9 Ways to Sneak Muscle Building Into Your Work Day


“I’m so tired at the end of the day, I could just collapse. “

“I have zero time for exercise.”

“I don’t have any equipment to exercise with.”

These are the top 3 reasons people find not to exercise – most of us think of exercise as something separate from our normal routines. But I’m going to tell you about the 9 best ways to sneak exercise into your workday without breaking into a big sweat, or breaking the bank.

beginners train min

One of the most basic body movements is squatting. Sitting down on a chair, sitting on the toilet, picking up something from a low table or the floor – those are all squats. First, find a stable (non-rolling) chair. Next, sit on it, then use your glutes(buttocks) and your quads (upper front legs) to stand up again. Do 2 sets of 10 sit/stand, twice a day. Check out the picture of this exercise.

Twisting at the waist is so important to our bodies. Find a load of stuff to move, such as a couple of bags of groceries, or a file box, or a piece of office equipment. Standing, move the load laterally – from one side of your workspace to the other side. That way, you’re using your trunk rotators, glutes, and shoulders. Transfer the load 10 times, once a day.

Work your shoulders and abs. Lift up a moderately heavy box, basket of laundry, whatever you’ve got. Hold it at chest level, then push it up into the air, straightening your arms, and return to the start position. Keep your abs tight. Do 2 sets of 10.

Chest and triceps. Do some pushups. Hands on the wall, and feet about 18” from the wall, slowly bend your elbows, and then straighten. Do 3 sets of 10-15. Not challenging enough? Put your hands on the counter or on your desk, and walk your feet backward. Doing the push ups at a different angle increases the workload. Shy – don’t want anyone to see you? Do the push ups in an empty room, at the side of your vehicle, or at home. Check out my article on different kinds of push ups to try.

Move during your breaks and lunch hours. Sure it’s fun to catch up on your social media, but that won’t keep your heart and legs in good shape. Walk to your meetings, walk up/down stairs, walk to your co-workers’ desks…. You get the idea.

When you’re on the phone, move around your workspace. The very basis of weight loss is to take in fewer calories, and move much more.

When you have to stand, take a minute and do some calf raises. Brace your hands on the edge of a filing cabinet, get your feet a bit apart, and slowly lift the heels, working through the calf muscles. Do 2 sets of 10-15.

Use isometric exercise for your biceps . Hold in one hand a bag of groceries, or a heavy briefcase, or something else you can grip. From a straight arm position, slowly bend your elbow to a 90 degree position. Hold that position for as long as you can. Repeat for a total of 5 times. Do it on the other arm too.

Find a set of stairs in the workplace or at home and walk briskly up and down. Start with one cycle of that, and increase the number of cycles as your stamina increases. If you can’t get to work early to do that, take 5 minutes at the end of the day.

These are just some of the ways to maximize your time with basic, but oh-so-effective exercises – no equipment and not much extra time. After a couple of weeks at it, you’ll have more energy, strength and mental and physical stamina. When it gets too easy, up the ante with more difficulty and more reps. For more ideas on how to get more fit without a gym, contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.,

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