The MSP Fitness Index is a routine blog post we do aimed at covering the extracurricular things both Michael and Taylor have been reading, listening to, processing, or just really digging at the present time. Inspired by Eric Cressey’s blog posts “Strength and Conditioning Suff You Should Read”, Michael and Taylor have sought to make The Index an insightful use of your time while being transparent with glimpses of what’s going on between their ears.
I’m going to preface this months Index post by warning you that I might ruffle some feathers a bit with what I’m about to say. If you continue on, continue at your own risk. Know that you’ve been warned. Really…I’m not kidding. Fair warning. I mean it. For realz! Ok, you’re still here so here it goes.
“Standing work stations are no better than sitting work environments.”
For many it’s a black and white issue. Sitting is bad and standing is good. I don’t buy that. A better way to frame it is that static anything is bad and movement is good. I’ll buy that. Sitting, and or standing, for extended periods of time in a static position is what’s not ideal and leads to problems.
Simply put the body is designed to move. There is no way the body can endure either position, standing or sitting, for any significant amount of time and not compensate somehow. At one point or another, the body will essentially fold under its own weight.
If you have a more traditional office job, when you add things up, it is very likely that you sit and or “stand” in fairly static body position for significantly more hours of the day than you move. I hope we all know that this is not ideal. It might be what it is, but it doesn’t mean you can’t be a little more proactive, aware, and find ways to change the status quo.
Is there an answer you might ask? Well, I have some strategies for you to think about and to try. First off, you need change it up. Be the fidgety person. At minimum, set an alarm every 50-60min and force yourself to break the present body position.
Second, start to notice the extended, less than ideal positions you find yourself in repeatedly, then work a plan for improvement. Look at the above pictures, is that you? Do you crane your neck and roll your shoulders forward for hours…and hours…and hours? What about those of you who do have a standing stations. Do you find yourself favoring and weighting one leg over the other? Is your right hip like the picture above? Are there parts of your body that are consistently aching after an tough day at the office? Does your neck always kill…or that right shoulder, forearm, or wrist? These are potent tells that you need to be aware of and listen to. This is your body knocking on the door…and it will keep getting louder until you listen.
In a perfect world, we’d all have dual sitting/standing workstations. Have you seen these? You can adjust your desk up and down during the day so you’re not stuck in one position or another. I have a IKEA one that I use at home. Combined with my quality work space, I set my “movement” alarm, alternating positions on a regular basis during the day. I stand for a bit, then I sit for a bit.
Think about it. I urge you to notice your current habits, and try some things to break it up. I hope this gets you thinking a little, and that we’re still friends.
-Michael S. Pilhofer
Much of what we do in the gym is instantly gratifying. We feel the fatigue in our muscles and the perspiration on our brow. Adding weight to lifts and seeing progress is palpable and concrete. Aaaaaaaand then there’s sleep, diet, and stress management. Ugh. Could there be any components of health more subjective?
In the last month or so I’ve had the opportunity to work with a couple of stellar people on their nutrition and lifestyle wellness. In one of my coach-client conversations, an individual and I were remarking on how different the relationship with physical training is to the relationship with what’s in the pantry. For instance, heading to the gym is a no brainer. Once you get there, the work you put in is instantly self-evident.
On the other hand, curbing one’s mid morning cravings and saying, “No!” to caloric excess carries no such satisfaction. I don’t care what the motivational memes tell you, in the moment, it will always be more gratifying to hit up Cheesecake Factory than it is to hit a set of pause front squats or round of burpees. To say the least, there’s no known endorphin-esk high that comes from denying yourself a whole box of Girl Scout cookies.
So what’s the fix? If resisting dietary temptations, going to bed on time, and managing your stress gives you no tangible satisfaction, what options do you have? I have some thoughts:
In the immediate future you must be…
- Consistent. Every single day.
- No cheat meals. No jellybean stash at your desk. No late night tech usage. No all nighters.
- Quality habits don’t materialize without action. Use sticky notes, have a support team, grit your teeth… Often.
- Remember this: Hard Choice, Easy Life — Easy Choice, Hard Life.
In the more distant future you must have…
- Clear intentions.
Where do you want you physique, your health, your wellness to be at in six months? One year? Five years?
What’s the path that is going to take you there?
What are you going to learn along the way?
What satisfactory emotions will you experience once you’re there?
As you play the long game you must find…
What makes you smile? What brings you great joy?
How has the positive change in your life brought you greater fulfillment?
We’ve never promised that these Index posts would be anything shy of existential. What I hope I’ve given you is some clarity for your health journey. My aim, at the very least, was to provide you with introspective questions to inquire of yourself as you stare into the great wide somewhere that is wellness. Let me know how things go and what resonated with you. In the mean time, I expect all of you to be pondering…