For most college kids, each day is completely different from the next; one day you have class from 8 am to 1 pm, with 2 classes and no break, whereas another you could have class from 11 am to 5 pm, with three classes and multiple breaks. Although still very busy, you’re able to find plenty of time for a workout and a meal, even if that workout is simply walking from one class to the other. But at some point, the real world comes knocking at your door and that built-in workout luxury no longer exists. You go to a life where you sit at a cubicle for nearly the entire day, with only short walks to the printer and lunch room to get you away from your space.
As of the past month, that’s been my life. I have yet to graduate college, however, I’m an intern for the top minor league affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks in Northern Illinois, sitting in my shabby-chic decorated cubicle from 9 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday. Although it started off rough to go from an active lifestyle to a sedentary one, I’ve learned a few tricks that have made my fitness life, and attitude in general, significantly better. Wake up early for a workout
Sometimes hitting that “snooze” button a few extra times feels amazing, and to be fair, it can be necessary. However, when you’re already strapped for time, it’s better to start your day with a workout! Over the summer when I worked for a baseball team, I started my days by hitting the team gym. In my new location, however, I don’t have that luxury, so instead I’ve gotten really in to home workouts! Wether its yoga, resistance bands or kettlebell workouts, I make sure to get myself moving as soon as possible.
Ladies, try adding calf-raises while you’re doing your hair. Sometimes I’ll stand on my toes the entire time I’m working a section of hair, then go down when I snag another. Between sets of makeup, like foundation application to eye shadow, I’ll throw in some squats or do a few push-ups on my vanity. Aside from getting a solid pump in, a huge plus side is that it wakes me up and instantly puts me in a better mood!
Get up and move
Set a few times throughout the day to leave your desk and take a short walk. For me, I’ll walk around the arena, walk the stairs all around the bowl of the rink, or go outside for to enjoy some time in the nice weather. Another easy thing you can do is take the stairs every chance you get. Sure, the elevator may be tempting, but the extra time it takes to get up or down via the stairs will slowly make a huge, positive impact on your body!
Drink water. Then drink some more
This should be a given regardless of your activity level, but I can’t stress enough how important it is to drink enough water. Sure, you may not be moving as much, but your body still needs adequate hydration. Never leave the house without a water bottle, or better yet – leave one at your desk to use every day. For one thing, drinking water will fill you up and keep you from unnecessary feelings of hunger that may be fueled by a lack of hydration. Second, it will keep you awake. If you get bored with the lack of flavor in water, invest in a diffuser to add natural fruit flavorings. The fruit juice will make your drink even healthier by adding nutrients.
ALWAYS pack your lunch! It’ll save you money, but also it give you more control over what you put into your body.For lunch, I usually pack a sandwich or wrap, using low-cal/low-carb bread or a low-cal/high-protein wrap. Flat-Out! makes amazing, nutrient-rich wraps. They’re the only wraps I’ll purchase. In my sandwich, I’ll add some spinach, turkey, and a slim-cut slice of low-fat mozzarella with a drizzle of regular mustard. Along with my hearty food element, I’ll pack a baggie with baby carrots, and a Greek yogurt cup. In general, I try to have a very balanced meal. I’ll also bring in some protein bars or chewing gum to keep in one of my desk drawers to satisfy any major strikes of hunger or simply to keep myself from snagging one of the delicious cookies or donuts a co-worker brought in for everyone (why do they always do that?!). Remember, it’s ok to grab one of these goodies every now and then – #treatyoself – but if you snag a donut every time someone brings them in, you’re likely to be eating donuts everyday. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
Another big tip, if you have a job like mine where dinners are often provided for late nights –for me, it’s any night there’s a home game or a fan event- pack for that, too! 90% of the time, we get pizza or something else I don’t usually eat, so having my chicken and veggies in the office fridge is a total life saver. However, to be fair, if the good food does come around, don’t hesitate to take it! On occasion, the team’s cooks will offer me whatever they made for the guys. Seeing as its professional hockey, with very strict diets, the food is all organic and gluten-free. Naturally, I jump at the chance whenever I can to have a world-class kale-quinoa salad, and perfectly prepared meat and seafood.
Maybe it’s just me, but I can get antsy at my desk. I have the type of personality that always has to be moving. Recently, I purchased a tiny soccer ball to mess with under my desk. It makes little-to-no noise, and as mentioned earlier, any movement is better than none at all. Granted, I work in a unique environment, if you’re given the opportunity to be active with your co-workers, take it! With my team, we often get to go onto the ice to play hockey, or simply skate around. Because of this, I purchased my first pair of ice skates, and let me tell you, getting in an intense workout in the middle of the day is the best! But if you don’t get any opportunities like that, find something you can do at your desk that’ll be fun and active. Your body, both physically and mentally, will thank you. Emphasis on the mental aspect, because let’s be honest, a 9-to-5 can get psychologically taxing.
End the night strong
Just like a workout is important in the morning, so is one at night! Take 10-15 minutes, at least, to get in a circuit. It can be anything at all, wether it’s a resistance band workout for your arms, or a killer round of abs, anything you can do is a step in the right direction.
Adult life isn’t easy on the body. At least not in the way we’d like it to be. The best thing you can do for yourself is listen to your body, understand your surroundings, and make any possible adjustments you can. You’re going to have to adapt to thousands of different conditions throughout life, a good amount that you can’t control, but if you can constantly have control over one aspect, make sure it’s your health.