Staying Fit During the 9-5 Grind

A new job requires a new fitness plan

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If you’ve been reading Peak Fitness for a while, you’ve probably figured out that I lead a really flexible life. I’m self-employed, make my own hours, schlep all of 10 minutes to my office, and have it easy when it comes to finding 60-90 minutes a day to go exercise. Well, that all ends tomorrow, when I not only start a job in Denver thatrequires me to be at my desk during working hours each day, but I also have to deal with an hour-and-a-half commute each way from Colorado Springs.

So much for training for a marathon. And it was going so well, too. This morning I ran the fastest 9 miles of my life. Now I face 12 hours of sitting in a car and at a desk every Monday to Friday. Woe is to me, blah, blah, blah.

I know everyone out there with a regular job just smirked and is saying to themselves, “Hey buddy, welcome to the real world.” And they’re not wrong. Finding the time to exercise, heck, finding time to do anything in our over-scheduled, stressed-out world is the first and hardest step to getting started.

Now I get to find out how everyone else does it.

I do know that my disciplined approach to training—specifically for a January marathon—is going to suffer a setback. Whether that’s a week or two, I don’t know. But I’ve got a plan, and I could use your help to see if it’s got a solid foundation or whether it’s going to fall apart the minute I hear the words, “Working lunch.”

  1. Chill out. Working in a new place with new people means getting to know the in’s and out’s of a place. And more importantly, it requires respecting how stuff gets done. Showing up on the first week and blowing off lunch invitations to go train for a marathon isn’t very smart. Do the lunches, order salad, skip dessert. Fit in exercise anyway and anywhere else.
  2. Then work out during lunch. Blow off steam, get outside. A quick exercise session empties the mind which helps me focus on what needs to be done with the rest of the day. Eventually, I hope my colleagues understand my passion for staying in shape (see above), and we meet for mid-morning coffee breaks to connect.
  3. Keep exercise short but make it more intense. 45-minutes of running, Spinning, or strength training can produce some amazing results. That is, I’ll get results if I work out hard enough. That means mixing things up with a series of 1- to 5-minute, all-out efforts on my runs every other day. This type of exercise will keep the top end of my aerobic capacity in fighting shape so that when I do have the time to go long on the weekends, I should be able to tap into a solid dose of speed and stamina.
  4. Join a gym near work. The biggest reason to join the gym is for the showers and locker room that I’ll use to clean up after a run. The second reason is that some days the weather doesn’t cooperate, and in my new life where I can’t simply reschedule a workout for later in the day or week, I need a guarantee that someway, somehow, I can exercise, even if it’s on a treadmill.

Let me know what you think. I’d love to hear it.

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