My 8 years of having a desk job (2.5 as a mortgage banker at Quicken Loans and 5.5 working from home as a Beachbody Coach) has officially taken a toll on my body. I never thought I’d be saying that sitting down has done a number on my body but it has. Pretty much my entire core has never felt weaker, out of shape, and just all around old and crotchety.
I started noticing pain in my hip flexors, back, and knees last spring but didn’t think that much of it at the time. Its not like I’m not active as I still play softball and played on a golf league where we carry our bags along with working out almost every day to a Beachbody program. I guess all of that is no match for the 8 hours a day over 8 years of sitting on my ass. It came together all at once.
Other things I’ve noticed are a lack of energy and unwillingness to complete workouts. Certain moves that used to be relatively easy for me like squats and lunges are almost painful. I’d catch myself not being able to finish moves or just giving up because my body wouldn’t let me do it. My feet would hurt like hell too. My guess is its caused from going from sitting to doing crazy Shaun T cardio workouts. I’d have to pause to get my feet warmed up if that makes sense. This has become quite frustrating because I don’t feel old but my body is telling me that somethings going on.
The sitting doesn’t stop at my desk. After working I’d relax on the couch watching Detroit sports teams when they were on or a couple TV shows I like to watch. When I add it all up I’d be sitting for almost 14 hours a day. Take away 7 hours for sleeping and I’m left with 3 hours on my feet. Figure an hour for working out and the other two between shuffling around the house or the occasional errand does not leave a lot of time to combat the 14 hours of sitting.
Dropping weight is not as easy as it used to be and it feels like I have 5-10 pounds of weight just hanging out around my core. Its just not going anywhere. My calorie intake over the past couple years is about the same but it must be the lack of calorie burning going on from sitting down that is keeping it on.
The worst part about all of this is I’m coming to realize that it has done a serious number on my attitude. I am definitely not the chipper positive minded person I’ve been in the past. There has been a definite funk in my head for quite sometime and I’m not to fond of it.
I did some research
And found out that sitting down is killing me a lot faster then I am comfortable with things I can control killing me.
Time To Make Changes
People say the first step in realizing you have a problem is to admit it. I have a sitting problem.
Step two is to talk about those problems and what they’ve done to you. Covered those above.
Then its time to make a plan to correct the problem.
When I worked at Quicken Loans we would have “Stand-a-thons” where we would “Smile and Dial” our leads for at least an hour twice a day. You could feel an energy on the team for those two hours from just standing. I used to stand over half the day at work when talking to clients while using a resistance band I kept at my desk doing curls, shoulder presses, and tricep extensions. Probably did hundreds of them a day. Between the moving around and using the band it kept my energy up throughout the day.
But that doesn’t really work for me now since I’m not calling 100 leads or talking to 20 people a day. Most of what I do is e-mailing, text, or social media. None of which need to be done standing up with a headset on. What to do?
Stand Up Desk It Is
I did some research on stand up desks out there and buying a new one is out of the question as the good ones cost over $1,000. Many cheap options made with stacking books or using random Ikea parts seemed to be the most popular. But before I drop any money on those I figured it would be best to test how much standing I could take right now to see if this would be a viable option. This is what I came up with.
Do you believe that cat? What a jerk. She’s my best co-worker and also my worst.
I found an Ikea coffee table we were (not) using in the basement as an entertainment center, brought it upstairs, and put it on my glass Ikea desk. Plopped my iMac, keyboard, trackpad, speakers, and wrist pad up there and sure as shit it was the perfect height. Put a Beachbody jump mat I use for every workout I do in my house (wood floors) under the desk to take some of the fatigue off my feet.
Time to get to work
I started up the computer (like you would a car) and began interneting. After 10 minutes my knees, back, feet, and hips were starting to hurt. Kind of felt like a new workout. I made it about 30 minutes before I had to walk away. Put in another hour and didn’t notice much more.
This was a month ago and I’m still going strong but it hasn’t come without its challenges. After the third day I caught myself not wanting to even go into my office because the thought of standing there all day was daunting. My problem areas were kind of sore now. My guess is because I have not used those muscles at the same time in that fashion in some time. This was not productive at all.
Something else occurred
I realized I had been wasting a ton of time at my desk over the past year or longer doing non-business related activities. Standing in one spot for 8 hours a day is not do-able but sitting is. This woke me up and brought me back to focusing on activities I needed to be doing. Probably the most amount of time I needed to be at my computer or in my office a day is 4 hours.
For the past month it feels like my core area is stretching out and blood is moving around again. It is still uncomfortable to stand but my energy levels and attitude are perking up.
The only problem with the stand up desk
Is that you can’t sit at it at all which is kind of stupid. We also own a MacBook Pro laptop which I can use anywhere in the house but I only like using it for non-biz stuff or when I take field trips to get out of the house. Basically my office is non-functional in the long run with the current set up.
There has to be a better solution
What I really needed was an adjustable desk which could be raised and lowered for when I want to sit or stand. After I little bit of searching the best thing I could find in my price range was the VARIDESK which sits on top of your old desk and is easily adjustable. I bought one yesterday and am excited for it to get to my house. I’ll put it through a full test over the next month and write a review up at that time. I am a little concerned about the weight (48lbs) as I hope it doesn’t crack my glass desk.
There were other options like mounting the monitor to an adjustable hinge on the wall but many of those look corporatey to me. They wouldn’t really work for me at home. Other set ups included mounting an adjustable arm to the monitor and desk but unfortunately I have a glass desk and there is no where to drill or even securely attach anything.
Enough with the desks
Pick the right workout:
I have taken a break from Beachbody workouts for the past 5 months as I was getting a little burnt out on following dvds in my house. So instead I have gone swimming 3 days a week at Lifetime Fitness near my house. Its such a great workout and after a month I worked my way up to being able to do a mile in about 45 minutes.
What I’ve decided to do is a Focus T25 and P90X3 workout routine. This is not a hybrid. I’m going to do them back to back every day. Following these workouts I can assume I will greatly increase my flexibility and cardio as I know thats what Shaun T and Tony Horton do well. I’m used to working out for an hour and I’m concerned that only 25 or 30 minutes (even though they will be hard) will only get me warmed up. But doing both of them at the same time should do the trick.
Thats it for now
I’ll report back in a couple months on how I’m doing from my plan to reverse the effects of sitting on my butt all day.
What about you? Have you dealt with any of the problems of having a desk job or sitting too much? If so then leave a comment below and let me know what you are doing to fix it.