How Your Job Could Be Killing You: Getting Fit for Practice

Raul Chacon Jr.

I was a junior litigation associate working to prove my worth to the partners in my office and to fee-paying clients. My 12-hour days responding to discovery requests often concluded with dinner with a partner and a client. The dinner table would be covered with diver scallops drenched in butter, prime steaks, and beef short ribs. Dinner was always incredible, but afterward I would inevitably feel bloated and lethargic, and I would wish I had done a better job of maintaining my pre-lawyer fitness routine.

No question, the responsibilities that come with being a lawyer can be detrimental to health and fitness. The good news is that I learned with some forethought that busy lawyers can meet their professional obligations while maintaining healthy lifestyles.

Tips for Moving More and Eating Smart

Demanding schedules can prevent lawyers from getting to the gym as much as they would like, but anyone can bring some fitness into their daily routines. Denver-based registered dietician Cori Diekmeier suggests taking simple steps to make fitness routines easier. Diekmeier encourages laying out your workout clothes each evening and waking up 30 minutes earlier than usual to go for a quick morning jog. She also suggests taking five-minute breaks each hour to remain fresh—take a quick walk around the block or do jumping jacks or push-ups in the office.

Nutrition also plays a key role in helping lawyers maintain wellness, Diekmeier says. Pack healthy snacks that are easy to eat at your desk, such as raw carrots, sugar snap peas, bell peppers with hummus, apple slices with almond butter, nuts and a banana, or Greek yogurt and strawberries. You should plan your meals in advance to avoid the need to grab fast food lunches and even cook meals on the weekend to eat throughout the week. For instance, Diekmeier suggests cooking a few pounds of chicken Sunday evening for chicken salad, sandwiches, tacos, burritos, and to combine with rice. Too tired to cook at the end of each day? Use a crockpot to make one-pot meals that are ready when you get home.

Getting Fit While Being Social

The ABA Young Lawyers Division (YLD) recently kicked off its #Fit2Practice Initiative, which was developed by Francine Bailey and YLD Chair Andrew Schpak. Fit to Practice went live at the YLD Fall Conference in Portland, where members participated in organized fitness events, including a 1-mile walk and 5k and 10k runs.

On Facebook, YLD members are running a series of challenges, such as taking 10,000 steps in one day and are using #ABAYLDFTP to help young lawyers connect with each other to reach fitness goals. According to Bailey, using social media can help encourage ABA YLD followers to stay active—whether that incentive is driven by motivation in seeing others reach goals, loving to compete, shame, or guilt.

Visit the YLD #Fit2Practice page.


Raul Chacon Jr.

Raul Chacon Jr. is an associate attorney at Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C. in Denver, Colorado.