It’s Monday morning, the beginning of a new week. You get to the office with grand plans to work out every day this week, and then — bam! — before you know it, it’s 6 p.m., and you’re nowhere near ready to leave the office. Your determination to hit the gym fades with your energy, and when the day’s work is finally done, you slink home, feeling guilty.
Listen, we know it’s easy to lose the motivation to work out among the press of all the other responsibilities of daily life. Above all, it’s important not to put too much pressure on yourself — if you couldn’t get to the gym today, remember that tomorrow is another day. But even if you don’t get to a treadmill, you can still find ways to exercise and maintain your health.
One way is to build short bouts of cardio into your daily life: Park as far away from your office as possible, or take the bus to work and get off one or two stations before your actual stop. Also, always opt for the stairs instead of the elevator. But that still leaves the eight hours (or, you know, 10 hours) during which you’re stuck in your desk chair. To break up that time and to get a more rigorous substitute workout that better approximates the strength training you might do during a gym workout, try the following set of exercises designed by Los Angeles-based trainer Troy Samuels — no equipment required.
• Glute Squeezes: Sit upright in your office chair and squeeze your gluteus muscles tightly. Hold for a count of five and then release. Repeat 10 times.
• Ab Squeezes: Sitting upright again, squeeze your abdominal muscles. Hold for a count of five and release. Repeat 10 times.
• Squats: Stand to the side of your chair with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees slightly and center your weight over your heels. Bend your knees until your legs are parallel with the seat of the chair. Return to a standing position and repeat 10 to 20 times.
• Calf Raises: Stand upright with your feet one to two inches apart. Rise up onto your toes and hold for two counts before lowering your heels back to the ground. Repeat 20 times.
• Wall Stands: Stand with your back against your office door or wall. Move your feet away until the wall is holding the weight of your back. Bend your knees to form a 90-degree angle and hold the position as long as you can. Return to your original position and repeat five times.
• Push-Ups: Do I need to explain this?
• Planks: From a push-up position, lower your body to the floor by bending your arms at the elbows. Drop your forearms flat on the ground to support the weight of your body. Avoid arching your back, tighten your abs and hold the position as long as you can. Repeat five times.
If you’re serious about getting a bit of extra strength work in while at work, leave a set of dumbbells in your desk or office. Then you can do curls, shoulder presses or even walking lunges (or a combination of all three) in between meetings and conference calls — until you can get to the gym again.