Our bodies are designed to adapt to our environment, conforming to the positions in which we spend the most time. If you spend nine hours a day sitting at your desk working on a computer, for instance, you’ll have spent 24% of your week sitting and your body will begin to mold itself to that position. Even if you find the time to fit in four hour-long workout sessions that week, you’ll still only have spent 2.3% of your week exercising.
As a result, it’s important to find ways to integrate fitness routines into our daily work lives. Thankfully, it’s relatively easy to work on movements and stretches that keep the body active and mobile throughout the day. The key to being healthy at work is to implement small changes until they become habits.
Paul Vincent is a celebrity trainer and fitness guru who specializes in making health and well-being a byproduct of people’s unique, individual lifestyles. Paul runs Altus Sports Institute, a health management center in Santa Monica founded in 2010 with his brother Chris Vincent. Altus Sports has become the go-to wellness team for the area’s celebrity clientele, training everyone from film star Chris Pine to all-star athletes Chauncey Billups and Wesley Sneijder. Altus Sports trained the entire cast of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, helping Harrison Ford recover from ankle break and Carrie Fisher drop 30 pounds for her role as Princess Leia. Paul also recently trained Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford as part of the Blade Runner cast.
“At one point, I wanted to be a medical doctor,” Paul explained in a recent interview with IVY Magazine. “I started going down that route at school, but I soon began to consider being on the other side — trying to keep people healthy and collaborate with the doctors as a personal trainer. I love what I do because I feel like I can really make a difference in people’s lives: the way we feel in our bodies affects everything we do, and by helping people to be healthy and confident, they can live much fuller lives.”
In addition to helping whip big name celebrities into shape for upcoming feature films, Paul’s work focuses on putting healthy patterns into effect outside the gym, helping people manage their health and make lasting differences in their day-to-day lives. Read on for Paul’s five key tips to leave work healthier every day and his insights into wellness.
How can someone keep fit while maintaining an office job?
1. We don’t always eat when we are hungry and this causes us to eat extra calories. It’s important to notice why you eat: is it just because it’s meal time? Are you bored or stressed? Keep a notebook for a week, record what you eat, and get to understand what your motivation is.
2. We often confuse hunger signals with symptoms of blood sugar crashes — headaches, drops in energy, irritability. It’s best to avoid sugars and carbs so you don’t spike your blood sugar in the first place.
3. If you don’t have a standing desk you can get the same benefits by grabbing a couple of yoga blocks and kneeling.
4. A counter stretch to sitting is this great hip flexor stretch on your chair.
5. We get a lot of stress in our lower backs because we can’t bend properly at our hips, this hip hinge stretch is will make a big difference.
Here are a couple other ideas, too:
It’s important to keep your muscles stimulated. This desk plank or push-up is a great way to do that without having to get sweaty, it also helps boost energy.
If you are able to mix these different approaches to wellness into your work schedule, you will be able to avert the most harmful effects of extended periods of sitting and work to get your bodies to function optimally.
What is the best kind of diet to stay lean and strong year-round?
I believe it depends on each person’s specific chemistry, and that a rotational diet for variety is best. Most importantly, understanding your own eating habits, and carefully considering what foods you avoid, will make the biggest difference.
Are you an advocate for juice cleanses?
I think specific cleanses for specific reasons can be really good, but you do have to be careful with the amount of sugar in juice cleanses.
What do you think about fasting?
Currently, there is a lot of research that shows the many benefits of fasting: most importantly, that fasting can eradicate cancer cells. Our bodies aren’t designed to consume as much food as we do, or as frequently as we do, making this budding field of research especially exciting.
What’s your overarching philosophy on nutrition, wellness, and longevity?
As humans, we have genetic programming that was developed in a time of scarcity. Our programming hasn’t adapted for the abundance in which we currently live: it’s important to be cognizant of this, as the ease of access to food doesn’t always lead us to make the best choices. It’s essential to get nutrition daily, but to also look at calories consumed on a weekly basis.
The study of blue zones (areas in the world where people live the longest) shows that a common factor in living into your centennial years is being useful or having a purpose in your life. A lot of people in our day in age develop joint restriction, and therefore lose mobility and require caregivers. They then run the risk of losing that sense of purpose — it’s for this reason that I think flexibility is one of the most important aspects of health and longevity.
I think the greatest aspect of overall wellness is living your life to the fullest, having fun, and challenging yourself.
Paul Vincent is an IVY Member (LA). Connect and collaborate with him here!