Okay, so there is a small problem with most articles on the internet that advise you on working out. You will have noticed it across the board, probably even in my own work. You see, the issue I am referring to is that most articles you read when talking about working out and strength training, talks 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 is your job to get people excited about working out, give them the push they need and talk about working out seriously. This also happens when writing about it too.
The problem is, it always seems to be that we assume our readers are going to become professional bodybuilding athletes. We even show you their photos as encouragement, you know, the guys and girls with incredible physiques. The thing is, as a bodybuilding athlete, it is their job to look good. Their body is their money maker.
However, most normal people have jobs and kids and homes to take care of. Just because you decide you want to put some serious effort into your health and physique doesn’t suddenly 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 average Joe (or Julie!) achieve a great physique while juggling all life has to offer? I know how hard it is, even I am sat down for most of my day! As a writer I work a 40-50 hour week and I also have a very 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 - Workout to Match Your Lifestyle
Okay so this is really important. If you want to improve your overall health and fitness and achieve a great physique you need to sit down and 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 will 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 are going to hit the gym for 3 hours a night, 7 days a week just isn’t going to work. What will happen is, you will start missing workouts, this will dampen your enthusiasm and you will lose motivation to continue.
You see, the key to succeeding is figuring out what time you have and how you can use that most efficiently to get the best results. Maybe you can get a quick 30 minute HIIT cardio workout in your office 3 days a week (possibly before starting work or during your lunch hour) and a full body 90 minute strength training session one day at the weekend. This might mean preparing yourself by having a set of sweatpants at your office or even a kettlebell for a good workout in order to make the most out of those 30 minutes.
Although this may not make you a bodybuilding adonis in the space of a month, you will see results over time and if it works with your lifestyle, you are more likely to maintain it.
Rule #2 - Do The Light Stuff
Being totally sedentary is no good for your health and fitness. So even the smallest efforts can make a big difference. A few push-ups every morning, a 5 minute plank, these are small ways you can build up your fitness levels. Even the smallest efforts can lead to big changes.
Rule #3 - You’re Not an Athlete - Remember This!
A number of people fall into the trap of thinking that because they used to be a super fit athlete in their teens or even early 20s, can still workout just as hard even after doing nothing for 10 year. Wrong answer.
You need to build up your fitness level and take it slow. You don’t need to jump into training like you are going to run a marathon the next day. Build up your workouts and start with functional fitness.
Trying to stack plates onto a bar and romanian deadlift it when you didn’t do one for a number of years is only going to do more harm than good. Workout realistically for your own 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 is 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. Maybe 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 pat yourself on the back for and use as your motivation to continue.
Whatever your goal is, as long as you are realistic in ensuring your workouts fit around your lifestyle, you keep going and have patience knowing they may take slightly longer to achieve, you can achieve them, despite being sat at a desk all day.