Excuses to not workout have been around longer than the Egyptian pyramids.

Well, maybe not quite that long, but it’s been a while. Back then, there were no excuses because people had to work hard to survive, put food on the table and build structures to reside in.

Nowadays, you can literally park your butt on the couch and, with the exception of going to the bathroom, do everything from that exact spot all day. If you leave the front door unlocked, you can even have food hand-delivered to you. Yikes! What has happened to us folks?


The office scene is not much different.

You can easily sit in one spot from sun up to sundown and barely move. Time often ceases to exist in these cases. The bad news is this sedentary lifestyle, coupled with almost guaranteed poor sitting mechanics, can do a number on your body shape.

Aside from the obvious weight gain you’ll have coming your way, you are also subject to rounded shoulders, a crooked spine and lower back pain. That’s about as bad an outcome as you can ever encounter. But, if you are willing to think outside the box, I have hope for you. If you are willing to make a few adjustments and sacrifices you can actually get toned right from the comfort of your desk.

Think of your body as an outdated house. Both are still functional and can serve their purposes, but they could use upgrading. You remodel a house to make it look newer, nicer, more modern and feel more comfortable. Treat your body the same way. But you are remodeling it to move better, feel better, look better and be more comfortable.

Chuck your chair!

The first step in doing this at work is to get rid of that dreadful chair that allows you to slump into an horrendous body position. Replace it with a good stability ball. Make sure you get one that allows your thighs to be parallel to the floor when you are seated on it and is the right height for your arms to type and do desk work.

Using a ball through the course of the day will cause you to sit up straight and contract your abs to remain stable. A contracted muscle burns a lot more calories than an uncontracted muscle. Plus you are doing a small amount of exercise and you will barely notice.

Aside from a ball, there are a number of other tools that you need to stock up on that can easily fit under your desk or in a drawer. Get yourself a series of resistance bands with handles, flat resistance loops (which look like giant rubber bands) and a pair of gliding discs that have the capability to slide on hardwood and carpet floors. Now you’re ready to roll! You will be using your tools and body weight for all of your exercises.

As soon as you get to work, perform a set of as many pushups as you can.

Now sit down on your ball and proceed to start your day.

exercise to do at desk_2

What exercises can I do?

Every 15 minutes, do a different exercise that targets your chest, shoulders, back, triceps, biceps, legs and abs. Start with push-ups like I mentioned, then do shoulder presses, back rows (which are also good for your posture), dips, biceps curls, alternating sliding reverse lunges, sliding mountain climbers and ball twisting sit-ups.

For back rows, wrap the resistance band around a sturdy object like a support from your desk.

Prop your hands on your desk to do dips and if you feel confident enough, carefully place your feet on the ball.

You will need the gliding discs for your lunges and mountain climbers. Place the correct side up on the discs that will allow them to slide and perform your exercises.

Reverse lunges are pretty self-explanatory, but for mountain climbers you may need a little more instruction. Assume a perfect plank position with your hands directly under your shoulders and toes on the center of the discs. Move each knee forward in an alternating fashion as if you were running in place.  Make sure your knees stay inside your arms when you do this. Ideally they move right up to your chest.

Use the resistance loops when you go to the bathroom. Place them around your lower legs right above your ankles and flatten them out. Sidestep your way to and from the bathroom every time you go throughout the day. Make sure you keep a slight bit of tension in the loop when your feet come toward each other. In other words, don’t allow any slack to develop.

To summarize, start with push-ups, then do every exercise listed in succession every 15 minutes. There are eight exercises total. Once you go through them, start from the top and repeat. By the end of an 8-hour workday, you should be able to get through four entire rounds. Always do as many push-ups as you can, and aim for 12 to 15 reps of the rest of the exercises.

Now I’d like to give you a few quick notes that will be invaluable.

Bands have a color-coded system – the lighter the color, the easier the resistance. For example, yellow is very light while black is very heavy.

I suggest you get three or four different colors of the bands with handles and the flat loop style. Then you can pick and choose what works best. And, just for the record, the bands with handles are shaped like tubes. I want to make sure you have your details straight.

I’d suggest doing this workout on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. On Tuesday and Thursday, keep using your fitness loops when you walk to the bathroom and continue to sit on your ball. Feel free to go for power walks at lunchtime too.

Since you are at a desk, you can always just eat your lunch there while working and use your actual lunchtime for walking. You can do all of this without even breaking a sweat.

Before I head out, I have to mention one more thing.

Strip away all the candy, cupcakes, doughnuts, Danishes and other forms of junk food from your desk and don’t be tempted to accept such offerings from anyone else in the office. Every single rep you do will be sabotaged if you proceed to nosh on junk food through the course of the day.

There you go. You now have a solid plan to follow to get toned from your desk. The only thing holding you back is you. Go out there and get it, and don’t worry about what anyone says. Words have no effect on you unless you allow them to. The stares you may get from people will soon turn into questions about how they can get in on the action too. Embrace it!

Let me know if you should have any questions or need any further assistance. You know that I’m always here for you.

Read more from Expert  Kevin Rail.

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Pollyanna Hale Health and Lifestyle coaches
Lost 13 Kg in Total
Mel, 32y Location: London, United Kingdom Working with Pollyanna changed everything. I lost 13kg, got toned and have more energy than ever! Get same results!


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Chris, 50y Location: London, United Kingdom Lost 45kg after the age of 50 and now competes and wins physique competitions and runs marathons Check our weight loss plans