Exercising After an 8-5 Shift

It’s 5 o’clock. Time to leave work! It is decision time for you. What’ll it be? Head to the gym and crank out an hour of exercise or head home and throw a fattening frozen pizza in the oven for a quick fix? I myself was responsible for doing the second option all too often!

When we leave work, we feel a sense of relief from the stresses our job provides us. We may imagine going home, reclining on the comfortable chair, and closing our eyes. Instead what we should be imagining is what muscles we plan to work out when we arrive at the gym. What a lot of society doesn’t realize is the stress build up from a hard day’s work can actually build up inside our bodies.

The best possible action for relieving this is a great workout followed by a low-fat balanced dinner. And for dessert instead of eating a tub of fattening ice cream, reach for a high-quality protein shake. One that will have all the essential amino acids your body needs to replenish itself. Not only that, it provides me with the extra protein my body needs to be a weightlifter.

When you do make it to the gym, start off slowly when you get there. The worst thing you could do is rush in and start doing heavy lifting to “get it out of the way.” This is no good. You have to create a hunger in your mind that is craving to pick up those weights and make muscles. To do this, I recommend 10-15 minutes of the stair climber or treadmill at a brisk pace. This will build up your heart rate and get the blood pumping.

Besides the cardio, I recommend stretching your entire body from head to toe. Don’t leave anything out. I recommend 5-8 minutes of nice stretching after your mini cardio session. Once you have completed your stretching, you are ready to go.

Get your headphones in, play some high-energy music, and get in a bubble. Note the time you begin, do not allow yourself to walk out of that gym until a full hour has passed.

Lastly, 10 minutes before your hour is up, take inventory of the muscles you worked. Ask yourself if they feel exercised and worked. And if not, can you handle doing a few more sets. It’s not a great feeling to walk out of the gym unsatisfied with your workout. You want to walk out of there feeling like you accomplished something physically that was a difficult task for that day.

Some days you just don’t have it, and we understand that. You can have the will but can’t seem to will your muscles to achieve anything that day. This all takes practice and determination. If getting in shape were simple, we’d all have nice bodies to show off. The key on our weak days is to be strong mentally. If you can’t bring yourself to make it to the gym, be sure to eat a sensible diet. You want to think long term when it comes to weight lifting and having a nice body. This is all a long distance marathon, not a sprint. So if you do decide to skip the gym one day, reach for clean foods, lean meats to keep you thinking and feeling fresh!

So let’s recap…
Step 1 – Begin thinking about how your workout will go once you leave the office.
Step 2 – When arriving at the gym, begin with something simple to get the muscles warmed up.
Step 3 – Stretch out the entire body. Giving your muscles that stretch will help burn in the cuts and separation.
Step 4 – Establish the right high-energy music for you. (It’s a lot easier to work out to high-energy music then sad, sappy songs. Sorry, Elton John.)
Step 5 – Work out for a minimum of one hour in the gym before leaving.
Step 6 – Take inventory of your muscles before leaving the gym. If you feel you have more in your gas tank to give, go for it.

The following workout routine I recommend in the gym is a four-day workout. You can use either a resistance band or free weights. I enjoy a little of both to change up my routine and shock the muscles.

Day 1 – Chest & Triceps: Do your triceps with your chest since you already work them in your bench workout.

Day 2 – Back & Biceps: Blending in your biceps with the back works well because you already use a lot of that muscle from the various back exercises.

Day 3 – Legs: I always do legs on their own and give them just as much attention as the upper body if not more.

Day 4 – Shoulders: They are a major body part and need to be trained all the way around, front, side and back deltoids.

Cardio should be performed 5-6 days a week with a minimum of 20 minutes. A 10-minute session of stomach crunches is something that should be performed daily without exception.

By Jason Aaron Baca