If you’re an entrepreneur who sits in a chair all day (like myself,) then you’ve probably experienced the difficulties of staying healthy & in shape. With long hours and always having something to take care of (even outside of business hours,) it’s easy to neglect your health by snacking while you work, choosing watching TV over the gym, lacking sleep, and a bunch of other stuff. If you’ve experienced anything like this, don’t worry—you’re not alone. In fact, a while back, I began falling out of shape and gaining weight quickly. (Nearly 40 lbs.. Yikes!) In many attempts to lose the weight and get fit again, I tried eating healthier (for a while) and working out, only to find my weight loss at zero. Regardless of how hard I tried, I seemed to never lose weight. It wasn’t until I realized that sitting down all day is equivalent to smoking and that it increases my risk of dying 15 years early by 40%, that I began utilizing these techniques and started losing weight. (7 lbs in the first month to be precise!) So, to save you the hassle of finding ways to stay healthy & fit with very limited time in your day, I create a list of 21 fitness hacks that are somewhat odd, but effective! Disclaimer: I am not a fitness 'guru' or doctor of any sort. These are simply techniques that I've learned and seen success in, since becoming an online entrepreneur. :)
This may sound weird if you aren't part of a mom-group who power-walks, but it helps tremendously. Seeing as you're sitting in a chair all day, getting up to walk at some point will get the blood flowing, metabolism running and have you feeling better about yourself. Personally, I take a 20-minute walk after lunch every day. I like to start my metabolism back up immediately after eating, while enjoying the sunshine. (On most days!)
This one can look odd if you're in an office with other people, but it is greatly beneficial to your health. According to BBC News, standing burns about 50 calories per hour more than sitting. Do the math: if you stood 3 hours per day x 50 calories x 5 days per week x 50 working weeks, you'd be burning 37,500 more calories per year.
If you work from home, this one is H.A.R.D. I'm only 15 feet from my kitchen, so the temptation of a grabbing a cold non-water beverage on a hot day or a bag of chips is pretty strong. Don't do it.
I never did this until recently, but I'm glad I did. Sitting down made me feel like a bum and being hunched over a computer really makes you feel like crap--not to mention the lack of blood flow. Get up and stretch/walk around once an hour for 5 minutes. It'll do wonders.
When you're at a computer desk, it's easy to slouch and sit hunched over your computer for 10 hours straight. After meeting with a chiropractor, I realized how permanent the damage can be from this. (In a bad way) She told me that having a hunched back & neck for an extended period of time creates micro-fractures in your spine where your neck is bent, which eventually heal back to a fraction of that angle. Meaning, your neck will start to hunch permanently. (This is common in older people, who have been in the habit of slouching their entire life.) Leaning over also makes it harder for oxygen to flow to your brain, which sabotages your creativity and productivity.
Drinking during a meal has been proven to slow the process of digesting food. Drinking up to 30 minutes before or after a meal is recommended to allow proper digestion to take place.
One of my clients is a national body-builder and he told me that regardless of the meal you have, make it a goal to substitute one thing for something healthy. I started doing this and saw a drastic change in how I felt about myself after eating a meal at a party or event. Even if you're having pizza, chips and ice cream--drink water instead of soda.
The more you chomp your food, the smaller it becomes and the easier it is for your body to digest it. It also makes you eat slower (which makes you eat less) and a TON of other great things. Recommended Read: 7 Reasons Why Chewing Your Food is Important
Let's face it, drinking water sucks. It's tasteless, and unless you just finished working out or walking out of a desert, it's not very appealing. It does, however, hydrate you more than any other drink. Sitting down for 8 hours at a time, without a single drink of water, will dehydrate you, which will slow your creativity. Tip: Put a glass of water on your desk. Even if you don't like water, you'll find yourself drinking it.
Cold beverages will slow your metabolism, according to Livestrong.com. By drinking room temperate beverages, your metabolism can maintain it's rate and keep you burning calories. Tip: Don't put ice in your glass.
I've gotta say, I slacked on this one a ton. It's easy to pack a bag of chips or cookies for lunch, but that opens the door to eating the entire thing. Instead, put a set amount on your plate or in a plastic baggie. This will keep you from easily doubling your daily calorie intake.
Although this one takes time to actually workout and would fall under the 'obvious' category for staying fit, it's a program I highly recommend. When I first did p90x, I lost 43 lbs and got into the best shape of my life. It did, however, take hard work and determination, so make sure you have 45-60 minutes per day open for this! (Below is my 'before' and 'after' from when I did it 3 or 4 years ago. Don't mind the cheesy, young me.) ;)
This is hands-down the hardest one for me. I absolutely love what I do, and staying up late & getting up early isn't hard to do. I usually average 6-7 hours of sleep per night, but when I do get 8 hours per night, I'm more energized and not as stressed.
Because of my inability to ever get to bed on time, I've become quite fond of these. Taking a short 15-20 minute nap gives me a HUGE burst of energy to finish up my day. (I usually take them during lunch or in the late afternoon.)
Energy drinks are addicting. Brands, such as monster and red bull, do a great job branding themselves as the 'go to drink' if you wanna be EXTREME. Fortunately for them, I like to think of myself as an extreme entrepreneur, so I constantly find myself at the local gas station buying their product for 'energy,' which doesn't give me anything but a massive crash a couple hours later. Don't do this one either. The energy is simply a sugar-high that wears off and makes you crash not long after.
Out of this entire list, this was about the only one I was doing prior to my 'get healthy' endeavors. Walking around (like #1) gets your blood flowing and helps jumpstart your metabolism. Walking around your office or house during a call is a great way to multi-task.
Sometimes it's hard to workout. But when you have $50 on the line from a 5k you signed up for, it almost forces you to work out. Regardless if you're currently in the habit of working out, sign up for a 5k, 10k, half-marathon, etc. Just like in business, it will give you a deadline to have things ready, which will motivate you to get more active!
I'm a sucker for business lunches.. I constantly offer to take people to lunch. (Partially for business and partially because I genuinely love catching up with people.) If you're going to 'meet up' with a current client or potential client, meet up before 11am for coffee or tea. It will be much cheaper and the calorie intake will be much lower. Tip: Don't schedule a meeting between 11am and 1pm. You'll find yourself eating lunch at 11am or 1pm.
It's extremely easy to not know how many calories we are actually taking in per day. When I first started tracking my calorie intake, I was amazed to find that I was intaking 3,000+ calories per day. Once I began tracking foods and beverages, I became more conscious of what I was eating and the amount of it I was eating. The two apps below work wonders. You can scan barcodes for food, track your workouts, and they sync completely. (When you workout with 'MapMyRun,' it tells 'MyFitnessPal' how many calories you burned, so it can deduct them from your daily allowance.) Pretty cool! :) Recommended App #1: MyFitnessPal Recommended App #2: MapMyRun
If you're going to do any working out, do it first thing in the morning. Jumpstarting your metabolism as the first decision of your day will not only burn calories, but it will energize you & make you feel good about yourself for the rest of the day. I try to workout at least 3-4 days per week in the morning.
I typically don't travel a whole lot, but when I do, it's for 1-2 weeks at a time and I primarily stay at hotels. It's nice, except when it comes to staying in shape, most hotels don't have good fitness rooms. If you travel often, try to pick hotels that have a small gym or fitness center, so you can maintain staying fit on the go. [divider] Sit-down-entrepreneurs: how are you staying healthy & fit? Comment below! I would genuinely like to hear your take. 8-)