STRETCHING YOURSELF: FROM LAWYER TO PERSONAL TRAINER
Why would a lawyer want to become a personal trainer? This is a question that surprisingly few of my lawyer friends have asked me since I made the switch. Maybe it’s because they get it. They understand the desire to live more healthily, the craving to regain some control and flexibility over one’s work life and the yearning to help clients in a more tangible and personal way. Maybe they too harbour ambitions to pursue wildly different careers or at least give it a go. Who knows? What I do know is that whenever I heard stories of people quitting the City to become freelance graphic designers or lawyers becoming art consultants, I felt overwhelmingly envious that they had taken a plunge that I thought I would never be able to take. Well, I have now made the leap and as yet, I don’t have any regrets and am excited about what lies ahead.
When I was sitting at my desk for, give or take, 12 hours a day and spending several more hours hunched over my Blackberry, I found that my body slowly deteriorated. I had tight shoulders and legs and was consistently getting injured. First it was my back, then my hamstrings and then my hip flexors. All this despite the fact that I exercised regularly, used to play sport at a relatively high level and prided myself on being fairly fit.
I approached Roll On Friday for permission to write an article as I figured that thousands of other lawyers would be suffering with the same frustrations. If this article can provide advice that goes some way to alleviating the day-to-day stresses and wellness obstacles for just one lawyer then it will certainly have been worthwhile.
8 easy wellness wins
Here are some tips that I hope will help relieve the stresses that sitting at a desk can cause as well as inform your training.
- Get a standing desk. Even if you can’t or don’t exercise, alternating between sitting and standing throughout the day – I’d recommend changing every half an hour – can work wonders. It changes the pressure on your back and opens up your hip flexors. It also burns more calories without you noticing it.
- Sit on a Swiss ball. This may provide you with less support than a chair but that’s the point. It promotes a better posture and works your key core muscles, again, without you really noticing it.
- Do yoga and pilates. When time is limited, the temptation is to work yourself into the ground whenever you exercise. However, when you’ve spent years in a desk job, this can overstress the body and cause injuries. Yoga and pilates strengthen the underlying core muscles that will help you perform more intense activities and sports more effectively and with fewer injuries.
- Mix it up. Perform cardio and weights work. Do impact and non-impact exercises. This will help with all round conditioning and facilitate the performance of more intense and frequent exercise with a lower risk of injury.
- Use your commute. Not everyone wants to get up early to exercise, has time during lunch or the energy in the evening. Incorporate exercise into your commute. Try getting off the train or bus early and walking or running the rest of your journey or start cycling to work a few times a week. If all else fails, ditch the lift and take the stairs.
- Buddy up. Working out with someone else encourages better adherence to exercise. It makes you accountable to one another and can even make workouts more fun.
- Eat well. A statement of the obvious maybe, but when you’re busy and tired, it’s easy for convenience eating to trump healthy eating. For lunches al-desko, try making your own by preparing food at home the night before or batch cooking on a Sunday. Controlling what goes into your lunch is a first step to eating better.
- Incremental improvements. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to make multiple changes at the same time. Try changing one habit a week or a month and you’ll be amazed by what you can achieve over time.
If you want more information or help creating a more tailored exercise programme that meets your needs and fits into your schedule, please do not hesitate to get in touch.