Help! I work 9am-5pm & struggle to maintain my health/fitness regime?

Prior to starting work as a Personal Trainer back in 2010, my previous job was desk based in the I.T industry. My hours of work were generally Monday-Friday, 9am – 5pm and therefore I can relate to a lot of the work related struggles my clients battle with each week. I’ve listed some common scenarios below as well some some tips and suggestions to help overcome them.
Staying hydrated

Most modern work places are air conditioned all year round. Even though air conditioning can help maintain steady comfort levels at work it can leave the skin and eyes feeling dry due to increased water loss, which can contribute to dehydrating your body.

-An obvious tip here is to have a regular supply of water by your desk, in a measurable form so you can roughly track how many litres you’ve had. In addition ,if possible try to get some fresh air during breaks and lunch as well too so you’re not constantly in the air conditioned environment

-Attempting to include foods high in water content will assist in maintaining hydration. Referring back to a previous blog back in June – “Summer Nutrition” I listed foods that carried a high water content.

-Lettuce (1½ cup) – Water content 95%

-Watermelon (1½ cup) – Water content 92%

-Broccoli (1½ cup) – Water content 91%

-Carrot (1½ cup) – Water content 87%

-Greek Yogurt (100 grams) – Water content 85%

-Apple (one medium) – Water content 84%

How can I fit in exercise around work?

This all depends on your training goal.

-My previous job was located in a large business park and a few staff members would always do a 30-45 minute walk during their lunch purely to get some form of exercise in their daily lives

– Many companies now provide shower facilities for staff which gives the option to run at lunchtimes or if close enough the ability to cycle to work and back

-If your training goal is specific and requires weight training then your options are limited. You’ll have to decide whether to exercise at home or the gym before, during  or after your day of work. I was fortunate enough to have gym membership located in the same business park (5 minute drive). I trained for 45 minutes at lunch, which gave me enough time to have a shower post workout and be back at work in time. However I do appreciate that not everyone has this convenience.

-Referring back to another of my previous blogs “When is the right time to exercise?” I concluded this blog with the following  “As mentioned earlier in the majority of cases your work, family and social life will dictate when you can exercise, if you have choice I would always recommend you train whenever you feel best and stress levels are low.”

-Other obvious tips would be to take the stairs rather than the lift and try not to sit down for prolonged periods of time, unless you’re stuck in a meeting, which leads me on to the next point.

Appropriate nutrition

Whatever your goal, a large part of achieving that will be down to your daily nutrition. Having a 9-5 job poses some potential barriers but on the flip side can help create routines that can keep us on track towards our goals.

-One of the main topics I discuss with clients relates to food prep. There is no best way of doing this, ultimately you have to make the effort to prepare your food for work no matter how tired you are. I always like the quote “If something is important to you, you will find a way, if it is not you will find an excuse”

-Whether you bulk prep on Sunday for the week or prep each evening or morning depends on your preferences and circumstances. What I tend to do (or my wife tends to do :0) is to make our dinner to serve 4 adults, so that after we have had our normal portion sizes I can take the remainder (2 servings)for lunch next day, which we find saves time.

-Alternative options are that a lot of the mini supermarkets or deli based shops are very much health conscious and understand that there is a big market of people demanding healthier lunches. If your work place is located near these or a food market (mainly cities) then you have the option for fresh lunches daily. In addition, I know a lot of big corporate companies have their own subsidised canteens which offer great variety. Again I appreciate this doesn’t apply to all of us

Another scenario people are faced with are those long arduous meetings.
-Planning your food prior to this can often keep your satisfied during the meeting and often help prevent you from snacking on those mid interval cakes/biscuits.

-Another tip is to have some healthy based snacks at close range (if allowed during a meeting) or at your desk so that during a quick loo break you can grab some. An example of this could be some nuts (if this is a food you like).

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