Joshua Fennessy

10 Second Abs: Fitness Tips for Busy Professionals

By the end of this post, I will have you convinced that you can work out and stay fit all day at work. Seriously.

If you’ve not been to a gym in a long time, this might seem like a lot of working out, but I promise, in no time, you’ll be so used to this schedule that you’ll start to incorporate fitness into other aspects of your life; like dinner time!

Shake ‘n Bake ‘n Plank

Read on for my story:

Hi. I’m husky (read: fat). And out of shape. Well, I was… I liked to blame lots of outside factors: Fast food, preservatives, salt, fruit (no, really), sitting at a desk all day…

Wait, what was that last one? Sitting all day? That probably has something to do with it, right? About a year ago I decided to really do something about it. I really didn’t want to go as drastic as a new desk with fancy heights for standin’; I like my desk and I like my chair. I don’t want to stand all day. But, I did want to get in shape.

Problem is, I work from home. I also live in the woods. There is no gym or fitness center close to me. And honestly, I typically go 4 or 5 days without leaving the house so there’s little chance that I would end up at the gym on a regular basis.

Since I tend to put in a lot of hours in between work and family, completing a long, drawn out weekly workout schedule isn’t going to cut it either. I need something that I could do during the day that wouldn’t impact my productivity.

It took me a few iterations (I’m agile!) and several months, but I finally ended up on something that works well for me and I’d like to share it.

Staying fit really is simple. Although having a Shake Weight is pretty awesome, you don’t need a bunch of fancy gadgets. To stay fit, you only need your body. Nothing more than that; well, maybe a floor, and some gravity. But really, that’s it.

So, how do I stay fit AND get lots of fantastic work done without changing into workout gear? Simple. Read the following three tips:

1.) I have an hourly reminder set (on my phone) that tells me to do 10 push-ups.
It’s like having a drill instructor, without all of the yelling. It’s easy, takes 10 seconds to complete, and through the day I’m routinely doing 80 – 100 pushups. Spreading them out over the day helps with the “But I can’t do 100 push-ups” mentality. Everyone can do 10 push-ups. You can use your knees to start with (see here). Over time, you’ll get stronger and be able to do standard push-ups.

As you advance you can get really crazy and start doing things like

  • Military Style Push-ups
  • Explosive Push-ups
  • Diamonds of Death
  • Under the Fence

There are lots of examples online. I’ll let you investigate further.

2.) I also have a reminder to tell me to do 10 sit-ups.
Again, you CAN do 100 sit-ups a day. Start simple; build complexity as you get stronger. Anyone can do this. Other example for hourly reminders can include:

  • Tricep Dips – Use your desk chair for simplicity!
  • Squats – weighted or no!
  • Lunges – great for cardio strength!
  • Jumping Jacks – 25 for plyometric strength and cardio in one!

I routinely change up my reminders throughout the week so I’m not sticking with the same exercise every day. Variety is key when it comes to easy fitness.

3.) Engage a friend!
This is probably the most important thing I did to take my fitness to the next level. I found a friend (YAY!) that was willing to play a little game with me. Have you heard of tabatas? If not, read this, then come back….

Welcome back!

As I was saying, I found a friend that was willing to play a little game with me. At random intervals through the day, we IM each other – keeping mindful of Presence Indicators – and say “Tabata Time!” Ok, we really don’t say that — it sounds to TMNT-ish.

After describing what the tabata is (at our discretion), we complete said tabata. An example might be: 60 second wall-sit, 10 push-ups, 20 lunges, Repeat, GO. This does take a little more time than the 10 push-ups mentioned above, but we have a limit that it can’t take any more than 5 minutes and there is a 10 minute window for accepting and starting. Doing this craziness with a friend makes it fun, and also helps to PUSH me. That’s a big one. Having that accountability is key.

Generally we do this 3 or 4 times a day, although some days may be more or less depending on uncontrollable factors. Still, it’s fun, it’s a workout, and it helps to keep you in shape.

If Cardio is more your style; there are things you can do there too!

Some of my friends have had the pleasure of building a treadmill desk – which I understand as a treadmill with a shelf attached for a laptop. Setting the speed to something nice and slow – under 2 mph – is good enough for an hour or two long walk while you check email, or write queries, or build cubes! That’s a lot of caloric burn during that productive time.

So what did we learn?

In a normal day, I spend no more than 30 minutes completing all of this working out: 100 or so push-ups, sit-ups, and various tabatas. No workout gear, no special attire. Simplicity. That’s what I love about this kind of working lifestyle. Even if you work in an office you can do this. Sure, you may look a little foolish to those around you…but, I ask you, who will look more foolish in 6 months when you’ve toned up and others are spreading out?

The above points have worked well for me and my friends. What would you like to be able to incorporate into your day to help stay in just a little better shape?

3 thoughts on “10 Second Abs: Fitness Tips for Busy Professionals”

  1. Very nice. Even though I’m in the city with lots of gym access, I don’t like going to the gym. I concentrate on body weight exercises I can do at home after work. Takes no more than 30 minutes, which is pretty easy to fit in the day somewhere.

  2. Very cool. I’ve done something similar in the past when I’m feeling a bit run down at the office. i.e., pushup / chair dip break. Makes for some fun walk-up conversations. 🙂

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