For me life is continuously being hungry. The meaning of life is not simply to exist, to survive, but to move ahead, to go up, to achieve, to conquer.
- Arnold Schwarzenegger
The professions of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s career run the gamut from bodybuilder to actor to politician. He was crowned Mr. Universe at the age of 20, is a seven-time Mr. Olympia, has enjoyed a successful (and highly quotable) acting career, and, certainly not least of all, served two terms as the governor of California.
Who better to turn to when trying to find a balance between physical fitness and professional success?
Sitting at a desk all day is anything but conducive to getting in shape, and between commuting to work, stressing about work, and actually working for 8+ hours a day, it’s undeniably hard to find time for cooking healthy meals and getting a workout in. But all those hours spent in your office do not have to be for naught, and not only is it possible to keep yourself from gaining countless pounds as your career progresses, but it’s also not as hard as you may think to actually get in better shape. How, you ask?
Start by dedicating 1% of your day to exercise.
Just 1%. That’s only 15 minutes. Arnold himself designed a 1% challenge that anyone can participate in on the workout-tracking website Fitocracy that turns getting in shape into a game of sorts. There are 7 workout routines (3 of which are all body weight—no equipment required) that are designed to take only 15 minutes to complete, and the goal is to complete any of them 15 times in 1 month.
Take advantage of time spent in your chair.
Not all exercises require special equipment, and they don’t all make you sweat, either. There are a number of moves that you can do while you’re at your desk that will help mitigate some of the negative effects that sitting all day can have. Some of them are inconspicuous and others are more obvious (magic carpet ride, anyone?), but as long as you have a sense of humor, all of them will provide much-needed relief throughout the day.
Sit on an exercise ball.
It’s widely accepted that the best way to sit at a desk for an extended period of time is to not sit at all. But since that isn’t always an option, some opt to swap their standard office chairs for bouncy exercise balls, which promote the constant engagement of the stabilizer muscles in your core (thereby strengthening them), but the pros and cons of chairs vs. exercise balls are debatable. Either way, the more often you vary your sitting position and use your core muscles, the better.
Or don’t sit at all.
Others are able to forego sitting completely and work instead at standing desks. In case you’re considering going this route, here’s an in-depth discussion and review of some of the options that are out there. But still, the overall consensus is that the absolute best thing to do during the workday is to move around as much as possible—walk to your coworkers’ desks rather than emailing them, make frequent trips to the water cooler (since we all probably need to drink more water anyway), or go the long way to the bathroom.
And don’t forget to foster mental toughness as well.
All of the exercise in the world can’t completely counteract an unpleasant work atmosphere that does nothing but wear you down day after day (though it certainly does help), so it’s equally as important to put some effort into becoming mentally tough. You can’t always control your situation, but you can control how you react to it. So try to make yourself happier at work, but when it seems as though everything is becoming too much to handle, shift your focus toward becoming mentally tough.