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Is Your Job Jeopardizing Your Health?

During assessments I'll discuss what my client does for a living. Some people have more physically demanding jobs than others. Some people clearly need more activity because they sit for 8-10 hours a day. We discuss if the job causes mental stress and the answer is always a resounding yes.

Jobs are tricky. We need them so that we can have the comforts of life, right? People accept that they have to work for the things in life that they want, however companies take that for granted and manipulate workers to have the mindset the company's profitability is more important. Oh the tales of pizza parties and donuts on Fridays that I hear from my clients. Always usually a distraction from a break period being taken away or "over-time" being rewarded. I was under the impression that the bonus of overtime was a time and half of the hourly rate, but those days have long passed.

Corporate greed has funneled down to the mass by ways of actual food and not pay raises. Further, these companies have the audacity to change schedules on a whim and demand that a person works longer than they should in a week with "mandatory over-time". With this type of behavior, these corporations take away the ability for a person to have a regimen or routine from day to day. Our bodies need routine just as much as they need nutrition and exercise. Well that's the only way we are sure to balance all the joys of life.

I once had a prospect that would lift weights from time to time with me but ultimately struggled with being morbidly obese. He would pick on my physique by giving me assessments on how easily he thought it was for me to achieve my results. Well I certainly hear my fair share of that talk and have learned to ignore people's ignorance. I am naturally on the leaner side, but I have never worked out to lose weight. People think I work out to be small and since I am small they assume I have achieved my goals. Well that certainly is not the case.

So after a while of enduring the snide comments and disregard of the fact that I am a single mother, the man finally vocalized why he did not respect my fitness hustle. He told me I found a "hack" by switching my career to fitness. Becoming a fitness professional was no short cut or trick to make the process any easier. I thought he had lost himself in a true depression to suggest I didn't work for both my body and my job title, however the Gemini in me understood his intention.

Yes, being a personal trainer has made taking care of my body a priority in my life, and that is something other single mothers cannot claim. When my career in insurance wasn't enough to sustain my household and I had to work another job and have a few side hustles, my self-care and workout regimen went by the wayside. I had been dedicated to my 6 AM work out but one intense week of 16 hour work days threw it all out the window.

I sat all day to make calls and send emails. I ate candy all day, and when I got a break I made sure I smoked a cigarette and had a meal during my 45 mins. Sometimes even two cigarettes. Before I went to my second job as a waitress, which I'll add the manager knowingly scheduled me at the same time I finished my other job because it was just up the street, I made sure I had another cigarette to hold me over the next 4-6 hours. During my shift at the restaurant I drank coffee and ate bread the whole time. I'd get home and hold my children until ultimately I passed out and woke up the next day to get them to school before I had to start the games again. Oh and I started having a cigarette for breakfast.

I remember when things really started going downhill for me. I was so overwhelmed with life and trying to hold on to hope that I would pull through, only to fall victim to a cash scam that turned my financial situation upside down. Cut scene to me sitting in a psych ward for inpatient care for those who have attempted suicide and I had had just about enough of people telling me I couldn't work out! Sitting in a group therapy session listening to the usual woes of the depressed and anxious, I had a back and forth between the therapist. I expressed that I would be happier if I could get to the gym more often. Expressed is tame, I was crying and blowing snot over how little of my day was actually mine. The therapist told me that I would have to accept the fact that I could not fit in a work out. That I couldn't guilt myself over not making that happen.

Well I called bullshit then and I do now. Exercise is not an extra-curricular activity. Exercise is a life sustaining and life saving activity, and I would say my story is proof of this, however for now let's get into the facts:

The National Academy of Sports Medicine shares that roughly 66% of Americans over the age of 20 are overweight, with 34% classified as obese. Americans being obese has led to a spike in chronic diseases such as asthma, cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Diseases which NASM reports account for around 70% of deaths in the United States.

NASM further reports that lower back pain affects 80% of the adult population and 80,000-100,000 ACL injuries occur each year. That is an astounding statistic particularly if you factor in the medication people take to treat pain. We collectively spend $1.7 trillion dollars a year on health care.

The benefits of exercise go on when we look at the benefits of a healthy cardio-respiratory system. Cardio-respiratory exercise increases mental alertness, improves one's ability to relax and sleep, improves one's tolerance for stress, and reduces tendency for depression and anxiety.Certainly, there are several health benefits to exercise however just focusing on what a regimen can do for someone's overall morale is truly what makes it worth it.

I left my time in psychiatric care determined to be better and do better. Well, life only got worse afterward, as life is prone to doing. What I did gain from that time is that I personally was happier when I could do a 30 minute work out. It was a realistic goal considering I had allowed my depression get so bad and life hit so hard I had become unemployed. During this time of searching for another job, I was at the gym faithfully everyday. I had to catch 2 buses to get to the gym from where I was staying. I began to read books concerning fitness and the body. I switched my nutrition habits extremely by become a pescatarian. Within a few short months, my emaciated body looked fuller and stronger. The "Skinny" comments dissipated and were replaced with "Wow abs!".

So, I google searched how much a Personal Trainer could earn and obviously I liked what I saw.

My transition was stark, some would say even foolhardy. Yet, I'd do it all again to find the passion I have for my own happiness as I have now.

Here is a call to action for all those who put a job before themselves. Should you die from a chronic illness you are sure to get from a stagnate lifestyle, that corporation will put up a post to refill that position. Nothing within that organization will change except for a few stressful hours of paperwork. You will be mourned, or maybe you won't. For this reason"

Take Scheduled Breaks- Be sure to avoid the scam of collective breaks with offerings of pizza parties and the like.

Ask for a wireless headset- Try to stand and move for 15 minutes every hour.

Be vocal about outside fitness professionals coming in as reward- a company can pay a group instructor and probably spend less rather than mass cake orders.

Take all sick and vacation days benefited- what's the point in not? They are provided for self-care.

Pack your own food- Just because the job says they have lunch, unless it is out of the building, doesn't mean you have to eat what they provide. It's okay to be that employee. make note that they aren't providing enough variety with the rewards.

Always remember, a healthy you means you do your job better. Even if that means you have to get up early to fit in your regimen before work.

Follow these tips and be mindful so that your job does not jeopardize your health.

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