With Boris’ September announcement that we are all advised to work from home (again), it’s likely that most of us are going to experience a reduction in the amount of calories we burn each day. Unsurprisingly this is bad news for those looking to lose fat, especially if you are glued to your desk for 8+ hours a day.
And it’s not just bad news for your waistline. According to the British Journal of Sports Medicine, office workers spend 65-75% of their time sitting down. This can lead to all types of health issues including diabetes, heart disease, respiritory diseases, and increased morbidity. But it’s not all bad news. WFH brings with it some more opportunites to create easy wins, and carve out a routine that’s going to be beneficial for your physique, if you follow these simple steps;
1. Create a calorie deficit
The golden rule of fat loss is to create a calorie deficit. It is literally impossible to lose body fat without burning off more calories than you consume on a consistent basis. Get this right and half the battle is won.
The easiest way to achieve this is by lowering your food intake and moving more. Set yourself a calorie target and focus on eating nutrient rich whole foods – consisting of vegetables, lean meats and fish, and some complex carbohydrates around workouts.
Now that lots of us are working from home this can be tricky given that we’re only meters away from the fridge! The key here is preparation. Aim to plan your meals for the week where possible, bulk buy the ingredients and batch cook. That way there is far less temptation to pick at foods and snack throughout the day.
2. Fidget more
Now that your boss isn’t constantly looking over your shoulder, the less time you spend sat at your desk, the better. I’m not suggesting shirking work altogether, but a large proportion of the calories you burn each day come from moving regularly away from your desk. Any calories you burn from activities you take part in (other than those burned during exercise, sleep and eating) are going to really help increase your daily deficit and as a result, the amount of fat your burn each day.
Take regular walks around the office, never sit down for more than an hour at a time, take the dog out in the morning, walk up and down the stairs, anything to keep you moving.
This type of intra-daily activity may seem trivial but is often the difference between fat loss and fat gain for those working in sedentary jobs.
3. Walk more
An undervalued but extremely simple way to keep body fat low is walking. Aim for at least an hour a day. Ultimately we are looking for easy wins, fat loss is a numbers game, and walking will help boost that calorie deficit we are aiming for.
Try to carve time into your day to walk, before, during and after work.
4. Change your workspace
This is a real game changer. Ask your employers to swap your standard desk for either a standing version, or even better, a hybrid desk. This will not only help boost your daily calories burn, it will do wonders for your posture too.
If your request gets rejected, try using a swiss ball as a chair instead. You might feel a bit odd but it will help engage more of the stabilising muscles of the core as you correct your posture throughout the day.
5. Add some exercise throughout the day.
Every 15-20 minutes, add in one or more of the following exercises whist sat at your desk. This will help boost your resting metabolism and chip away at that calorie deficit throughout the day.
• Start with your feet standing shoulder width apart with toes pointing at eleven o’clock and one o’clock
• Keeping your chest proud, lower down into a full squat position until your upper leg just touches your chair.
• As you drive up, be sure to push your knees out and imagine you are screwing your heels into the floor- this will help prevent your knees from collapsing inwards.
• Squeeze the thighs and glutes at the top before repeating 15-20 times
• To make this slightly harder, remove the chair altogether and pause at the bottom of the movement.
• Sit on the edge of a bench or chair with your lets straight out in front of you and grip the edge of the bench with both hands
• Slowly lower your bum to the ground whilst flexing at the elbows.
• Pause just before you touch the ground then push yourself back up to the starting position.
• Be sure to squeeze the triceps at the top of each rep.
• Tip- if this feels too difficult try bending the legs and bringing your feet a little closer to your body.
• Take a step back from your desk an stand in a lunge position with one foot in front of the other.
• Keeping your chest up and facing forward, slowlly drop your back knee to the floor whilst simultaneously bending the front knee.
• Now push back up to the starting position by driving up through your front leg. Squeeze thighs and glutes at the top.
• Repeat 15 times for each leg.
Narrow grip desk press
• Get into a press up position and place your hands close together to form a diamond shape with your index fingers and thumbs.
• Bend your elbows and lower your chest down to the ground.
• Stop just before the ground before powerfully pushing yourself up to the starting position.
• Keep abs tight and glutes tight throughout.
Whilst the amount of activity you can take part in during the workday is often limited, make sure you are not glued to your office chair. Aim to be burning off more calories than you consume each day to keep the belly fat at bay. Where possible try and plan your meals ahead to avoid quick fixes at lunchtime and be sure to set aside time for exercise. This is more important than just keeping body fat down. Being more mindful of your health will do wonders for your energy levels, stress, concentration, brain function and sleep. Start simple and don’t bite off more than you can chew!
At the Better Body Group we have recently launched our new BBG ONLINE service to help those working from home banish the belly fat. The service includes six 30-minute home workouts each week, delivered live and on-demand on our private YouTube channel.
This includes a monthly recipe book, calorie guide, and weekly exercise tutorial to help keep you trim whilst working from home, all for just £30 a month.