Okay, so there’s a small problem with most fitness articles on the internet that advise you on working out. You may have noticed it across the board—probably even in my own work.
You see, the issue I’m referring to is this. Most articles about keeping fit and strength training talk to the reader as if their sole purpose in life is to live in the gym—and gain the physique of Hercules himself.
Of course, this is easily done by authors who are in fact coaches or trainers. As a qualified personal trainer, it’s their job to motivate people about working out. They want to give everyone the push they need and talk about working out seriously—the same happens when writing about it.
The problem is, it always seems that we assume our readers are going to become professional bodybuilding athletes. We’ll even show you photos as encouragement, you know, the guys and girls with incredible physiques. The thing is, as a bodybuilding athlete, it’s their job to look good—their body is their money maker.
However, most normal people have jobs, kids and homes to take care of. Just because you’ve decided to put some serious effort into your health and physique it doesn’t mean you are going to abandon your kids at the side of the road, quit your job and live in the basement at your local gym.
Therefore, how does the average Joe (or Julie!) achieve a great physique while juggling all life has to offer?
I know how hard it is, even I’m sat down for most of my day! As a writer, I work a 40–50 hour week and I also have a young daughter. That right there is most of my time (not including housework, meal prep and fixing all the DIY my husband does wrong!) and I know so many people are in the same boat.
So how does someone who sits at a desk all day get an epic physique? By following a few simple rules.
Rule #1. Focus on Fitness that Matches Your Lifestyle
Okay, so this is really important. If you want to improve your overall health and fitness, plus achieve a great physique—figure out a workout plan you can maintain and achieve. This means setting realistic goals that you can work around your life.
Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t my way of telling you to cop out because you’re busy, quite the opposite, in fact. You’ll get more done at a better level if you know exactly what you have to work with and can stick to it.
Let’s face it if you’re a busy corporate executive working 60 hours a week with a young family at home, telling yourself you’re going to hit the gym for 3 hours a night, 7 days a week, just isn’t going to work. Inevitably, you’ll start missing workouts, this will dampen your enthusiasm and you’ll lose the motivation to continue.
The key to succeeding is figuring out what time you have and how you can use that most efficiently to get the best results.
Perhaps you can grab a quick 30-minute HIIT workout in your office three days a week. Then a 90-minute full body strength training session one day at the weekend.
This might mean preparing yourself by keeping a set of sweatpants at your office or even a kettlebell for a solid workout—to make the most of that half an hour.
Although this may not make you a bodybuilding adonis in the space of a month, you will see results over time—if it works with your lifestyle, you’re more likely to maintain it.
Rule #2. Do the Light Stuff
Being totally sedentary is no good for your health and fitness—even the smallest efforts can make a big difference. A few push-ups every morning, or a 5-minute plank, these are small ways you can build up your fitness levels.
Rule #3. You’re Not an Athlete – Remember This!
A number of people fall into the “age” trap. They think that because they were once a super fit athlete back in their teens, they can fall straight back into it. Even after doing nothing for years. Wrong.
You should build up your fitness level and take it slow. You don’t need to jump into training like you’re going to run a marathon tomorrow. Build up your workouts and start with functional fitness.
Trying to stack plates onto a bar and attempting a deadlift when you haven’t done one for a number of years is only going to do more harm than good. Work out realistically for your current ability level and aim to improve over time.
Rule #4. Progress Is Different for Everyone
For many trainers, progress is measured in the sense that today you can lift more weight than yesterday. Yes, that’s a form of progress. But that doesn’t need to be your goal and you can strive for other feats.
If you’ve been stuck at a desk for years and you’re new to working out, progress can be measured in any number of ways.
Perhaps you’ve lost some weight, or your fitness level has significantly improved. Maybe you can simply walk up a flight of stairs without being out of breath!
These are all signs of progress which you should high-five yourself for and use as your motivation to continue.
Whatever your goal is, be realistic. Ensure your workouts fit around your lifestyle. Keep going and have patience knowing they may take slightly longer to achieve. But, you can reach them, despite being sat at a desk all day.