We all know that having a busy work schedule whether that be in a single day or across a week, can be disruptive to any health & fitness goals you may have. The key word is disruptive, meaning that these busy days won’t stop you from achieving these goals, it will just take a bit more of an effort. There are many ways in which you can manage your workday and there are slight changes that can be made to ensure you are remaining fully on track for your own individual goals, I’m going to go over some main ones within this article.
Not only will this be a great way to ensure you are staying on track with your eating it will also save you a bit of money through the week as you won’t be buying food each day, now that is something, I’m sure you are interested in.
Food prep can be as complex or as simple as you want to make it. What dictates this will be how adventurous you like to be in the kitchen with what you are prepping & how much you are prepping. One of the easiest ways to food prep efficiently will be to batch cook a lot at once, for example if you are prepping rice, weigh out however many meals you are planning on making and cook it all at once. Same goes with veg and whatever protein source you choose, put a load of it into cook at once and then dish it out into separate meals afterwards. This also makes tracking calories nice and easy if this something you do and use apps such as ‘MyFitnessPal’ you can input each meal each day when prepping. This means daily tracking is reduced greatly.
For a lot of people, I know and see across social media, Sunday evenings seem to be the dedicated food prep times. Really it just depends on when will suit you the best, just ensure you give yourself enough time to sort out everything you need and you’ll be sound. Another thing you can do is change how often you prep for, so for you have days where you’ll be a lot busier than other or days you know your nutrition may be slightly off, then you could only prep for these days. You don’t have to always meal prep for 5 days a week, it may only be 2 or 3, or even prep for 2 and then prep for another 2 midweek.
Food choices when buying
Now I know food prep isn’t for everyone and the idea of having to prepare meals for the coming week may seem like a chore to a lot of people and that’s fine. If you enjoy popping to the supermarket and grabbing yourself a meal deal (especially when the seasonal foods come out) then carry on, I’m just going to help you make better decisions within that meal deal.
We will start with the main aspect of the meal deal/lunch. So usually it’ll come down to a sandwich/roll/wrap, salad, pasta-based meal or even sushi, now that’s a tough decision on its own. The great thing nowadays is that there are a lot of ‘Low-calorie’ or ‘calorie controlled’ options to be had these usually sit in the 300 calorie or below range and are still very tasty. Even some of the non-labelled ‘calorie-controlled options can be manageable into a daily calorie target; it’ll just take a bit of reading the nutritional labels, but you need to be careful as some can be rather high on the calorie front.
Moving onto your next decision, snack time. Is it a dessert choice or a savoury snack, either one is fine, but there are ways of making better choices. If we are looking for a dessert, then the calorie heavy cakes are not the smartest decision. There are always fruit pots as well as some lower calorie options, like jelly as an example. If we look at savoury there are a lot of high protein snacks like eggs or chicken bites as well as similar. These are great to bump up your protein intake (which will also keep you feeling fuller for longer) as well as being lower in calories. IF not a fan then there’s also some veg options like carrot sticks and a dip which would also be a good way to go.
Finally, we have the drink. Drinks are so easy to over consume on calories. Now this can be a dilemma itself; is it coffee time? Fizzy or still? Milkshake or smoothie? Water? Well there’s one main rule you want to go by, try not to drink all your calories! There’s nothing wrong with a few calories in a drink but do you really want to waste your daily allowance on one? What you want to be looking at are diet (calorie free) versions of drinks (one fizzy drink a day won’t hurt you), keeping coffee black or at least ‘skinny’, there are now no added sugar milkshakes which could be an option as well as ‘lean’ versions of smoothies if you really have to have one. Just remember you can’t beat the king……Water!
Meal prep companies
If you like the idea of meal prep but really don’t want to go through the process of actually doing it then there is a 3rd option, as long as you don’t mind spending a little bit more than usual. Although you may save on food shopping.
There are now loads of meal prep companies that do the hard work for you, all you’ll need is a microwave. All these companies provide different packages, you can order specific meals individually or as a bulk order, some even match the meals to your exact macronutrient goals.
One that we can recommend after using quite a few different companies over the years is ‘Prep Perfect’. Also, another recommendation will be ‘Muscle food’ as they also do their own pre prepped meals.
Just keep stepping
Being active will be key to achieving any health and fitness goals. One way here at GWD we like to ensure we are active in our day and is what we try to push across to our clients is getting those steps in. We go off the target of 10k steps a day, this isn’t a magic number or anything but is a number which if you can hit, means you have been sufficiently active that day. Now some of you might be thinking, it’s impossible to hit this number in my day, ‘I’m sat at a desk all day’. Well I’m going to tell you a few ways you can up your step count no matter what sort of day you have.
The first way that you can get your daily steps up comes down to where you decide to a park. Now a lot of the time I’m sure you look for a parking space that isn’t too far away from the door & because I’ve said that you can probably guess what I’m about to say next. Park further away! Whether it’s at work or the shops, park at one of the further parking spaces away, this will force you to walk a bit more meaning your daily activity has just been increased nice and easily. If you’re really in a rush then you can be let off (on the odd occasion) but if your excuse for not doing this is you don’t have the time to walk a bit further then I’m just going to say leave a bit earlier so you will have the time. ‘What about the weather?’ well a little rain never hurt anyone.
My second way to increase steps is to use a toilet that’s further away. I’m assuming your water intake is of a good level each day (if not then sort it out) which means you will be taking a few trips to the toilet. Unless you’ve left it to the very last second you more often than not have time to go to a different toilet. Again, this is such an easy way to up your steps and really it won’t feel like you have done that much more but do this every time and you will have added a big chunk onto your step count that day. If you only have the one toilet to use then maybe throw a shuttle in and walk back to your desk first before going back into the toilet or take the scenic route.
Similar to the previous point, when filling up a water bottle, go to a further fountain or sink. Going back to water intake, if it’s at a good level (if not then sort it out) you may be filling up/getting a cup of water fairly often each day. Just like using a further toilet this won’t feel like much each individual trip but across an entire day this will add up!
Break times and lunch times are the ideal times where a good number of steps can be made up. Other than the activity benefits, this is a great way to break up your day, get out of the workplace for a bit & have a bit of you time. If you normally drive to get lunch or a coffee, take a walk instead. If you usually sit and eat lunch, walk somewhere new to sit and eat or walk and eat. Once you get back to work you will feel so much better for getting out for the duration of your break. The walk also allows time to listen to new Audio books or listening to a new album which you’ll enjoy doing.
A lot of workplaces now have corporate wellness programmes in place & if they don’t, they WILL soon enough. My recommendation is to take full advantage of these programmes. They are a fantastic way of getting more active and they WILL lead you to your goals. They are also great ways of improving productivity at work and it’s a way in which you can get to know your co-workers a bit more outside if the office. These programmes will usually be run either before, during or after the work day, possibly even at all 3 times on different days throughout the week, meaning you should always be able to make it to at very least 1 session a week.
A busy schedule shouldn’t stop you from achieving goals. There are other ways you might think of that have not been mentioned in this article and a lot of what I’ve spoken about, you will have to take and apply to your own individual situations. The main thing is to find the ways to be more active in your day that suits you and more importantly works the best for you.