Trapped In A Cubicle? You Can Still Eat Like A Bodybuilder!

Business people who work in an office face numerous challenges with regards to eating right: the lure of the donut box, the 'machine o' crap', and more. Here's a useful guideline for those eager to fight office eating challenges. Try them out.

Article Summary:
  • Office workers face numerous challenges when trying to eat right.
  • Stock your drawer full of protein bars & powder to avoid the junk food.
  • Take some time to plan out your diet so you aren't forced to cheat.
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    I Feel Your Pain!
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    This time I am focusing specifically on people who, like me, are office workers. (Don't worry business travelers, your article is next month.)

    Business people who work in an office face numerous challenges with regards to eating right: the lure of the donut box, the 'machine O' cr@p' that lurks in the break room, and problems with accessibility to appliances or lack thereof, make this a frustrating position at best.

    Since there are so many variables, I plan to break the article down like this:

    I will be basing my recommendations on the following assumptions:

    • You have enough space, somewhere in your office area, to stock bars, protein packs, or even a tub or two of protein. If not, you have the ability to bring these items from home every day.
    • You have access to water
    • You won't get fired by some ill informed boss who thinks protein powder is a steroid (don't laugh, some people are morons).
    • And last but not least, you just don't care about Mr. Nosey McBigbelly's snide remarks about your healthy eating habits as he stuffs the last 6 donuts past his double chin, mumbling, "You know, all that protein stuff is bad for your kidneys."

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    Eating Guidelines:
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    We are not eating for pre-contest here, just trying to keep good nutrition and feed the muscles to help recover from workouts. Maybe we want to add some lean mass or just lose a little body fat, but nothing radical here. I am also guessing that most people are not lucky enough to be able to run home for lunch, especially with $4/gallon gas prices.

    You will need to eat multiple meals. This helps to keep the metabolism ramped up, as well as deliver the proper nutrients to the body to help it repair itself from the hard work you do in the gym. Most people will be eating about 5-6 meals. This would generally be:

    1. Breakfast
    2. Mid-Morning Snack
    3. Lunch
    4. Mid-Afternoon Snack
    5. Dinner
    6. Pre - bedtime protein

    I am assuming you are serious enough that you are already eating breakfast at home before you leave for work; therefore, we will focus on the mid-morning snack, lunch, and mid-afternoon snack. I am also assuming you will be stocking any pre-workout supplements or vitamins in the drawer or will be bringing them daily.

    Drawer
    Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
    Stock Your Drawer Full Of Supplements & Vitamins.

    dot Full Access To Refrigerator, Ice And Water & A Microwave dot

      You have it pretty easy compared to most people, but it still takes planning so you don't get hungry and wind up with the 'honey bun from h*ll' sitting on your desk at 9am, begging you to eat it.

      The elusive mid-morning snack, what should it be? Well depends on your goals and your size.

      Big guys can have a smaller version of a meal, ideally some brown rice, chicken or beef and some green veggies. Lunch can be some potatoes, mixed veggies, and lean meat. Late afternoon snack is dependent on when you lift. A morning lifter should drop the starches and go with lean meat and veggies. An evening lifter will want some complex carbs and lean meat at least 1.5-2 hours before lifting.

    Machine Of Death
    Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
    Plan Ahead To Avoid The Junk Food Machine.

      Smaller guys and ladies, you may have a problem with portion size on snacks here, so some yogurt with whey, a smaller version of the big guys' snack, or a bar or shake will work. Lunch should be a solid food meal with a small amount of starches, lean meat, and green veggies.

      The afternoon snack is also dependent on lifting time. So a morning lifter should avoid the starches, but an evening lifter could use some yogurt and whey with some granola mixed in for fuel.

      Everyone who transports their meals should buy some plastic containers with separate compartments and cook up these snacks and lunches 2 days at a time (or use the leftovers from last night's healthy dinner); stack them in the fridge at home, and grab them in the morning. It is really easy; it just takes some time to plan and cook ahead of time.

    Pre-Packaged Meal
    Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
    Planned, Pre-Packed Lunch Or Mid-Morning Snack.

      Remember the adage, "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail." It is easy to slack on preparation at night, only to fall victim to 'the machine O' cr@p.'

    RELATED ARTICLE

    [ Click here to learn more. ]
    Fail To Plan & You've Planned To Fail!
    Here are a few helpful ideas - such as planning, how often to eat, etc. - to help you on your way to a healthier lifestyle!
    Author:
    Jamie Eason

      You can also bring you pre-workout drink powder and keep it in the drawer; spend $1.29 on a funnel, and pour it into a water bottle or shaker cup before heading to the gym.

    dot No Refrigerator, But Still A Microwave And Ice Machine dot

      You don't have as many choices here, but clean eating is still doable if the upfront prep is done properly.

      You can really use the same choices as above, but you need to spend a little money on a good cooler and cold packs. It is preferable to buy a cooler large enough to fit 3 meals in, but if you only have enough room to pack the lunch meal with the cold packs, here are some good options for protein shakes for snacks.

    RELATED POLL
    Do You Bring A Cooler To Work With You?

    Yes
    No

      A scoop or two of these with some low fat pretzels or raw veggies can definitely fill you up and provide you with a consistent flow of nutrients throughout the day.

    dot Ice Machine Or Cold Water Fountain, But No Fridge Or Microwave dot

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    dot SOL On Fridge, Microwave, Ice Machine, Maybe Even No Water Fountain dot

      Your boss hates you, find a new job, your life sucks. OK maybe not, but this is a difficult position to be in if you want to eat healthy. But it can still be done.

      Lunches are still sandwiches. Snacks can still be shakes, but here's the trick. You need to take a shaker cup and fill it 1/6-1/4 of the way with water and put it in the freezer the night before. This should melt a bit throughout the first couple of hours at work, but will still be a nice chunk of ice for that first morning shake. Fill with water and protein and shake until mixed; the chunk will mostly dissolve. You can also fill it with ice cubes before you leave for work in the morning.

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    Fruit Fuel Bars Apex Presents:
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    Fruit Fuel High Fiber Energy Bars are nutrient rich, convenient meal replacements and a good source of fiber. They are best used when unable to eat a meal and/or before workouts.
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      Bars to avoid if dropping BF is your goal now, try to avoid bars with high levels of simple sugars. I try to choose bars with less than 1/2 of the carbs as sugar if I am trying to drop fat.

      There are many other good ones, but since they may be especially suited to travel, I am saving them for the next article.

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    Situational Adjustments
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    What do I mean by this? I mean "What do you do if... ?":

    1. You show up at a meeting and there are boxes of donuts and trays of pastries, all looking just too tasty.

      If you are eating right most of the times, a donut or two should not kill you. But if you are dropping BF, one donut sometimes leads to two or three. Someone my size might be able to get away with a couple, but a smaller person might just have to smell 2 donuts and they start to gain the fat back. In this case, show up with a bar and a bottle of water and just deal with it.

    Donut
    Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
    Sometimes One Donut Leads To Two Or Three.

    1. You have a "lunch meeting" and the "lunch" is the giant grease dripping pizzas from the greasiest pizza place in town.

      Hmmm... Is it your cheat day? Then have one or two slices. If not, be prepared with a healthy sandwich. How do you know what it will be? Ask your administrative assistant who is setting it up, she will tell you. Again, finally the healthy delis sandwiches have replaced the pizzas here.

    2. Snack days? OMG what damage can this do to my waistline?

      Again, the boxes of donuts, trays of pastries, bags of cookies, and the odd assortment of unhealthy, but tempting, snacks permeate these days. Having a healthy and tasty snack in the fridge or at your desk can help you walk past these. I have to walk by them or I will get on the "sugar roller coaster" and feel crappy all day.

      So what do you do when it's YOUR TURN? Fruit baby, fresh fruit works great. People love strawberries and grapes and orange slices, etc... People who bring this stuff to the office ALWAYS get a big 'thank you' for it.

    Fruit
    Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
    Fresh Fruit Works Great.

    1. Birthday celebration cakes.

      It took several years of requests to get the giant birthday cakes replaced with bagels and cream cheese. While this is still not great, it is better than a sugar coma. I don't know about you, but that first donut for me gives me a sugar crash in 30 minutes, so I must keep eating them. I avoid them for this reason alone.

    2. What about the holiday plethora of junk food?

      Again, self restraint is the key. You must take some personal responsibility here. If you want it, have some, but not all of it. But be prepared to avoid it, because there are no "I just had no other choice" comments allowed after reading this. No cookie for you, go sit down now.

    dot Pre-Workout Supplements dot

    RELATED POLL
    Do You Hit The Gym Directly After Work?

    Yes
    No
    It Depends On The Day

    dot Morning Thermogenics: dot

      Morning thermogenics serve a few purposes: Increasing the metabolic rate with some form of stimulant; curbing the appetite; adding some form of fat metabolizing agent, and keeping you from doing a mid-morning face-plant into the keyboard.

      Thermogenics might make a 10-15% difference if you are doing the other things right. They WILL NOT make up for lack of consistency with the diet and exercise. But when looking in the mirror, before heading to the pool, 10-15% can seem like a huge difference in your eyes.

      Which ones? There are soooo many. Here are the ones I can personally recommend:

    dot Pre-Workout Energy: dot

      For those of you who workout after work and don't use a pre-workout powder with caffeine, here are a few choices for good non-jittery energy:

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    dot Sleep: dot

      I really think this is one of the most overlooked pieces of the bodybuilding puzzle. You will not maximize growth without getting the proper amount of rest. Many of us in office jobs are not able to "leave work AT work" and we may have some troubles drifting off at night.

      I recently tried a new supplement for this. This definitely helped me drift off quicker, with no morning "hangover effect." Better sleep = better recovery. Without this necessary rest, you may be spinning your wheels in the gym.

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    Conclusion:
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    I hope this has been helpful and informative. As many of you already have, don't hesitate to contact me with questions or suggestions for future articles. This one is a direct result of numerous requests.

    As always, supplements do not TAKE THE PLACE of proper nutrition and getting enough rest. Just because you are trapped in an office does not mean you still cannot make good nutrition a priority. By taking some time to plan your eating schedule and doing some upfront work, the office can be almost as good as home, less the TV and recliner chair of course.

    For those who know me, welcome back. For those of you who don't, here's the info about me as well as my previous articles.

    Until next time, Lift Big 2 Get Big.

    CTGBLUE

    Due to overwhelming requests, the next article will be dedicated to business travelers. Been there, done that, last week, last month, last quarter, 8 times last year, 5 times this year already... I'm not forgetting the car-bound business people either.