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Fitness Lessons from Scranton!

by Jeff “The Mighty Jerd” Mueller on May 15, 2013

in Health & Fitness

The Office Jim Halpert Fitness WWJHDDunder-Mifflin fitness tips? What sort of crazy talk is this!?!

Cool your jets aspiring Jerdlets and hear me out!

So tomorrow night marks the end of an era for a lot of people… NBC’s juggernaut T.V. series “The Office” will finally came to a close; a fact that is giving me a serious case of the feels. So before I get all choked up saying goodbye to all my friends in Scranton I wanted to look at the series through the eyes of a motivational fitness blogger and pull some lessons out for you all. Because that’s just how I roll.

For the last 9 years I freaking LOVED “The Office“.

Something about it spoke to me and I was on-board since its humble beginnings, through its stellar run of mid-series seasons, all the way to its unfortunate stumbles towards the end. A show about the doldrums of everyday life but that was hilarious? A show with characters and situations I could relate to even though I had never worked in a north-eastern Pennsylvania based regional paper company?

Pure brilliance as far as I am concerned!

It has become that warm mental blanket of comfort that I will let stream in the background on Netflix as I am folding laundry or while I am laying on the couch if not feeling well; it is the show I can quote from memory without a second thought. What’s not to love about it?

I know what you are thinking. “Okay Mr Mighty Jerd sir, I am happy you found a show you liked… What does this have to do with fitness?”

Calm down Slappy, I’m getting to it!

You see, as the show progressed I came to realize, in my opinion, that Jim Halpert (played by the affable John Krasinski) is one of the all time greats as far as TV characters go. Funny, smart and charismatic without coming across as bigger than life.

Looking back, I realize that his relationship with Pam and his rivalry with Dwight have fueled more laughs with people, and provided more potential bonding moments with friends, than any other cultural phenomenon in a long time (I avoided “Lost” like the plague, so I dodged that water-cooler chat bullet)!

Recounting his antics on the show week to week has become something of a tradition for me. He is the character everyone loves, the one that everyone wants to know in real life, and the one that everyone wishes they could be as cool as. To me that is the sign of a masterfully written character!

Well, guess what? Today is the day that I help you embrace your inner Halpert! I going to teach you how to get fit by infusing your life with a little ‘Scrantonicity’!

What Would Jim Halpert Do (aka WWJHD)?

The Office Jim Halpert Fitness WWJHD

Naysayers will say that Jim is the embodiment of the slacker movement. Smart, but not ambitious. Happy, but constantly pointing out flaws in everything around him. Sentimental, but ironically sarcastic in the way that has become almost cliché these days. Jim is terminally easy-going and he really doesn’t challenge himself.

You know what? In one regard, those people are right!

However, I urge you to look a little deeper and find inspiration in the ways this perennial T.V. favorite always seems to make life look like a game that is so easy to win.

So what are those qualities that make this character an unlikely fitness hero?

Always trying to have fun with things!

No matter what the task, Jim is first and foremost trying to amuse himself (the fact everyone else gets amused too is just an added bonus).

Whether he is trying to make his sales calls without being derailed by Dwight or Andy, attempting to stay awake during another pointless conference room meeting or just doing his best to make it through the day with his sanity intact, the “Big Tuna” is all about finding joy where he can. This is such a vital quality for anyone who is trying to stay motivated when it comes to a fitness regimen!

If you don’t find enjoyment in your routine, you are going to be more apt to skip out on workouts or healthy meals. Duh!

Don’t focus on how miserable you think you are in the morning trying to fit in a workout before heading to the Office, or how you would rather be eating a dozen donuts. Instead find something about the process you enjoy and embrace it! 

I know that for a lot of people the thought of exercise sounds like zero fun and that getting “fit” brings to mind images of eating piles of lettuce and carrots while riding an exercise bike for hours on end.

That couldn’t be further from the truth though!

Most people don’t enjoy going into an office every day either, but Jim found ways to turn a necessity in his life (being gainfully employed) into something fun, and you can too…

Personally, I enjoy the rigors of a strenuous workout! While I might be cursing the post-workout soreness, I find the things that I love about the process and focus on that – the cleansing feeling of a good sweat, the dump of endorphins into my system, the way I look and feel about myself.

Life is short, so why invest a substantial amount of time into activities you hate?

As a prime example, I don’t like running (when I say “don’t like” that is code for “absolutely despise with an unbridled passion”) and just the thought of spending time on a treadmill makes me want to kick a circus clown in the teeth… so guess what? I don’t do it!

Hell, I don’t even write articles about running; I have someone else do that for me!

So instead, I do the things that mentally stimulate me and that I enjoy. Things like:

  • Strength training
  • Martial Arts
  • Paintball

I just do the things I like and call it a day!

If you don’t enjoy a particular type of exercise, either pick a new activity or find something to make what you are doing more fun!

Here are some tips for integrating geeky and healthy lifestyles to get you started:

  • If you don’t like running, try something else like biking or swimming!
  • If you hate working out alone, find a buddy!
  • If you don’t like working out in gyms, work out at home!
  • If you don’t like picking up weights, don’t! Just find something that gets your blood pumping and that you find FUN (if you said “Hey, that sounds exactly like the Jerd Herd Law #3!” you would be correct! You win a gold yogurt top!)

Efficiency is key!

While some people might say that this is another negative tick on the “Jim Halpert Pros & Cons List“, further cementing his slacker status; I like to think that it shows how smart the guy is!

It is almost as though he plans his work day, and his pranks, according to the 6th Law of the Jerd Herd! Just like we attack our workouts with well thought out plans, Jim meticulously planned things out so that the payoff was more than worth the time invested.

Whether we are looking at things from a micro (be it the specifics of our individual workouts, or how to manage our time selling paper around our boss’ shenanigans) or macro view (how to reach your long-term fitness goals, or how to manage a start-up sports marketing company in another city while still holding down a full-time job), the goal is to be as efficient as possible so that we have the time left in our day to enjoy all the geeky things we love so much.

Just remember - Don’t think about how big the gap is between where you are now and where you want to be.

Instead, concentrate on plotting the most efficient course to get you from Point A to B!

  • Is Point A your current weight and Point B 30 lbs lighter? Calculate how many calories you should be eating daily and map out a dietary plan that gives you the necessary per day caloric loss to shed the weight; then stick to it until you hit your target!
  • Is Point A getting winded going up three flights of stairs and Point B running a 5k race? Start running to get your cardio up, then map out a 5k route and start running as much of it as you can. Every few days push yourself to run a little further along that route without stopping until you can manage the whole course!
  • Is Point A feeling like a mild-mannered reporter and Point B looking and feeling like Superman? Start eating right (here are some starter tips) and plan out a serious exercise regimen. None of that spending hours on the treadmill and hitting some vanity muscle machines in the gym crap though; a solid routine involving free weights lifted at an intense pace (your cardio/conditioning should be synonymous with your strength training) because we want to hit the gym and then get out fast!

Jim Halpert. Pros: Smart, cool, good-looking. Remind you of anybody you know? Cons: Not a hard worker. I can spend all day on a project, and he will finish the same project in half an hour. So that should tell you something.” – Michael Scott

Never goes his shenanigans alone!

As entertaining as Jim is when he is amusing himself, it is when he pulls others into his pranks that he is at his best!

Always remember, while you can accomplish some cool things when left to your own devices (like jello-ing your arch-rival’s stapler), with a buddy the sky is the limit (like convincing said arch-rival you have telekinesis)!

Going it alone is difficult; find a fitness buddy!

Just like sitting at a desk waiting for the day to end, it’s easy to watch the clock and feel the time drag by when trying to grind through a hard workout. In fact, having that sense of dread can make it harder for you to summon the motivation to even begin!

When you have someone you can chat and pal around with as you exercise, the time will fly by and become something you can actually look forward to.

Not to mention, knowing that you have someone helping to hold you accountable (or vice versa) for your workouts, or your diet, can give you that extra push you need to stay on track! When you answer only to yourself, it can become a habit to cancel a workout if you’re feeling tired or make a bad meal choice because you’re feeling rushed.

If your fitness buddy is counting on you to be there for an exercise session, or looking to you for motivation to stay true to their diet you’ll be less likely to cancel.

Lets excitement fuel him!

When Jim gets excited about something, that’s when the magic happens.

Whether it is organizing the Office Olympics, tracking down an elusive bag of Herr’s potato chips or orchestrating a table read-through of “Threat Level Midnight” that is when Mr. Halpert truly shines.

He understands that in order to really make something enjoyable there has to be an underlying excitement. Having fun while doing something is great, but it isn’t enough sometimes! There has to be a passion for involving yourself in the process if you want to make it part of your routine and fuel long-term behavior!

Get excited to see the results of your hard work!

I don’t understand why people always look so dejected when you bring up working out or so skeptical when talking about trying some new vegetable or fruit. If you truly want to be healthy, to look and feel your best, then shouldn’t you be ramped up to get in a fierce workout or find a new food that’s a tasty and healthy substitute to the crap you are eating now?!?

Of course you should!

Imagine, if you will, that this new and improved heroic version of yourself that you’ve promised to one day achieve is wrapped up in a box; one covered in shiny wrapping paper, adorned with festive designs and with a glorious, giant red bow on top.

Now remember the childlike exuberance you had growing up when you would see a present like that waiting for you on your birthday or at Christmas (no worries, no surprise Yankee swap will derail you)… that is the excitement you want to have as you slowly work your way through everything in your path towards that one gift you want so very, very badly.

It doesn’t matter if it is a hard workout, having to make the decision to skip gorging yourself on pizza with a bunch of friends while watching the game or if it just having to unwrap an old shirt that someone bundled up last-minute and tossed your way. You know that each and every thing you do is in pursuit of that giant present at the end of the road.

How can you not get excited to finally get there?!?

Every time you feel unmotivated, just think about Jim and how he excited he would get to spruce up his day. While the end goal might be different (he’s simply trying to run the clock out on the workday before losing his mind and we’re trying to become a real-life superhero), the concept remains the same for all of us.

The Office Jim Halpert Fitness WWJHD

The thing about Jim is when he’s excited about something, like the Office Olympics, he gets really into it and he does a really great job. But the problem with Jim is that he works here, so that hardly ever happens.” – Pam Beesley

Willing to work hard for something he wants!

When Jim Halpert sets his sights on something he puts aside his easy-going attitude and goes for it!

At no point does he stop and ask himself “Why is this so hard?” (That’s what she said!) He realizes that the important things in life take work because they aren’t going to come easily.

Whether it is waiting for the stars to align so he can be with the woman he loves or fighting back against a vindictive ex-temp-turned-executive who wants to get him fired, Jim isn’t one to sit back and accept defeat without trying.

Isn’t living a long, happy and healthy life one of the most important things you can accomplish for yourself?

Once you decide to turn your life around and make changes for the better, there should be no turning back; no matter how difficult you might think the journey is going to be.

Whether your goals are small or large, if you find them important enough to make note of in the first place then they are important enough to succeed at!

They can be anything:

  • You want to get back down to your college weight? Calculate those calories and put yourself on a disciplined dietary regimen!
  • You want to be able to run a 5k? Train for it and then just do it. No excuses!
  • You want to pack some muscle onto your thin frame? Up that protein intake and regularly lift and put down heavy stuff!

It is also important to note; not only is he willing to work hard, but to make sacrifices to get what is most important to him!

When faced with the dilemma of his dream job in Philadelphia interfering with his marriage, he assessed the situation and made the hard call; he put the job in Philly on the shelf. If Jim can prioritize his life like that, I think you can put down that bag of chips so it doesn’t interfere with your long-term goal of eating a better diet and living a healthy life!

It all really boils down to this…

At the end of the day, Jim Halpert is not a difficult person to emulate; a hero who isn’t too far off from something we can be, and someone who everyone seems to respect and like (except Roy, but that’s a whole different story). He’s a great role-model!

In conclusion - let’s all be more like Jim.

So are you up for embracing your inner Jim Halpert? Are you ready to ask yourself WWJHD? What lessons did you take from Dunder-Mifflin? Let me know in the comments below! Also, be sure to follow us on Facebook or Twitter and be sure to Sign up for our free newsletter! (No spam, I promise!)

PS: Make sure to get your free e-book, “The 7 Fitness Obstacles Newbies Face” by subscribing to our newsletter… no spam, I promise!

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 reputation management June 4, 2013

Very nice article. I certainly love this site.
Keep it up!

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