Working Hard? 7 Fitness Tips For Working Professionals

It is easy to sacrifice fitness for the sake of work.

But we all know how it ends up for us, don’t we?

So here’s a quick guide to get you started on being fit.

1. Have an early dinner

In her book The Four-Week Countdown Diet[1], fitness trainer and nutritionist, Namita Jain suggests that the best way to get started on any kind of diet is to make changes to your dinner[2].

Indeed, Jain isn’t the only nutritionist who stresses on her clients’ dinner habits.

Pick any fitness book you want and there’s a good possibility it says pretty much the same thing.

In urban India especially, dinners are rarely had before 9pm (and often much later than that), which means there’s little or no time for it to get digested before you hit the bed.

You end up feeling sluggish in the morning so you don’t feel like hitting the gym and you end up having a light breakfast or skip it altogether because you’re so full from the previous evening.

And the vicious circle begins.

Long story short: Have an early dinner and break that circle.

Also, keep it light! 🙂

2. Walk, walk, walk

Mumbai-based fitness trainer Eddie Teel, who is often asked for handy tips to lose weight and stay fit, recommends just one workout besides an early dinner: Long walks.

In fact for the first couple of months, he does little else with his clients except accompany them on walks along the nearest promenades.

More often than not, he is surprised at how few people can walk beyond 30 minutes and at a shamefully slow pace.

There is no point, he says, in making them do anything in the gym till they build up their stamina.

Teel follows his own advice and rarely ever takes any form of motorised transport, preferring to walk to his clients’ homes or the gym or even to run errands for his wife.

Walking is one of the most basic forms of workout and one is ideally supposed to walk 10,000 steps a day (that can be tracked with a pedometer[3]).

Walking also helps prevent heart ailments and Type 2 diabetes and also keeps your blood pressure in check.

Besides improving your balance and coordination, it helps release endorphins that help lift your mood.

So instead of driving to work, walk to the nearest bus stop; or just walk a part of the way from work back home or take the steps instead of the elevator but you probably knew all this, didn’t you? 🙂

3. Make the most of your lunch break

Let’s admit it. None of us have lunch for the entire duration of the lunch break.

A good part of the time is spent gossiping, taking a cigarette break or just stepping out for a cup of sweet chai.

For those of you complaining about lack of time, those are good 30 minutes staring right in your face, smack in the middle of the busiest workday!

Make the most of them. Instead of attacking your lunchbox and then heading for a smoke, hit your office gym for the first half of your break. If you don’t have a gym, go for a short walk.

And then have your lunch.

4. Have a square meal

Given our busy schedules, lunch (instead of breakfast) invariably becomes the most important meal of the day.

Kalli Purie[4], author of the ‘weight loss memoir’ Confessions of a Serial Dieter[5], says that she avoids having anything heavy after sundown.

She opts to have the meal with the most carbohydrates for lunch, when the sun is at its peak.

Even so, the meal ought to be balanced.

So if you’re struggling to make your lunch before you leave, consider a healthy lunch service — there’s bound to be one if you’re in a major city.

5. Find fitness buddies

Whether we like it or not but everyone wants to be fit and stay in shape.

So really, it is just a matter of finding someone who wants to lose weight just as desperately as (or more than) you and getting them on a diet/workout plan with you.

Your fitness buddy needn’t be your best friend (in fact it is best if s/he isn’t) but rather someone who shares the same goal as you and someone who can be a motivation for you.

And if you needed any further evidence, there are several studies, including one published in Psychology of Sport and Exercise in 2011 that concluded that the workout behaviour of those around you will influence your exercise habits too.

Apart from that, working out with your colleague is bound to help you connect with them better than you would over, let’s say, a meal or coffee.

6. Go easy on yourself

It is easy to get swayed when you’ve just begun your workout.

But as fitness trainer and author of Fitness on the Go[6],Abhishek Sharma points out, it is crucial that one start on a gentle note, gradually preparing the body over the first few weeks else there is a chance of injury.

Set short term goals.

You can start with this four-week workout challenge[7] but also learn to take it a day at a time, then a week at a time and so on and so forth.

7. Sleep, sleep, sleep

You don’t need an expert to tell you just why a good night’s sleep is important.

And like everything else, how well you sleep is directly related to what you have for dinner and more importantly when you have it.

So you see, it all goes back to point number one — have an early dinner!

Photograph: Jhong Dizon/Creative Commons


  1. ^ The Four-Week Countdown Diet (books.rediff.com)
  2. ^ make changes to your dinner (www.rediff.com)
  3. ^ pedometer (shopping.rediff.com)
  4. ^ Kalli Purie (www.rediff.com)
  5. ^ Confessions of a Serial Dieter (books.rediff.com)
  6. ^ Fitness on the Go (books.rediff.com)
  7. ^ this four-week workout challenge (www.rediff.com)

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