I have experienced first-hand the many ways business culture can be in direct conflict with your fitness goals. There’s a reason so many men working in an office environment suffer from having a “dad bod.” If they aren’t attentive to their health and fitness, their bodies succumb to neglect and misuse.
Beyond just the stress that a job can have on your mental state – which can affect your physical state as well – here are four major pitfalls for the professional fit dad to be aware of in corporate culture.
Drinks with coworkers and clients
A couple years ago, I went to a conference with some coworkers, and the night before the conference started, we went out for drinks.
Going out for drinks turned into bar hopping, and we ended up drinking way too much. It was the heaviest I had drank in years.
I paid for it pretty bad the next morning. I won’t go into details, but I was a zombie at the conference the next morning until I got rehydrated. Not my proudest moment.
I decided to never do it again. Not only was it not worth it to have a few hours of fun followed by a night/morning of misery, but I simply realized that a night of drinking did not align with my fitness goals, nor did I present myself in a very professional manner.
There is so much pressure in the corporate world to go out for drinks, whether its to celebrate a big sale or a co-worker’s promotion, drinks with clients when you’re on the road, or simply a happy hour to let off some steam with some fellow cubicle mates.
For me, I had to make a conscious decision to not ever get to that point again, even if it meant taking some heat from co-workers when I only had one drink, or as is often the case now, no drink at all. My health goals are bigger than any drink.
If you don’t think you can control yourself in those situations enough to stop after one drink or say no all together, don’t put yourself in those situations. No one’s career ended because they didn’t go out for drinks.
Eating lunch at your desk
One of the best purchases I ever made was getting a meal prep backpack. Actually, it was a gift from my wife, but that’s beside the point.
I don’t meal prep in bulk, but having a backpack with the ability to store my food and keep it cold for a long time has been critical to keeping my nutrition on track and my wallet healthy.
I pack all of my snacks and my lunch for the day, and it’s kept cold the entire time.
But to be honest, I usually end up eating my lunch at my desk. In the corporate environment, way too many people eat lunch at their desk and never leave to take an actual lunch break.
So, while I eat lunch at my desk while I continue to work, I always make time to actually get up and go on a lunch break. Even a 20-minute walk around the block after I have eaten does wonders for my mental clarity, and obviously, it gets my body moving.
Sitting at your desk for basically nine hours straight can wreck your body.
Snack and soda machines
This is an obvious one, but these towers of sugary excess are blowing out our waistlines.
With so many offices now using snacks and drinks as employee perks, it’s hard to walk into any company’s break room without being tempted by fruit snacks, candy, granola bars (which are not healthy, by the way), soda, juice, and various other sugar bombs.
Coca-Cola is even trying to market itself as a healthy snack.
The key to avoiding such temptations is to reduce how often you face them. If you keep an assortment of healthy snack options at your desk – fresh fruit, veggies, nuts, cheese – you’ll head to the break room less often. And if you do have to go, grab a handful of, say, almonds to eat while you’re there, so you’re less able to pick something up.
As for soda, I tell people the worst thing to do is quit cold turkey. It’s usually too much of a shock for your system to handle.
Start by reducing your intake little by little. For instance: drink sugar-free, flavored soda water in place of one soda per week. Then make it two. Then three. And so on. Eventually, start replacing the soda water with just plain, good old water.
Traveling can take a toll on your fitness progress for many reasons.
Your schedule is hectic. You don’t know when you’re going to eat next, or where you’re going to eat. Airport food is usually atrocious. Hotel gyms are barely functional.
Sticking to your fitness plan while traveling takes some creativity, but it can be done.
I wrote a post on this a while back. Check it out for some tips on how to stay fit and healthy while traveling.