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Stay Healthy as a Developer

steffenpedersen profile image Steffen Pedersen ใƒป4 min read

This is a personal guide for staying healthy. It is by no means an official guide, and I am by no means an instructor or trained to teach in this field.

I started working full time as a developer a few years ago. Since then, I have become more weak and have got a small belly. I have seen several of my colleagues getting back problems. I do not want that! I will in this simple personal guide show a training program, calorie intake and a meal plan. I hope this can inspire a few developers to start getting healthy habits.

Training Program

Here is my training program with exercises, that I am currently doing. I am myself somewhat of a beginner. It is therefore a good idea to focus on the basics, and to perform the exercises properly. This will by far provide the best foundation in the long term.

Monday Wednesday Friday
Squats Deadlifts Squats
Pendlay Rows Pull-ups T-bar Rows
Bench Press Incline Press Chest Dips
Overhead Press Upright Rows Overhead Press
Skull Crushers Zottman Curls Kick Backs
Standing Calf Raises Lateral Raises Seated Calf Raises
Cardio Cardio Cardio

These exercises are inspired by Buff Dudes. You could of cause find another training plan, that suits you better. I also improvise on some exercises. I usually go 5 x 5 on each exercise and around 30 minutes of cardio. I often do the cardio on other days.

A few months back I worked out in the morning before work. I am not really a fan of that, because it can take some energy off work. Now I am doing it after work, and it actually works ๐Ÿ˜‰

Calorie Intake

What you eat is crucial, if you want a healthy lifestyle. It is important to know your calorie intake, and the amount of calories you need to eat to maintain your current weight. From there you navigate whether you want to build muscle or lose fat. I want to build muscle and maybe loose some fat ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿป๐Ÿท. I am not fanatic, and this is a learning process. It is also important to know the balance of protein, carbohydrate and fat.

My personally maintaining calorie intake is about 2800 calories a day. Here I will add 500 calories, so it will be around 3300 calories a day. Maybe I won't go that far because of my small belly. People have different numbers based on age, weight and activity levels. Donโ€™t forget to use a TDEE calculator.

I will use a split of 40% carbohydrates, 40% proteins and 20% fats. I will eat lower carb, because my body reacts quite quickly to it. It is important to point out that all numbers are indicative.

Meal Plan

I find pleasure in having a specific plan to follow to achieve my goals. I will try to follow a plan, but not be totally strict about it.

Breakfast โ˜€๏ธ

Food Protein Carb Fat Calories
Skyr 27,5 10,0 0,5 158
Protein 21,0 3,0 22,5 117
Mรผsli 3,3 18,0 2,0 109
Honey 0,0 7,5 0,0 30
Muffin 18,2 31,6 14,5 266
Total 70,0 70,1 39,5 678

At breakfast I will around 250g skyr, 30g mรผsli, 10g honey and two healthy muffins. Skyr is an Icelandic cultured dairy product. It has the consistency of Greek yogurt, but a milder flavor. We eat it a lot here in Denmark.

Snack ๐Ÿฝ

Food Protein Carb Fat Calories
Banana 1,4 29,7 0,4 125
Almonds 2,5 2,6 5,9 69
Total 3,9 32,3 6,3 194

I usually eat a banana and some almonds at work.

Lunch ๐Ÿฝ

Food Protein Carb Fat Calories
Chicken 24,0 1,5 1,9 119
Egg 8,1 0,6 6,5 93
White rice 3,5 36,6 0,4 169
Vegetables 0,9 6,0 0,2 27
Chili mayo 0,2 1,9 1,8 26
Total 36,6 46,6 10,8 433

At lunch I will eat 200g chopped chicken with some white rice, egg, vegetables and a tablespoon chili mayo.

Afternoon ๐ŸŽ

Food Protein Carb Fat Calories
Muffin 18,2 31,6 14,5 265
Total 18,2 31,6 14,5 265

In the afternoon I will eat two healthy muffins.

After workout ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿป

Food Protein Carb Fat Calories
Protein powder 42,0 6,0 45,0 234
Total 42,0 6,0 45,0 234

After workout I will eat two scoops of protein powder.

Dinner ๐Ÿฝ

Food Protein Carb Fat Calories
Dinner 40,0 30,0 10,0 550
Total 40,0 30,0 10,0 550

Dinner will differ, but I will try to keep it around these numbers.

Late night ๐ŸŒ™

Food Protein Carb Fat Calories
Skyr 27,5 10,0 0,5 158
Protein 21,0 3,0 22,5 117
Mรผsli 3,3 18,0 2,0 109
Honey 0,0 7,5 0,0 30
Muffin 9,1 15,8 7,3 132
Total 60,9 54,3 32,3 545

I just love my skyr and muffins ๐Ÿ˜ฌ

Total ๐Ÿ“ˆ

Subject Protein Carb Fat Calories
Daily 271,7 270,9 158,4 2900
Energy balance 38,8 38,7 22,6

My numbers are not perfect. I will try to adjust them along the way. Maybe I will add or subtract calories.


I use a few supplements to optimize my exercise and my overall mood with vitamins, but without being fanatic. I use protein, BCAA, Vitamin D and Omega-3. BCAA is definitely not a must!

I really want to point out, that this is just my take on being healthy. My main goal is to get stronger. Maybe yours is more focused around mental health.

Thank you for your time!

If you liked this, then please โค๏ธ and follow me on Twitter.

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steffenpedersen profile

Steffen Pedersen


I'm a developer with a love for the open-source community ๐Ÿ’ป


markdown guide

Great insight :)

I've actually found it easier for me to do intermittent fasting and OMAD (one meal a day) since becoming a full-time developer. I don't get the mid-afternoon slumps, I feel more alert throughout the day, and the hunger pangs go away quite quickly!


I also do intermittent fasting though usually small meal/snack at lunch and a bigger dinner.

For me, the best part has been helping to prevent the snacking I would usually do when I get up and walk around as a break from my desk and helps stop me snacking in the evening.


intermittent fasting helped me too. After having a heavy lunch mid-afternoon slumps are scariest part of the day.I even coud'nt open my eyes . So instead eating lunch I started to took good breakfast and fruits .


I found it goes in about three days. Omad - me too!


Different tastes of foods keep me motivated to code. :v :v


That sounds a bit dangerous ๐Ÿ˜ฎ But it is great, if it works for you.


Oh it's not at all! I live quite a sedentary lifestyle, so it's not like I need to keep my calories up :) If you do some research on it, there are actually quite a lot of benefits to intermittent fasting.


Allow me to extend your list with two things.


Sleep is pretty underrated these days. Everyone says like โ€œif i go sleep now, i get out of the Flow and will be less productiveโ€. Thatสผs plain BS. Get 7-9 hours of sleep a day and you will be more productive than ever. Plus, you will drink less coffee, which brings me to my next point:

Drink only water

Sounds harsh, i know. Whenever you feel thirsty, that means your body dried up about an hour ago. Drink a glass of water every hour or so. Get a reminder app so you donสผt forget it. Your daily water intake should be at or above 3 litres (about 0.8 US gallons). However, it doesnสผt mean you canสผt enjoy a soda, beer, or coffee every now and then. But all of these actually contribute to water loss.

And as a bonus tip, be barefoot whenever you can. A lot of problems in the ankles, knees, waist, and sometimes even in the back, are caused by shoes (including slippers) that have a slightly (or sometimes extremely, in case of many womenสผs shoes) higher heels. If your feet canสผt bear cold, wear socks, but no shoes nor slippers. I live in a small town and took it to the extreme: i usually walk to the market or to the kindergarten barefeet. You donสผt have to do that, do it only at home, or in the office.


I highly recommend ATHLEAN-X and Jeremy Ethier on YouTube. They have tips on all kinds of training - heavy, light, everyday, without equipment etc. And what's important is that they focus on training efficiently and healthy.

Cheers. Stay healthy!


Thank you! I have seen ATHLEAN-X a few times. I had trouble with my wrist on barbell curls. He had a great video on that.


I'd watch more Athlean-X if he kept his shirt on more often.


If you have trouble keeping the discipline, I found a place that uses gamification to make the entire process more appealing to nerdy people. It's called Nerd Fitness. The free articles alone are worth checking the website, in my opinion. I paid for the Academy program, although I haven't really applied myself to the process. But that's my fault not the fault of the program.


Thank you! That's a really great example ๐Ÿ˜€ I am definitely gonna check it out.


Honey (aka Bee vomit), Muffin, Banana means sugar. Avoid these. 2800 cals a day sounds like too much. White rice is also not very healthy. Try whole rice or potatoes. Potatoes are "not cool" but they have the advantage that they digest slowly so you won't get hungry again after 1-2 hours. If you hate preparing potatoes, get frozen ones.

Avoid sugar and processed foods. Sugar is also in alcohol, smoothies, and many processed foods.

Banana is useful for sport, but as snack I'd recommend nuts (you eat almonds, that is good). Try other types of nuts, preferably unsalted.

Supplements are not needed if you have a balanced diet. Omega-3 is in salmon. (avoid the Norvegian industry salmon, eat wild salmon (doesn't taste as good as the industry salmon but is healthier), or find organic salmon raised in Ireland (tastes great and is healthy, but very expensive))

If you need certain foods a mental reward, try to do this only once a week.

Have your blood and blood pressure checked.

I managed to lose 30 kg this way and also got my blood values back to normal and sleep much better. (I also do sports)


Thank you for your tips. My goal isn't to loose weight at this point, but maybe it will help others ๐Ÿ˜ƒ


A great amount of information in there, so thanks and givem the new year its something I would like to do more of once I am ready! Although it felt more like a gaining muscle post, you would certainly be healthier.

I would also have stressed the importance of regular eye tests, correct posture with an ergonomic set-up and exercises specifically for neck pain and back pain.

Then remebering to take reuglar breaks from you desk to move around and looking and things in the distance to give your eyes a break. Google remedies for tech neck and the 20-20-20 rule for eye strain.

3 years as a developer who works from home, and I struggled to work out because of the issues I have mentioned. If your suffering from neck and back issues or eye strain then you need to fix those before performing regular exercises using weights as that can lead to injury.

I appreciate that it's much easier to get away with these things when we are 18-30 but above that eveything your told and probably already know become much more important and we all really need to have a correctly set up working enviroment and stay fit.

Thanks again for your info, I really need to loose my belly and feel almost ready to workout again, having spent the last few months improving my neck / back and eye issues.


Great to see you are having results, but this is making me think there's something wrong with me :-)

I eat around 1800 kcal a day ( I track it ) , I run on the threadmill 2x a week, and I'm only managing to stay at a stable 90 kg, which is 20 kg above my normal weight ( if I overeat it will increase by around 0.5 to 1 kg the next day, though it also quickly returns back to that 90 kg a few days later)

I also eat a lot less frequently than you (just 3x a day , sometimes I skip breakfast, and occassionaly I try to eat only in the evening ), and I'm staying away from sugar as much as possible ( no bread, no potatoes/fries, no pasta)

I do drink a lot of coffee and sugar-free energy drinks, perhaps that's the culprit ? I'll try sticking to water and try to do more weight-lifting activities at the gym


Cardio is pretty ineffective for weight loss. The calorie burn is minimal, and sometimes just stimulates hunger.

Maybe try prioritizing protein in your meals, go for compound movement weight lifting (multi-joint) and make sure your sleep is good.


I actually am looking for new ways to get in better health, which I always seem to fail to do. This is a really nice article thank you!


I have tried a million times before. This is actually the first time, I am seeing great results. What really makes the difference is the eating plan. I am still eating fast food some times. It doesn't have to be a dreadful experience.


This is wonderful, i hope this will inspire some folks, BTW i am starting my fitness journey from today!
"fitness is important factor for focusing on work!"

cheers! :)


That sounds great! And it really does make you focus better at work! ๐Ÿ˜ƒ


Sitting job makes body week by every passing day and after 3 months of joining i am feeling the impact of sitting for 8-9 hours daily.


Junk food (mainly) pizza and energy drinks are sadly something I can't code without..


That's a great topic ever read stay healthy


Any vegan devs out there? I'm struggling to find the balance between making vegan meals, developing, going to college, and working out. Its tough!