Tag Archives: stress relief

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

Health and Fitness Reviews: King Spa (Fort Lee, NJ)

While I was in Korea, I spent a lot of time in a place known as a jjimjilbang. It’s essentially a spa, translates into heated bath room, but it’s unlike those I’ve found in the United States (Not that I go to many spas). Although King Spa is not as extravagant, in terms of activities to do, it is an excellent destination. Essentially I want to discuss these places so that you can look for one near you and experience something amazing.

It’s a treat for the body and mind. The ones in the United States, including King Spa, are ridiculously more expensive than those in all parts of Korea. I’ve stayed in ones in Seoul, Boryeong, Jukjeon, and Donghae. Maybe some others but I can’t really remember. I spent the most time in Jukjeon because it was so close to the school I attended so I frequented those jjimjilbang and they were obviously my favorite. But moving on to why they are so amazing.

King Spa

King Spa

At King Spa, you can park your car and enter the spa for a full day and night of peace and relaxation… and delicious food! Obviously the choice of food and television is Korean and there are mostly Korean Americans at King Spa, but you get other individuals that have discovered the magic within as well. They have lots of showers and different temperature baths. There is a nice warm one, a burning hot one, and a freezing cold one.

There are also equivalents for steam rooms. These are painfully hot. In my opinion, the main attractions are these dome like rooms that are typically made of mud that contain special scents and materials that help heal the body. These domes are also temperature controlled and they range from hundreds of degrees to freezing. Some rooms require wearing burlap sacks and some have snowmen in them. There are chairs for watching television and relaxing and rooms dedicated to complete sleep and relaxation. There are tons of delicious food to snack on and if you want to find out more about the food there… then make sure to read our review on Korea House in Boulder. Alana also gave her go at Korean food too.

I don’t want to go into too much depth because King Spa doesn’t have as much to offer as places in South Korea, but it is your responsibility to treat your body right. Find a spa like one of these and treat yourself to some rest, relaxation and recovery. It will make you healthier and stronger and such a happier person. Find a jjimjilbang if you want to stay hungry and fit!

Us at King Spa

This picture was AFTER all-you-can-eat sushi at around 11pm after no sleep from flying to NJ. But still happy

4 Ways to Breathe Properly and Reap the Benefits

Breathe in. And out. Breathing, oxygen is the foundation of our entire existence as air-breathing animals. Yet, we rarely pay attention to it throughout the day. I’m here to bring the importance of breathing back into your life! Breathing properly has an incredible amount of benefits, including:

  • A larger lung capacity
  • Lower blood pressure 
  • The ability to relax emotions and stress
  • The ability to relax muscle tension, cramps, and pain
  • The ability to push your exercise and strength farther 
  • Improves posture
  • Elevates mood and keeps you calm and refreshed
  • Fights off fatigue
Breathe

Breathe (Photo credit: PhotoLab XL)

Now those are just some benefits of breathing deeply and properly, the list goes on and on. Breathing is also a large part of meditation, where you can learn more about here. Okay, Alana, these are great benefits!

So, how do we breathe properly?

There are several different techniques for different situations, but in most circumstances, it is important to breathe deeply. Breathe deep in through the nose and out through the mouth. Depending on the situation, it is good to have your exhale be audible (such as when you are meditating or working out).

1. Breathing 101. Like I said, in through the nose, out through the mouth. When you inhale, make sure that your belly expands. Once your belly expands, fill your chest. It is good to inhale and hold at the top for as long as you comfortably can, then exhale through the mouth. This is the proper technique of breathing to get those benefits we talked about above. It helps to massage those inner muscles as well.

English: Animation of a diaphragm exhaling and...

English: Animation of a diaphragm exhaling and inhaling (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

2. Breathing for meditation. Again, if you want a more in-depth introduction or guide to meditation, go here. Otherwise, let’s go through a short version. We are going to do the same breathing (in through nose, out through mouth), but this time we are going to count. This helps focus the mind and concentrate only on breathing, which is a great practice for meditation. So, inhale for 4 counts, hold the breath at the top for 4 counts, and exhale for 4 counts. Do this for a few minutes. After a few minutes and you’ve gotten into a rhythm, expand your breath farther by using the count of 5. 

La méditation (Danse Odissi, musée Guimet)

La méditation (Danse Odissi, musée Guimet) (Photo credit: dalbera)

3. Breathing for working out. Believe it or not, breathing for exercise purposes is similar to the above techniques. But with working out, we want to exhale more forcefully. Often, when we exercise, we tend to gulp up short little breaths, and even hold our breath during a tough exercise. These are NO-NOs! If you want to get stronger, faster, and more capable, here’s how to do it: breathe in when you’re in the less stressful part of the exercise, and then exhale forcefully (so that others can hear it) out. This dramatic exhale focuses you and pushes you to complete the exercise. Make sure your inhales are deep–your muscles need oxygen, and if you deprive them of it, they will not work properly or as effectively!

photo (75)

Chris breathing through leg press

4. Breathing for stress relief. I know we allll need this one, so pay attention. We are going to do the same breathing techniques as above, but slightly changed to fit our needs. Let’s practice this breathing technique three times: inhale very deeply, fill up that chest and expand the tummy. Hold it…now exhale out forcefully making an “ahhh” sound. As you exhale out loudly, I want you to slump your shoulders with the force of it. So you’re bringing your inhale up, your posture nice and straight, then letting it all loose with a loud, stress-releasing exhale.

[Exhalation] Tomoe Shinohara as Sayuri

[Exhalation] Tomoe Shinohara as Sayuri (Photo credit: edmundyeo)

 

Keep in mind all the benefits this deep breathing can give you, and try to practice proper breathing at least ten minutes a day. If you are strength training, definitely put this to use if you want a better workout! If you keep practicing, you will notice your posture will become more upright, you will feel more relaxed, and in charge of your life!

Feel free to comment with any questions you might have. Cheers!