Successful Exercise Strategies For The City Worker


The hustle and bustle of city work life is great for many things. Maintaining an effective exercise regime isn’t one of them. I know this from experience, not because I work in the city, but because on daily basis a large handful of my 1-1 clients do. Before we look at some successful exercise strategies, let’s have a look at what a typical day for the city worker may involve:

6.00am – Wake up, shower and get dressed.
7.00am – Drive to the train station.
7.30am – Catch the train into the city. Breakfast is usually consumed during the journey and consists of a cup of coffee and croissant purchased from the station cafe.
9.00am – Arrive at the office, get behind the desk and log on to the computer.
10.00am – Sue from admin has brought in some biscuits, which quickly make the rounds in the office. With tea of course!
1.00pm – Lunch hour. This varies depending on workload, but often spent in front of the computer with a sandwich and can of fizzy drink.
2.00pm – Back to the grind, maybe attend a few meetings during the afternoon.
6.10pm – Finish late (working hours are normally 9-5) head back to the train station to catch the train home.
8.00pm – After hitting heavy traffic on the drive back from the station you arrive home and spend what little time there is left of the evening with the family. Dinner is consumed, which like most evenings, involves a microwaveable meal.
11.30pm – Head to bed to get ready to do it all again tomorrow!

Clearly there’s some nutrition issues going on too, which is a whole other issue, best saved for another post. From a lifestyle point of view, you can begin to see that building in an effective exercise programme into this stressful routine is somewhat challenging. Notice I said challenging, not impossible…

The city

Become A Weekend Warrior
The weekend warrior schedule involves three workouts. Remember a minimum of three sessions per week is what we ideally want to see a result. It’s a Friday evening session (most city workers finish half day on a Friday, which leaves plenty of time for an evening session), a Saturday and a Sunday session. This protocol also works well in the respect that the work week hustle is normally very stressful and tiring, meaning the workouts you may do during the week won’t be as productive as what they would on a weekend when you’re less stressed and more rested. A good weekend body part split for fat loss and general fitness could look something like this.

Friday pm – Upper body
Saturday am – Lower body
Sunday am – Full body

Do A 20 Minute Lunchtime Blast
Packing your gym clothes in your work bag and nipping out on lunch to train is also a great option. Consider looking at gyms around the office within a ten minute walking radius. An effective twenty minute timed set circuit like the one below would be a good exercise protocol to choose, as it will leave enough time to shower, change and eat before heading back to the office.

1A: Kettlebell swings
1B: Goblet squats
1C: Bent over dumbbell row
1D: Walking dumbbell lunges
1E: Press up

Spend 40 seconds on each exercise and rest 20 seconds between exercises. Complete four total rounds.

Catch The Early Worm
Reorganising the morning to accommodate a workout and still be in the office for 9am is also another possibility.

5.30am – Wake up, consume a cup of coffee with coconut oil and a handful of nuts and get changed for the gym with your clothes that have been laid out the previous evening.
6.00am – Drive to the gym which is conveniently on route to the train station.
7.00am – After a 45 minute session and shower, you get changed for work and drive to the station.
7.30am – Catch the train into the city. A post-workout breakfast is consumed during the journey and consists of a protein shake and banana that was packed in your work bag the night before.
9.00am – Arrive at the office, get behind the desk and log on to the computer feeling great after an early morning workout.

So just by planning for the morning the night before and waking 30 minutes earlier, you can easily fit in a morning workout. Do this 2-3 times per week, plus a session on the weekend and you’ll be winning!

Move More
Whilst moving more won’t make drastic changes to your body composition, it will certainly go a long way in improving your overall health and wellbeing. Things you can think about include, taking the stairs instead of the lift, walking to work instead of catching a tube, go for a lunch power walk instead of spending it in front of a computer or never siting down for longer than an hour consecutively. All these little behaviours can add up!

Be An Opportunist
On a final note, some of the strategies above may not work for you at all, but by becoming an opportunist and taking advantage of opportunities when they arise can also allow you to see results. Perhaps your job allows you to work from home one day per week, why not start this day early and head to the gym? Or maybe your boss calls it a day early and allows everyone to leave at 3pm, so why not have a workout before you head home? For this very reason keeping a spare set of gym clothes at work or in the car is a smart move.