymeria being cute

Nymeria being cute

11 Responses to "Core-Po-rate Fitness (Staying Fit in the Office)"

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  1. moxiemom

    July 16, 2013 at 7:02 am

    Instead of smoke breaks, I take walk breaks. Three times a day I head out with some coworkers and do a lap of the parking lots in our complex – it takes about 15 minutes and each lap is .75 miles (we clocked it on a pedometer). It breaks up the day too!

    • hungryandfit

      July 16, 2013 at 10:30 pm

      Awesome! That’s perfect

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  3. Kathleen

    July 16, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    UNCLE SCOTT

    • hungryandfit

      July 17, 2013 at 8:24 pm

      The man, the myth, and the legend himself

  4. More Food, Please

    July 18, 2013 at 2:07 pm

    Thanks for the tips! I agree with working out when you wake up. Even though I don’t like getting up early, I feel so much better when I’m done with my workout early in the morning! I can spend the rest of the day not worrying about getting in a workout.

  5. wusabi

    July 21, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    Hi H&F! Great post! Work and work out balance is so important. I usually work out after work. However, I like how I feel after I work out early in the morning. The toughest part is to wake up early enough.

    I am the type of person that has to eat something first thing in the morning. What types of breakfast foods are fast to make and will give me energy for my morning work out? Also, what are some great morning workouts that will get my blood flowing for the rest of the day?

    • hungryandfit

      July 21, 2013 at 10:31 pm

      You need to be careful about what you eat before a workout. Some people have a really hard time pushing themselves with a lot of dairy in their system. Since you asked for foods that are fast to make and will provide energy I can be more specific in my recommendations. Protein shakes from powder (or pre-made) give you the right nutrients for a workout and aren’t too heavy if made with water in the morning.

      Hard boiled eggs from the night before along with a piece of toast or two with some peanut butter can also give you the carbs, fats, and proteins that will energize your workout without making you feel too heavy or taking up too much time. My go to emergency pre-workout meal is a Clif Builder’s Bar. I always have a box in the cabinet.

      The most important thing is that you don’t go into the workout with an empty stomach. Your body is going to require fuel and if you don’t fuel it, then it won’t work for you. Simple enough.

      For early morning workouts, try to limit your time in the gym to an hour or less. Make sure you warm up with some stretching or easy “cardio” before using any weights, unless you do some quality warm up sets with your weights. A good workout is based off of your goals, so if you are just trying to lose some fat and “stay in shape” then I would recommend a 10 minute warmup, 20 minutes of HIIT (high intensity interval training) and a 30 minute weight circuit to hit some major muscle groups. Try to repeat this 3 or 4 days a week, focusing on your lower body one day, chest and biceps one day, back and triceps one day, and shoulders and core another day.

      Just make sure you mix everything up for many reasons, mainly so that you don’t get bored with it and stay motivated.

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