10 Exercises You Can Do with a Desk Chair

This post is sponsored by Wonderful Pistachios. All opinions—as always!—are my own. I appreciate your support of the brands that make this blog possible. 🙂

When it comes to staying healthy at work, I realize I have an advantage. In many ways, being healthy is my work. Teaching group fitness keeps me active, and when I’m not doing that I have the flexibility to work from home (or anywhere) and schedule my own workouts whenever is best that day.

The irony of being in the fitness industry, however, is that as you spend more and more time helping others get their workouts in, you have less and less time for your own. There was a time when I was teaching way too many classes a week and I found myself exhausted and completely run down. Now I know my teaching limit and stick to it, but back then I’d find myself without the energy to do my own workouts. And the more tired I became, the more I craved sugar and caffeine. I had overextended myself and was becoming less fit.

Another challenge for me that comes with working from home is the snacking. My desk is five steps from my kitchen and my go-to method of procrastination has always been eating (I go HAM on the snacks when I have a blogging deadline haha). My refrigerator and pantry are full of healthy foods so it’s not that what I’m snacking on is a big deal, it’s just the amount. If I have a family-size bag of trail mix in front of me, for example, I’ll absentmindedly eat the whole thing by the handful while answering emails. Oopsies.

For this reason, when I have a heavy work load, I’m all about keeping snacks around that aren’t as easy to eat mindlessly. It sounds silly, but if I have to work a little harder for it, it slows me down and forces me to really focus and enjoy the food. Oranges (pause and peel), cherries (spit out the pits), and pistachios (crack open each shell) are among my favorites.

Wonderful Pistachios, The Mindful Nut, are one of the highest-protein, highest-fiber nuts around. They’re also one of the lowest-fat and lowest-calorie nuts (which is why they also call it The Fit Nut),, making them a great alternative to snacks high in added sugars and saturated fat (almost 90% of the fat found in pistachios is unsaturated). I love the shelled packs so I don’t rush through my snack, but they also come in a no-shells variety which is great if you want to use them as a salad topper without having to remove shells.

Wonderful Pistachios has a giveaway and coupon for you guys (scroll down), but before I get to that, I thought it’d be fun to share some exercises you can do with a desk chair—in case snacking healthy at work isn’t enough for you. 😉

10 Exercises You Can Do with a Desk Chair

You don’t necessarily have to do these at your desk (if you have cube mates that might elicit a few stares), but these are a few of my favorite exercises using a chair.

Try picking five of the above exercises and performing them in a circuit: 45 seconds of work / 15 seconds of rest. Complete the circuit two – four times for a quick office (or at-home!) workout.

#WorkSmartSnackSmart Giveaway

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If you don’t win, you can still save with the discount code 20SNCKSMRT9. That will get you 20% off either 32oz Roasted Salted Wonderful Pistachios or 6oz shelled Wonderful Pistachios through 7/28. Promo code valid while supplies last.

What’s your favorite workday snack?

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Wonderful Pistachios. The opinions and text are all mine.

12-Minute Dumbbell Tabata Workout with Holds

This tabata dumbbell workout replaces the traditional 10 seconds of rest with a 10-seconds isometric hold.

Hope you all had a great weekend! I spent mine in Boston for the first time in what feels like forever and worked pretty much the entire time but was SO HAPPY TO DO SO. I love summer, but I also love routine and the two seldom coexist for me. The result is this constant feeling of being behind on everything (work, self-care, etc.) and it was nice to play catch-up this weekend.

Today’s dumbbell tabata workout was inspired by the 12-minute bodyweight series I posted last summer (upper body, core, lower body (<–the most popular workout on my YouTube channel!), full body 1, full body 2). Those workouts were a big hit so I decided to do a twist on those.

12-Minute Dumbbell Tabata Workout with Holds

This video is sponsored by my friends at MegaFood. One of my favorite things about this brand is that their products are made with whole foods. They source produce from farms around the country to incorporate into their vitamins and supplements.

Equipment I Used:

A traditional tabata is 8 rounds of 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest. For today’s workout, we’re replacing the rest with isometric holds.

As with all workouts, make sure to properly warm up beforehand. I have a 5-minute warm up on my YouTube channel that’s perfect to do at home.

This tabata dumbbell workout replaces the traditional 10 seconds of rest with a 10-seconds isometric hold.

Tabata 1

  • Thread the Needle in Side Plank | Start in a side forearm plank with your right forearm down on the ground, elbow stacked under shoulder. Hold the dumbbell in your left hand and reach it up to the ceiling. Feet can be stacked or staggered but if you’re using a heavier weight, I’d recommend staggered with the top foot in front of the bottom so that you have a supportive base when you rotate. From here, thread the weight under and across your chest as you rotate your chest to the floor and square your hips. Return to the starting position. Alternate sides each round.
  • Plank Hold

Tabata 2

  • Low Squat Steps | Start in a low squat position with the weight held at your shoulders behind your head. Staying low, step your left foot back into a low lunge and then right back up to your low squat. Repeat, stepping the same foot every time. Alternate sides each round.
  • Squat Hold with Weight Extended

Tabata 3

  • Renegade Row to Plank Jump | Start in a plank position, right hand gripping the dumbbell, left hand on the ground. Row the right elbow up to the ceiling, bringing the weight to the side of your torso. Return it to the ground and do a plank jump, jumping the feet up wide to the sides of your hands and then right back to plank. Alternate which arm has the weight each round.
  • Squat Hold with Weight at Chest

This tabata dumbbell workout replaces the traditional 10 seconds of rest with a 10-seconds isometric hold.

WEARING | alo yoga tank – old but I love their new lace-up tanks // michi ny leggings – old but this pair is basically the same // fierce + regal bra // nike sneakers

Outfit and equipment links are affiliate.

Kettlebell Circuit Workout with AMRAP Finisher

This kettlebell circuit workout will take you 18 minutes to complete (45 seconds work/15 seconds rest). You'll then do a 3-minute core AMRAP to finish.This post is sponsored by ProSource. All opinions—as always!—are my own. I appreciate your support of the brands that make this blog possible. 🙂

Hello again, friends! After a week vacationing at home on the Vineyard, I’m back to work.

When Joe and I moved into our current building a little over a year ago, my kettlebells got placed in storage and they’ve stayed there since (if you’ve been following me on IG stories for a while, you know how scary my storage unit is—I’m not going down there willingly! haha). I’m so excited to be partnering with ProSource on today’s kettlebell circuit workout because thanks to them, we’re bringing this awesome piece of training equipment back into the mix here on P&I!

I’m using their 20-lb kettlebell for this workout. As someone who lives in a tiny city apartment and has to worry about downstairs neighbors, I love that it’s vinyl coated. That helps a bunch with reducing noise and protecting my floors in general. If you’re looking to invest in multiple kettlebells for your at-home gym, these are also a great option because of the color coding by weight.

One of the first things I look for in kettlebells—especially the medium and heavy weights—is a handle that’s wide enough to grip with both hands, which this one is. It has a large, smooth handle and is going to get a ton of use in my apartment!

Other than a kettlebell, you’ll just need a mat for the 3-minute finisher at the end of the workout. I’m using ProSource’s Exercise Puzzle Mat. It’s thicker than the yoga mat I typically use when working out at home which is awesome for the heavier weight. I’m sure my landlord appreciates the extra padding as I’m thumping around a 20-lb kettlebell on his floors! It’s easy to snap together and I love that you can assemble it small or big to fit your space and the exercises you’ll be doing. It also comes with a border to make the edges look clean and finished which is a major bonus when you film yourself doing burpees for a living. 😉

ProSource Reader Discount

ProSource is generously offering you guys 15% off their kettlebells and exercise mats with the code PERRY15. Hop on over to prosourcefit.com and get shopping!

Kettlebell Circuit Workout with AMRAP Finisher

Equipment I Used:

The circuit portion of today’s kettlebell circuit workout will take you 18 minutes to complete. We’ll use an interval structure of 45 seconds of work and 15 seconds of rest as we go through the circuit three times. After the circuit, you’ll have a 3-minute AMRAP to finish.

As I mentioned, I’m using 20-lbs, but you should pick a weight that challenges you and works for your individual fitness level. If you’re newer to using kettlebells, always go lighter than you think you can handle until you get the proper form down correctly. If you’re new to working out in general, I’d recommend meeting with a trainer in person to most effectively learn to use kettlebells safely before attempting an at-home workout on your own with them.

In the video, I spend the first few minutes breaking down the exercises so those just starting to incorporate kettlebells into their training. As with all workouts, be sure to warm up beforehand. Listen to your body and modify or stop as needed.

This kettlebell circuit workout will take you 18 minutes to complete (45 seconds work/15 seconds rest). You'll then do a 3-minute core AMRAP to finish.

Exercises in this Workout

Kettlebell Circuit:

One-Arm Kettlebell Swing (right) | This is your basic kettlebell swing, but holding on to the bell with only one hand. The main form difference is that your hand will rotate with the swing, as opposed to a two-hand grip where your knuckles are always facing out. Start with the bell on the floor, gripping it with your right hand, feet shoulder-width apart with a slight bend in the knees. Swing the bell back between your legs, thumb-first, hinging forward with a neutral spine. As you explosively swing the bell forward and up, thrust the hips powerfully forward, rotating your hand so that knuckles face forward, bringing the bell up to chest height. Swing it back down, again rotating the bell so that your thumb leads the way.

Windmills (right) | Start in a standing position, feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart, kettlebell pressed above head in right hand. Your right foot should be pointing forward, your left foot pointing out to the side (perpendicular to the right). Slowly bend down from the hips, keeping legs and the arm holding the kettlebell straight (but don’t lock out the knees). Lightly touch the ground by your left foot with your left hand, keeping the kettlebell perpendicular to the ground the whole time. Slowly rise back up to starting position. A good way to maintain proper alignment during this is to look up at the kettlebell the whole time.

Goblet Squats | Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart with your toes angled slightly outward. Hold a kettlebell in both hands, cradling it at the base of the handle at your chest. Keeping your torso as upright as possible (you don’t want to hunch forward with the weight of the bell), squat down, trying to get your bum a bit lower than your knees. As you bend the knees, they should track in line with the angle of the toes and not jut forward of them. Keep your elbows in tight as you squat so that they come down on the insides of your legs. Once you reach the bottom of your squat, weight in your heels, power up to standing, thrusting the hips forward slightly at the top as you squeeze those glutes.

One-Arm Kettlebell Swing (left)

Windmills (left)

High Pull – Squat Jump Combo | Start with feet about shoulder-width apart and kettlebell on the floor in front of you. Squat down keeping chest open and spine neutral and grip the kettlebell. Start to straighten the legs to stand as you lift the kettlebell. When the bell gets to about hip height, bend the elbows, pulling them up towards the ceiling and bringing the kettlebell under your chin, keeping it close to your body. Reverse the motion, returning the bell to the floor. From there, release the kettlebell with your hands and do a jump squat.

AMRAP Finisher:

10 Russian Twists > roll through to plank > 10 Mountain Climbers | Start sitting on your tailbone, feet hovering off the ground, kettlebell held at chest. Twist to to the right and left 10 times (5 times to each side) then place the kettlebell on the floor to the side. Cross feet at the ankles and roll back, lifting your hips off the ground to gain momentum. Roll forward bringing hands to the ground and jump feet back to a plank position. Do 10 mountain climbers (5 to each side). Jump through, landing back on your bum and start from the top.

This kettlebell circuit workout will take you 18 minutes to complete (45 seconds work/15 seconds rest). You'll then do a 3-minute core AMRAP to finish.

If you guys are digging this kettlebell circuit workout, let me know in the comments! I’ll put together more kb workouts. I used to post kb routines all the time when I first started blogging, but looking back at those old posts, I cringe at my form in a couple of the moves. I felt the responsible thing to do was to get better at the exercises myself before teaching you all! Not that I’m perfect now, but damn. Much improved. 😉

Big thanks to my home away from home, Btone, for serving as my video filming studio!