Six tips from Kayla Itsines to stay healthy when you have a desk job

Itsines instructing a bootcamp in Perth. Photo: Kayla Itsines/ Facebook.

Finding the motivation to hit the gym after a long day in the office can be difficult, especially as winter sets in.

But what if you could make little adjustments while in the office to make you feel like you’re getting more movement during working hours?

Kayla Itsines, a international fitness sensation, recently shared her tips on “How To Stay Healthy In A Office Job” on her blog.

She says “Many people with office jobs find it hard to fit in a sustainable exercise routine because they are too tired or stressed out after a long day and would prefer to just go home, get in their pyjamas and eat something comforting.”

“[But] with a few small changes to your daily routine, you can easily set yourself up for success,” she says.

Here are her tips to make sure you get something out of every work day.

1. Stand Up

Now I know this seems like an obvious answer, but for many people this can be SO hard to accomplish when they are flat out everyday. No matter how good our intentions are, deadlines, emails and other work priorities can get in the way. I think most people underestimate the importance of moving around. Not only can it help you clear your head and refocus, it also burns more calories than sitting on your bum does.

If your workplace allows it, switch out your desk chair for a Swiss ball! Using a Swiss ball can help to activate your core while you are sitting down and encourages better posture. If not, try take more bathroom breaks (a good excuse to drink more water), stand up while taking phone calls and, if you have stairs, use these to your advantage! Aim to stand up and move around at least once every hour.

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2. Skip The Snacks

One of the worst culprits for weight gain when at work is the sneaky cookie jar. If your staff kitchen is full of naughty treats, try bypass it altogether. Make your own healthy snacks and always have these ready and on hand for when the hunger monster strikes. It can be hard but try to also resist the temptation of accepting a sweet or chocolate from your co-workers desk (I think we all know the ones who have a secret stash of junk food!).

The best way to look at this is out of sight, out of mind! If your office loves to snack, try to take it in turns to bring freshly chopped fruit, homemade raw slices and make the effort to go outside for lunch and have a breath of fresh air! Vending machines are also naughty culprits, so to stop yourself from even going there, leave the change at home! It is important to still treat yourself every so often, just make sure that that treat once or twice a week doesn’t become a part of your daily routine!

3. Top Up The H20

I know drinking water is essential for everyone, no matter what they do but especially for people working in office jobs. It can be easy to forget to drink water when you are zoned in and doing your work, but this can also cause you to become dehydrated. Drinking water regularly can help beat dehydration, which may trick you into thinking you are hungry. I love setting goals for my water intake, so I will take in a few bottles and aim to finish them by certain times of the day.

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4. Sneak In Exercise

This is easier than you think if you work in an office environment. Some of these things may seem really simple and easy, but you would be surprised at the overall effect they can have on your health and weight. Like I mentioned before, if you have stairs at your office, opt to use them over the elevator. If you don’t have elevators then run up the stairs and run back down, repeating this twice so you are getting more of a workout on the way to work.

Every time you use the toilet complete 10 squats, this can be done in the cubicle or in the bathroom. If you generally drive down the street to get your lunch, then try walking! For all the girls who wear heels to work, this may be the time to become THAT girl who brings sneakers to work – but your health is more important than image, right? Speaking of walking, try parking your car five to ten minutes further from your work in the warmer months so you can walk there. Recruit a buddy from the office as it will make it much more fun!

5. Lunch Matters

What you eat for lunch matters a lot more in an office environment than anywhere else because you are less active during the day. If you don’t do any exercise you need to be more mindful of what you are fueling your body with, because your movements are probably limited during the day. I always opt for some wholegrains, fresh or cooked vegetables and some lean protein for lunch. For example, I love rocket sandwiches with roasted chicken, mustard and tomato.

If you are one of those people who is always busy and barely remember to eat lunch, then reach for the nearest bag of chips when the hunger hits you, try to be a little more organised! I understand not many people sit down to eat their lunch at the same time everyday, but remembering to EAT is the first step! If you can’t pack your lunch everyday choose places that offer fresh foods and wholegrain products. Another thing to remember is your portion control.

Many times people don’t eat badly they just eat too much, which can cause you to feel lethargic and sleepy throughout the day. Overeating can be quite easy to do when you are doing multiple things at once because, let’s be honest, you’re probably focusing more on the pile of emails sitting in your inbox rather than how full you are. Rather than eating at your desk, set aside 10-15 minutes and find a quiet place to eat your lunch. Also bring along 2-3 healthy snacks to help keep you full and energised throughout the day.

6. Plan Your Workouts

Spending long hours at the office can really mess up your workout schedule, so this is a great time to get organised!

Pick certain days you that you want to exercise and tick them off your calendar when you do, you will feel so proud of yourself! When choosing the exercises themselves, make sure to pick ones you actually enjoying doing, considering you will have just spent a large part of your day sitting down. HIIT sessions are great if you are short on time and can help your body to keep burning fat even after you are done working out.

I love my Bikini Body Guide workouts because they are completed in under 30 minutes and really get my heart racing! Make sure to write out a plan and try your hardest to stick to it! Sometimes the best thing after a stressful day at the office is to sweat it out at the gym! If you are like me and function best at the start of the day get a sneaky workout in before work, it will boost your energy levels and get your endorphins pumping – leaving you on a positive high!

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