Week 4: Balancing Your Health And Fitness Goals With Your 9 To 5

I’ve heard it all before: You’re too busy to work out. You don’t have enough time in the day. Your career is too demanding to allow for gym time.

The average American office worker spends eight or more hours stuck in a seated position in a cubicle five days out of the week. And as if that lack of movement throughout the day isn’t bad enough, there are the countless snacks, birthday treats, lunchtime meetings, and happy hours to go along with it. If you’re not careful, the office life can be a seriously unhealthy one.

We weren’t designed to sit in a box all day and eat the processed foods that wink at us from lobby vending machines, but we do have the power to make our daily grind a physically and mentally healthier one. So, if work life is getting in your way as you push through this Bulk Up program with me, don’t sweat it.

Just keep these seven easy and effective tips in mind to stay on track and get fit, regardless of your 9 to 5.

Tip #1: Schedule your workouts.

Just like doctor’s appointments, work meetings, and everything else important in your life, put your workouts on the calendar. Make the commitment to yourself to put in the time necessary to see results. You wouldn’t cancel on your boss, would you?

Tip #2: Move whenever you can.

Park your car at the very edge of the office parking lot and stop taking the elevator. Any opportunity to move is worth taking! On whatever breaks you have throughout the day, get up and take a walk—even if it’s just around the office. Only sit when you have to.

Tip #3: Pack your grub.

You know the saying: ‘Fail to plan and you plan to fail.’ Planning and preparing your food for each day is vital to your overall success. Try to pack at least one or two meals for work or a busy day—just in case meetings run long, travel gets delayed, or any unexpected hurdles pop up. When you have a healthy snack on hand, you’re set for when the munchies hit you.

Related: 9 Healthy Snacks Nutritionists Always Keep On Hand

Tip #4: Team up with your co-workers.

Seek out others in your office who are interested in eating healthy and living an active life. Having a strong inner circle can make a huge difference—especially when your office isn’t the healthiest of environments. Find a buddy to walk with at lunchtime or hit the gym with if you have one near work. If there aren’t too many fitness-minded friends around you, don’t be afraid to talk about your goals, the healthy snack you just had, or the workout plan you’re on. People will notice that you’re living a healthier life and will gravitate to that.

Step #5: Drink TONS of water.

Keep a water bottle on hand at all times throughout the work day. Throw in some lemon wedges if that’ll help you drink more, and aim for 100 total ounces a day. Staying hydrated will boost your mood and energy levels, while keeping you from snacking when you’re bored. Plus, the more water you drink, the more excuses you have to get up and walk to the bathroom to go pee.

Related: 8 Ways To Drink More Water If You Hate Water

Step #6: Don’t skimp on sleep.

If you’re dealing with stress at work, getting quality sleep is even more important. Especially when you’re also going hard in the gym! Shoot for eight hours a night, and don’t settle for less than six hours—no matter how busy things get. If your body doesn’t have the opportunity to rest and recover properly, your gains will pay the price.

Step #7: Always have a goal.

Whether it’s a mental or physical goal, having something to set your sights on will really help you pull through when stress hits. If you have no goal to strive for, what will motivate you through the crummy stuff? Find specific goals that get you excited about moving toward a healthier version of yourself. Hmm, like kicking the butt of this eight-week program, perhaps…

I know these tips seem simple—and maybe a little obvious—but actually putting them into practice is hard! (I mean, come on, you’ve probably been told to get eight hours of sleep ten times—but have you made it happen?)

Start out with one or two of these tips this week and throw another tip into the mix as you get used to making these changes. Trust me: 30, 60, or 90 days from now these little challenges will be second nature—and your body will be thanking you in more ways than one.