Law has long been acknowledged as a demanding career, as can be said for the other professions. It is certainly not for the faint hearted requiring; dedication, precision, intellect, focus, more often than not longer hours than the 9 to 5 and it is certainly not a job many are able to switch off from even once they have left the office. It’s not usual for the mind to continue ticking away trying to come up with ways in which to approach a case before you .In addition the legal profession seems to lend itself to certain types of person; those who are driven and ambitious but who are also sometimes described as perfectionists or those who are too hard on themselves consistently trying to do better.
In the last few years it has become more apparent that stress levels, mental health concerns and substance abuse are at a high. Long hours can make it difficult to fit in exercise, adequate sleep and have you searching for quick fix meals. However, a healthy and fit lifestyle has many benefits on a professional lifestyle:-
- A person who is physically fit is less likely to fall sick
- Exercise increases and sustains energy throughout the day this enables you to remain focused on the tasks before you.
- Being fit and healthy increase self-confidence. Choosing a fit lifestyle enables you to accomplish, this leads to a feeling of empowerment. This motivates you to challenge yourself and aim for higher achievement
- It allows you to set and achieve goals. A fit lifestyle encourages goal setting, whether it be to increase endurance, become stronger, become fitter, become more muscular become leaner. Learning to set goals, work towards them and achieve them is a habit that once learned can be applied to your career.
- It promotes physical and mental balance which results in a positive “can do” attitude.
- It allows you time out of the world to release both physical and emotion tensions which can reduce overall stress levels.
- It requires a certain amount of discipline. Discipline to make time and attend to your chosen activity, discipline to make your meals in advance and discipline to say no to the office treats when the 3pm slump hits.
- A clear well fed and hydrated mind improves cognition.
So how can you fit it in?
As some of you may know, I’m a lawyer with a 2 hour commute door to door each way, I am a student, I am the writer of the Legal Bagel, I have a family but I am also passionate about nutrition and exercise . So here is how I fit it in.
- 05:30 – 07:00 – Commute
- 07:00 – 07:25 – Walk from the station to the gym (25 minutes cardio)
- 07:25 – 08:30 – Weight training (more information below)
- 08:30 – 13:00 – Work
- 13:00 – 14:00 – Some form of 30 minute cardiovascular workout at the gym (cross trainer, stepper, stairmill, treadmill or walk)
- 14:00 – 17:30 – Work (most days except Thursdays when I work later)
- 17:30 – 18:00 – Walk back to the station and then home
In short all meals consist of a mix of proteins, carbohydrates, health fats and green vegetables, no food group is excluded. I space my meals at fairly equal intervals throughout the day. I avoid processed foods and tend to stick to carbohydrates which grown. I aim to drink around 4 litres of water a day (I find carrying a 1.5 litre bottle around with me helps me keep track). An example of what I might eat of a day to day basis is as follows:-
- 05:00 – Meal 1: Porridge Oats, Whey Protein and Berries
- 08:30 – Meal 2: Porridge Oats and Whey Protein
- 11:00 – Meal 3: Tuna, Sweet Potato and Green Vegetables
- 14:00 – Meal 4: Chicken, Wholemeal Wrap and Green Vegetables
- 19:00 – Meal 5: Chicken and Avocado Salad
- 22:00 – Meal 6: Total Yoghurt
I batch prepare my meals two to three days at a time to save time. I am hoping to add a quick recipe section to this site to provide some creative meal ideas that are easy to prepare and incorporate into a healthy diet.
- Monday: Legs and Glute Day consists of a mixture of exercises including; squats, leg press, leg extensions, leg curls, lunges and cable kickbacks
- Tuesday: Shoulders Day consists of a mixture of exercises including; shoulders press, lateral raise, front raises, rear delt raises and upright rows
- Wednesday: Chest and Back Day consists of a mixture of exercises including; narrow lateral pull downs, wide grip pull downs, bent over rows, dumbbell rows, seated rows, chest press, cable press, flies
- Thursday: Hamstrings and Glutes Day includes narrow stance deadlifts, wide stance deadlifts, Romanian deadlifts, Legs curls, cable kickbacks, adductors, reverse hyper extensions
- Friday: Arms and Shoulder Day consists of a mixture of exericses including barbell curls, hammer curls, dumbell curls, cable extensions, triceps extensions, tricep dips
- Saturday: 30 minutes cardio only
- Sunday: Rest
After three of my weight sessions a week I throw in a plyo circuit which consists of the following: 15 burpees, 20 squat jumps, 20 bunny hops and 20 mountain climbers repeat 4 or 5 times with a 30 second rest between. After the remaining two, I add in some light abs exercises.
I follow the above routine near enough all year around. The only thing I change is the amount of cardio I do. Most of the time, I stick to using my daily walk as my cardio for the day.
Now I’m not saying everyone needs to run out, join a gym and start eating six meals a day but I do strongly believe that it is important to think about how we can fit being active, incorporating some form of exercise and choosing healthier eating habits.
- Small changes can have a dramatic impact so a few easy suggestions are:-
- Stop eating processed foods.
- Cut out your sugar
- Prepare you own meals
- Make sure you eat at least 3 meals a day of naturally grown or raised products
- Eat your greens
- Get walking
- Stop boozing
- Start drink more water.
The secret to a healthy mind and body is making conscience decisions, adopting a mindset which prioritises health and fitness and most importantly consistency.