Friday, May 25, 2012

Working in Working out While Working

For the past couple of years, my weight (as measured at the doctor's office) has been a consistent 132 pounds. Winter, summer, spring, fall, it never varied. It's not a bad weight to be at—smack dab in the middle of the "healthy" range for my height—but I wouldn't want to get any fatter.

So naturally, when I first accepted my full-time job as a Web developer, my biggest concern was, "Am I going to get fat?" After all, my previous job had me on my feet, walking, lifting, and staying in some degree of motion for my entire 6-8 hour day, and my future job was going to mostly entail sitting at a desk for 8 and a half hours.

Plus, I'd read some horrible things about the health hazards of prolonged sitting (much more insidious than just getting fat)! Fortunately, fear is a great motivator, and within my first week of work, I had established an exercise regimen to keep me safe from sedentariness.

Once an hour, I make sure I get up and engage in some fitness activity for a full minute. This gets my blood pumping (and resulted in me having sore muscles every day for the first 2 months!) but 8 minutes of exercise every day is not enough to counteract the effects of adding 8 hours of non-exercise and an extra meal (sitting still is so boring, I absolutely cannot concentrate unless I eat at least every 3 hours), so I also increased the intensity of my daily exercise-bike ride (this lasted until I broke the console a few weeks ago—now I'm forced to bike at a roughly moderate intensity as established by a stick wedged into the resistance mechanism), and I ride my bike to and from work (15 minutes each way) whenever I can.

When the weather is nice enough for me to bike to work and I don't have to run errands or have any number of other excuses, I also use the free-to-staff gym across campus (I only do this on bike days because walking there alone would take 15 minutes, and catching the bus afterward would be an incredible pain), where I clock a whopping 10 minutes on the treadmill, at least 4 of them running (!) (Ok, jogging), and then hit the weight machines to work all the upper body muscles that I have trouble exercising without equipment.

After almost 5 months of this routine, I went to the doctor and stepped on the scale, which read 132 pounds! Apparently I'm nothing if not consistent. Although I'd like to say I became a well toned goddess from my new workout regimen, I guess I'll settle for not having developed a pot belly.

In case you'd like to experience the same kind of success lack of failure, here are some exercises you can do with nothing more than 5 square feet of open space (and either an absence of shame, or a closed door). All you must do is keep each one up for a whole minute. I usually count 60 seconds and then continue until the next multiple-of-10th repetition, cause I'm a little OCD.
  • Push ups (I'm up to 10 real ones in a row, followed by 20 girly ones!)
  • High Kicks (a la the Rockettes)
  • Side Kicks (a la Chuck Norris)
  • Back Kicks (a la nothing you've ever seen before because they look pretty dumb)
  • Squats
  • Skater squats
  • Planks (I usually do the arm-raising variation of this, because there is nothing more boring than balancing on your knees and hands for 60 seconds)
  • Relevés (a la a ballerina, but not all the way up!)
  • Jogging in place
  • Standing side crunches
  • Lunges
  • Glute sweeps (They really do exist; I just couldn't find any pictures or videos!)