That’s the average weekly time the majority of us spend in a desk chair, staring at a computer screen.
This leads you down the rabbit hole of “not having enough time to train” or “I feel too drained to exercise today”.
In my opinion, this age-old excuse is doing nothing but a number on your physical health.
We are not built to spend time inside for prolonged periods, with little-to-no movement in a slouched-over position (Don’t get me started on positions terrible for your spine, I even avoid sit-ups because of it!
Check out this article on why!).
It should be avoidable, but in all honesty, it isn’t.
We all, at some point in our lives, must sit behind a desk for hours and get on with some stationary duties. It’s just the modern world.
So, that had me thinking.
Can we improve our physical health and work at the same time?
Can you incorporate an exercise routine while sitting laboring at your desk?
Of course, you can! It can be simple to work out while working!
Whether that’s on your lunch break or even taking that very important (or boring, whichever fits better) phone call.
It can be the perfect solution to fit your exercise goals into your daily routine without feeling like you have no time left to wind down and relax.
Now, working out at the desk probably won’t send you to a bodybuilding competition any time soon, but I am a strong believer that you can work out from no matter where you are and really improve how you look and feel!
I even wrote an Ebook about it – ‘Train Wherever The F*ck You Want!’. Pick it up and give it a read for free!
I can almost guess a whirlwind of questions is flying through your head.
Can you lose body fat by working out at the desk?
Can you build muscle?
Is there a way to do it secretly?
This is all to come!
How Can You Burn Fat At The Desk?
Sitting down for 8 hours a day is a sure-fire way to make any type of weight loss a lot more difficult than it already is.
You are ultimately putting your calorie usage into a submissive state, and to burn fat, you need to be in a calorie deficit.
There isn’t another way to do it, no magic slimming pills or straps, just consuming less energy than you need.
But before we get into what workouts can place you into a deficit, we must address the elephant in the room.
I’m not going to demand that you eat a single lettuce leaf for lunch to make any sort of progress.
That would just be counter-productive, and you don’t need to make such drastic changes to achieve your weight-loss goals!
However, a reduction in calories is extremely important if we are going to be sitting down all day.
Here are 3 simple tips to improve your diet at work without changing everything you eat!
- Keep hydrated! Water can boost your metabolism and help fill you up!
- Fewer trips to the vending machine! Snacks can bump up those calories!
- Bring a packed lunch. Café trips on the lunch break can hurt the waist AND the wallet!
Less of the boring diet stuff now, and onto the juicy stuff.
How can you burn those calories at the desk?
The first trick to burning calories at the desk and around the office is to perform small stints of cardio as frequently as possible.
This can be as simple as standing up for 10 minutes while on the phone or walking around the office to fill up your water.
You could even use your lunch break to go on a relaxing walk.
This can be sensational for your mental health at the same time!
As well as that, getting out of that seated position regularly can do wonders to your posture and your spine!
Now, not all jobs are the same and some of us cannot leave the desk as often as we would like to.
Luckily, there are ways to incorporate exercises sitting down at the desk!
Simply move to the edge of your seat, hold your core in tight, and begin to perform jumping jacks!
It is seriously effective!
You may get a few weird looks here and there, but hey, you are taking steps to improve your health.
This is not exactly high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and while it works well, I wouldn’t go giving up your gym membership or skipping your home routine because of it.
Simply put, following these tips in the office are perfect steps in the right direction.
Can I Get Fit From The Desk?
Unfortunately, this is going to be a very short answer.
Unless you are a world record speed typer, I highly doubt you will be getting fit enough to run a marathon just from workouts at the desk.
Can You Build Muscle With An Office Desk Job?
Maybe you don’t want to lose weight.
Maybe you want to be packing on the muscle mass and getting bigger.
Everyone’s goals when it comes to their health and body will be slightly different.
Now, you are going to be very surprised when I say this, but having a job where you can sit at a desk may be slightly helpful when you aim to gain weight.
Having a remote job is perfect for storing those calories and not extorting them through manual labor, which is very useful for putting yourself in a calorie surplus.
With no weight training, these calories are getting stored as fat and not being used to grow our muscles!
If we can’t work out after work, we have no chance of making progress, right?
Nowadays, you really can build muscle wherever you like, with some good old help from your body weight and some resistance bands.
I absolutely love resistance bands, as you can see from my post comparing resistance bands and weights.
Resistance bands really do triumph over free weights in the office, as I am certain your boss wouldn’t be happy seeing you dragging a barbell across the office floors!
Again, this would not be an excuse to skip the gym or home workouts.
Full-body workouts at the desk will allow you to make some progress, but I highly doubt you will be looking like a prime Arnold Schwarzenegger!
So, What Exercises Can I Do At My Desk?
Like I previously stated, weights are a no-go at the desk.
What are the next best things when trying to work out at the desk?
You’ve got it…
From biceps to legs, there is nothing the resistance bands can’t hit.
They also increase in tension, allowing you to feel the burn!
A common bicep exercise you can do while seated is the incline bicep curl.
With the resistance band strongly attached to the desk, sit in your chair at a slight angle.
Following this, proceed to curl the weight towards you, pausing at contraction to feel the burn.
If possible, replace the band with a kettlebell!
If it’s back day, you can replicate the cable row!
Simply attach a resistance band to the desk, and hold it with both hands in front of you.
Lift yourself off the seat slightly, so you are sat in a slight squat, and pull the band towards you, pinching your shoulder blades as the band moves back.
Straighten your arms back out without shrugging your shoulders and feel the burn!
Legs are one of the harder muscle groups to activate while sat down, but it is not impossible while stood up at the desk.
With the resistance band around the ankle and attached to the desk, kick the leg band straight back to activate the glutes.
Hold at the top for a second, then lower the leg back down.
There are so many exercises that you can do with a resistance band that can be incorporated into a workout at the desk, with just one article not being enough to go through them all!
That is why I seriously recommend checking out my free Ebook right now!
Is It Possible To Exercise At Your Desk In Secret?
Not all of us want to be sat in the middle of the room waving a resistance band about and noticeably performing jumping jacks.
I understand that.
There are plenty of ways to secretly work out at the desk, involving the use of bodyweight exercises.
Bodyweight exercises truly can work a treat, especially in a limited time frame and limited space.
An incline push against your desk is a perfect start to working your chest without people even realizing what you are doing, or a seated torso twist will work your core so discreetly, it will look like a stretch!
If these exercises are still TOO obvious for a professional environment, why not try some quad extensions.
Simply stretch each leg out in front of you alternatively and tense the quad and hamstring.
After sets of 10 x 10 of these in each leg, it will feel as though you have just done a set of lunges!
The 9-5 truly is the bane of the fitness industry.
The average person will be defeated by this and let their health decline as life goes on, using working at the desk as an excuse.
You’re not like that, though.
We know that you can exercise at the desk and won’t let anything get in your way!
You have filled yourself with the knowledge to make your dream body come true while earning a living! You want to make a difference to yourself.