Of all of the questions that slide into my DMs on a daily basis – from “What’s your favorite nut butter?” (Trader Joe’s crunchy peanut butter with chia and flax) to “How many calories do you eat?” (Enough to sustain me, I took a hiatus from tracking caloric intake and eat intuitively) – by far the most frequently asked is: “How do you fit it all in?” Where I interpret “it” to mean the combination of things that make up the foundation of my life including fitness, nutrition, fiance & family & friends, puppy, nine-to-five, and plentiful sleep.
The number one response to a lack of health & fitness routine in a person’s life? TIME. So how do I (just one example of thousands of success stories) find the time? I make it.
It’s true that, after 2 years of what I’d consider successfully sustaining a radical lifestyle change, I’m bound to have some tips n’ tricks up my sleeve. I’ve lived, I’ve lifted, and I’ve sure as hell learned – but it would be unfair of me to assume that what works for me will infallibly work for you (I’ll be honest, I can’t speak to life with children or working night shifts). Hell, I’m still living, lifting, and learning every single minute of every single day. Practices that I relied on just a few months ago (read: counting macros), don’t serve me today. It’s that vulnerability that fuels my content and makes fitlicity what it is: an IRL, in-real-time account of one gal navigating a nutritious, active lifestyle.
Disclaimer aside, holistic health does not only exist in dreams – perched on a gilded aspirational pedestal. Take it from me, it’s attainable! It really can be done, day after day, without sacrificing, or spending a fortune. At your (super-tight 😉 ) core there is only ONE thing you need to do to achieve it: you need to view it as priority. Let this one sink in: if you can commit to consistently prioritizing the practices that contribute to health and fitness in your life, you will find the appropriate time for them. Now, it’s not to say that dietary preferences and exercise routines will always and should always be absolute priority. To set a standard as such is unrealistic and will simply lead to burnout and failure. As I’m writing this, I want to be careful to communicate that it’s not ALL (nutrition and fitness) and NOTHING (social life, family, career), but an always ebbing, always flowing give and take and compromise. I’m going to be blunt with you if only for one sentence: if you can not get your whole booty behind the value that nutrition and fitness and your version of self care and self preservation hold in your life, in whatever capacity it may occupy and in whatever practice it may present, you won’t be able to rationalize the energy and dedication needed to implement your plan. Don’t get me wrong, you won’t always be able to “do it all,” but you’re going to do your damn best to try.
So now, let me ask you:
What do me, you, and Beyonce have in common?
We have the same amount of hours in the day, baby. 1440 minutes of precious time, and how we spend it is entirely up to us.
Secondary disclaimer: this post will be accompanied by Beyonce GIFs and Beyonce GIFs only.
Wake Up & Smell the Routine…
Life inherently throws enough things at us everyday to keep us on our toes, let’s give ourselves something nice n’ sturdy to balance on, okay? Keep in mind, routines are meant to help you maximize your lifestyle, not stifle or limit you in any way. They are guidelines, not rules, and the best of ’em account and allow for flexibility.
- Start by ranking all of the things you have to do in an average day.
- Then, make a separate list of all the things you want to do in an average day.
- For items that require hard time commitments, assign them and arrange them into an hourly calendar.
- Fill in your extras, and honor those commitments!
Here’s an average week-day for me:
And, some of the honest ways I maximize my time:
- Air-dry my hair by rolling my windows down during my commute
- Call my Momma during my walk with Genny
- Be proactive about household tasks while dinner roasts (fold laundry, clean dishes, pack meals)
- Craft Instagram content during Meal 1
- Dinner time = quality time with Moses
- Stretching time = unplugged time
Move Your Body!
If you follow along with me @fitlicity, you know I start my morning with a little dance in my workout clothes. Despite what you might think, I don’t just “do it for the gram.” 😉 Whether or not you’re a morning workout machine, getting the blood flowing to your body with some intentional, positive movement is proven to kick-start energy and endorphins. Get loose and don’t take yourself so seriously – even if just for one private moment. This mentality will break down unrealistic expectations and start your day off on a proactive note.
Speaking of which…
When should I exercise?
The majority of my fitness routine and balancing-act sorcery 😉 happens before 8 am. Here’s what I know about myself: I perform better in the morning. Whether its a CrossFit WOD or a work deadline, morning is my time to thrive. I’m more motivated, more creative, and more energized.
This part takes some trial and error (failed box jumps, anyone?) and self-discovery. There’s no formula to determine if you’re more of a rise and grind kinda gal or a p.m. powerhouse, and even more relevant, there’s no “better” time to exercise! The best time to exercise is a combination of when you enjoy it most and when you perform your best.
Pro-tip: If you’re looking to maximize fitness time, HIIT it hard! Short, maximum effort workouts lasting even just 15-20 minutes are equally as effective as long, steady state exercise. Even better, they can often be done right in your home to eliminate travel time!
Food is fuel, my friends. For the body, the mind, and yes, even the soul. It’s important to remember that food is more than just calories, it’s information. Every bite we eat contains messages that communicate to every cell in the body, from energy levels and mental clarity, to stamina and strength, to sickness and health. One of the simplest ways to prime your body and mind for a productive day is with robust, nutrient dense meals complete with protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats. The right ratio of macronutrients controls blood sugar levels (no more afternoon slump), contributes to mental and physical performance, and helps regulates sleep.
I don’t have time to cook!
First things first, yes, you do! You just have to identify it, and label it with a big ol’ non-negotiable sticker. My favorite approach to time-saving cooking? You guessed it… Meal Prep! I’ve given meal prep numerous mentions before (even went so far as to attribute it life-saving status) and I’ll preach it ’til my dying day: meal prep is essential to navigating nutrition with ease. Whether it’s a marathon sesh on Sunday or small batch prep throughout the week, there are countless ways to prepare your meals in a way that maximizes your time and supports your schedule. If I had to choose between a workout or prep (and I’ve been faced with this decision before) I would roll up my sleeves up in the kitchen before getting my sweat on in the gym. That’s how powerful and integral to my success it is. However, if meal prep really, really isn’t your thing, there are a ton of nutrient-dense recipes that go from fridge to plate in under 30 minutes. Let the sheet pan and the oven become your BFFs for convenient cooking and check my Instagram for inspo daily, because this is totally how I roll!
How often do you find yourself mindlessly scrolling the screen, avoiding the ever-growing list of tedious tasks in your brain. You’re not alone, this is so me. But what I’ve come to realize is that even if I don’t want to do something, it’s gotta get done! Such is life, my friends (#adulting). Trust me, future you will thank present you for getting your butt up off the couch to make shit happen, from folding laundry to filing forms. Most times, these little to-dos can be completed in just 5 minutes every day, instead of amassing into 5 hours.
Isn’t “Me-Time” important, too?
I am so glad you asked because yes, it is! Prioritizing and honoring time to decompress regularly is essential, and it’s not always easy! True self care takes just as much commitment as getting a workout in. But ask yourself, is mindlessly scrolling for hours on end really self care or is it a distraction from something more beneficial? Sure, I love to watch “IG-TV” (aka Instagram stories 😉 ) but I can be more productive by actively participating and using that time to simultaneously stretch (I actually prefer to unplug during this time, but it may work for you!), cook, clean the dishes, etc. And then, carve out some real-deal intentional self-care time however you like to spend it (meditation, walking, stretching, reading).
Here’s the deal. We all have time, what differentiates us is how we choose to spend it. Know that you are worth it. On the days this lifestyle feels like second nature and on the days it takes everything in you, you are worth it.