Guest Post: Fitness Tips for the 9-5er

As promised, I’m bringing you guys some great posts from some amazing friends and bloggers while I’m away on vacation.  This post is brought to you by Katie, a fellow blogger and fitness enthusiast. Thanks, Katie, for writing a guest blog in my absence!

Fitness Tips for the 9-5er

Hi everyone!  I’m Katie from K.E.P.T. You Fit and I’m excited to be a guest on a fellow fitness lover’s blog!  Athena has graciously allowed me to share my love of fitness with her readers and I’m honored!

As we are all getting older (I prefer wiser), at some point we’ll be sitting for extended periods of time.  Instead of succumbing to the aches and pains that develop from hunched over shoulders, scooped-back, tight hip flexors, and week hamstrings, why not combat those injuries right at your OWN desk?

Ever heard of NEAT?  No, it’s not what your desk should be.  Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenisis, or the calories that are burned while fidgeting, typing, even gum chewing, throughout the day.  Any activity that isn’t structured exercise is classified as NEAT and can really add to your overall calorie burn.  Obviously it’s not enough to lose weight, but any extra movement throughout your 8 hour day can help you in your fitness goals!

Here are some tips to fit in exercise in a 9-5 workday:

1.  At every hour (even better, every 30 minutes!), stand!  Walk to get a drink, say hi to your boss or coworker, or simply stretch.  Did you know that sitting for extended periods of time can lead to metabolic syndrome, obesity, and cardiovascular disease?  According to ACE, standing often can decrease your chances of getting these chronic diseases.  Play a game:  When your phone rings, that’s your cue to stand up for the duration of the call.  When you receive an email, count how many times the word “like, the, and, etc.” are in it and complete however many reps in squats, triceps dips, jumping jacks, etc.  

2.  Instead of a swivel chair, trade it in for an ergo friendly stability ball!  You can either sit on the ball without support or purchase a base (if you’re a newbie and/or are balance-challenged).  This will perfect your posture since it forces your abs and lower back to stabilize your entire body and help with proper alignment of the ankle, kne, hip, and shoulder joints.

3.  A classic!  Take the stairs instead of the elevator and park your car farther away from your work.  These ideas have been around forever and for good reason — they work!  (It will probably take you less time taking the stairs than the elevator anyway).  Take notes on how you’re breathing when you’re finished; overtime taking the stairs and walking farther to your destination will seem easy-peasy thanks to an increase in stroke volume (the amount of blood your heart pumps per beat); the more blood pumped per beat, the less your heart needs to beat each minute, thus, increasing the efficiency of your heart and how it utilizes oxygen.

4.  Do you have a group of coworkers who eat lunch together?  Why not propose a lunchtime walk or workout class instead?  If your company has a gym on site, take a workout from either my or Athena’s library and complete it during the hour.  Don’t have a gym on site?  Keep a set of light dumbbells under your desk for toning sessions; complete a mix of body weight and dumbbell exercises in a circuit style format.  The best things in life are meant to be shared!

5.  Forget the all or nothing approach.  A walk here, squats there, and a set of jumping jacks at the end of the day all count towards exercise!  Yes, you’ll want to make sure you squeeze in at least 30 minutes most days of the week, but sometimes life gets in the way and it just doesn’t happen.  Plan ahead, write it in your calendar, and tell someone to hold you accountable but if it gets bumped — shake it off, squeeze in what you can, and plan again for tomorrow!

Fitness doesn’t have an agenda; any way you can move a little extra will benefit you more than throwing in the towel and saying your workout is ruined.  With that attitude it will be unless you think of the glass as being half full rather than half empty!

Here’s a sample circuit workout for you to complete with minimal equipment and space.  6 exercises, 45 seconds each, 3x through.

Do you guys have any fitness tips for the 9-5 worker that you’d like to share? 

Thank you, Athena, for letting me be a guest on your blog!  Stop by and say hi at K.E.P.T. You Fit!

Guest Post: You Are What You Eat

As promised, I’m bringing you guys some great posts from some amazing friends and bloggers while I’m away on vacation.  This post is brought to you by Caitlin.  You guys mostly know Caitlin as “Slesh” – one of my current roommates and besties.  In case you need some memory jogging, Slesh guest posted last December about making wiser beverage choices during the holiday season, and she’s also been featured in The Awk SpotThanks Slesh for posting in my absence!!  🙂

My Experience with Primal Eating:  You Are What You Eat

I was really getting tired of being tired, working out for 1.5 hours 4-5 times a week with no results, and eating like crap.

My boyfriend has shared with me SEVERAL times, this blog:  Mark’s Daily Apple.  I finally gave it a read and decided, this was it, and this is how I was going to make these changes.  That being, primal eating.

Your body composition is 80% what you eat.  So plainly, you are what you eat.  You eat crap, you feel like crap.

There’s a lot of science that blogger and primal enthusiast Mark Sisson uses to describe this, and I’ll let you discover that on your own, but the main thing is:  your body prefers to burn fat, instead of sugars (from carbs).  So set up your body so that it does that.  Eat less carbs, and replace those with proteins and you will “effortlessly” burn fat.  Mark calls this “re-setting your genes”.

My issues with changes like this, like HUGE lifestyles changes, is that I am an “all or nothing” type of person, which usually sets me up for failure, and it did.  My first primal attempts only lasted 3 days, then I was off the wagon, only to try and fail, and then give up by the end of March.

My Turning Point

Around May 15th, I re-stumbled upon Mark’s Daily apple, and read it for HOURS.  Something clicked, it had to be right timing, the impeding bathing suit season, the few hot weekends we’ve had, I don’t know, but it was time to give this new concept a try.  So this is what is what I did…

  • I also bought the book:  The Primal Blueprint 21-Day Total Body Transformation:  A step-by-step, gene reprogramming action plan.  Got it on my Kindle for around $10.  I read it in the morning on the T to start my day on the right track.
  • I started using the “Lose It!” Application, a phone application/online website that guides people tracking their calories/nutrients.  Calories aren’t a big factor in this program, but I use it to understand the balance of carbohydrates and proteins.

  • I made a promise to myself that I was NOT going “all or nothing on this”.  It was too important for me to not fail again.  Be reasonable.  I give myself 1-2 days (depending on the week) off from this.  Ya know GO CRAZY, eat a burger with a bun, have a slice of ‘za, drink BEER(s).  I won’t even use “Lost it!” on the weekends.  I’m just conscious of what I am eating, and make it work into your life.  Who wants to be constantly calculating
    on the phone anyways?

What I’ve Learned

Carbohydrates
Here’s a great graphic from the “Daily Apple!”

[Source]

Says if you want to lose weight consume less than 100 grams of carbohydrates a day, from non-processed carbs (i.e. no breads, pastas, crackers etc).  It’s really easy to find replacements for these things with a little research.

To maintain weight:  100-150 grams of carbohydrates a day.

The thought here is, if your body burns quickly through those carbs/sugars, then it will look to the fat to burn for energy instead.

Proteins
Cavemen ate meat, eggs, then berries, nuts, veggies and so on.  The recommendation is .7 – 1 gram of protein per pound of weight, so I’m somewhere between 93-130 grams of protein a day.  Protein will make you feel full, and give you the fat you need to burn.  Fat does not make you fat! – It keeps you full!  [Source]

Eating this way, with higher protein and fat, I find that I don’t even make my “calorie budget” on Lose It!  I am full enough, where I don’t need to!

Fitness
I know I was stuck in a rut with my work out routine, doing the same things every day, over and over, leading me up to an injury.  After a ton of rehab, injections, possible upcoming surgery, and rest, this also had to change.  I don’t follow the “primal fitness” recommendations.  But have changed up my workouts somewhat to accommodate these aspects:

  • 1-2 days of spin or cardio intervals on elliptical = sprints
  • one day of zumba or cardio class = dance
  • one day of walk/or yoga = move slowly
  • 1-2 days of lifting for legs/arms = lift heavy things — I usually combine this on a day where I do cardio intervals, I often I do Fitness and Feta’s 35 minutes on the elliptical, LOVE IT!

I value cardio as a stress reliever too much to ever give it up!

Meal Planning
Don’t have time to constantly cook meat?  ME EITHER!

Some exciting quick foods and snacks:

  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Coffee or tea; or good ole’ H20
  • Handful of nuts – usually a mix of almonds and whatever nuts/seeds I have around (no peanuts!) and a dash of sea salt
  • Plain Greek yogurt with cinnamon (the full fat tastes like heaven, and will leave you full for HOURS)
  • Berries/veggies
  • Jerky
  • Scoop of almond butter
  • Canned chicken and tuna

Who would know you can get most of these at a 7-11!?

Delicious Discovery of the week:  Canned chicken strained with a scoop of 10% milk fat plain Greek yogurt. Seriously it’s amazing.

Drinks
Vodka and soda with a lemon/lime is good, or a Michelob Ultra <—link to my post when I discovered these!  But if I really really want something that I know may put me over in carbs, I’ll have it, and be mindful the rest of the day/next days.

The Results

And here are my immediate results (after a few months of on/off):

  • Since March I have lost TEN pounds!!
  • I am not as hungry all the time
  • I don’t tire as quickly at the gym
  • I sleep better, and wake up refreshed
  • I don’t fart as much – Kind of funny/amazing.  Mark’s Daily Apple seriously has a post  about everything!  Here is his on farting.
  • My goals are under 100 grams of carbs, and over 100 grams of protein every day.  Tracking this though Lose It!

Some Tips

Keep on hand quick, easy snacks to avoid temptation when you are hungry:  just set yourself up for success.  Also, keep a log of fun new recipes you like to try.  I store them on my phone and online.  Here is one I just tried for primal pancakes! [Source]

Almond Banana Primal Pancakes

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1 egg
  • Large tablespoon of almond butter
  • Butter

Directions

1.  Mash bananas and eggs, then add in almond butter.  I softened it first in microwave for 10 secs.

2.  Butter your pan!

Note:  Do not use olive oil, or your pancakes will look like this 😦

3.  Pour over medium heat and cook until brown on each side.

4.  Finished product!

With blackberries, YUM!

Reflections

A big mistake I made with primal eating: not eating enough.  Since you feel full longer, you may forget to eat a meal.

The hardest part of this is going out to dinner.  Usually when you go out for dinner, you want to treat yourself.  And I do, I’ll get something I usually would get, sandwich, but compromise on the fries, replace with a veggie if you can!  And if I find myself not able to compromise with food/drink, just remember that the next day(s) after.  It’s all about
balance.

Also, now that it’s been consistent about a month, I’d like to start branching out and cooking some more primal recipes – as I will probably soon get bored with this routine.  I am using Mark’s Daily Apple and Pinterest to research recipes.  I am open to yummy suggestions!

What I am doing for myself is being more mindful of what I am putting in my body and using this as a guide to remind me the biggest thing I’ve learned so far, again – you are what you eat!

Will I do this forever? I’m not sure, but I can tell you now, I feel a lot better than I had in the past!

*DISCLAIMER: I am by NO means an expert in this; I am just trying something new!  Consult a physician prior to making any in your diet.*

Has anyone ever tried a primal lifestyle?  Anyone else follow Mark’s Daily Apple?  What do you think about primal eating?  Could you do it?

P.S.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO OUR FAVORITE REDHEAD, BRIDGET!!!!