So Long, Job Fat!
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Fitness

So Long, Job Fat!

A typical workday can make you stressed, tired -- and flabby. And an hourlong lunchtime workout? Not gonna happen. Slim down and sculpt muscles you never knew you had (in your cubicle!) with this busy-girl's guide.

Try This at Your Desk

One in four working women gained weight on the job in a single year, according to a study published in the International Journal of Obesity. The main culprit? Long hours (and no gym time). That's why we've put together an at-work workout routine you can swap one of your coffee breaks for. Don't worry -- we won't make you do jumping jacks in your cube or run laps around the parking lot.

Ellen Barrett, creator and star of the Fat Burning Fusion DVD, designed this goof-proof Pilates and yoga-inspired routine. A 15-minute session will burn between 60 and 130 calories.

What You'll Need: A chair without wheels.

Perform the following exercises as a circuit or separately throughout the day, two or three times a week.

The Moves

1. Spine Twist

Targets shoulders, back, and abs

  • Sit on chair, feet flat on floor. Extend arms overhead with palms facing in, shoulders down.
  • Exhale and twist upper body to right; at the same time, press arms out to sides at shoulder height. Inhale. Return to start.
  • Switch sides; repeat. Do 20 reps, alternating sides.

2. Chair-Pose Repeater

Targets back, glutes, and thighs

  • Stand in front of chair with feet hip-width apart, arms down by sides.
  • Sit back into hips and squat, keeping knees behind toes and back straight, until butt is about 1 inch from the seat.
  • Reach arms up and forward diagonally so there's a straight line from butt to fingertips. Hold for 20 seconds.
  • Return to start. Do 20 reps.

3. Reverse-Plank Repeater

Targets arms and core

  • Sit on edge of chair with hands against back of seat. Walk feet forward, away from chair, until legs are straight.
  • Keeping back straight, legs together and abs engaged, push into palms and lift body into reverse plank, forming a diagonal line from head to toes.
  • Exhale; lower hips, bending elbows, to 1 inch above seat. Inhale; press hips up. Do 20 reps.

4. Teeter-Totter

Targets shoulders, arms, core, back, and legs

  • Stand to left of chair and place right hand on top edge.
  • Keeping back straight and abs engaged, hinge from waist, extending left arm in front of you and left leg behind you, pointing toes, until body is parallel to floor. Hold for 1 count.
  • Lower. Do 12 reps.
  • Switch sides; repeat.

5. Wall Press

Targets shoulders, chest, core, and lower back

  • Stand facing a wall (a couple of feet away) with feet shoulder-width apart. Extend right arm at shoulder height in front of you and place palm on wall. Lift left leg behind you, about 6 inches off floor, foot flexed.
  • Keeping back straight, bend right elbow as you lean body in toward wall. Press into palm to return to start, then quickly switch sides so that left palm is on wall, right leg extended behind you.
  • Continue alternating sides for 1 minute.

Burn 600 "Office" Calories

Walking to the vending machine, making copies, hoofing it to your car at night -- every little thing you do during the day adds up. Here are ways to burn almost 600 calories at work without your boss even noticing:

Activity/Minutes

Calories Burned
Walk up stairs/15 128
Walk back down/10 33
Stand while chatting on the phone/30

58

Clean out desk drawers/15 40
Visit a coworker five times/20 75
Type on computer/120 230
Do heel raises at desk/5 19
Touch up your makeup/5 10
TOTAL: 220 593

 

 

Eat Like It's Your Job

"To keep hunger down and energy up all day, include complex carbs, lean protein, and healthy fat at every meal," says Christine Palumbo, RD, a Chicago-based nutritionist. Here are more of her eat-healthy tips:

  • For on-the-go breakfasts, pack 3/4-cup servings of easy-to-grab cereal (like Kellogg's Frosted Mini-Wheats) in advance. Add dried fruit and nuts. Store in your glove compartment for rushed mornings (like today).
  • Brown-bag it. Make sandwiches with crisp veggies, like red peppers or cucumbers, for lunch. You'll get vitamins, a satisfying crunch, and fiber to help fill you up, Palumbo says.
  • For high-protein, stay-with-you-all-day snacks, bring in hard-boiled eggs, light mozzarella sticks, and peanut-butter-sandwich squares (on whole-grain bread) and refrigerate them.
  • Tempted by the vending machine? Palumbo suggests snacking on "anything with nuts," like Snickers, peanut M&M's, or mixed nuts. The nuts provide filling protein and fat.
  • For instant energy, eat fruit. "It's great for the office because it contains fructose, which is a fast-acting carb, so it provides a quick boost," says Palumbo. Bonus: Eating an apple after lunch can clean your teeth.
  • Must...have...coffee...Afternoon slump? Get a tall nonfat latte. "It has 100 calories and 10 grams of protein, which is about the same as half a serving of meat," Palumbo explains.
  • If your car is on fast-food autopilot, get a plain hamburger. Most small burgers have fewer calories than breaded-chicken sandwiches.

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, February 2008.

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