Making Work, Work

Physical fitness and wellbeing usually does not rank very high in lawyer priorities. As previously mentioned in a piece on the London Fire Brigade, lawyering is mostly an intellectual endeavour which involves sitting for lengthy periods. As long as they feel fit enough to do their job (sitting for long hours), lawyers tend to view their physical health as perfectly adequate, ignoring the long-term poor health effects of a sedentary desk job. Sedentary behaviours are a known risk factor for cancer, cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes and early death.

How do you change your habits around to improve your physical health? How do you fit exercise in your family life, juggling kids and work? The good news is, you don’t have to wait until New Year’s Eve to get started…

Start Small

If you think that any type of physical activity under one hour is not worth it, think again. More and more research shows it’s quality, not quantity, that counts. In a busy schedule, any exercise is better than no exercise, whether you work from home or at the office.

  • Take walk-and-talk or arrange ‘standing meetings’ and conference calls – rather than sitting in a meeting room.
  • Walk to client meetings or court appointments.
  • At lunchtime, make a habit to go out and walk around your neighbourhood for at least 20 minutes. Set a timer on your phone or check your watch and keep walking. At Obelisk Support, Naz, Tech Support Analyst, takes a daily walk in the neighborhood to unplug and stay fit. She has inspired quite a few to follow suit, like Katie and Debbie.
  • Do five sit-ups in the morning before you get dressed.
  • Do 30 minutes of yoga while your child is taking a nap. For inspiration, YogaGlo runs subscription-based online classes and Yoga with Adrienne provides free YouTube tutorials.
  • Stretch while listening to a song or soothing radio station such as Classic FM.
  • Download short fitness routines on YouTube. Jessica Smith TV and PopSugar Fitness provide 10-minute solutions.
  • When going to work, get off the train or tube a few stops early and run or walk from there.
  • Walk the stairs, skip elevators and escalators.

Rise & Shine

Many lawyers find it easier to fit in any physical exercise before breakfast or work, as it makes them feel great for the rest of the day and boosts their metabolism. If they can refrain from checking their phones and messages before working out, they’re more likely to just get up and exercise rather than start scrolling down long to-do lists. Here are a few ideas to spice up your mornings.

Cycle to Work

If you work at an office in the city and can plan your route along cycling lanes, riding a bicycle to work is one of the best ways to workout without realising it.Plus, you need to get to work anyway – you might as well make your work commute 100% beneficial to your physical health. Not only is it budget-friendly, but it also helps improve pollution in the city and you get to enjoy open skies year-round.

Whether you are a Strava cyclist or a casual user of self-service bicycles, cycling increases your cardiovascular fitness and decreases stress levels. Check existing Cycling Superhighways to navigate London streets via safe and fast cycling lanes. Sophie, Obelisk Support‘s Operations Manager, cycles over 20K per day to get to work, using a combination of city streets and cycling superhighways.

Navy Seal Challenge

Hardcore lawyers might want to try the Navy Seal 4.30am challenge, which assumingly, help you get a jump on the day when nobody else is awake yet, giving you the opportunity to do things that you need to get done selfishly for yourself, such as working out. It might not feel good at 4.30am when you get up, but – by the time 7am rolls around, and you’ve already worked out, already got some work done, and you’ve still got some time to say goodbye to your kids before they go to school – you’ll feel totally in control of your life.

Of course, the tradeoff is going to sleep early at night and as this video shows, it’s probably the hardest part.

Morning Swim Routine

If you can’t stomach waking up at 4.30am, try going to pre-breakfast gym or swim classes. Laure, Marketing Manager at Obelisk Support, is an avid open water swimmer. She swims between 3 and 10K a week, all before work. Swimming helps her keep a bad lower back in check and open water swimming boosts her immune system year round, keeping seasonal allergies and winter colds at bay.

Her swim routine includes

  • Two weekly masters swim classes from 6.30 to 7.30am (before breakfast and school),
  • One to three open water swims between school drop-off and work, and
  • One or two weekend open water swims (before breakfast).

If you have a swimming pool near you that opens before 6.30am, try to plan on being there at opening time for 30 minutes three times a week to relax your muscles and stretch with your swimming stroke of choice.

Workout with Project Awesome

In London, Bristol and Edinburgh, Project Awesome is a community of people who offer “free, fun, badass workouts in your city,” kickstarting your day the awesome way. Yes, they’re early birds and they meet at 6.30am. Yes, they’re city folks and understand that healthy habits set you up in the right direction for the day. Also, they’re friendly and tend to join group events to motivate you going the extra mile.

Follow them on Twitter (here for London, here for Edinburgh, here for Bristol) for updates on future meet-ups and be ready for some serious silliness.

 

Night Bird Habits

If your kids think that sleeping is overrated, or your lunch hour is not an option because you’re on flexible schedules, then exercising after work and after dinner are great options too. Here are a few ideas.

  • Sign up for adult dance classes in the evening, preferably with a partner or friend to make it more fun.
  • Go on a 4 to 5K run after work with your kids as they ride their bikes (kills two stones in one go, your fitness and your kids’).
  • Go for a walk around the block with a friendly neighbour after dinner, which takes care of your social and exercise needs.
  • In London, GoodGym organises evening runs with a charitable purpose, running to help out older people with one-off practical tasks that they are no longer able to do on their own.
  • If the weather or circumstances don’t cooperate, try Leslie Sansone Walking at Home YouTube videos to … walk at home.

Fit Lawyers on Social Media

Some corporate lawyers have thousands of social media followers and it’s not necessarily for their legal skills. Check out the following for fitness inspiration:

When the work week is over, you can enjoy your weekend and take a rest. Or, if you feel like indulging, go out for a morning run, a walk outdoors and exercise some more!

 

Making Work, Work

Studies show that lawyers are particularly susceptible to unhealthy lifestyle choices and stress, but this lawyer who runs bucks that trend. Loren Zitomersky, known as Backwards Guy on Twitter and Facebook, has an athletic record that would put to shame most extremely fit people. From 1,426-mile bicycle rides to yearly marathons and an Ironman, he never stops.

At Obelisk Support, we support a healthy lifestyle in the legal profession and are in awe of Loren’s achievements. The best part is that he’s doing all this for charity, to raise awareness about epilepsy. The Attic caught up with this lawyer, who runs before work, less than a month before his next goal – to run all 26.2 miles of the Boston Marathon backwards (yes, literally backwards running) and attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the fastest marathon ever run backwards (3 hours, 43 minutes, 39 seconds – about an 8:30 min/mile average pace).

Hold on to your hat.

First, Tell Us What Do You Do in Your Day Job?

I’m a motion picture production attorney at Disney.  I work in the live-action motion picture production group and advise producers and Disney executives on legal matters pertaining to Disney movies.  I essentially act as the general counsel on the movies.  Most of my time is taken up negotiating and drafting talent (actors, writers, producers, directors) agreements, but my job encompasses a lot.  The most recent movie that I was the production attorney on that has been released was the live-action “Beauty and the Beast.”

How Important is Fitness to Your Life?

VERY important.  I’ve ran 7 marathons, completed an Ironman and done many triathlons.

How and When Did you Start Running Backwards?

I’ve been raising money and awareness for epilepsy for 20 years (over $300,000 raised to date), and I had told myself that if I qualified for the Boston Marathon, I would do something big for my fundraising and awareness campaign for the Boston Marathon.  I qualified at the Mounts 2 Beach Marathon in Ventura, California with a time of 3:00:14 last June.  I stumbled upon the record for the fastest marathon ever run backwards (3:43:39 – about an 8:30 min/mile average pace) and I thought I could beat that time and raise a ton of money and awareness for epilepsy at the same time.

How Do You Combine Training with Work?

Being a lawyer who runs is difficult.  I have been waking up super early in the morning and getting my backwards runs done early so that my day is clear for work, but it definitely is a juggling act.  My employer Disney has been very supportive of what I am doing.

Tell us about Epilepsy and the Boston Marathon

One in 26 people will be diagnosed with epilepsy in their lifetime, which is a crazy statistic.  The reason most people don’t know that epilepsy is so common is because no one talks about it.  People are afraid to talk about it.  They’re afraid of being judged, losing their job, losing their driver’s license and/or having a stigma attached to them.  I’m trying to change that and talk as much as I can to bring epilepsy out in the open.

How Can People Support You?

People can visit BostonBackwards.com to learn more and make a donation if they feel inclined (hopefully!).  Also, I just launched a challenge called “26 Steps Backwards to End Epilepsy,” and I’m super excited about it!  More info is on my website at bostonbackwards.com/26steps.

Words of fitness advice to other lawyers?

Always have a passion outside of work.  I think that is very important.

Bio

Loren Zitomersky was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, attending UCLA for undergrad and then later Pepperdine Law School in Malibu.  He is a motion picture production attorney at the Walt Disney Studios. He has two brothers, loving parents and a very supportive wife, Rose. In his free time, he runs backwards.

Making Work, Work

Does it come as any surprise that lawyers are skipping on a healthy lunch? Or that when it comes to business food orders, almost half in the legal industry are placed after 8pm?

According to research on our lunch habits by flexible office and workspace platform Workthere,  the average lawyer take less than half an hour for lunch. Meanwhile, online food delivery company Deliveroo found that the legal industry is one of the worst culprits for late in the day orders, with a huge 81% of orders placed at dinner time and an average order time of 8:44pm.

It’s no secret that taking a break has never been part of the everyday vocabulary of lawyers, but there are many reasons why we need to start placing higher importance on taking a proper, quality lunch break and stepping away from our desk during the working day. A healthy lunch needs to be so much more than grabbing a quick bite to eat, particularly if you are likely to be working into the evening.

Reasons to Take a Healthy Lunch Break

#1 Productivity

It is completely counter-productive to believe that working through lunch will help us get more work done. Presenteeism only makes us poorer workers. Yes, you will clock that extra hour at your desk, but forgoing a proper break will affect your productivity for the rest of the hours that you work. Our brains are simply not designed to focus on the same thing for hours on end, so stepping away from the desk is vital to refocus and work more effectively. Sticking to a scheduled lunch break will also help you to better plan your day and improve overall time management.

#2 Socialising

Taking an hour for lunch with colleagues helps you to bond outside of the immediate pressures of work tasks, helping to create better communication and improve the team dynamic. It also helps you to feel more supported and included in the office, making you happier in your job.

#3 Physical Health

Our sedentary lifestyles are creating a health crisis. Sitting all day, every day not only makes us lethargic and more likely to gain unhealthy levels of fat, but can also lead to more serious long term physical health problems. Your lunch break is an opportunity to stretch your legs, go for a walk or run or make use of the gym.

If you work remotely, lunch is a great opportunity to step away from your desk and be active outside. Take a brisk 20-minute walk, eat a healthy lunch and get back to work refreshed. You also need to give your eyes a rest from the screen and small print to reduce the risk of straining them.

#4 Mental Health

The importance of taking proper time for lunch is as important for mental health as it is physical. Rushing through a quick lunch while clock watching creates more stress, as well as being bad for digestive health. To combat stress and help our minds function effectively, we must step away from our environment of work altogether. Take the time to go outside and turn attention to anything other than work. Just the simple act of enjoying your food without distraction will help boost your mood and help to avoid burnout.

Tips For a Healthy Lunch at Work

Trying to fit a convenient meal into our working day can be a challenge and it often leaves us stuck in a bit of a food rut. When you simply can’t get away from the office, there are plenty of ways to ensure that what you eat will sustain your energy and provide enough variety to boost your mood.

#1 Try New Foods

Deliveroo’s study found 42% of those surveyed were eating repetitive meals for lunch as a habit, while over a third said they eat the same thing because it’s fairly healthy and they are trying to stay trim. Variety is the spice of life, so to avoid falling into bad habits with our lunch breaks it is very important to have a meal you genuinely look forward to during the working day!

#2 Use Food Delivery Services

These days, we have many more options to order healthy lunch food thanks to online delivery services and snack box subscriptions to keep you going through day. As well as being able to order from your favourite organic restaurant, there are also diet plan services such as Detox Kitchen if you’re being particularly disciplined about your health. Delivery services also have options for business and group orders to save money and encourage the culture of a shared lunch break.

#3 Meal Prep for the Week

When bringing food from home, it helps to plan ahead for the week to avoid falling back into bad habits. Preparing and storing food for the week also saves you time day to day, leading to better organisation all round. Invest in compartmented lunch boxes to keep foodstuffs in optimum condition.

#4 Eat Foods Good for Concentration and Energy

Some examples of good ‘brain food’ include:

  • Oily fish or salmon
  • Green vegetables e.g. spinach, broccoli
  • Olive oil
  • Blueberries
  • Seeds and nuts
  • Legumes, including beans and pulses
  • Beetroot
  • Avocado
  • Egg yolks
  • …and don’t forget to hydrate!

The Deliveroo survey interestingly found professionals overwhelmingly prefer Japanese and Italian food at work over all others. Both types of cuisine are packed full of nutritious and healthy ingredients like the ones above, which can keep your body fuelled through a busy workday. Here are some easy to make recipe ideas to give you some inspiration:

Matcha-Poached Salmon Noodle Bowls

Avocado and Tuna Salad

Lemony Chickpea Bruschetta

Yellow Squash Linguine with Shrimp and Asparagus

What do you do for lunch? Are you guilty of any bad habits and how have you tried to change them? We’d love to hear your tips for a fulfilling healthy lunch break!