How to Stay Fit at Your Office Job
Five tips to improve your daily health and make you more productive.
photo by Travis Perkins
Tip 1: Start The Day Off Right
It’s been hours since you’ve had anything to drink and your body is already dehydrated. Do yourself a favor by consuming a big glass of water before your coffee, tea, or green juice. For breakfast, include plenty of healthy fats and protein. Avoid sugary or processed carbs in the morning, as it will likely leave you hungry and sleepy before lunch. Swap out a pastry for eggs or chickpea pancakes! With only about six grams of sugar, this breakfast smoothie (recipe below) will keep you full and focused all morning long.
The Lizard Blizzard Smoothie
1/2 cup mixed berries
1/2 small avocado
1 Tbsp. nut butter of choice
1 Tbsp. chia seeds
1 Tbsp. coconut oil
1 tsp. Maca
A few fresh mint leaves
One small chunk of fresh ginger root
1 Tbsp. raw cacao powder
1 1/2 cups filtered water
2-3 scoops collagen protein
Tip 2: Rethink Your Commute
Many of us actually perform better if we save our tough workouts for the afternoon, but it’s still a good practice to get in some movement before we settle into work. The easiest way to incorporate this daily? Ditch the car commute, and bike or walk to work. Knowing you have an active commute bookending your workday forces you to hydrate properly, eat well throughout the day, and stick to one drink at happy hour. If biking or walking is not a possibility, check out public transport options. Taking the bus or metro still gets you up walking to the stop and helps reduce your personal environmental footprint. Plus, instead of getting stressed out in traffic, you can get some personal reading done or call that friend you’ve been meaning to catch up with.
Tip 3: Give Your Eyes and Back a Break
Staring at a screen can be detrimental to your eye health, but there are some simple habits you can implement to keep your eyes working for many years to come. My favorite hack is the "20-20-20 break": Every 20 minutes, take 20 seconds to look at something 20 feet away from you. You can reduce glare that puts extra strain on your eyes by cleaning your screen often.
There are also some ways you can minimize the adverse effects of sitting all day. Many large companies offer options for adjustable standing desks if you reach out to HR. If you work from home or for a smaller company, create your own version of a standing desk by using a bar or high-top table and taking breaks on a stool or floor as needed.
Tip 4: Fuel Properly
So you started the day off with a healthy and satiating breakfast, you rode your bike to work, and you’ve been drinking plenty of water. Before you know it, you’ve knocked out half of your to-do list and are still feeling like a rockstar. Don’t sabotage the afternoon with lunch. If you bring your own, try packing a jar salad, which can easily be transported via backpack or bike pannier.
These can be stored for up to five days in the fridge if you want to make several before your week begins. If you are using soft items or perishable proteins like avocado or grilled chicken, wait to add these within 24 hours of chow time. When you’re ready for lunch, simply shake the salad into a bowl—bon appetit!
Jar Salad Instructions:
Pour 1 to 4 tablespoons of your favorite salad dressing in the bottom of a wide-mouthed quart-size jar. (My favorite is olive oil and fresh lemon juice.) If you are eating the salad within 24 hours, you can put the avocado on the bottom and make sure it’s coated with the lemon juice to prevent browning.
For the next layer, add hard veggies like carrots, cucumbers and beets. These can handle being soaked in the dressing—in fact, the marination can even enhance their flavor!
Follow up with protein and/or cheese. Add some grilled chicken, tuna, hard boiled eggs or fresh goat cheese.
Round it out with some nuts and seeds. Include nuts and seeds of your choice, such as walnuts or pumpkin seeds. If you need some extra bulk for your afternoon workout, you can also add healthy carbs like quinoa or buckwheat.
Finish your salad off with the greens—pile on until the jar is full.
Tip 5: Get Some Offline Time
There are nights when you can’t avoid checking your email or phone, but make sure to get a few hours of offline time every evening. Budget time each night when you do not look at your phone. Scheduling an activity during this time can help you to forget the screen addiction. Go for a run, play with the kids, or take the dog for a long walk. This will make you a healthier and more effective employee, so don’t feel guilty for taking this time for yourself.