thefitdog on “Take Your Dog To Work Day”

June 24, 2016

This is a post from Frankie, the office dog.

Hi, friends!

I am dictating this blog post to Nicola from my bed (nothing new there, I hear you say). Ah, but today I am not just lazy! I am RECUPERATING! Yesterday I fell asleep at the vet’s and he stole another bit off my body. The first time was the worst – it was ages ago – he took my nuts! Then another time, he took a little lump off my leg. Yesterday, he took my dingly-dangler (technical term for a skin tag).

Anyway. All of that is to say that I’m very glad it’s Take Your Dog To Work Day today, because I need Nic here with me in case my brow needs mopping (or in case I try to bite my stitches).

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And that’s what I want to write about today…

The fine invention that is Take Your Dog To Work Day. It’s a real thing! Personally, I feel that every day should be TYDTWD. I think having your dog at work with you has huge benefits, not just for the dog but for the human, too.

Here’s why every day should be Take Your Dog To Work Day.

Less Stress

Everyone knows that it’s nice to stroke a dog. But did you know that it’s actually a medical fact: stroking a dog’s fur has been proven to boost your levels of the “happy hormones” serotonin and dopamine. And just having a dog around helps humans manage their stress levels. You’ll have lower blood pressure, and you’ll be able to calm down and think things through.

Frankie’s Top Tip: stroke the ears, they have magical stress-busting properties (not medically proven).

More Productive

Everyone knows that people are more creative and productive at work when they take short breaks every now and then. You need to stretch your legs, get a change of scene, breathe some fresh air. Errrr… hello! An office dog could help with that! Having a dog around will encourage you to be less sedentary and take regular breaks, which could help you figure out a work problem or get through a plateau.

Frankie’s Top Tip: take the office dog outside for a wee even if he or she doesn’t need one.

Better Working Environment

According to some study (Nic did tell me where it is, but I forgot), 90% of employers who allow dogs say they have noticed a positive change in the working environment. Half of them said there’s been a decrease in absenteeism, and 67% said the office dog has improved staff morale. GO DOGS! Well, we’re just nice to have around aren’t we? We’re cute, and funny, and usually pretty laid back. I can completely understand how an office dog would improve morale at work – and therefore attendance!

Frankie’s Top Tip: make sure your office dog is cute/funny/cuddly so you want to see him or her every day.

Nic says she feels very lucky to be able to “bring me to work” every day (she actually works in our house, and I sleep just round the corner from her desk). Here’s how I help her during the day:
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– Walk before work every day
Nic says our morning walk helps her switch from “home mode” to “work mode”. It means she doesn’t just let the work day take over. She gets some time to get her thoughts in order. By the time we’ve had our walk, she feels fully awake, focused, and ready to tackle her workload. And because we’ve already been outside, she doesn’t get any FOMO if it’s a nice sunny day.

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– Regular breaks for cuddles
If Nic has been sitting down for ages, or if she’s feeling frustrated with some bit of her work, she’ll just come over to me and we’ll have a quick cuddle. Sometimes Nic will sing me a song. She always goes back to her desk feeling calmer, happier, and ready to tackle the work.

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– Fresh air during the day
Nic knows she spends too long sitting down. It’s an occupational hazard. So I’ll often whine at her periodically during the day as a handy reminder that she needs to stretch her legs. If she’s busy, we’ll just go out into the garden for some sunshine and fresh air. If she has a bit longer to spare, we’ll pop out onto the field behind our house and walk round once or twice. When Nic wore an activity monitor, she noticed that these little walks really added up!

Are you allowed to take your dog to work with you? Big up Pets At Home, Google, Amazon and co for all allowing dogs in the workplace. They know a thing or two about business!

Speaking of business… I need to go in the garden.

Thanks for reading! Frankie xoxox

thefitdog on Take Your Dog To Work Day is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.

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TheFitDog Talks NEAT (aka Walking)

May 26, 2016

(This is a post from Frankie, the office dog)

Hey guys!

Have you seen the recent fitness news about NEAT? NEAT has nothing to do with wiping your paws, or keeping your biscuits in your bowl.

Apparently it’s about WALKING!

(Editor: well, no, it’s not just about walking…)

Today I wanted to talk to you about why walking is such an underrated form of exercise. And how you can improve your NEAT by doing more of it!

See the world from my point of view: here a video of me going for a walk with a GoPro on my harness!

(Sorry about the head shaking, it was raining)

Check out 01:45 where I do some Crufts-style agility!

(Editor: I’m so pleased there’s a video on YouTube of me in my men’s shorts from Wickes…!)

First up, some facts. I’ll try not to make them too boring (I can’t concentrate for long).

(This info is for humans, although I can’t imagine it’s too different for dogs)

There are 3 things which make up how much energy we use:

Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) or Resting Energy Expenditure (REE).
This is how much energy you expend just lying about, breathing and stuff. Most of your RMR is actually from your internal organs, would you believe it! RMR makes up 50-75% off your daily calorie burn.

Activity (including NEAT)
Now this is obviously your exercise sessions, like when Nic goes to the gym. BUT it also includes all the activity and movement you do when you’re NOT at the gym. And this is where NEAT comes into it. More about that in a sec…

Thermic Effect of Feeding/Food (TEF).
This is how many calories you need to digest your food. It’s not much though, so don’t get too excited.

NEAT is “non exercise activity thermogenesis” (full disclosure, I had to get Nic to type that for me).

It’s ANYTHING you do which isn’t considered actual exercise. So not your gym sessions, or your cardio. But any other movement, activity, or stuff which moves your body!

Isn’t that cool? A massive percentage of your calorie burn for the day comes from just moving about and being active. And it’s completely within your power to increase it! Which is great, because not everyone wants to (or has time to) keep on increasing their actual workout sessions. But increasing NEAT is easier, more sustainable, and more fun!

Here are my favourite ways to increase my NEAT:

– go for an extra walk (often around the field at lunch time)
– increase my morning or evening walk (just take a different route, or often we will use my walk to post a letter or something)
– go up a hill on my walk (totally makes me huff and puff!)
– do some faster stuff as part of my walk (ball, stick, squeaky ball, ball-on-a-rope)
– spend more of the day outside (pottering around the garden rather than lying in my bed, or being at someone else’s house and having a sniff about)

How about you?

Here are some great ways for humans to increase their NEAT.

– use a standing desk
– get up more often when sitting at your desk
– walk or bike ride some of your regular commute
– walk more around town to do errands, see friends, post a letter etc
– be more active at home (DIY, decluttering, Spring cleaning)
– do stuff in your garden (even 10-15 minutes every evening would be good)
– wash your car
– do chores by hand rather than automating them
– use a basket rather than a trolley in the supermarket

I’m sure you can think of tons more but you get the idea!

The fab thing about NEAT is that is makes up BY FAR the biggest % of your calorie burn (well, the bits you can influence anyway – there’s not a lot you can do about how much energy your internal organs need). And there’s so much you can do to affect it!

Personally I think the best thing for NEAT is to get a dog haha woof!

Till next time….

Frankie (aka thefitdog) xx

PS Do you have a dog? What’s his/her name? How much walking do you do?

TheFitDog Talks NEAT (aka Walking) is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.


TheFitDog’s review of his Dog Buff from Kit Shack

February 27, 2015

*This is a blog post from Frankie the office dog*

Hey guys and bitches! How have you all been?

Sorry I haven’t blogged for you in ages (which in Dog Years is Really Ages!)

I’ve got a sweet product review for you all today: ideal for you outdoors-y type dogs who still like to look smart even when you’re muddy.

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My friends at Kit Shack (online shop which sells mainly outdoor gear, hats and buffs for humans) send me a smart DOG BUFF and asked me to use my handsome good looks and incredible writing skills to review it.

You guys already know that I have a Woof Coat, but what you might not know is that I love my old neckerchief (Nic’s sister had it made for me one Christmas). But the annoying thing about that thing is that it has to be knotted on, and then the knot slips round and flaps in my face, and if I have a drink you can bet your life the flappy bits of the knot will go in the puddle or in my food bowl.

My new dog buff solves all those problems.

It’s thin and stretchy, not at all restrictive, and totally comfy. I really like wearing it and push my head right through it when I see Nic get it ready. I dunno why… it feels comforting and I guess I know I look extra-handsome with it on.

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The one I got sent is blue and yellow as you can see, with cool pictures of bones and balls all over it. But you can get other ones in different sizes too – take a look at the Dog Buff range.

Here are my fashion recommendations if you want my advice (you do):
= black dogs like my cousins LOTTIE and DORA – red buff
= brown dogs like me and my cousin NALA – blue/yellow buff
= white dogs with spots all over like my friend PONGO – yellow buff

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It’s the perfect buff for this Winter/Spring transition time, giving just the right amount of warmth without being hot. The bright print means Nic can see me better even when I try to camoflague in the mud and sticks. And it has two thick reflective strips on it which are really bright when we are walking along the road in the evening.

Those ducks are totally jealous of my dog buff!

Those ducks are totally jealous of my dog buff!

The Dog Buffs from Kit Shack would get two thumbs up if I had any thumbs, but I don’t. So I give them a massive wag of the tail and a big smile instead!

You can check out Kit Shack online</a.

Thanks KitShack for my dog buff!
I really loved reviewing it! Frankie xoxox

TheFitDog’s review of his Dog Buff from Kitshack is a post from the Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.


TheFitDog on Take Your Dog To Work Day

June 26, 2014

*This is a blog post from Frankie the office dog*

Yo guys! What. Is. UP?

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Last Friday was Take Your Dog To Work Day. How cool is that?

See, I didn’t realise, but apparently not all humans work at home and this means some dogs get left at home all day, or they go to a different house, or a different human comes in to take them for a walk. I never knew! I sit at home all day (mostly in the garden) and Nic sits at home all day (mostly at her desk). Sweet!

So, I didn’t actually have to be “taken” anywhere or do anything different at all to celebrate “Take Your Dog To Work Day”. I used the time I saved (by not having to commute) to write this blog post.

I’ve actually written about how hard I work in previous blog posts. The best one is probably this one I reckon, it’s got pictures of me with Doom the Gladiator!

Today I thought I would address the important topic of Staying active and limber even when you work from home.

It’s a very important subject. See, most big offices are set up only for people to work in them. That’s the point. So they have proper office chairs, big desks, proper computers with fancy keyboards, and maybe the people who run the office even do “employee wellness” and make the humans do stuff like have health tests and walk about and things. Oh and most offices have stairs, so the humans can be active by walking to other floors and going to meetings.

When Nic is working from home, just writing stuff, she doesn’t do any of that. Nobody makes sure her desk is set up properly, she can sit on any chair she wants, and we have no employee wellness incentives here.

This is my advice to Nic (some of which she does) and it’s my advice to you, too, if you also work at home:

– get a dog 😉 They’ll definitely help you be more active, and will also help “top and tail” (<< hahaha!) your day with walks. This in turn helps you create a boundary between work time and home time

– take a proper lunch break even if it’s only 20 minutes, and don’t eat your lunch at your desk

– make activity a big part of your day, and be mindful of it. Walk :D, potter in the garden on your break, go to the gym, walk to do local chores if possible

– don’t sit there for hours and hours and hours! Get up, walk about. Take phone calls standing up. Maybe even set a beeper so you remember to get up even when you’re totally engrossed in your work

– try to separate your work life from your home life, otherwise you might find yourself on that computer morning, noon, and night, weekdays and weekends

– get a separate keyboard for your laptop, one that’s shaped properly by clever people who understand wrist pain and RSI

– don't sit on a rubbishy chair to do your work. Get one of those "saddle stools", seriously, they're great!

– have regular check ups with an osteo, and/or regular massages to keep yourself pain free

– do stretches and postural exercises regularly during the day

Nic doesn't do all of these things 😦 no matter how often I remind her. She's good at walking, and at going to the gym. She has a saddle stool (best decision ever, she says!) And she sometimes sees massage people and an osteo to keep her relatively pain-free.

One more thing, before I go back into the garden: Take Your Dog To Work Day isn’t just about dogs going to work. It’s a well serious day, actually! It’s all about adopting rescue dogs, and supporting people who work on behalf of rescue dogs, and basically about how brill rescue dogs are and how you humans should all love us! I’m a rescue dog actually, so I’m totally behind this whole thing. Anyway, if you have a mo, check out the Take Your Dog To Work Day website and maybe see what you can do to help. Not every dog is as lucky as me, you know!

Bye!

TheFitDog on Take Your Dog To Work Day is a post from the Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.


TheFitDog hosts a running magazine giveaway

April 10, 2014

TheFitDog has a big head at the moment. And I’m not talking about the generous proportions he was blessed with by mother nature. He’s puffed up with pride, far beyond his wrinkly jowls and square brain-box.

Why?

He’s in a magazine again.
nicola joyce running magazine

Eagle-eyed readers may have spotted him (and me, but that’s by the by) in the current issue of Women’s Running magazine. Remember when we went on a caniX training session? This article is the result*
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Anyway, Frankie thinks that absolutely everybody should have the opportunity to gaze upon his handsome face and marvel over this athletic physique. So he’s offering one of you a brand new, slobber-free copy of May 2014 Women’s Running magazine.

To be in the mix – do these two things

1) share this blog post on Twitter (with my Twitter name @thefitwriter in your tweet somewhere)
or
share this blog post on Facebook (with my FB page link https://www.facebook.com/thefitwriter in the post)
2) leave a comment on this post to let me know you’ve done one of the above!

Frankie and I will pick a winner on Monday and get the magazine sent out to you ASAP.

Open to readers anywhere in the world 🙂

*In case you think I’ve gone a bit quiet with the “where you’ll find my byline this month” posts, I don’t do much journalism these days – it’s mostly copywriting. I put a fair bit of client news on my website newspage, when possible.

TheFitDog hosts a running magazine giveaway is a post from the Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.


Fitness kit I’ve tested this week: Well Hung Meat delivery organic meat box

March 24, 2014

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Up for review today is a box of delicious organic meat from Well Hung Meat, an online organic butcher and meat delivery company who specialise in organic meat. It’s all they do (and they’ve got tons of awards for it).

They’ve launched a new range of healthier meat boxes (which they say are ideal for fitness folk and anyone following a specific diet/lifestyle, such as paleo, but honestly I think they’re ideal for anyone who likes great meat!) Each box contains a variety of organic meats and the website has lots of information about the origin of the meat, the farms, how the animals were raised, etc. All good stuff if you care about what you’re eating and where it’s come from.

There’s a Paleo Grass Roots Box and a Super Size Cross Fit Box (can you guess who they’re aimed at?) but it was the Protein Power Nutrition Box which I took delivery of.
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Well Hung Meat’s Protein Power Nutrition Box (shown here) contains:
Chicken breasts (400g pack)
Burgers (400g pack)
Thick-cut Sirloin steaks (450g pack)
Minute steaks (375g pack)
Chicken thighs (400g pack)
Pork loin steaks (400g pack)
(and it’s on offer at the moment for £50 with free delivery!)

I’ve now tried everything in the box apart from the pork loin steaks, which I donated to my sister (it’s probably more accurate to say I donated them to my brother-in-law). Nothing wrong with them at all, in fact they looked thick and succulent, I just don’t like pork.

The chicken breasts were amazing: massive, very juicy, didn’t shrink at all when I cooked them. They weren’t as well trimmed as some I’ve had (from other meat delivery companies) but this not a complaint. They just didn’t look as neat.

The burgers were absolutely delicious – vast, soft, juicy – and I’m glad I’ve still got one left to enjoy as a treat again.

The sirloin steak was amazing, barely needed cutting it was so soft.

The chicken thighs were lovely, a real treat, slightly fatty, and delicious pan-fried.

And the minute steaks were great quality (minute steak often seems like a poor cousin to other cuts, but this was very tasty, soft and tender, and of course cooked in a flash). Fun fact: I used to think minute steak was pronounced minute. As in tiny. It wasn’t until I had one and it wasn’t tiny at all that I realised…. no… it means minute. As in the amount of time you need to cook it.

The folk at Well Hung Meat kindly sent me the nutritional data for the meat, as I knew some of you would be interested. Click the image to enlarge.
Well Hung Meat Company nutrition data calories macros

I’d definitely recommend Well Hung Meat – everything was perfectly packed, delivery was hassle-free, and the meat itself was wonderful. The website is very informative (and fun). I’ll be placing an order soon (“hooray”, says thefitdog!)

(One last thing – if you’re a Utility Warehouse customer, you can get 7% cashback on Well Hung Meat orders when you pay using your cashback card! Bargain!)

Thank you for my organic meat box!

You can find out more at the Well Hung Meat, like Well Hung Meat on Facebook and follow Well Hung Meat on Twitter.

Fitness kit I’ve tested this week: Well Hung Meat delivery organic meat box is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.


TheFitDog goes to the osteopath

February 17, 2014

*This is a blog post from Frankie the office dog*

Yo yo yo! What’s happening?

What’s been happening with me is that I have been to the osteopath and had my tail admired from all angles. Your tail is your spine, you know, which is your back, which is part of your skeleton, which is made from BONES!

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I did promise you a blog post about my visit to the osteopath (I wrote about it in my spine health post last week) – so, here goes!

Nic has been going to the osteopath for her bad back (now much better). The place she goes to offers free spinal checks for dogs and also for horses, because the main osteopath lady also does osteopathy for horses (and their riders) and dogs.

There’s really nothing wrong with my back but sometimes when I walk along in front of Nic, she thinks I look “a bit wonky” and also she reckons I have a “dent” just where my tail joins my back.

Whatever!

Niki (the osteopath) says animal osteopathy is muscular skeletal healthcare and can help with lameness, congenital problems, arthritis and hip dysplasia (a few of my mates suffer with this).

“The only way a pet can communicate discomfort or pain is to display changes in personality, character or performance,” she said. “Misalignments can cause various symptoms and the animal will often subtly change its gait to compensate for the problem. The joints involved can become stiff and lack their normal range of motion. Ligaments will be put under extra strain and the joints will be more prone to injury.”

First of all, Niki watched me walking back and forth which was OK because it wasn’t raining, and I like walking any time really.

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Then we went inside and she started stroking and squeezing all down my back really slowly which was mega nice. It was like being patted and petted but much nicer. Apparently it is called “palpation” (I remembered this because it rhymes with Dalmatian and also Alsatian.) It was soooo relaxing! At first I was wriggling and wagging because it was fun but then I just sat down and really chilled out. I nearly fell asleep. Nic said I was making funny faces with my eyes going all weird and Niki said that is the face dogs make when they are “concentrating” and “tuning in”.

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Niki found a couple of tight areas in my back and gave me some quick treatment. It was so nice, I just ended up lying down really still and quiet. I couldn’t even be bothered to wiggle and waggle any more, I just wanted her to carry on!

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Niki said: “Frankie appeared to be moving slightly sideways with his back legs when he walked. The osteopathic examination revealed that he had tight and compressed muscles through the junction of his thoracic and lumbar spine on the right hand side. This was causing him to slightly rotate, to avoid discomfort. I treated him with gentle soft tissue work and traction to relax the muscles and restore normal function of the spine. In turn, this allowed his normal gait to resume.”

What she didn’t mention is that she also got rid of my weird “tail dent”!

When we got home I just wanted to sleep, but I didn’t fancy curling up in my bed like normal. Instead I lay stretched out on the floor nice and long and in a few minutes I was snoring my head off!

Thanks Niki
, I enjoyed my osteopathy check up!

TheFitDog goes to the osteopath is a post from the Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.


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