Staying healthy while working a 9-5 job is not easy, but it is possible. This article includes small tips, tricks, and easy to make substitutions to your daily routines that will result in feeling and looking healthier. The hardest part is getting started, but once you make these habits part of your routine the results will follow.
- Meal prep
This is the newest fad in the health and fitness world and that’s because the results are real. There is nothing worse for you than eating out for every meal; even if you were make the exact same meal at home you will probably save hundreds of calories. There is no way to know exactly how your food is prepared at a restaurant or take-out place, but when you’re in control you can make your food exactly the way you like it and use smart ingredients. I’m not suggesting that you have a salad for every meal, but I am suggesting you prepare your own food. For many people the easiest way to accomplish this is to make their meals in bulk on Sunday so that they have it ready for the rest of the week.
Start small, this may mean hard boiling a dozen eggs for a healthy snack to bring to work for the week or making ready-to-go smoothies for breakfast. No matter what you decide to make, try and opt for the healthiest ingredients. If you’re making a sandwich for lunch opt for a whole wheat wrap or multi-grain bread, chose mustard instead of mayo, go for turkey or sliced chicken instead of processed ham, and load it up with veggies! There are literally hundreds of meal prep suggestions on the Internet – you’re bound to find a few that fit your taste, budget, and time commitment.
- Get up and move
There is nothing worse for you than sitting at your desk all day. At the very least it is important that you make time to stand up every hour. I know that it is easy to get sucked into your work, so set a silent alarm that reminds you to stand up and take a break. Eventually try and turn that into a lap around the office or a walk to the bathroom, even if it’s just to freshen up. There are numerous benefits to this, most importantly it is great for cardiovascular and metabolic health.
Bonus: If you’re really feeling up to the challenge, order a stand-up desk. These desks allow you to raise and lower it whenever you want, so you can get some work done standing up. There are also elliptical machines you can fit under your desk to keep your legs active while you’re sitting, I actually just ordered one so I’ll be sure to post a review later! There are even hundreds of ab workouts you can do at your desk!
- Stay hydrated (with water or tea)
Staying hydrated has a multitude of benefits, but is something that is easy to forget when you are juggling a thousand things during your workday. Water makes up about sixty percent of your body weight, and an even higher percentage of your brain. Not staying hydrated could hinder your work performance in addition to poor health and a slower metabolism.
To avoid this, get a large water bottle with a straw (I find when I drink out of a straw I drink much more) and keep it filled throughout the day. Set a goal, depending on its size for how many you want to drink during your day. I personally have a 24 oz. Starbucks venti matte black refillable cup that I try and finish 3-4 times per day.
Tea is a great alternative to just drinking water straight and has tons of additional health benefits, no matter what kind you prefer. It is also a great way to stay warm in the winter or sneak in some extra caffeine throughout your day. It’s easy to keep a box of tea bags in your desk to simply add water and throw it in the microwave.
Bonus: This will result in multiple bathroom breaks, which forces you to follow suggestion #2!
- Pack a gym bag
If I don’t go to the gym on my way home from work I won’t go. It is too easy to find twenty different things to do (excuses) once I get home. If I force myself to go to the gym on my way home from work I never regret it. There is something about having my gym bag packed and under my desk all day that motivates me to commit to going to the gym. If I’m really not feeling it that day, I pack a book and head straight for the elliptical to read for thirty minutes, which allows me to go home without feeling guilty.
If you’re someone who is intimidated by the gym try taking classes, I personally love spin class and pilates. Both allow you to go at your own pace but provide instructors that will motivate you to finish your workout.
My best advice is to start small, but start. You’ll feel/see results and that will motivate you to continue to challenge yourself to be the best you that you can be! It’s not easy to stay healthy while working a full time job, but it is possible.