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