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Working health by Scott Roberts


Sitting behind a desk all day and snacking on unhealthy foods will make you feel tired and irritable. Personal trainer and nutritional advisor Scott Roberts offers a few top tips for office workers who want to stay fit in the workplace and safeguard their health.


The French have a saying: “Metro. Boulot. Dodo.” This translates to: “Tube. Work. Bed.” Does this sound familiar? Rushing out of the door with a soggy piece of toast? Skipping meals completely, or managing energy mid-morning or afternoon crashes with sugar fixes?

Well, you and thousands of other office workers can all claim to not have enough time to exercise or pay attention to the food you consume at work. According to US research released this month, obesity-related conditions cost organizations $12 billion a year. So what is the solution?

The office nowadays can be the hardest place to keep fit and healthy due to long working hours, not moving around, and increased stress levels. However, for all of us, whether you are sat in an office all day or training for The Olympics, the cornerstones of each and every daily diet should be based on single-ingredient, nutrient-dense food that keeps you nourished and full for longer.

This isn’t a fad or a celebrity diet. It’s very simple. A piece of fish is a piece of fish. A potato is a potato. Fresh produce, ideally organic, seasonal or locally grown is preferable. Many of these foods contain all the nutrients our body needs to function to its full potential, keeping you alive and alert at work throughout the day and when you get home.

A basic rule of thumb is to have one portion of protein (any meat, fish, eggs, etc.) and a wide variety of vegetables with each meal: one palm-sized portion of protein for women and two for men, plus half a plate full of vegetables.

Supplementing meals with high-quality Omega-3 fish oil or eating a portion of oily fish each day will also boost brain function and concentration levels. Be careful with meal replacements or tablets. unless you understand how vitamins are processed within the body (and what other elements are required for the body to process them) stick with food fuel as a safe and stable option.

 If time is an issue, pre-planning should come into play. Firstly, a lack of time often comes down to bad time management, so try and make a list of everything you need to achieve each day. Eating well means planning and shopping well. You should also stock up on essential homeware like Tupperware. Making your own food can also save you an awful lot of money (funds that can be put towards a gym membership, personal training or even a holiday). Just Google ‘The Latte Factor’.

Many clients come to me and say they don’t have enough time to eat healthily. When they actually break down how much time they waste, once the pattern shifts, they start to love cooking and food. This is part of the challenge when it comes to healthy food prep and eating. When it comes to meal planning, you can prepare things a few days in advanced or even for the whole week. If you make a healthy dinner, make extra and have it for your lunch the next day. Most workplaces will have both a fridge and a microwave.

If you run out to the local supermarket for a meal deal option or something similar, it will take just as long to grab one of their pre-prepared salads and a packet of cooked meat (beware of sugar content in many of these pre-cooked meats). There are many types of marinated fish that you cook in the microwave for three minutes that taste amazing. Have a few small bottles of chili sauce, good olive oil and balsamic or apple cider vinegar nearby, and voila!

 Talking of sugar, this happens to be one of the life’s health enemies. This includes ‘diet’ drinks and foodstuffs. Some ‘diet’ ranges actually have a higher fat rating than their regular counterparts. Consuming too much sugar can lead to too many diseases and impact upon effectiveness at work. Chains of coffee houses have a lot to answer for with the introduction of mocha, caramel mixes and similar drinks.

Water is essential to keeping you and your brain hydrated, as well as fooling you into thinking you are hungry when, in fact, you are dehydrated. Stuffy, air-conditioned offices wreak havoc with the sinuses as well as the head. Most people do not drink enough water. Check on your bathroom habits (no joke), and aim to drink two to three litres of water a day, depending on your sex and size, having a drink every 30 minutes or so.

Eating out and consuming excessive alcohol can also interfere with healthy living practices. Each action has a reaction, and eventually all this catches up with you. And as for the ‘Dodo’ part, let’s discuss sleep. You should aim for seven to eight hours a night. This will help control stress levels in the body (cortisol levels) and also help control your food and drink choices during the day. A poor night’s sleep can lead to grabbing sweets or chocolate for an energy high, which are inevitably followed by an energy crash. The same is true of coffee.

Try and have total blackout in the bedroom and turn off your phone to avoiding flashing lights disturbing your REM. Before you go to bed, make a list of the things you need to achieve the next day. This will prevent you from lying in bed that night worrying about what you may or may not have to do when you wake up.

Once your food system is on track, exercise is the other piece of the jigsaw. Getting yourself fit will not only help you look and feel great, it will also provide you with more energy and help you get your ‘Va Va Voom’ back. And every workplace needs some Va Va Voom. Read more at http://scottrobertsfitness.co.uk/

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