So I’ve been asked to share my tips with my challengers who are having a hard time trying to balance life, kids, work, and staying on track with their workouts and meals.
Since graduating from high school, I’ve been in college full time with a part time job or solely worked full time. My son was born while I was still in college and then I joined the workforce as an Accountant full time for 9 years following graduation so I understand how crazy busy life can get. Add in a second child and my life was pretty chaotic.
In 2009/2010 I started getting into health and fitness. With my colitis diagnosis, eating healthy and working out was becoming more of a priority of mine. I was always active and I loved to work out but I knew nothing about nutrition.
I started following some fitness bloggers online and bought a nutrition plan. My mornings started at 6am and I was out of the house by 6:45/7am to drop kids off at school/daycare and head to work. I worked until 4pm and then by the time I was picking the kids up from after school care/daycare I wasn’t getting home until 5:30/6pm. Add after work activities to that and now we’re talking 7pm.
I knew that I NEEDED to fit my workout in at some point and if I waited until I could finally get to it, it would be 8 or 9pm and I would be too tired for it. I was very fortunate to have had access to a gym at my work and an hour lunch break but on days when I couldn’t take a lunch or I was doing double workouts, I would need to figure out how I was going to get it done.
Someone told me to set my alarm for 30 minutes before I actually had to be awake so I could get my workout done in the morning. I tried that but after many attempts, the snooze button always won. I decided to set it for 45 minutes earlier than the time I would need to be up which was 5:15. Now I had 15 minutes to hit the snooze button which was enough for me. After hitting it for 15 minutes, I felt awake enough to get up and get my workout in. The important thing here is that you need to have your workout picked out the night before. This is when I really started working out at home. I KNEW I coudln’t make it to the gym at that time and then get back, get the kids ready for their day and head to work so I turned to home workout DVDs. I would put my workout disc in the DVD player and it would be ready to go in the morning. If I needed weights, those would be out and ready to go. I also packed my gym back the night before for my workout that I would be doing on my hour lunch break. At this time I was going out for a run with some co workers so I would make sure I packed my clothes and my running sneakers – easy enough right? Some days I was crazy and would drive to work early to get a workout in before work started but this was only if work opened late for some reason which wasn’t very often. I also brought my workout DVDs to work so that I could workout with my co workers. Our favs were Insanity and T-25 (what can we say? we love us some Shaun T!)
Now that I had my workout situation figured out, I needed to figure out my meals. Gone were the days where I would eat less and workout more. I learned that I actually needed to fuel my body with the right foods if I was going to see results that would last. This required a little work, I won’t lie about that. I used to have Peapod deliver our groceries on Saturday morning (we’ve moved on to Monday nights now that I am home during the week) so I would need to have my meals for the week planned out and my grocery list entered by Thursday night. Sunday would be my meal prep day. When I created my meal plan I would alternate days. This made my life much easier but still allowed me to have some variety so I wouldn’t get tired of eating the same things. I created a calendar in Excel or google sheets and would create columns for M,W,F and T, TH. Saturday and Sunday were left over days so I would choose meals that I knew I still had left from the week or I would go off track a little and allow for a treat here and there. This all depended on what program I was doing at the time.
This is an example of the kind of meal plan I would create. This was one I made when I was following the 21 Day Fix Extreme so the days were a little different. I wasn’t following a M,W,F and T,TH schedule with this program because that wasn’t how their meal plan was set up but with any other program that’s how I would set it up. This way I was saving on my grocery bill by buying in bulk and using similar ingredients. I would even use similar ingredients and turn a recipe into a kid friendly one for the entire family. Turkey meatloaf was a family favorite so I didn’t need to make separate meals that day but I did make regular potatoes for the family and I had a sweet potato. I tried to find recipes that aligned with my goals and I knew my kids would eat too. My husband isn’t very picky so he pretty much ate what I did but would add an extra carb in if needed.
When you meal plan ahead of time and create your plan in a spreadsheet like this you are more apt to stay on track. When I was working out of the house, I would pack my meals in tupperware containers. I made protein pancakes and covered them with aluminum foil until I got to work. At work I would heat them up and then put pb or pure maple syrup on them and eat them at my desk. Cooler bags work wonders for taking your meals with you and if your work has a refrigerator like mine did you can easily store your meals. It takes a little getting used to but I promise it gets easier and you learn what your family favorite meals are so it eventually saves you A LOT of time and brings you closer to your goals which is the entire purpose of this right?
Pinterest is a GREAT place to pin your favorite recipes. You can create kid friendly boards and all kinds of things that will be a very nice resource when you’re going to create your weekly meal plan 🙂
I hope this helped out and if you have any questions or want more examples be sure to let me know. I am always looking for content that would be useful for you 🙂