Gym Time = Me Time
One of my favorite ways to clear my mind and decompress any stress that I may be holding is to hit the gym. This is what I like to consider my “me time,” and I make sure this is a priority among the list of other items that fill my agenda. When you are in the middle of a workout, your focus has to be on whatever exercise you are doing in that moment; you don’t have time for the distractions of the day to creep in. This allows you, for even a short time, to set everything else that is going on aside, and work your mind and body in a completely different way. When there is consistency with my workouts, there is an all-around positive impact that spreads across other areas of my life; I want to eat healthier, my sleep is better, time management is much more on point, and my overall productivity at work is so much better. I like to hold myself to the standard of training my body just as hard as I do my business, and this means hustling.
As a former athlete, working out and eating healthy have always been ways of life that I have tried to maintain. Nonetheless, as the years have gone by, I have come to understand that in order to stay fit, healthy, and committed to good eating, this has to be a lifestyle, not just a yo-yo routine as the seasons change throughout the year. I will be the first to admit that establishing any habit to the point that it becomes a lifestyle is no walk in the park. It’s been said that it takes close to 30 days to create a habit, and 60 more days for that habit to become a lifestyle. If you are anything like me, life is busy and my daily schedule is far from consistent, so any habit that I hope to incorporate into my life has to be driven by intentionality. This is where balance has been a game-changer in the midst of (for lack of a better term) organized chaos.
Mix Up Your Routine
For my workout routine, I really like to switch things up based on what I know to be effective for my body. Not only does this keep you from getting bored with your workouts, but it’s always good to keep your body guessing when it comes to seeing progress. Sticking to the exact same routine day in and day out will more often than not lead to a plateau. I am a freak about being strong (weird, I know), so I am intentional about including strength training in my routine. In the past, I’ve worked with strength trainers multiple times a week. For all my ladies out there, it’s so important to understand that in order to lose weight (the right way), you have to strength train with weights. Cardio in moderation is great, but in order to really see toned results, you need to pick up the weight and implement HIIT into your workouts.
I am totally a gym person–and love taking advantage of the free classes offered there–so at-home workouts are tough for me. I have been using the FitON app lately and really really love it because the workouts are challenging but only take 10-25 minutes. For anyone who still likes a good workout, but something not as intense, I highly recommend Bikram Yoga. I’ve definitely gone through my waves of being addicted to this, and would absolutely love to get back into a regular routine of practicing. Finally, on days when I know that I won’t have time to go to the gym, or do a virtual class, I will simply go on a morning walk. On a perfect day (which happens maybe once a week) I walk in the morning with no headphones, just to clear my head and get ready for what that day holds. Regardless of what it looks like, figure out which types of workouts are the most effective for your body, and get into a workout routine!
When it comes to finding balance in eating, I live by the 80/20 rule. Eat clean and healthy 80% of the time, and then allow the other 20% to be made up of smaller indulgences. It is practically impossible to eat clean all day every day, but certainly not 80% of the time. You should see the looks of disbelief on people’s faces when I go to grab a piece of cake or a slice of pizza–which happens to be one of my absolute favorite foods. I remind them that I can have one piece and not feel guilty because I am intentional about eating clean the other 80% of my day. This mindset methodology is super helpful in fulfilling cravings, but still staying in check. We all know that the more you deprive yourself of something you love, the more you think about it, and the more likely you’ll not only give in, but go overboard.
“Through discipline comes freedom.” – Aristotle
Balance, both in workouts and nutrition, is something that I have challenged myself to not only turn into a habit, but a lifestyle. Working out keeps my mind and my body in tip top shape, and clean 80/20 nutrition lets me fuel my body to keep me going, while also not depriving myself of sweet treats every once in a while. What tips, tricks, or practices do you use that help you maintain a healthy balance in life? I would love to hear how you have established habits, and through maintaining those habits, have built foundations for living out healthy lifestyles!