Transform Your Edit Suite Into a Gym
COW Library : Fitness in Post : Zack Arnold : Transform Your Edit Suite Into a Gym
I'll admit it...I hate going to the gym. With a passion. Frankly, given the amount of "free time" I have between editing a television show 60+ hours a week and raising two young kids, going to the gym just isn't going to happen. Despite having not set foot in a gym for almost ten years, I'm still able to maintain my weight (and on occasion even lose 10 pounds), stay strong, and even train for Spartan Races. And it's not even that hard to find the time because I have combined my two passions - editing and fitness - into one space.
The key to staying healthy while working insane hours trapped in a small dark space is activity (plus proper diet...but that's for another post). Let's face it...finding 60 minutes per day to exercise isn't always possible (ever). If I am on hiatus, I will often do some form of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) in the morning to maximize my energy levels and focus for the rest of the day. If I'm on a job but my schedule isn't ridiculous, I'll just shift my daily exercising to the evenings after my kids have gone to bed. But if neither of those options is available, the next best option is foregoing dedicated time for "exercise" and instead opting for plenty of daily "activity." And I can tell you firsthand from years of experience that plenty of daily activity is possible regardless of the number of crazy hours you work.
Below are my top ten recommendations for ways to incorporate plenty of daily activity into your routine and transform your office into your own personal gym.
On any given day I will accumulate over 15,000 steps.
1. Stop Sitting. Sitting for more than 6-8 hours per day is literally killing us. People in film production often joke about those who work in post because "no one has ever died in the edit suite," but in fact the opposite is true...over a long period of time, the edit suite is slowly killing all of us and contributing to increased cases of type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and cancer - the diseases of civilization. And the simplest piece of advice I can give is get out of your chair.
I personally have a GeekDesk height-adjustable workstation that I can't live without, and in addition I have a Lifespan treadmill. So on any given day I will accumulate over 15,000 steps, walking in excess of 7 miles (and I know this thanks to my Fitbit). And that's without putting in any real effort, all of this is done while working in front of the computer as I would be otherwise.
2. Take activity breaks. If done correctly, step one is a sizeable investment of thousands of dollars. The flip side of this is taking activity and stretching breaks throughout the day which is practically free. The best program I can find to help you do this correctly is The Sitting Solution.* This program is a fantastic, easy to follow e-book designed by physical therapists Chad and Brenda Walding. They break down all of the negative effects sitting has on you, but more importantly, they have created a series of exercises to reverse the negative adaptations your body makes to sitting all the time. I use this program on a daily basis and it makes a huge difference in my energy levels and mobility.
*Note: I am not a fan of the checkout process for this product and do not endorse the "hard sell." But this product is 100% worth the hassle, trust me.
3. Beachbody On Demand. If you know anything about me, it's no secret I'm a huge fan of Tony Horton and Beachbody workouts. They are the main reason I haven't stepped foot in a gym for ten years...there is no need. And now they have Netflix-like access to all of their most popular programs via Beachbody On Demand. If you are pressed for time and have no interest in jumping around and sweating, try starting out with '10-Minute Trainer.' If you're a seasoned pro, jump right into P90X3. Plus if you travel a lot, you now have access to all the workouts you need without the hassle of DVD's.
4. Kettlebells. Several times throughout the day if you stop by my office, you'll most likely catch me swinging a kettlebell. Kettlebells are a fantastic way to increase your heart rate and build your strength with minimal time and effort. If you don't know where to start, here is a great book from the Russian trainer Pavel Tsatsouline who brought kettlebells to the West, "Kettlebell - Simple & Sinister." I will only do 3 or 4 moves total, I don't have a fancy regimen at all. But just a few rounds of swings and squats is enough to keep me rolling through a 14 hour day with plenty of energy and a smile on my face.
Take activity and stretching breaks throughout the day.
5. Grip strengtheners. I have yet to meet someone in post-production who hasn't complained about wrist or forearm pain at some point in his or her career. Repetitive Strain Injuries are a fact of life in our industry, and the best way to counteract them is by using and strengthening the muscles in our hands. I have three separate devices I keep next to my keyboard and use at random times through the day. I have a combination Grip Trainer and "Expand Your Hand Bands," as well as a Gripmaster to strengthen my individual fingers. Since implementing these items into my routine I no longer have any wrist or forearm pain. And I was at the point where a doctor told me the only option to alleviate my pain was surgery.
6. Resistance Bands. These are a must if you purchase The Sitting Solution. I use resistance bands throughout the day for a variety of stretching and strength exercises, especially when I'm in front of the tv watching dailies. Best of all, they literally fit inside a desk drawer and take up no space at all.
7. Mobility Gear. In my office I have a variety of devices all designed to release muscle tension and increase mobility. A day rarely goes by where I'm not watching dailies while simultaneously using a rumble roller to massage my glutes or my IT band. And having a la crosse ball or two on hand is a must.
8. Push-Up Bars. I have a set of push-up bars in my office, and I find I generally use them either during renders and exports or if I know I have a producer or director coming for a session. These help get the blood circulating in a very short period of time which keeps me alert for hours. And if you can't afford push-up bars, your hands, the floor, and gravity will work just fine too.
9. Pull-Up Bar. While I haven't been lucky enough to work in many offices that have a doorjam that will accommodate a pull-up bar, when it does happen, I always bring mine. I make it a game where anytime I enter or exit my office I just have to do one or two pull-ups. This doesn't exhaust me or even make me sweat, but once again it's a great way to build strength and get the blood flowing. And man do other people love jumping on the bandwagon too. I promise at the very least it will be a fantastic conversation piece!
10. Mammoth Air Filter. If you decide you want to become more active in your little tiny box, the one factor you probably didn't account for is the smell. Many people locked away in dark rooms in post are odor-conscious anyway, and if you become more active that problem only magnifies. I was able to solve this problem with a Mammoth Air Filter. And not only does this filter out odor, it also introduces negative ions into the air which minimizes the negative health effects that EMF's (Electromagnetic Frequencies) have on our cellular function.
While I'll admit this list seems intimidating at first, I will say that I didn't have every single one of these items in my office from day 1. These tools were slowly added to my edit suite over a period of years. But thanks to the last several years of experimentation I have finally settled into a daily routine that allows me to create great work for hours on end but not sacrifice my health. And in 50 years when I'm able to sit on the floor and play with my grandchildren, the investment will be well worth it.
After editing film and television for the last 15 years (most recently, Fox's Empire), Zack Arnold has spent years trying to figure out how to maintain balance between the long hours, family life, and health.
Among his findings: undertaking these goals with likeminded peers makes them easier to achieve, and makes the whole process more fun. For more details, visit the Fitness in Post forum here at Creative COW, and explore more of Zack's resources at Fitness in Post.