How to Stay Healthy with a Busy Lifestyle
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That so-busy-I-barely-have-time-to-breathe feeling can be good and bad. On one hand, it means you’re working hard, getting things done, and enjoying a booming social life. On the other hand, it can be draining at times — and it can make it challenging to stick to your healthy habits.
It’s a common misconception that healthy living takes a ton of extra time and effort. But a busy schedule and a healthy lifestyle don’t have to be mutually exclusive. With a little bit of prep work and some creative workout options, you can find room for your health goals even on the most jam-packed day.
“Prioritizing health with a busy lifestyle is paramount,” says Rough Around The Edges trainer Michelle Jubilee. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a CEO or a stunt performer, a teacher or a community volunteer — in order to perform well, you need to be in optimal health.”
Here are some tips for staying healthy, active, and rested so you can continue kicking butt and taking names, even with the craziest of schedules.
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How to Commit to Healthy Eating When You’re Busy
On hectic days, your healthy eating plan can get lost in the shuffle. Before you know it, you’re grabbing fast food on the way home from work, or snacking on whatever you can find in the vending machine, or eating chips for “dinner” because you’re too tired to cook. But you can keep busy days from disrupting your healthy meal plan — here’s how.
1. Stock your fridge with healthy options.
“The best tip I have is to stock up with a good grocery run to keep you stocked with options throughout the week,” Jubilee says. With items like fresh fruit, hard-boiled eggs, a roasted chicken, and frozen veggies at your disposal, you can whip up a healthy meal without much thought.
2. Keep pre-made snacks on hand.
“I always have some fresh fruit ready to grab and go,” Jubilee says. “My favorites are tangerines — just enough fructose to get my sugar levels up and recharged to keep me going.”
A few of Jubilee’s other favorite snacks on-the-go: a serving of almonds, an apple, a mozzarella cheese stick, a LADDER Whey Protein shake, or hard-boiled eggs.
3. Have a game plan for restaurants.
On the menu, look for options with fresh ingredients and a balance of lean protein, whole grains, and veggies. “For instance, if I see fresh wild-caught salmon on a bed of rice with veggies, then that’s a really balanced meal with good simple ingredients,” Jubilee says. “I’ll also check the salad selection for an interesting combo of ingredients — like a strawberry, kale, almond, and goat cheese salad.”
4. Indulge in moderation.
When your schedule is packed with work parties, events, and social gatherings, you may feel like you’ll be missing out on all the fun if you stick to your healthy eating plan. But that’s not true — you can allow yourself to enjoy some party food without going overboard, Jubilee says. Just find the balance — have one mojito instead of three, or dip red peppers in the buffalo chicken dip instead of crackers — and then get right back on-track at the next meal.
How to Squeeze a Workout Into Your Crazy Schedule
When you’re in a time crunch, it’s tempting to free up some time by nixing your workout. But it’s important to make staying active — and not just running from meeting to meeting! — a priority. Here’s how to find time to work out on busy days.
1. Take advantage of online workout programs.
Whether you’re stuck at a hotel on a business trip or just trying to squeeze in a workout in before your kids wake up, a streaming workout lets you do a full workout whenever you have a few spare minutes.
When she’s pressed for time, Jubilee likes doing the high-intensity workouts she created for Rough Around The Edges. “It’s such an intense total-body workout,” Jubilee says. “I like to play a game and shorten the rest periods and push myself really hard to beat the clock.”
2. Invest in the right products.
Sometimes it’s good to throw a little money at a problem — like springing for some time-saving workout gear that can help you stay on-track no matter what your schedule is. Walk on a treadmill desk while doing paperwork or checking email, or pack travel-friendly fitness equipment so you can stay active when you’re on the road.
3. Combine social time with exercise.
When you have a rare moment of free time, you don’t have to choose between fitness and spending quality time with loved ones — you can combine the two! Get your family out and about for some fitness-focused bonding activities, or plan an active date night with your significant other. You’ll stay on-track and encourage the people you love most to get moving — a win-win for everyone.
How to Maintain Wellness When Life Is Hectic
Staying healthy isn’t just about sticking to your weight-loss goals — it’s also important to maintain your overall health when you’re super-busy. Here are two simple tips that can help.
1. Clear your mind.
Can’t sleep because your mind is spinning with all the things you need to do tomorrow? “If I’m restless, I’ll make a list and prioritize everything I need to address first thing in the morning,” Jubilee says. “Then the stuff that’s taking up space in my head is neatly organized on paper.”
If that doesn’t work, Jubilee allows herself a few minutes for meditation: “Instead of fighting insomnia, I’ll sit up in bed and say, ‘Okay, I’m going to use this restless energy and redirect it to something productive,” she says. “I’ll set a timer for 20 minutes and meditate. After that, I’m so much more relaxed, and I can manage to get those last few hours of sleep before my alarm goes off.”
2. Make sleep a priority.
We can’t stress this one enough. When you’re overworked and overwhelmed, you may want to burn the midnight oil to catch up — but sleep is important to every aspect of your health.
Lack of sleep can cause levels of the stress hormone cortisol to spike, which has been linked to higher levels of abdominal fat. And getting enough sleep can help restore your body’s overall well-being and prevent burnout, which is extra-important when you’re trying to keep up with a busy schedule.
To improve your sleep quality after a hectic day, power down your tech an hour or two before bedtime — the blue light from screens can disrupt your sleep patterns. It can be hard to resist the urge to check your phone (or check one last thing off your to-do list) before you doze off — but no matter how busy you are, it’s vital to make room in your schedule for a good night’s sleep.