GiS Podcast Episode 4 – Desk Jockey Nutrition

This week, I continue with with the second part of the Desk Jockey health and fitness series with Desk Jockey Nutrition. Below, I list 3 tips to clean up your eating habits at the office.

You can listen here or subscribe to the local podcast feed or through iTunes. I would also appreciate it if you would leave a review on iTunes if you enjoy what you hear.

 

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Tip 1 – Force your hand

Photo courtesy of Cayusa on Flickr

I’m not going to try to stop you from snacking at the office, in fact I believe small healthy snacks are important to a healthy diet, that is of course, assuming you didn’t just scarf down a few thousand calories at the meat and three down the road.   The problem with office snacking is that it is sooo easy to over-snack.  You may even go for a healthy snack, like a jar of almonds, thinking you are doing good. But when you are at the office, it is too easy to focus on other things and forget about your left hand going back and forth between a pile of food and your mouth.

So, try limiting what you eat by forcing a little bit of portion control (I think that’s a prince song … no wait, that is about totally different):

  • Instead of taking an entire box of granola bars to work with you, bring only one in at a time and leave the box in your car.
  • Buy the 100 calorie snack size popcorn bags instead of the full size
  • When you buy almonds or pretzels or chips, also buy a package of ziplock bags. Portion out the snack into these bags as soon as you open them. You can measure them out into exact serving sizes or just estimate.

This way, you will never lose track of how much you are eating because you get busy doing other things. You are taking away the bottomless pit of snack food.  Sure, you might have more snacks available, but you will have to stop what you are doing to get them, which gives you time to make a conscious decision about how much you eat.

Tip 2 – Bring your lunch from home or make a mini-kitchen at work

Photo courtesy of leff on Flickr

I don’t think I have to tell you how bad going out to eat is for you. Most places give you gigantic portions and load the dishes with way too much salt, fat, and EVIL! So, get rid the need to go out for lunch by bringing your lunch with you. Bring a simple, healthy sandwich or a fresh salad — whatever you like that would remove the desire to go out to eat.

It is that desire to go out to eat is the hardest thing to fight off – Why stay in and eat your bland bowl of soup when you can sample the international cuisine at the nearest food court?

So if you have a problem with food boredom, you can go one step further when brining your lunch to work, by bringing in enough food to make a mini-kitchen at your office. Bring in some some fresh deli meat and cheese, bread, peanut butter, jelly, fresh salad mix, or whatever you prefer.

Give yourself enough variety at the office that you are not tempted to go out.

Even bring your office mates in on this and start a “sandwich bar” where everyone pitches in on the food. The more people that contribute, the more variety you will have. Plus, you’ll have less people asking you to go out to lunch every day.

Like I mentioned in Episode 2, bringing your lunch also allows you to claim your normal lunch hour to do healthy activities.  Eat while you work and then go for a long walk during the time you would have spent driving somewhere or waiting in line at the cafeteria.

Tip 3 – Leave you dollar bills at home

Photo courtesy of EricGjerde on Flickr

If your break room vending machines are anything like mine, there is not a single healthy snack to choose from.  No – Honeybuns are not healthy – you know that – but they sure look tasty when you’re bleary eyed from 6 hours of hacking away at code. I would love to say I have all will power in the world, but some work tasks can break me down to believe that a plastic wrapper full of sugar and fat is just what I need to make it through the rest of the afternoon.

To fight this – I leave all change and small bills at my house or in my car. If I am at a low enough point that I am willing to dive into vending machine snacks, there is a good chance that I’m not up for the trek around the office to try to break a twenty – I’ll settle for my pre-portioned baggie of pretzels.

You might have notices that all three tips followed the same primary principle:

Deliberately put obstacles between yourself and over-sized, unhealthy food and remove obstacles to properly portioned, healthy food.

It’s that simple. Office nutrition isn’t rocket science, even if that is what you do at the office

While I don’t talk about finances much, I can’t sign off without mentioning the monetary benefits to these tips as well. The buckets of money that normally went to my dining budget drastically shrunk. I also realized that I could pay for my gym membership just buy saving all of the dollars I spent on sodas and chips during the day at work – that attacked my weight problem from two fronts from one simple, budget-neutral change. That make dollars and sense! (You see what I did there?)

Pressing Pause for the Week

I just wanted to let everyone know that I’m still around and layin’ the smack down to flab, but I will probably not get a new post out this week.  I do plan on releasing a new podcast and having a few new blog posts soon though, so keep checking back (or you could just subscribe to the RSS feeds)

In the mean time, here are some links to some other fitness stuff  I’ve been enjoying lately:

Analysis of Isner v Mahut (the tennis match from hell)

A really good look into what the physical toll was of the 183 game tennis match between these two. Did you know these guys basically ran two marathons?

Get Fit Guy’s Quick and Dirty Tips to Slim Down And Shape Up

This podcast has been really good. The last episode gave some great tips on how to set up a home gym… I highly suggest checking it out.

Get fit with some country hip hop line dancin’!

See you all next week!

GiS Podcast Episode 3 – The World of Warcraft Workout Plan

This week, I cover one of my favorite topics: World of Warcraft. Oh how I love me some WoW! I could play World of Warcraft for hours. But what doesn’t love me playing WoW for hours on end – is my cholesterol. Talk about a cataclysm. It is incredible how much idle time this game has. There are so many minutes in the game in which I’m sitting and waiting for a Zeppelin, flying from the top of the continent to the bottom, or waiting for the stupid mage to drink some water. While this idle time is mostly unavoidable, that time doesn’t have to go to waste…

Use that previously wasted time level up your fitness!

I took note of some of the most common periods of unaviodable inactivity in the game and I created the World of Warcraft Workout Plan to fill up the in-game down-time with real-life up-time.

 

Subscribe on iTunes

WoW Workout Plan Exercise 1: The Zeppelin Burn

Did you know that most of the Zeppelins, Boats, and Blimps you use to travel between continents are on a 4 minute cycle? They take a minute to get from one place to another, and they stay at each place for a minute. This means that you can spend anywhere from 1 minute if your lucky, up to 5 minutes waiting and traveling. Well guess what: Time is money, friend.

Use this time to do a quick bodyweight circuit and give aimed at giving you +5 to strength.

*Since you need to be at the keyboard to get on the boat when it arrives, this circuit only has exercises that keep you near the computer.

This circuit works you legs, arms, abs, and chest.  Doing this a couple of times a night and will definitely get your muscles burning.

WoW Workout Plan Exercise 2: Epic Flight

The flight paths in WoW take up a lot of time – mostly with you just sitting and staring at a gryphon’s butt.  The average travel time in World of Warcraft is 2 minutes 24 seconds.  Chain a few flights together, you could be flying for 10 or more minutes.  Don’t waste that time slouched in front of the screen…

Use it to DPS your body fat % with a high intensity cardio circuit.

*Since you don’t have to be right at the computer for this, step away from the computer, give yourself plenty of room to move, and get ready to work up a sweat.

  • 30 seconds of walking in place
  • 30 seconds of running in place.
  • 1 minute of jumping jacks (do power jacks if you want to step it up a notch)
  • 30 seconds of mountain climbers
  • 5 burpees
  • 10 split jumps
  • 30 seconds of  light jump rope (no rope needed, just go through the motions)
  • 30 seconds of rest

This curcuit takes anywhere from 3 and a half to 4 minutes, but repeat the circuit as many times as you can while your character is flying. Every round should burn up to 50 calories, so if you fly four times during a night of play, and complete at least one circuit every flight – you have just burned 200+ calories! That’s definitely enough to work off that handful of funyons you downed while taking out the Lich King.

WoW Workout Plan Quick Hits

Photo courtesy of brianjmatis on Flickr

  • Scanning the auction house? Activate Aspect of the Cheetah and go do some sprints up and down your street.
  • Waiting for a mob to re-spawn? Send your muscles a lesser healing wave by doing some light yoga stretches.
  • Waiting for a ready check? Cast Tranquility on yourself by closing your eyes and take a few deep breaths.

I’ll discuss more ways you can turn you love for WoW into a way to get fit in future episodes. But don’t let that stop you from getting creative, and coming up with a workout plan of your own. There is so much more idle time in the game that are perfect to get in some much needed physical activity. You can mix and match what you do and when you do it.

Just be aware of the time you spend in-game doing nothing — and try to change that.

You will be amazed how many calories you can burn or how many pushups you can do without giving up any play time at all.

I’d like to hear your results of following this plan. I’d also like to know what other ways you stay fit while playing WoW. Post a comment here or hit me up on twitter, @geekintoshape.

Have fun, be geeky, and get fit!

The Fitness Grind

Fitness Grind

This picture will make sense in a minute... maybe.

When it comes to modifying your life to cut the flab and shape up, there are normally two main paths you can take:

  1. The Balanced Approach – Incorporate fitness into you current lifestyle, maintaining a healthy balance.
  2. The Fitness Grind – Stop work on your current lifestyle, and dedicate all of your time to becoming healthy.

If you have ever read my site, you probably know that I am a huge fan of the first option. I believe that you have to maintain the activities that you love to keep your mental health, even if they might not be the best for your physical health. Slowly incorporating healthy changes into you life, in a way that changes your habits and patterns, will give you the best results.  The catch: This often takes a long time.

So, what about the fitness grind?

Recently, I have made some aggressive goals that have “forced” me to go down the second path.  I have cut out video games, stopped working on web development projects (except for this blog), and let my DVR fill up with episodes of Fringe. I have put a hold on almost all of the recreational geeky things I normally do.

Well, this has worked out really well for me.

I never thought that this was a good, “healthy” approach for achieving and maintaining overall health. But my mind has been changed due to a single mind hack, which I thought I would share.

Think of the Fitness Grind like an MMO Grind

All of you MMO junkies know all about the MMO grind.  You set your goal: “I want the Epic Helm of Whoop-Ass that you get when you become exalted with the M.F. Face-Crusher faction.“  Well to get that, you do your daily quests, you wear the faction tabard and plow through dungeons, you put aside other endeavors temporarily to focus on the task at hand.

Well, why can’t you apply this to fitness?

I had never thought about applying the mindset I had for years of playing World of Warcraft to my fitness endeavors.

For a short time, switch your primary focus to fitness, and let other things go undone for a while.

This means no World of Warcraft (which is ironic), a minimized workload, blogs going unread, etc. Once you put all of your focus on fitness, be persistent. During the grind for the Epic Helm of Whoop-Ass, would you make extra time to finish the daily quests and make a few dungeon runs? You betcha!  So do the same with fitness.

Never miss a daily fitness quest.

Be vigilant – after all, the more days you do your daily quests, the faster you will meet you goal, right? Do extra workouts to get you to your goals faster.

One of the biggest ways this mind hack helped me, was how I thought about the end-game. In my previous attempts to dive head-first into fitness – my eye was on the goal, and nothing else. This caused me to be short-sighted and I often burned out if I didn’t get the results I wanted. Well in our make believe MMO, our immediate goal may be to obtain the Epic Helm of Whoop-Ass, but the real goal — the long-term goal — is possessing the helm and having the ability to equip it in all future battles – well beyond the immediate goal of current grind.  In the fitness world, you may set a goal to lose 20 pounds, but the big picture goal is the benefits you get after losing 20 pounds.

Focus on the immediate goal for the current fitness grind – but always keep your eye on the big picture!

When you meet your immediate goal, the fitness grind is over. But the fun is just beginning – you now have new tools in your inventory that you have free reign to use. Don your Epic Helm of Whoop-Ass and wave good-bye to the M.F. Face-Crusher Clan and reap the rewards of your hard work.

Enjoy the benefits and rewards of the fitness grind!

It is amazing how small changes in mindset can affect your life. This may not work for you, but it has kept me motivated to lose weight for the longest period in my life. Not because I want to weigh 200 pounds, even though that is my current goal, but because of what I will be able to do as a 200 pound person:

  • Be able to keep up with the kids.
  • Look good in a T-shirt
  • Run a 5k

These are the rewards of meeting my goal, and they are well worth the fitness grind.

Are you in the middle of a fitness grind? What are the immediate and long term goals of your fitness grind?

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Coffee Grinder Photo courtesy of tonx

Geek Into Shape Podcast Episode 2: Desk Jockey Fitness

Are you looking for ways to get more active at the workplace? Well, this episode gives you four quick tips that will get you moving more at work without interrupting your productivity, maybe even increasing it. You can listen here or subscribe to the local podcast feed or through iTunes.

Don’t forget to check out the first episode of the Geek Into Shape podcast while you are at it.

Also, we got featured in the New and Noteworthy section of the iTunes podcast store! Feel free to leave a review on the iTunes store and tell me what you think.  You can also leave me a comment here.  Like I mentioned with the first podcast, I am brand new to the game and I’m still trying to feel my way through so any tips are appreciated!

 

Show Notes:

Come on baby, it’s my birthday!

Photo courtesy of Christophe Verdier

Well folks, today is my 28th birthday, and I have never felt better about getting older.

Just a few facts about this year.

  • I became a father of two, Hudson was born in November.
  • I gained 15 pounds this year (sympathy weight from my wife’s pregnancy).
  • I lost 30 pounds this year (against all sleepless-night odds)
  • I can now run a 5K (though I haven’t done an official 5K)

But the biggest thing this year has been my change in mindset

I really feel I have broken that weight roller coaster that I have been on.  The last six months have been the longest period of sustained weight loss I’ve ever had.  I have changed my thought process of weight loss and dieting. I have squashed some bad habits and started some good ones.  I have re-started this blog, which has been a big help. And I have found a good support community online (twitter and the Nerd Fitness Forums).

Even though I’m a year older, I feel better than I did ten years ago. I exercise more, I eat better, I’m more content, and I’m not hung over 80% of the time.

I’m really looking forward to what my 28th year of life will bring.

**UPDATE!** As I mentioned earlier this month, I am only asking for healthy presents. Nothing that will distract me from my goals, only help them.  So here are the results! Thanks to my wife and the parents.

More pictures are posted over on my wife’s family blog, check them out if you are interested in seeing pictures of my cute kids!

In other news…

Check out my guest post on Nerd Fitness

In case you missed it, I had a guest post published on Nerd Fitness this week. It highlights 9 different sports and activities that allow you to be a geek while still getting a good workout in.  It was fun!  I like interacting with a new audience and Steve over at NF has definitely done a good job building a community up.

Geek Into Shape Podcast

If you are reading this, then you are probably aware that I just launched a podcast.  I am really excited to keep working on this project.  As a huge podcast nerd, I love the audio medium as a way to spread news, tips, and advice.  I hope to deliver some high quality and content-packed bits of information over the next few months.

So subscribe to the podcast feed or check it out on iTunes if you want to get the latest episode direct to your audio listening device.

One thing I am looking to do with this podcast is make it a community effort, so if you have any questions, suggestions, ideas for a segment, or would like to send in a segment of your own, please contact me.

Future Posts

As always, I am working on other more posts for this blog, so stay tuned!