How to stay fit when you’re stuck behind a desk all day

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, then I’m sure you’ve seen the guest post that I wrote over at BostInno the other day. But- in case you missed it, I thought I would share it with you here, too. I’m sure a number of you are fellow “9-5’ers”, so hopefully some of these tips will help serve as a reminder of ways to stay active throughout the day.


9-5 jobs. Whether we like it or not, this is the harsh reality that most of us face on a day to day basis. When you factor in your commute to and from work, sometimes an 8 hour work day turns into a 10 hour commitment, which can leave very little time for staying active and healthy. It’s all to easy to hit snooze in the morning and to say yes to after work drinks with friends or coworkers instead of workout, right? Over the years, I’ve learned how to manage working an 8-9 hour/day desk job AND stay fit. Want to get in on my secrets? Check it out:


Put your workout in your calendar

If I write down my workout and make it part of my day, I am less likely to skip it. Every Monday, I post a Weekly Workout Log which helps me figure out what workouts I want to do for the week and hold me accountable for doing them. I get motivated by seeing my weekly workouts listed out in front of me.

Plan workout “dates” with friends

Working out with friends is not only fun, but it serves as motivation to get to the gym. Plan a date with a friend or a few friends to try out a new studio or a new class. Most gyms will offer you free guest passes or a free “first class”.

Stay active during the day

This may seem like a no-brainer, but I work with people who sometimes go HOURS without even standing up! I drink lots of water during the day, which serves 2 purposes: keeps me hydrated AND causes me to need to get up and go to the bathroom all the time. This is a great way to make sure you’re getting up and moving around every hour or so. Take the stairs when you can, walk during your lunch break, walk to someone’s office or cube instead of emailing them or calling them- all of these things help get you up and our of your chair. Every little bit counts!

Workout before work

If I know I have something going on or want to be ready in case after work plans evolve during the day (Thursday or Friday nights in the summer when outdoor cocktails are too hard to resist), I make sure to workout in the morning. I set my clothes out and mentally prepare for an early morning workout. It may not be easy to get out of bed, but I remind myself of how good I’ll feel after my workout is done, which helps. Remember: you never regret a workout!

Bribe yourself

Still having a hard time getting to the gym before or after work (or working out at home)? Bribe yourself with something to get you there and get a workout in. For instance, sometimes I tell myself that I can meet up with friends after my workout or that I can treat myself to a glass of wine when I get home if I spend 30 minutes at the gym. Sometimes even something as simple as signing up for a new class or buying a new workout top serves as enough motivation to get to the gym.

So, even though I, too, sit behind a computer most of the day, I am able to stay fit and active by doing some of the things I’ve listed above. Working out and committing to a healthy, active and fit lifestyle isn’t easy, but the more you do it, the easier it gets!

Questions for you: What’s something you do to stay active during the day? Are you a fan of making fitness dates? Do you workout before work, after work or during your lunch break?

8 thoughts on “How to stay fit when you’re stuck behind a desk all day

  1. Kim says:

    I started getting up at 4:30 every morning when I worked a desk job – that way no matter what came up I got my workout in. And, during the day, my coworker and I set an alarm and got up every hour to do something – push-ups, stability ball crunches, wall-sits….

    • Burpees to Bubbly says:

      WOW! 4:30 is like the middle of the night, but if that’s what you have to do to get the workout in, that’s what you have to do! I have a “Work from home” workout where I do a small circuit every half hour- it works!

  2. suzanne gagnon says:

    Hi Nick, Working in a very large elementary school guarantees lots of movement during the day–no sitting at a desk for modern day teachers! Since there’s no time at lunch, I’ve always worked out after school, before getting home. I find that it revives my late afternoon energy dip–I always feel better after I go to the Y, or do a brisk walk. Mom

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