Okay, get ready for this depressing fact: if you do a desk job, you spend around over a third of your day sitting down, and at a desk. Factor in around seven hours for sleeping, and that means you spend over two-thirds of your day horizontal.
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With studies showing that sedentary lifestyles are unhealthy and can lead to major diseases such as diabetes and heart disease, fitness guru James put together a plan for exercises to do at your desk and advice for office lunches.
And if people laugh at you for doing these, just smile in the knowledge that you'll outlive them all.
Squat down in front of your chair without supporting yourself. Then lower slowly down so your bottom just touches the seat of the chair then come up again. Keeping the weight through your heels. Keep your head up.
3 x 20 reps is good with a break of 30 seconds between reps.
Chair or desk dips
Use either the edge or front of the chair to perform a dip. Make sure the chair is rigid and strong enough to undertake the exercise. Have your back facing the edge of the desk, arms bent. Have your legs out in front of you and your weight is going through your hands. You dip down and then push up. Feeling it in your triceps
3x 10 reps with a break of 30 seconds between reps
Either perform normal press-ups on front of your desk or if you feel adventurous, put your feet on the chair and hands on the floor. This makes things harder.
3 x 8-10 reps with a break of a minute between reps
Again one for in front of the desk - normal lunges, keeping good form and body shape.
3 x10 each leg
Crunches – Lay on the floor, flat on your back. Keeping hips pressed to the ground with knees bent and feet flat to the floor. Hands behind your head.
Raising-up your torso, curling the shoulders towards the pelvis, with the lower back remaining on the floor.
3x10 reps with a break of 30 seconds between reps
Quick nutrition tips
- Avoid all processed food such as white bread
- Avoid breakfast cereals – they are full of sugar.
- Always try and eat a good breakfast – eggs and broccoli or any green vegetable - with a protein shake but always with water NOT milk.
- They say eat 5 pieces of fruit a day. In truth don’t worry too much about the fruit - always eat vegetables but without any sauces, with every meal.
James Haskell is the health and fitness ambassador for The Healthcounter, to see James’s product range and seasonal blog topics visit www.thehealthcounter.com.
Fat Makes You Fat
<strong>Why that's BS: </strong> It depends on the type of fats you're eating, says Tricia Psota, RD, a nutritionist based in Washington D.C. "Fats in chips, cookies, and greasy foods can increase cholesterol and your risk for certain diseases. But good fats, like nuts, avocados and salmon, protect your heart and support your overall health." And when paired with a healthy diet, the right fats can help keep you from being, well, fat, adds Sharon Palmer, RD, author of The Plant-Powered Diet.
Stop Snacking To Lose Weight
<strong>Why that's BS:</strong> Eating in small, frequent amounts is a great way to curb hunger, control portion sizes, and make better nutritional choices, says Mike Clancy, CDN, a personal trainer at David Barton's Gym in New York City. "Smarter snacks like nuts, fruits, and yogurt will keep your energy levels high throughout the day." (Need proof? Our 400 Calorie Fix plan -- which involves three or four meals plus snacks -- can help you lose 11 pounds in just two weeks!)
A Calorie Is A Calorie -- And You Should Count Them
<strong>Why that's BS:</strong> "Not all calories are the same," says Clancy. "The type of calories, the timing of the calories, and the quality of the calories can significantly alter the effect of the calories on the body," he says. "Food creates reactions within our bodies and the type of food you eat is an important component in diets." For example, 50 calories of an apple will cause a different internal reaction than 50 calories of cheesecake, says Clancy. "The quality of the calories is also important because the chemicals, hormones, and general byproducts that are found within processed food effects the absorption of real nutrients." Quality calories are nutrient dense, like spinach. Calories that don't contain any nutrients -- also known as "empty" calories -- are like the ones found in French fries. Bottom line: Calories are important for understanding portion control, but they’re not the only factor in good nutrition, says Clancy.
Cut Out Carbs
<strong>Why that's BS:</strong> The research on carbohydrate intake is often misinterpreted, says Chrissy Carroll, MPH, RD, founder of Inspired Wellness Solutions, LLC. "Yes, it is true that excessive intakes of refined carbohydrates, like white bread or white rice, may lead to weight gain or increased cardiovascular risk. But there is no research suggesting that healthy carbohydrates, such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, or legumes, can negatively impact health or weight. On the contrary, many studies suggest a diet high in these plant-based foods is associated with better overall health." Case in point: A 2002 American College of Nutrition study that found replacing refined grains with whole-grain and minimally processed grain products, along with increasing the intake of fruits and veggies, can help lower dietary glycemic load and insulin demand. This, in turn, can ultimately reduce the risk of both type 2 diabetes and heart disease, says Kristin Kirkpatrick, MS, RD, manager of wellness nutrition services for the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. So, keep the carbs! And aim for those that come from 100% whole grains or fruits, adds Kirkpatrick.
Load Up On Protein
<strong>Why that's BS: </strong>Sorry, caveman lovers: eating lots of protein is not the key to healthy weight loss. Why? The body needs three macronutrients: Protein, carbohydrates, and fat, says Rania Batayneh, MPH, a nutritionist and author of the forthcoming The One One One Diet (published by Rodale, which also publishes Prevention), and focusing exclusively on protein for weight loss makes no sense. "You not only deprive your body of fiber and other antioxidants found in healthy carbohydrates -- whole grains, fruits, and veggies -- but you also run the risk of eating too much fat in your diet which can lead to high cholesterol and triglycerides.”
Go Gluten-Free To Lose Weight
<strong>Why that's BS: </strong>There's no scientific evidence that gluten is a particularly fattening ingredient, says Palmer. "The problem is that we eat too many refined grains -- foods made of white flour or other refined grains," she says. And cutting gluten without checking with your doctor first can lead to deficiencies in important nutrients, such as fiber, iron, vitamin B12 and magnesium, says MaryAnne Metzak, CDN, a nutritionist in Southampton, NY. In the meantime, focus on getting healthy whole grains in moderate portions.
You Burn More Calories Working Out On An Empty Stomach
<strong>Why that's BS:</strong> Working out with or without food in your stomach doesn't affect calorie burn -- but skipping meals before sweat sessions may result in muscle loss, finds a study published in the Strength and Conditioning Journal. And before you settle for a sports drink, know this: While a quick sip of sugar energizes your muscles, the drink’s other artificial additives can be harmful to your health, says Sanda Moldovan, DDS, MS, CNS, a diplomat of the American Academy of Periodontology. Instead, go for naturally sweet fruit, like bananas, peaches, and mangos before your sweat session. Or try an ounce of dark chocolate for the same caffeine fix you get from a half cup of coffee. "Chocolate also contains feel-good substances, called neurotransmitters, which are the same release during a 'runner's high,' " says Moldovan.
Eat Every Two Hours To Rev Your Metabolism
<strong>Why that's BS:</strong> Going four or five (or even eight!) hours between normally-sized meals will not make your metabolism slow down, says Monica Reinagel, MS, a nutritionist based in Baltimore. "Eating more frequently may help stave off hunger, which can help you fight temptation. But if you want to do this, you have to be careful to keep your meals and snacks really small," she says. "Otherwise, eating every 2 hours can simply lead to taking in too many calories over the course of the day."
Watch What You Eat During The Week, But Take The Weekends Off
<strong>Why that's BS: </strong>Throwing caution to the wind on the weekends can offset the consistency and success you had all week, says Batayneh. "On the weekends, we tend to sleep in, maybe missing our workout, typically drink more alcohol and have heavier meals. So if you lose about one pound between Monday and Friday, you just might gain it back -- or at least maintain it, really taking away the efforts towards weight loss." Which means if you're trying to lose weight, the weekends shouldn't be a free-for-all. You still need a plan, says Batayneh. Some suggestions: passing on the bread basket and limiting yourself to one cocktail.
Swear Off Forbidden Foods
<strong>Why that's BS:</strong> "We tend to be in 'all or nothing' mode when we diet and never seem to find a middle ground," says Batayneh. "You have to realize that you can’t have pizza, French fries, and chocolate cake all in the same day, but -- with careful planning -- you can enjoy these foods when they are presented to you. Just don’t go for seconds and share if you can." In fact, research shows that moderately indulging in "forbidden foods" is what keeps people from bingeing on the stuff.