Tag Archives: exercise

Working Out at Work with The Washington Post

One of the latest fads, although I hope this one has more staying power than others, is the office workout. In the past few months I have seen articles in magazines and newspapers on this very topic along with new products designed to facilitate such workouts, such as “standing desks”. I have even heard of meetings conducted while everyone is on a treadmill. (That is pushing it too far. The only thing that could possibly make a boring meeting even MORE torturous is bringing a treadmill into the equation.)

A few months ago, The Washington Post presented 12 office exercises tested by their infographics department. The result is this clever presentation on their website, complete with awesome (and somewhat funny) drawings of office workers demonstrating how to do each exercise. You can read pros and cons of each move and rate whether or not you would actually do this exercise in your own office. There is also a small link you can select to download and print a useful cubicle poster of the exercises.

Me being me, I had to guinea pig these things, just for you! And now I do them most days of the week. I’m kind of cheating as far as the embarrassment factor goes because my cube has a privacy door on it and not a ton of people work on my floor anyway. But ultimately I found this routine pretty easy to do, although I would recommend changing out of your work shoes into sneakers first. It involves a lot of marching and stepping, so if you’re in a quieter atmosphere, your cube mates will probably hear your repeated steps and wonder what you are doing. And if you work in a cube with a low-wall, people will see your arms swinging around on some of the moves. (Consider grabbing an empty conference room if you’re in a busy area and just can’t stand people looking at you during the day.) Regardless, this is a quick workout that will keep you energized and is a good way to take a brief break. It’s even kind of fun. Just be very careful when doing the ones that require you to lean on your desk – sometimes cubicle tables are too flimsy.

Bonus points if you attempt to make the same faces shown on the people in the WaPo article as you do each exercise. 😉


Personal Training Update

My personal trainer whipped my behind tonight. I feel like I got one of the best workouts I’ve had in a REALLY long time, and certainly way better than I could’ve done by myself. I told her I like that she doesn’t take any crap but in truth she’s not a Jillian Michaels-type or anything, just clearly not the type to take a lot of whining. And that’s good, because if she let me stop when I wanted to, I would have quit a lot sooner. Tomorrow night will be more of the same as I had back-to-back appointments scheduled. Suddenly I am glad that my sister and I picked *this* Saturday for a pampering day at the spa!

Here are the exercises my trainer has me doing:

35 minutes of cardio, five times per week (elliptical – I started off burning just 200 calories per session but am now up to 250 as I’ve increased the speed and intensity. I think I’m ready to do far more than just 35 minutes now)
Warm up kicks – flexing foot and slowly kicking leg straight out ahead of me
Warm up marches with high knee lifts
Jumping jacks
Squats (most recently, she added a 15 pound kettle bell to this exercise – I have to hold it up as I squat)
Pull-ups (with an assist machine)
Overhead raises with 10 pound dumbbells
Walking lunges
Mountain climbers
Crunches with legs raised
Reverse crunches (I think that’s what you call them – I do them with a machine where I stand with back pressed against a cushion on the machine, then grab the overhead rails, hang from them like I’m about to do pull-ups, and then just lift my knees up to my abs over and over)
Cool-down stretches

I have to say that out of all of these, mountain climbers and burpees are my least favorite. There are others we have done, but these are the ones we’ve done the most and sometimes I think they’re out to get me. Proper form is essential for all exercise (which is where the trainer comes in very helpfully) and doing them the correct way is not easy (for me). Because I hate them so much, I am determined to beat these exercises and show them how well I can in fact do them … jerks.

And here is the diet she has me on:

Overall: Low-fat, low-carb, high-protein, emphasis on fresh (and non-starchy) produce, lean protein, nonfat dairy
-Lots and lots of water!
-Typical breakfast is egg whites and a vegetable (I like to scramble egg whites with fresh spinach leaves and throw in some chili powder!)
-Typical lunch is lean protein such as baked, broiled or boiled chicken breast with Mrs. Dash or herb seasoning, or ground turkey chili, and a vegetable
-Typical dinner is salad with low-fat dressing, slivered almonds, fruits and veggies
-Couple of snacks a day, such as: nonfat Greek yogurt, nonfat cottage cheese with fruit, cut-up green bell pepper slices, handful of almonds
-Protein shakes etc. are fine as long as they don’t become the main source of nutrition and don’t have a lot of sugar
-No: starch (corn, potatoes, cauliflower, rice, etc.), fast food, breaded/fried foods, foods cooked with a lot of oil, sugary foods, added salt, non-lean cuts of meat
-Very minimal alcohol and bagged or boxed (in other words, processed) foods, breads/pasta/rice
-Grocery shopping is mainly done on the outer sections of the store (where the fresh foods are 🙂
-Never go a few hours without eating something!
-Cheating on weekends is allowed. This isn’t a license to eat like a pig, I can just treat myself to things I normally avoid during the week – for example, although normally I can destroy a bag of parmesan Goldfish with the best of them, I will have to limit myself to one serving
-As I start working out more and burning more calories, and get used to eating healthy fresh foods again, I can begin to “cheat” even more!
-Make a shopping list, get what I need, and get out!
-Prepare weekday meals on Sunday (e.g., broiling chicken breasts, chopping veggies, cooking up the turkey) and store in baggies in the fridge for easy grab-and-go.

So far it is definitely taking a major adjustment and while I’ve improved greatly, I have not been a saint by any means. Currently we have a bad habit of not grocery shopping on a regular basis which has go to stop as it leads to desperate delivery orders (usually when certain half-starved Puerto Ricans come home from a hard day’s work ready to destroy a meal, and end up targeting a large pizza or innocent carton of Chinese fried rice).

If you’re curious to see what a mountain climber looks like, here it is (after a Budweiser commercial):Mountain Climbers want to destroy you