Our 5-step guide to getting fit and healthy when you work in an office
Being sat at a desk all day is linked to a number of nasty health outcomes - such as an increased risk of obesity and disease.
But you still need a job, right?
If you're an office worker, losing weight may seem a lofty task in such an environment - but it needn't be that way.
Despite the problems associated with sedentary lifestyles, weight loss is still achievable when you work in an office. You just have to think a little differently.
Here are five ways you can slash stubborn body fat and improve your overall health.
1. Prep your meals
'Fail to prepare, prepare to fail'.
This is a quote that's been attributed to Jean-Paul Sartre, Martin Luther King and Roy Keane. Regardless of who voiced these words, they are certainly true in the context of your diet.
When you cook and prepare your own food, you are in total control of what you eat. That food can be completely bespoke to your body. Each individual will have a calorie and macronutrient (protein, carbs and fat) ratio that is ideal to them. If you take the time to work out what you need, you can be flexible with your meals and eat foods you enjoy - so long as they fall within this range.
Don't get caught short by making a dash for the supermarket meal deal - these are often packed full of calories and hidden dangers such as high salt and trans fat.
2. Snack right
It's completely normal to get peckish at your desk when you're an office worker. As the clock strikes three and that energy slump sets in, it's often tempting to gorge on something satisfying. Just make sure you snack right. Low-calorie foods that fill you up are best.
Celery sticks dipped in a nut butter or hummus provide fat-fighting fibre as well as healthy fat and a decent portion of protein.
Ryvita or rye bread topped with quark or cottage cheese will give your body casein protein - amino acids that drip feed your muscles with nutrition over the course of a few hours. Perfect when you're going for a while without food or activity.
3. Ditch liquid calories
Plenty of people (it's estimated as many as 30%) miscalculate how much food they consume. Not taking liquid calories into account is a possible explanation for this. Drinks are a surprising cause of weight gain.
That XL high street latte you may buy, complete with all its whipped cream and syrup, will likely come in at around 400 calories. They also cost a bomb.
Black coffee, tea, green tea, water and diet soda are all essentially free of calories. If your thirst needs quenching, opt for one of these.
Many also mistake thirst for hunger. Shoot for around three to four litres of water (or a combination of the above drinks) each day to fend off cravings.
4. Train at lunch
You don't have to spend ages in the gym. This is a mistake many make when attempting to lose weight. A HIIT circuit can easily be achieved in 30 to 45 minutes - perfect for a lunch hour.
Any equipment can fit the bill, too. If you're weight-training, pairing exercises back-to-back in a superset has a similar kind of effect. You can even get a very short workout in when all you have is your bodyweight.
Head to the nearest tree outside and perform five chin-ups from a sturdy branch. Then drop into ten push-ups. That's one set. Aim to complete 10 sets in 10 minutes. If you can, that's good. If you can nail it in under eight minutes, that's even better.
5. Stay active
If you're an office worker then you need to maximise all the possible activity you can get. Remember, calories aren't just burned in the gym.
NEAT is a handy phrase to remember. This stands for 'Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis'. While sounding very scientific, this just refers to physical activity and exercise done outside of the gym that still burns calories.
Great ways of increasing your levels of NEAT when working in an office are:
- Walking or cycling to work
- Taking a screen break for five minutes every hour
- Stand more, and use a standing desk if available
- Take the stairs instead of the lift
- If you aren't training at lunch time, go for a 30-minute walk instead