By Team PrettyFit
Even if you are following a solid nutrition and training program, there might be one critically important aspect of your health and fitness that you are overlooking:
The amount of time you spend sitting.
Not only is increased sitting time directly linked to early mortality and a host of other negative health outcomes, it is particularly concerning for fit folks because of how it destroys our posture and deactivates key muscles such as the glutes. (Not to mention the additional snacks and subpar eating choices made in office environments!)
Don’t worry–we’re here to help you avoid and counteract these common office pitfalls with simple and practical solutions. Enjoy!
1. Posture and The Sedentary Aspects of Work
We think an evil scientist trying to ruin our bodies secretly created modern furniture. While creating “comfortable” body positioning, like the seated/slouching position of a couch or office chair, modern furniture has also done a real number on our health.
Regular, long stretches of sitting can lead to heart and circulatory problems, diabetes and even early mortality.
What’s more, sitting at work everyday can do some serious damage to our muscles and skeletal structure. By sitting hunched over a computer for hours on end, our glutes and core deactivate, and our hamstrings, upper back and shoulder become tense and locked, creating awful posture and a host of muscle function problems.
What kind of muscle function problems? Well, for one, your glutes and abs are asleep… literally.
They shut down, as they aren’t needed while we sit for hours at a time. Then when we need them (during a workout), they have a hard time reactivating.
Problems arise when we go to the gym right after work and try to squat and perform other big lifts. For example, you go to squat, but your glutes and core don’t activate, your hamstrings are tight from sitting too long… consequently, your form gets all out of whack. Your knees and back take a lot of unnecessary stress, and you don’t even work on the “squat booty”, which is why you’re doing squats in the first place.
But not to fear, there are things you can do to reverse the damage and ensure a healthy office body that will perform when it’s time to hit the weights:
1. Activate your glutes and core before work, at lunch and before your workouts. Simple isometric contractions are a good start.
2. Stretch your hamstrings and practice hip openers regularly.
3. While at work, get up at least once an hour to stretch and take a short walk around the office.
2. Office Food
We don’t know what it is about offices, but the office kitchen always seems loaded with junky chips, cookies and instant noodles.
In order to make sure you stick to your nutrition plan, we recommend two things: healthy snacks and meal prep.
There’s something about sitting and doing work that makes you want to snack. Usually it’s boredom, but your body could also be craving specific nutrients it didn’t get enough of at your last meal.
When packing healthy snacks, go for high protein options. They keep you feeling full longer and can help reduce cravings
Related: 10 Reasons Protein Is Even More Important For Women
Our top healthy snack recommendations for the office are:
1. Cottage cheese
3. Whey protein shake
4. Protein bar
5. Nuts – almonds, cashews, walnuts
6. Berries – blueberries, raspberries
7. Greek yogurt
8. Hard Boiled Egg
9. Peanut butter + celery
10. Peanut butter + banana/apple
It’s easy to get suckered into eating out for lunch at work, and typically the options aren’t the healthiest. It’s also easy to skip a meal at the office when you’re backed up with work and trying to hit a deadline.
For this reason, we recommend meal prep. Prepare your week’s lunches on Sunday, so there’s no doubt you’ll eat healthy during the week.
A good meal prep should only take an hour or so on Sunday, and it will save you a ton of money throughout the week, as making your own food is typically less than eating out.
Related: Meal Prep Basics: A Week’s Worth Of Meals In An Hour
That being said, whether you meal prep Sundays, or pack a lunch before work, make sure you bring a balanced meal and enough snacks to get you through the day.