The Success Diet: How to Get Fit—and Get Ahead—at the Office

All the nutrition, exercise, and health tips you need to climb the corporate ladder.

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THE IN-OFFICE WORKOUT

A mere 10 minutes of daily on-the-job exercise boosts blood flow to your brain and preps you for that slim-fitting suit. Pairing quick bursts of cardio with muscular-endurance exercises revs your metabolism and fat burn, says Josh Stolz, a trainer at Equinox in New York City. Squeeze this regimen into your workday:

1. Twisting Lunges

With arms at your sides, take a deep step back with your left foot, then pivot so your left heel is perpendicular to your right foot, and rotate your body 180 degrees to face behind you. Lower your hands toward the floor, keeping your left knee in line with your left ankle. Reverse the motion to repeat on the opposite leg. Do five reps on each side.

2. Planks (below)

Hold the starting stance of a push-up for 30 seconds, then rest for 30 seconds. Repeat three times. Then try a side plank (transferring all your weight to one side, balancing on one forearm, your opposite arm extended in the air).

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3. Stair Climbs (below)

Run up as many stairwell steps as you can in 20 seconds, then rest (or walk back down) for 10 seconds. Do four sets in two minutes.

Page 1: Top: Compression shirt by Under Armor; Tie by Alexander Olch. Suit by Prada. Shirt by Brioni. Shoes by Louis Vuitton. Page 2: Photos courtesy of each manufacturer. Page 3: Shirt by Brioni. Trousers by Prada. Tie by Dior. Socks by Pantharella. Shoes by Louis Vuitton. Styling by Lana Chiu. Grooming by Anna Bernabe/Exclusive Artists/Malin + Goetz. Prop styling by Lisa Edsalv at Ba-reps.com. Casting by Edward Kid at The Edit Desk.

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Alternatives to the Office Chair

Sharpen Focus Through Meditation

Schedule Meals for Optimum Productivity

6 Ways to Get Ahead at the Office

HEALTHY ALTERNATIVES TO THE OFFICE CHAIR

Consider the derogatory term secretary ass for a minute—but don't sit while you do it. A study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that workers who spend more than six hours in their seat each day are up to 68 percent more likely to be overweight. And desk jockeys are 54 percent more likely to die from heart attacks. Start changing your workaday ways with these new pieces of fitness-enhancing furniture.

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The benefits:

By standing at this podium-style desk, you'll burn up to 50 more calories an hour and stave off weight gain.

Who uses it:

Employees of Nabisco, Mercedes-Benz, and GE; members of the Coast Guard and the Marine Corps

One to try:

Airtouch by Details; $1,499 at steelcase.com

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The benefits:

Not only will you burn more calories and squeeze in a moderate workout at the office, but your sleep will improve, says Seth Roberts, Ph.D., one of the earliest creators of the treadmill desk.

Who uses it:

Employees at the American Heart Association and the Mayo Clinic as well as at forward-thinking companies such as Pixar and Microsoft

One to try:

UpLift Treadmill Desk; $1,873 at thehumansolution.com

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The benefits:

This office-chair-on-steroids is equipped with resistance bands (with adjustable tension) so you can do a variety of exercises. Tone your core while you're on a conference call! Chisel your chest during a meeting! You get the idea.

Who uses it:

The brainiacs at Stanford Research Institute in Menlo Park, California

One to try:

GymyGym Ergonomic Exercise Chair; $799 at gymygym.com

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The benefits:

Even though it's not designed for all-out workouts (pedal speed is meant to stay slow), you can torch up to 4,000 calories a week.

Who uses it:

Hammacher Schlemmer, the company that sells it, declines to name names.

One to try:

The Elliptical Machine Office Desk; $8,000 at hammacher.com

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The benefits:

"You can keep your body active while you're tackling the tasks of the day," says creator Dan Young. "Benefits range from conditioning to basic physical fitness, all while you're still at your desk. Part of why I started the company was so I can get in an hour or two of riding a day without having to pull myself away from work."

Who uses it:

Avid cyclists

One to try:

Kickstand Furniture Desk; $800 to $1,650 at kickstandfurniture.com

Sharpen Your Focus Through Meditation >>

SHARPEN YOUR FOCUS THROUGH MEDITATION

By Andrea Bartz

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Research shows that meditation delivers creativity, focus, and stress relief. Use these techniques from Sharon Salzberg, the author of Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation.

Before Work

Duration: 5 to 15 minutes (depending on how late you're running)

Sit on a pillow or lie on your back. Take four deep breaths, feeling the air enter your nostrils, fill up your chest, and exit your body. Then, breathing normally, pay attention to where you feel the swooshing air the most—nostrils, chest, abdomen. Put a spotlight on that area, noting the sensations there—vibration, warmth, whatever. (Silently repeating "Inhale . . . exhale" can help you stay focused.)

When other thoughts crop up, as they inevitably will, don't throw in the towel or flog yourself for slipping. Just notice them and let them float on by. The act of simply coming back to your breath—that's what meditation is all about.

Before a Must-Nail Meeting

Duration: 1 minute. The more times you can pack this into a day, the better.

Do one simple thing. Maybe you finish your cup of coffee and rinse out the mug. Really focus on the sensations of what you're doing and give your mind permission to settle on one thing instead of the 23 buzzing items on your to-do list. You'll finish even a boring task feeling less scattered, more energetic, and fulfilled by the activity.

Right Before Bed

Duration: 10 to 15 minutes.

Sit comfortably or lie down. Bring your attention to the top of your head and notice what sensations are there—tingling, say, or itching or aching. (Maybe you notice an absence of sensation, which is fine too.) Very slowly, slide your attention down the front of your face, scanning for things like tightness or pressure in your forehead, eyes, nose, mouth, and cheeks.

Return your attention to the top of your head, then move down the back of the head, over the curve of your skull. Is your neck tight or sore? You aren't trying to do anything about the feelings you encounter; simply notice them.

Continue slowly inching over your neck, chest, and abs, then back up to the neck and down the back. Finish by sensing your pelvis, legs, and feet. Concentrate on your heels against the floor or mattress. Lose yourself.

Schedule Your Meals >>

SCHEDULE YOUR MEALS FOR OPTIMUM ENERGY AND PRODUCTIVITY

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The markets may crash, but you never should—the guys at the top of their game are the ones as alert at the close of business as they are at 9 A.M. Maintaining a routine of eating three to five times a day can keep your energy levels constant and your metabolism humming. Try this schedule, straight from nutritional experts.

6 A.M.: Start your day with an eight-ounce glass of water, says dietitian Cheryl Forberg, the author of Flavor First, Cut Calories and Boost Flavor. "After a full night's sleep, you'll be dehydrated, which can make you feel fatigued. A glass of water will give you a burst of energy and help you choose wisely at breakfast because your stomach won't feel as empty."

8 A.M.: Breakfast is "the perfect way to jump-start your metabolism," says dietitian Keri Glassman, the founder of Nutritious Life in New York City. Her eat-smart suggestions: A cheesy egg sandwich (one whole egg and three egg whites, two slices of whole-wheat toast, one ounce of lean ham, and a slice of American or Cheddar cheese); the protein-rich combo provides a healthy dose of brain-boosting choline. Or mix one cup of protein-rich plain Greek yogurt, 15 chopped omega-3-packed walnuts, and a cup of blueberries.

11 A.M.: Try a handful of raw almonds and a banana if your energy feels low, suggests dietitian Christian Henderson, the founder of Pure Nutrition in New York City.

1 P.M.: "Lunch should be a combination of healthy, unprocessed protein, fat, and carbs to help keep blood sugar stable and prevent that mid-afternoon energy slump," says Jeffrey Morrison, M.D. For an average workday meal, he recommends grilled chicken over arugula with slices of avocado, eggs, and beets. Keep portions small to medium to avoid that post-meal desire to nap under your desk.

4 P.M.: Stave off pre-dinner munchies with celery and carrot sticks with three tablespoons of hummus or guacamole. Briefcase-friendly options: turkey jerky and an apple.

7 P.M.: Focus on vegetables and lean protein at dinner, Glassman says. Try an eight-ounce fillet of grilled salmon or a turkey burger with broccoli or sauteed spinach and a cup of quinoa.

6 Surprising Ways to Get Ahead >>

6 SURPRISING WAYS TO GET AHEAD AT THE OFFICE

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Drink Clear Liquor—Not Brown

When you're cocktailing with colleagues or hammering out a deal, opt for vodka. Research has shown that not only is the clear liquor one of the most effective types of alcohol for squashing stress but that it also causes the least physical fall-out. Brown liquors contain higher concentrations of congeners, by-products of fermentation that lead to rough mornings after. Beer and wine are worse: "They have too much yeast and sugar, which not only leads to bad hangovers but also tends to cause people to have cravings for dessert and snacks," explains Jeffrey Morrison, M.D., the author of Cleanse Your Body, Clear Your Mind. "A vodka soda is the best drink to have. That or a shot of tequila."

Snack on Chia Seeds

From Wall Street's trading floors to the fast-paced PR offices of L.A., health-minded execs are scrapping their old stimulants (e.g., cocaine and energy shots) in favor of protein-rich chia seeds. Munching on them boosts energy, sharpens focus, and improves digestion, says Jeffrey Morrison, M.D. Chew chia seeds straight, mix a tablespoon or two into a protein shake or yogurt, or sprinkle them on a salad.

Sleep (Slightly) Less

Not logging eight hours of shut-eye every night? No problem—it's too much anyway. Try seven. "Anywhere from five hours to seven and a half hours is quite healthy," says Daniel Kripke, M.D., professor of psychiatry emeritus at the University of California, San Diego. That said, his research has shown that people who catch seven hours per night outlive those who log less or more. "As long as you're not sleepy when driving or falling asleep in meetings," he says, "there is no need to worry."

Pace Your Coffee

For your best performance, drink eight ounces of java 45 to 90 minutes pre-presentation. "It takes at least 20 minutes for caffeine to be absorbed, and effects peak about 25 to 70 minutes after that," says James Lane, Ph.D., director of Duke University Medical Center's Psychophysiology Laboratory.

Invoke a Power Pose

New research published in Psychological Science reveals that people who spend one to two minutes in a "power" pose increase their levels of testosterone and lower their levels of the stress hormone cortisol. In other words, they pump up your office mojo: "Because these poses prepare you physiologically and in turn psychologically for the task at hand, you will naturally come across as more confident and competent during your talk, even though you aren't posing," says study coauthor Andy Yap, a Ph.D. candidate at Columbia Business School. The best ways to stand and deliver:

1) Strike the Superman pose, with your legs in a wide stance, hands on hips.

2) Sit with your legs stretched out, feet on your desk, hands clasped behind your head.

3) Stand with your legs wider than shoulder-width apart, arms raised in a V.

Network at the Gym

The days of brokering deals on the back nine are over—the smarter professionals are bonding with clients and colleagues at the gym. The so-called "sweat-working" trend has found fans among high achievers, like New York City hedge-fund portfolio manager Dan Gluck. "I have such a busy schedule that it is simply more efficient to combine exercise with work," says Gluck, who leads a weekly "CrossFit-meets-boot-camp workout" called Health Warrior Breakfast Club for his Wall Street pals. "And from a business perspective, I believe you develop a much stronger relationship and greater level of trust when you are pushed out of your comfort zone, rather than engaging in superficial conversation while eating a steak and drinking an overpriced bottle of wine." What's more, the fitness studio—be it doing TRX or spinning or yoga—can be a great place to find out what your colleagues are made of: "We're seeing more companies and businessmen having sales meetings at the gym, and even using the classes to foster a little fun competition among employees," says Amita Balla, the general manager of Crunch Fitness in Burbank, California, where real-estate moguls and movie-production-house staffs go to power-play. "Colleagues come in stressed and tense and leave happily exhausted."

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