Work/Booyah Balance

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Over here at Bubbles and Booyah, I strive to honestly share my experiences with you as I go through my daily routine: giving you a peek inside my daily workouts and training regimen, and sharing my recipes to the delicious plant-based foods I eat to fuel my active lifestyle. Like most of you, I also have a career on top of all of that cooking and booyah-ing. We all know how difficult it is to stay on track when you’re working 40+ hours a week, while also trying to stay active, eat healthy and continue to meet your fitness/wellness goals. I was delighted when the folks over at The Ladders, a comprehensive career platform that helps make job searching simpler, focused, and more efficient, wanted to know some of my best tips for staying active while still working full-time. Lucky for you guys, I’ve spent the last few years getting into the groove of my own work/booyah balance and have plenty of ideas and tips to share.

Here’s how I keep my own work/booyah balance in check:

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Schedule a work out in your calendar, and give it priority. Every weekday morning at 5 am, I roll out of bed and head to the gym to get my workout in before work. I’m aware the vast majority of you guys think I’m mildly nuts for getting up at the crack of dawn to work out, so find out what works best for you and your schedule. Try putting your gym clothes on as soon as you wake up or before leaving work at the end of the day; finding a great class or gym on the way to/from work; or schedule your workout as a meet-up with friends so you’re not tempted to bail. These are just a few of the tactics I’ve used to hold myself accountable, feel more motivated and overcome the temptation of the couch or snooze button. Don’t worry, your couch (and Netflix queue) will still be there when you get back – and just think of how awesome it will feel to be able to put your feet up and relax post-workout, knowing you kicked butt.

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Get organized the night before. Every evening when I get home from work, I follow the same routine: I prepare my lunch and breakfast for the next day (hence my love for overnight oats), pack my gym bag, lay out my workout clothes – all so I can just grab and go the next morning. Even so, I’m not immune to sometimes feeling that all this meal prep after working for eight hours is a tedious chore. In reality, it only takes a few minutes. Trust me; I’ve actually timed this nightly routine to prove to myself that I can get all of these “chores” done in twenty minutes or less. Heading into your day knowing you are organized, ready to crush your workout and eat a healthy, nutritious lunch adds a little bounce into your step right out of the gate every morning. We all know that sparkly feeling we get when we are treating our body well – that’s what makes the extra effort worth it.

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Use your lunch break to get moving. Because the weather has been so gorgeous (hello summer!), I’ve been bringing sneakers in my work bag so I can go for a walk at lunch. Yes, I may look like a nerd wearing socks and sneakers with my business casual work outfit, but it is so calming and centering to go for a walk in the sunshine and take an actual break, away from your desk, phone and computer, in the middle of your day. That extra Vitamin D and fresh air is good for you, and will help you head into your afternoon refreshed and recharged.

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Bypass the candy jar and stock your desk with healthy alternatives. I know that those pink Starbursts are giving you the side-eye from the candy jar, but there are better options when hunger strikes at 3 pm. I stack my healthy snack deck high by keeping non-perishable items like protein bars, Larabars, packets of oatmeal and trail mix in my “snack drawer” at work. It helps if you bring additional healthy snack foods (ones that don’t come in a wrapper) from home – like a piece of fruit, carrots and hummus or peanut butter and celery – which are full of nutrients, but can still satisfy your crunchy/salty/sweet/savory cravings in between meals. If you are surrounded by healthy choices, you will be much less likely to be tempted by the potato chips calling your name from the vending machine.

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Do your research. Find out what incentives your company offers for health and wellness. Do they offer a discount or money back for gym memberships or fitness classes? Talk to your HR person and educate yourself on what is offered so you can take full advantage (and maybe save some money, too). As Momma Booyah always says, “Knowledge is power.”

I truly believe the key to maintaining my own work/booyah balance is that I’ve incorporated each of these tips directly into my daily routine. I try my best to view “being active” as a lifestyle choice instead of an annoying thing I have to do to be able to button up my skinny jeans. Yes, it may feel like a pain in the rear to spend time after work getting organized or detaching yourself from your duvet before sunrise to go for a run, but the benefits far outweigh the perceived negatives. Study after study have shown the overwhelmingly positive result on our overall health and wellness by simply incorporating exercise into our daily routine, regardless of our age or fitness level. Not to mention our mental health, where exercise has been shown to alleviate stress and anxiety, boost happy-chemicals, as well as increase brainpower, productivity, creativity and relaxation. Add a well-balanced and healthy diet on top of that, one that provides the optimal nutrition and energy to support our active bodies and minds, and we’ve got just about everything we need to be able to Booyah from 9 am Monday to 5 pm Friday.

However, the most important part of the work/booyah balance is, well…balance! I encourage you to find your balance. Not a runner? Go for a walk around your neighborhood and check out everyone’s gardens after work. Hate the treadmill? Take your family for a weekend hike, or find a cool spot to kayak with your bae. Think kale is the most disgusting thing ever? No worries, there are a billion other green vegetables to choose from. Exercising and eating right is not a one-size-fits-all. The name of the game is sustainability – don’t set yourself up for failure by creating dramatic and unrealistic goals. Rome was not built in a day, and neither was my ability to get out of bed at 5 am. 😉 It takes time to create great things. Work to incorporate these healthy aspects into your daily routine in ways that are both sustainable and fun for you. Otherwise – let’s be honest! – it will be much more difficult to get any of them to stick around for long. So, don’t beat yourself up if you miss a workout or occasionally forgo your healthy lunch to get Chipotle with your coworkers. These changes take time, and by focusing on small, incremental changes (one at a time!), you will be much more likely to succeed. And definitely don’t forget to celebrate your successes. Boooo-YAH! 😀

How do you guys achieve your work/booyah balance? Tell me all about it in the comments.

With warmth,

L

P.S. Want some mo’? Here are few posts I’ve written that you may also enjoy:

Driving a Fleet of Struggle Buses

No Ragrets

About Those Resolutions…

GratiTuesday/Wednesday

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Whooopsie! This is a day late because of the holiday, but better late than never, eh? This week I’m grateful for my gal pals, and friendship – for making my Galentine’s Day (and every day!) super special and awesome. Who else can you call to help you pick out going-out outfit over Skype (which turns into 25 minute fashion show), grab a glass of wine with to discuss your bad day (cheers!), completely understand whatever #girlprobs you’re having (like if your one eyebrow doesn’t match your other eyebrow, or you’re having a bad mascara day), laugh about inappropriate things with, give you high fives and fist bumps when you’ve completely destroyed your run/workout/when you did that thing you couldn’t do before, or be right there for you when you need a hug, a phone call, or an hand-written note. You gals are the best! I love you all. And I’m so grateful for each and every one of you in my life (including all my new blogging gal pals who gal it up together over the interwebs – love you!). ❤

What are you guys grateful for this week?? Tell me in the comments, because this is always my fave thing to read all week! 😀

With love,

L

No Ragrets

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This is literally what Boston feels like right now. This snow – whaaat.

Greetings from the arctic tundra – Boston! This morning I laid in bed for a few extra minutes when my alarm went off at 5 am and had a pretty intense internal monologue regarding getting up to go to 5:45 am spin vs. rest day. I literally put my gym clothes on and took them off twice. Seriously.

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Dude, seriously. I do. It’s bad.

My internal monologue went something like this:

Chill L: Uggggghhhhhhhh, I’m so tired. WHY.

Super L: Dude, you got this. You’re going to feel great!

Chill L: Maybe if I shut my eyes I will fall back asleep immediately and the decision will be made for me.

(….2 seconds pass…)

Super L: I’m not going to fall back asleep. Balls. I’m just going to get up and put on my gym outfit.

(…puts on gym clothes…)

Chill L: I want to be asleep right now.

(…takes gym clothes off, climbs back into bed…)

Super L: Ugh. This is so dumb. I just need to get up and GO. (Throws blankets off and climbs back out of bed. Puts gym clothes back on).

Chill L: (While brushing teeth) Why am I doing this again?

Super L: You’ll feel great after. You’ll get to see your gym peeps. You don’t even have to try that hard – active rest day! You can take an extra long shower after. Dude, you even have strawberries in your overnight oats! Scooooore. I bet you’ll even sleep great tonight and have a flat line sleep graph from the Garmin Vivosmart again.

In the end, Super L won and I went to spin class. I was late because of my internal struggles and didn’t get My Bike (because we’ve all passed 2nd grade and are adult enough to not be irrationally annoyed when someone takes your usual spot, right?). Regardless, I talked myself off the ledge and pledged to be calm, enjoy spin, chat with my buddies before class and take it easy, at my own pace. And you know what? It felt stellar. It was one of the best ass-kicking spin class moments that I’ve had in awhile. It makes a huge difference when you take all the pressure you put on yourself and set it aside somewhere else and just try to enjoy the class, listen to your body and take it easy! I felt that I performed really well, the music was great (thanks, Mike!) and I just felt good afterwards. Also, all those endorphs flooding my brain right now are pretty great. Two thumbs up.

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Duh.

I guess this goes to show you that you don’t have to put so much pressure on yourself to get a good workout when you’re not really having balls-to-the-wall, Let’s-DO-THIS-kinda morning. If you go in feeling like, “Hey, I can do whatever I want right now! No pressure,” you probably end up having a much better workout (and morning) than if you went in there stressing yourself out because you weren’t really into it. Sometimes all you have to do is show up. Like Mike reminded us this morning as he instructed us to sprint up a hill, “Yah already did the haaadest paaaht, yah showed up! Yah heaah, so let’s work!” in his super amazing accent (translation: “You already did the hardest part, you showed up! You’re here, so let’s work!”). True, Mike. We did it! BOOYAH! 😀 😉

Picture1Thus, all of these good vibes, associated endorphins and resulting tendency to feel extra zippy and ready to take on my day today, leads to my hump day theme of the day: No Ragrets (please tell me you’ve seen Meet the Millers, because this was my favorite part of the movie):

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Also, I love Jason Sudeikis.

Yes. I hope you all enjoy your day today and zoom through it (without putting too much pressure on yourself and just let yourself be)! I mean, no ragrets – sometimes you just have to OWN it! Happy Hump Day, all!

With warmth,

L ❤

#GratiTuesday

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This week, I’m grateful for laughter. It seems I’ve been getting it in spades recently. First, from this amazing YouTube video my friend posted (ok, so I’m ALWAYS late to the party on these things, and I know it’s mid-January but it doesn’t make it any less awesome). And, THIS ridiculousness. My bff B sent me that last night, and I thought someone hacked B & B and experienced a moment of panic. She was dying laughing at me, and I started laughing, and we just couldn’t stop. I had never heard of gizoogle.net before (and apparently I’m REALLY late to the party because according to another friend, “Wow, gizoogle. That sh*t was from like 1995”)! And (one more), THIS: 28 Cringeworthy Fashion Moments We Witnessed on Laguna Beach. All of these outfits were my jam, and wait – jeans and a going-out top is still ok, right?? 😛 😀

I hope your #GratiTuesday is full of laughter, too! What are you grateful for this week?? Post below in the comments, because you know I love that shiz. 😀 I really, really want to know! 🙂

Spread the love! Feel free to post your own GratiTuesday post with the hashtag #GratiTuesday 😀

PS: If you’re wondering what all this is about, check out the original GratiTuesday post here.

GratiTuesday

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grat·i·tude

ˈɡradəˌt(y)o͞od/

noun
noun: gratitude
  1. the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.

Gym buddy R started a Gratitude Journal for 2015 (sorry if I’m blowing up your spot R, but it’s such a fantastic idea I’m totally creepin’ on it). I applaud her commitment, and I wanted to try a paired down version on Bubbles and Booyah. Therefore, I came up with #GratiTuesday: one day a week where I will share what I am feelin’ grateful for that day. Our lives are so busy sometimes that we can only benefit from taking just a moment to reflect and feel thankful for something – whatever that may be – in our lives that day. Today I’m feeling thankful for my awesome gym buddies, that made my stellar Get Your Booty Movin’ WOD possible today (it’s not easy getting up at 5am for a workout). There’s no time like the present to take a moment to reflect and send those good vibes out into the universe. 🙂

I know it’s a little weird sometimes when bloggers ask you to participate in a question at the end of their post, but PLEASE (do ittt!! you know you want to!!) share what you are thankful for below. I really, really want to know. Like, really.

What are grateful for today? Share in comments below.

Spread the love! Feel free to post your own GratiTuesday post with the hashtag #GratiTuesday 😀 ❤ ❤ ❤

About Those Resolutions…

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I hope you all are participating in Flannel Friday like I am today. 😀

I’m not really a big believer in resolutions. Why? Because I feel like if you want to do something, JUST DO IT (cue the Nike ads). I joined my gym April 12, 2012. I signed up for my first half-marathon in early August. I started seriously budgeting after I bought my car last March. You shouldn’t hold back and wait around for an excuse to do something. I know it’s scary to dive right in sometimes (I’m human, I get nervous starting something new). You can’t go through life wishing to do something, or waiting for an opportunity to improve yourself – you just need to grab life by the cojones and do it. It’s not easy, but if it was – everyone would do it, right?

If you’ve read B & B before, you would know that I am a fairly health and fitness conscious individual. I’ve been asked how I make time to cook healthy meals, and workout 6 days a week – all while working 40+ hours a week. Usually, I try to cushion my PC response to not hurt anyone’s feelings – but I’m just going to say it: you should be taking care of yourself every. single. day. Fitness and healthy living is a lifestyle. You’ve gotta be mentally prepared to commit to it and be consistent with your health and fitness in order to see results. To be honest, I don’t work out and eat healthy because of how it makes me look (although – duh it’s the best “side effect” EVER), I do it because of how it makes me feel. I feel strong, healthy and empowered when I can see what my body can do, and when I feed myself creative, fun and exciting healthy dishes, I know that I am nourishing my temple (yes, so cliche I know) and giving my body the nutrients it needs to go through life. It’s hard work. If you want to look and feel your best – you’ve got to work out, you’ve got to be conscious of what you eat. It’s a job – you’ve gotta buckle down (trust me though, the reward for all this hard work is unreal).

Now, that being said – I’m not perfect. No one is. It’s continuously a work in progress. And I find that it’s hard to accomplish what seems monumental in one sitting. So, I wanted to break it down into little changes I’ve made to my daily routine over the last two and a half years to get me where I am now. It’s not impossible. And, if you’re a resolution lover, or just want some small tweaks to start out with, or are just curious about my daily routine – here we go!

  • Pack your lunch (and your breakfast): This is my number one time saver, and has helped me completely re-vamp my eating habits. I pack my lunch and breakfast (if you need inspiration see my post on overnight oats) every single night. It’s a pain in the ass, and I never look forward to it, but not only does bringing your own lunch from home save calories, it also helps save money. Both your body and your budget will be KILLIN IT.
  • Drink more water: I bought a fun reusable water bottle (shocker, I know – if you’ve read any of my Friday Faves posts you’ll know about my obsession) and keep it on my desk at work. I shoot for drinking two bottles a day – one in the morning, one in the afternoon. And more times than not, I’m downing my second bottle as I put my coat on to leave for the day – but hey, at least I do it! In addition, every night before hitting the hay, I put a huge bottle of water by my bed. The first thing I do everyday upon waking is down it. Unless you wake up a million times during the night and pound water, you’re probably waking up dehydrated. Drinking water first thing helps kick-start your metabolism and tells your body – hey, good morning! – time to do some shiz. Once I started doing this last year, I will never go back – it makes me feel so refreshed and ready for my day. And it’s really, really simple.
  • Eat more vegetables: Just eat as many vegetables as you can every day. You know it’s good for you, so just do it! I’ll help you with this one. 😉
  • Give your pantry a makeover: The key to cooking your way to the picture of health is having your pantry stocked with all the good shiz. Dump your old items for healthy staples (take them to a soup kitchen if possible). Obviously, if you don’t have crap food on hand, you won’t eat it. If there is a bag of tortilla chips, I will sit and eat all of them while I watch bad reality TV – which is exactly why I don’t buy any.
  • Maximize your morning: I am a psycho, so I go to the gym at 5 am five days a week. You do you, but starting your day off on the right foot always helps bring a little brightness to your day. Whatever you’re into – relaxing over coffee, laughing with your kids over breakfast, sweating like a paisano like me at the gym, doing Sun Salutations in a mellow yoga class (or just off a DVD). Just make it count. Oh, and make your bed. It takes like two minutes (and you’ll start your day calm, organized and fresh).
  • Try a new form of fitness: Try something new that will challenge you mentally and physically. Don’t feel limited by fitness classes – I recently got a LivingSocial deal for rock climbing with my gym boo R, and I am so pumped to try it out! One of the first classes I ever tried was a barre class. It made me fall in love with strength training. Since then, I’ve tried every fitness class I can get my hands on. It’s nice to throw something new into your routine that helps you mix it up. Just go for it! 🙂
  • Get up and move yo’ booty: I recently got a fitness tracker as a Christmas gift. Even when I *think* I am being active during the day, I am always surprised when it tells me to get up and move because I’ve been sedentary for the last hour. Get up, walk around, stretch, wave your arms, do jumping jacks in the bathroom – whatever your scene is. Get that blood flowin’. Also helpful – I got a yoga ball chair for my desk and when I’m getting ancy (hello, ADHD!) or am stuck on a problem I literally bounce up and down while I think. I bet my coworkers think I’m craaaaaaay, but it feels great to get moving.
  • Smile: Duh.
  • Be nice to yourself: My dad once told me, “You are your own best friend.” That really stuck with me. You need to treat yourself like you would your bestie – do not be too hard on yourself (we ALL do it!!). We all have days where we wish we could have been a rock star of health, but don’t beat yourself up just because you ditched the gym. Love yourself and your body, even when you’re struggling more than usual. It’s the most important thing you can do. It’s going to be a long life if you don’t love yourself.
  • Stretch it out: This is not always my forte, and is still a work in progress. So, maybe we can all work on stretching more together. No matter if it’s just taking a few minutes after a class/your workout, or really going for it by going to yoga, but focus on stretching more everyday. It helps to improve your posture and keep your muscles healthy by giving them a little extra love.
  • Rest up: Make sleep a priority. Most nights, I go to bed at 9:30 pm. I try to start winding down at 8 pm (yeah, I know how early that sounds), I make sure my lunch and breakfast are packed, my gym bag is packed, my gym outfit for tomorrow is laid out where I can easily grab it and everything is ready for my early “Go Time”. I usually try to wash my face and brush my teeth 20 minutes ahead of when I want to go to bed so I can lay in bed and read/mellow out. Sometimes I’m bad and I watch Netflix (yeah, yeah we aren’t supposed to be looking at the blue light from all our electronic devices) or check my Instagram feed, but I try to at least give myself time to wind down without looking at a screen before sleep.
  • Go outside: Soak up those rays and fresh air. Get your Vitamin D. I find that it helps to reengerize me when I’m flagging. Go for a quick walk at lunch or just step outside and take a breather after work. It makes a world of difference. If you have time on the weekend, go for a hike – or even just a walk around your neighborhood! It gives you perspective when you’re becoming one with nature. 🙂

I think it’s really important to reiterate – we all need to take care of ourselves every day. It’s not easy, we are never going to be perfect, but it really makes a difference in how you view life every day. You really have no idea how liberating, invigorating and sustaining it is to be in charge of your own healthy lifestyle until you’ve found your own happy balance (at least, I know I feel that way – and it’s always a work in progress to maintain that balance). It’s okay to suck at it some days and OWN it other days – we are human, and that is life. It’s okay. Let’s all just do our best. You may surprise yourself at what you are capable of. And you’re not alone – I will be fighting my own (continuous) fight to be healthy and happy, so we can all do it together. If you need a fresh start to do it – the more power to you. Let’s just do it.

And obviously, I will be here to share my journey with you as we go through this life – ups, downs, amazing recipes and kitchen disasters. It’s beautiful and it’s terrible, but we are all in it together.

I believe in the good things coming.

With love,

L