I know there are a lot of you out there stuck at a desk all day to support your family. You would love more time for yourself to workout, but your current job situation just doesn’t allow it. People might tell you to get up earlier or exercise after work, but you are already away from home so much you want to spend what little time you have with your family. I just might have the perfect solution for you. I am a believer in the statement, “Doing something is better than nothing”. I am going to share some ideas with you so you can get some exercise, and not take away time from your family.
Regardless how busy the work day is we can always find a few minutes here and there throughout the day. The secret is we don’t need to stop work for 15 minutes to exercise. We can do 2-3 minutes at a time throughout the day. It can be broken up without taking away from the overall effect. We will be using a variation of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) called Tabata. These are moves you can do at your desk, conference room or break room, literally several minutes at a time.
How To Do It: Whenever you have 2-5 free minutes you are going to exercise for 20 seconds and rest for 10 seconds. Every minute you can spare can sneak in two rounds of Tabata. The goal is to do as many effective reps as possible during the 20 second working window.
How Much To Do: If you are just starting out and doing no exercise shoot to get in 10 minutes total throughout the workday. Split it up however you can. You may do 5 separate two minute rounds for example. Work to increase time as conditioning and downtime allows.
The Workout: This workout is going to be done right at your desk. Since the rounds are fairly short you won’t need to change clothes. Depending on the type of shoes you wear you may just slip them off. These are easy exercises that can be done right at your desk. You can pick just one at a time and go with it, or better yet, rotate through all four exercises in two minute blocks.
2 Minute Tabata Desk Circuit
A. Chair Squat: Excercise 20 seconds, rest 10 seconds and go to B.
Muscles worked: Thighs, hamstrings, glutes.
Form: Sit in your chair with good posture. Have your feet just outside shoulder width. Your legs should make 90 degree angles with your knees behind your toes. While keeping your hip down and torso upright stand up while breathing out. Flex your thighs and glutes at the top and return to the seated position while breathing in. Do as many reps as you can in 20 seconds following this form.
B. Desk Push Ups: Exercise 20 seconds, rest 10 seconds and go to C.
Muscles worked: Chest, shoulders, triceps.
Form: Slide your chair out of the way and face your desk. Get into push up position leaning against your desk if it’s sturdy enough. Your arms should be just shy of lock out, shoulders back, and chest out. Breathe in, lower yourself with control, and breathe out while you are pressing back up to the starting position. Do as many reps as you can in 20 seconds following this form.
C. Chair Dip: Exercise 20 seconds, rest 10 seconds and go to D.
Muscles worked: Triceps and chest.
Form: Sit on a sturdy chair. Place your palms on the front edge of the seat with your fingers forward. Your legs should make a 90 degree angle to start. While holding yourself up with your arms straight, lift your hips just off the chair so it’s hanging out in front. Lower yourself until your upper arms are parallel to the floor and push back up through your palms. You can make it more difficult by straightening out your legs.
D. Jumping Jack or High Knee: Exercise 20 seconds, rest 10 seconds.
Muscles worked: Cardiovascular system.
Form: Depending on the type of shoes you are wearing you may need to slip them off for either of these. Tuck that tie into your shirt. Stay light on the ball of your feet and get as many reps in as you can during the 20 seconds.
As you progress and conquer above, you can add or switch out exercises. It’s not a bad idea to keep a resistance band in a desk drawer. That would allow you to do just about every exercise with extra resistance.
Additional Office Tips: Here are a few other things you might try to incorporate to increase your health and fitness while working at the office.
- Get a Standing Desk: While this might seem like a big change many have been switching to a standing desk to improve posture and increase movement. This can be a game changer, but I recommend easing into it. Get a standing desk that is adjustable so you can switch between standing and sitting at first. Then as time goes on try to use the standing position for longer periods. Don’t forget to purchase a comfortable floor mat for long periods of standing.
- Take Breaks: At least once every hour stand up, stretch, and take a short walk even if it’s just to the drinking fountain or bathroom.
- Drink Water: This goes for all situations, but do your best to stay fully hydrated throughout the day.
- Practice Good Posture: Again, this goes for everybody, but if you are on a desk staring at a computer all day good posture is vital. Proper posture takes work, practice, and consistency until it becomes habit. It’s worth the effort otherwise expect a tight back and neck issues. The bonus is you will stand taller and appear more confident.
- Pack Meals: Stay on track nutrition wise by always having your healthy meals and snacks available when you need it. Don’t allow yourself to get hungry and go for the vending machine, or feel pressured to go out to eat every day with co-workers. Look into Fitmark ‘meal management’ bags to help you control your environment. Packing snacks and lunches will save you money as well.
Excuses are never excusable. If you are stuck at a desk all day, now you have viable options to make the best if your situation.
Don’t just sit on these ideas!
-Wittig, ISSA CPT
IPE Natural Pro 3x Champ
All socials: @WittigWorks