Working from home is this romantic idea of snuggling up in your pjs on the sofa, whilst tapping a few keys on your laptop and getting paid. The reality is much more like battling a dodgy internet connection, having a love hate relationship with the fridge and having a full blown conversation with your cat after two days of not seeing another human. For anyone that has worked from home will know that the dream doesn’t quite live up to reality.
Since becoming a personal trainer, I have worked from home more than ever in my career. I carry out all of my online personal training work from my laptop, all of my accountancy work, all of my business social media and any other admin stuff at home. The gym in which I train my clients is also at my house, so I spend a lot of time at home. My cats Brian and Gary have become accustomed to our conversations. I want to share a few things that have helped me over the years to adjust to this lifestyle change.
Lets cut through the fluff and get straight into the good stuff.
Set a schedule
Once you have woken up and got ‘dressed’ from your pyjamas and into your office loungewear (which is basically posh pyjamas), it can be very difficult to motivate yourself to carry out any form of exercise. Showering is often seen as an unnecessary task at the best of times, and disrupting that because of exercise is unlikely.
I would highly recommend setting yourself a schedule and keeping it visible in the household at all times. We have a family planner taped to the front of our fridge. This planner has all of my workouts that I have plan for the week (along with many other tasks my wife has set me). This keeps me accountable and ticking off a task is highly satisfying. Having someone keep an eye on that plan and ensuring your are carrying it out can massively help (hint: like a personal trainer).
When working from home exercise becomes more important than ever. For those that leave the house to work, they will be burning loads of extra calories walking up the stairs, going to the toilet, walking to bus stop or hovering around the vending machine. For those working from home, it is very easy to get sucked into your laptop and become one with the sofa. Like a small caterpillar slowly moulding into it’s surroundings, you even hold a pee for as long as possible to avoid unnecessary breaks.
Set yourself regular breaks in the day. Not just to go for a piss, but to go for a walk, have a meal and have some time away from your screen. You are likely to be much more productive once you return feeling refreshed and revitalised. Exercise is awesome not only for your physical health but also your mental health. I would recommend at least 10 minutes out of every hour should be spent away from desk moving around to some degree. Your body, mind and your boss with thank you for it.
Have a plan
If you are just going to roll out of bed, grab a coffee and hope for the best with your nutrition, you are going to be very disappointed with your results. At times like this, the fridge is not your friend. It is on a solo mission to kick your results straight in the balls and do everything it can to hinder your progress. It is going to call you at times of boredom, during meal times, in between meals and every time you stand up.
This is why having a plan in place is going to be even more important than ever. If you leave the house for work, you are somewhat limited with your food choices. You either have a packed lunch or whatever they serve in the canteen. When working from home you are literally working in a kitchen. The options are endless.
Print off a meal planner for the next 7 days. Fill it in with as much detail as possible to give yourself an idea of what you are going to eat over the next week. It doesn’t have to be 100% and you can have some gaps or empty meals to create a sense of mystery or wonder in your life. When you go food shopping, you know exactly what to buy and how much you need. This is not only going to help your waistline, but it is also going to prevent food waster (yay for planet!). Bulk cook the meals ahead of time when possible and separate into individual meals to prevent you eating the entire tray of lasagne (again…Ooops!).
Control your environment, not your willpower
Lets just clear something up. Willpower doesn’t work! If you are relying on just saying “no!” and battling against those urges around food, you are going to be disappointed. Willpower starts at the beginning but very quickly fades with time. I have terrible willpower, especially around food. I wouldn’t say I have an unhealthy relationship with food as I know how to control it, but I can eat a lot if left to my own devices. This is the reason I control my environment, instead of letting it control me.
There are a few things we can do to help control this.
- Keep healthy snacks within arms distance – If you are hungry, then you should aim to fulfil that urge with fruit, veggies or some form of protein (yogurt, eggs, chicken etc.) Keeping these types of foods nearby are going to limit your food choices and prevent you rummaging through the fridge.
- Don’t buy trigger foods – Have you ever just opened a pack of biscuits after dinner and just had one? No, me neither! This is the reason I cannot have biscuits in my house. I will eat the whole lot! If you know there are certain foods you cannot control yourself around, then don’t buy them. This is the reason I don’t have chocolate, sweets or crisps in my house. I cannot be trusted around them and therefore I don’t buy them. There are occasions when I eat these types of foods, but not on an everyday occurrence.
- Keep ‘treat’ foods out of sight and hidden away – If you do have ‘treat’ foods in the house, for the kids or the other half, then hide them away. Make them more difficult to grab in a hurry and keep them out of eye line. If they are in your face every time you open the fridge, then they are going to be eaten. If the are hidden in a dark corner of your cupboard, in a box, covered in tin foil, with a padlock, then your chances are reduced.
I appreciate that adding in all of these steps to your current lifestyle is going to be difficult. Why not try and make one change per week and put all of your remaining focus and energy into that. Once you have the habit or routine nailed down, try to add another one.
If you need help implementing this plan to your situation, why not get involved in online personal training? A fraction of the cost of coming into the gym, but will all the benefits. I work with my clients remotely to help them with their workouts, nutrition and lifestyle to ensure they get the results they want. Get in touch today to have a no obligation chat.
The brains, brawn and beauty of Dackattack (basically it’s just me). A personal trainer with a private gym in Norwich, dedicated to giving out simple, actionable advice that will give you outstanding results.