5 Steps to Staying Fit Despite a Desk Job

If you spend your workweek sitting in an office, frequently surrounded by sugary snacks, it can be difficult to stay active and eat well.

Ryan Martin, head coach at Orangetheory Fitness Kakaako, has many clients who work in the urban hustle and bustle.

Here are his top five tips for staying fit:


1. Stretch:

Do a variety of stretches to open up the spine and engage the abdominal muscles, which are often weakened by sitting in a chair.

The back and spine are the core of the entire body. If there is no flexion or mobility in the spine, the rest of the body may be inclined to suffer along with it. Stretches for the spine include:



Crossed leg toe reach: Stand up and cross one foot over the other. Keep a flat spine while bending over, driving the back heel to the ground. Bend over slowly while focusing on the stretch in the hamstring of the back leg and then switch sides. This combats lower back stiffness.




Neck rotations: Slowly move your head from side to side. Each round ends with your ear reaching toward your shoulder.




Seated torso twist: Sitting down, twist at the hips while grabbing hold of your chair, and gently increase the range of motion of the twist.



Static reverse leg raise:
Keep the chest up and shoulders back and bend one leg behind you and rest it on the seat of a chair. Keep the hips parallel and lightly press forward through the front leg. The hip flexor of the back leg is being stretched.


Overhead reach to twist: Extend both arms over head, interlace the fingers, and face the palms away from the body. Twist from side to side, trying to look at opposite sides of the room.




Behind the back, clasped hand reach: Stand up, clasp your hands behind your back, open up the chest, and press the hands down as deeply as they can go. This opens up the shoulder girdle, which combats being hunched over a desk all day.


2. Eat intentionally:

Have a planned lunch or small meals and healthy snacks like apples, protein shakes, salads and fiber bars. Smaller meals throughout the day increase metabolism and are better than gorging all at once on a large, unhealthy meal. Bring your own snacks to reduce temptation to dip into the office goodies; packs of tuna are some of my favorites because the omega-3 from the tuna can help keep a mind sharp, increase energy and improve eyesight along with many other benefits.


3. Drink plenty of water:

If there is no fresh water supply at work, bring a 32- or 40-ounce flask. Drinking enough water is one of the easiest ways to manage body weight and reduce your food consumption. Recommended water intake: half your body weight in ounces of water. For example, I weigh 200 pounds, so I should drink 100 ounces per day.


4. Exercise each day:

This can mean a walk on your break, using your lunch to workout at a gym or go for a run and then eat lunch while you’re at your desk working. Turn daily tasks into exercises, like bending down to get something with a squat or lunge. Or have your workout planned before or after your shift and stick to it.


5. Find an accountability partner:

This can be your husband or wife, co-worker, best friend; find someone with similar health goals and support each other. It is easier to stick with your plan if someone checks in with you or helps you adhere to a schedule or nutritional goals.



Ryan Martin
Martin has been a head coach at Orangetheory Fitness for three years.

Categories: 5 Steps