My Competent Guest: Office Fitness

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Camille does her exercises.

I’m extremely adequate. But that doesn’t mean I can be adequate at everything, all the time (I’m only human!). Sometimes, I need to seek the help of someone who is just as adequate as I am. So I’m pleased to present my first interview with a Guest Competent Person!

Work days are long, and sitting kills people. So when I wanted to learn about how to get more exercise at work, I talked to my friend and fellow blogger Camille Campbell.

Camille has been a dedicated assistant since she graduated from college (she declined to say when she graduated). When she started life as an “office drone” she was worried that she would have to sacrifice her physical well being in order to earn a paycheck, but then she created a revolutionary ‘stay fit at work’ program. I met up with her at her favorite donut shop to discuss her body goals and office fitness, or as she calls it, Offness™.

Julie: Tell us about your Offness™ routine.
Camille: The core of my practice revolves around breakfast. Every morning I have breakfast at my desk, usually some Lucky Charms and then two hard boiled eggs with 5 tablespoons of Cholula, and to carry all that food involves a lot of delicate balancing, shifting weight between arms, while engaging my core. Then once I make it to my desk, I don’t get my coffee until later. That way I’ll get up from my desk to get my coffee. That’s the beauty of Offness™ – it’s subtle and smoothly blends in with your day.
J: I don’t think I could commit to anything that makes me delay coffee, but maybe I’ll get there someday. Besides breakfast, what are some other ways you practice Offness™?
C: There are so many ways to creatively enjoy Offness™. Yesterday, I printed all the reports I needed at a printer in another building. Then I went and looked for them. Took me twenty minutes, so that’s almost one of the three recommended 30 minute workouts doctors suggest you do every week. To get those other two workouts in, I’ll drink a lot of water to increase my trips to the bathroom. People think I’m speed walking to the bathroom because I really have to go, but it’s just a part of my program.
J: Wow. I’m lucky to get five minutes of cardio when I’m running for the bus! What about strength training? Flexibility?
C: My desk is in a very public area, so there’s a limited number of socially acceptable movements I can do. I tend to do hourly leg lifts under my desk. I just lift one leg up and then the other. It keeps the blood flowing in my legs. Or I’ll print out copies of my favorite gchat conversations, so I’ll need to refill the printer more. We keep our paper on a bottom shelf in the supply closet, so that’s one squat, and the paper acts as a three pound weight, more if you take two reams. Exercise is all around us once you look for it.
J: Thats a beautiful mantra. Do your coworkers support your efforts?

C: I was questioned about my use of office paper. But I just let our Office Manager, Jared Krakowski, know that it’s part of my fitness plan, and I have every right to take care of myself. He was very understanding. He’s been trying to walk to his car in the parking lot more, and I can tell it’s made a difference for him. This is why Offness™ is the best kind of fitness – it forces you to express who you are and fight for your rights in the workplace.

J: What about diet? I notice you’re eating an apple fritter right now.
C: Offices are not known for their healthy food, so if you’re going to adapt and thrive in an urban office fitness environment, you have to be able to eat whatever and whenever. This donut keeps me training on a Saturday.
J: Yes, speaking of Saturdays, how do you practice Offness™ on the weekends?
C: This is one of my two rest days. All fitness plans have rest days.
(Camille then stared at me for an uncomfortably long time.)
J: I see… Well, how many calories do you estimate that you burn per day practicing Offness™?
C: Offness™ isn’t about burning calories. Because when you turn the whole office into your gym, it’s impossible to count how many calories you’re burning. I mean how many calories do you burn typing? Your fingers do a lot of lifts and crunches, but how do you measure that? No one knows, so we don’t count those calories, which is a sizable loss if you’re trying to count calories. So you can’t measure Offness™ with calories. You have to measure it with results – how does it make you feel.
J: I like feelings. How does Offness™ make you feel?
C: Before I started Offness™ I never moved – I just sat, counting the hours until I could go home and sit and watch “Call the Midwife.” Now I feel alive and filled with zest, and I’ve done that without disrupting my life with jogging, yoga or any other aggressive form of exercise.
J: Has your body changed since you started practicing Offness™?
C: I think it has, but until Jared agrees to buy scales for the bathrooms I won’t really know. And on one level I’m okay with that. Because like I said, Offness™ isn’t about results. It’s more about surrender and compliance.

A Quick, Breathless Workout

As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, I’m trying to exercise more. It can be really tough to carve out enough time for a solid workout. If you’re like me, living an active lifestyle needs to be efficient. TV doesn’t binge-watch itself, after all.

Yesterday, I biked to the neighborhood ice cream place with my roommates (I follow my own advice). It was a nice day, and a short ride of about a mile each way. Biking is great exercise, but I abandoned it when I was ten – it seemed too much like a sport and I didn’t like those. I’m just getting back into it, and this was my first ride in traffic. Ever. What a rush! Cars are so much larger and faster than bikes!

I just can’t wait to get back on this bike.

The hills in my neighborhood helped to keep the short ride challenging. And the more cars passed by me as I rode, the more my heart rate accelerated. Wrangling left turns made all my muscles tighten up so that using my legs was nearly impossible. While trying to get across a busy street on a short green light, my vision turned blurry and reality started to feel hazy. Before I knew it, my breath had quickened and I was having a panic attack, right in the middle of my workout! What a happenstance!

The more nervous I got around the cars, the more embarrassed I got at being nervous – which just made my breathing more shallow. Better still, the very last hill by my house was enormous. I thought my legs were going to fall off as I desperately tried to take in enough oxygen to keep pedaling. What an opportunity.

Afterwards, I wobbled inside and hyperventilated into the couch. My lungs felt like they were going to explode – the surest sign that I exercised effectively. I’ve never felt so physically and emotionally spent in such a short period of time. Plus, I now know what it’s like to be so shell-shocked you can’t taste ice cream. That sounds like a diet tip to me!

So if you need an efficient way to get that heart pumping really, really fast, be like me and be very anxious!😬 🚴

 

Exercise Better: Find Your True Motivation

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I have a hard time with working out. Gyms make me anxious, yoga class makes me more anxious, and I hate sports. But I don’t like feeling lethargic and imagining my arteries turning into marshmallow fluff, so I’ve been trying to start a regular exercise practice.

Walking is a great workout that doesn’t feel like “exercise” (or burn that many calories). But finding the motivation to go for a walk can be difficult. Sitting is just easier. 

Bribe yourself to go for a walk by going to get a fun snack. I walked to Scoops for ice cream. I walked to Cafe Tropical to get a truly unreasonable piece of apple pie (fact: the tirimisu is better). Walking is good. Dessert is delicious. I win double. And you can too! You don’t have to walk that far to justify consuming three times the calories you burned, and you can ride that high – and sugar crash – for days.

It might look like a cop out, but I guarantee it will feel like a sweet success 🙂