The Busy Girl's Rule Book: A 10-Step Guide To Staying Fit
It’s no secret that we’re a generation seriously lacking in time—not to mention sanity. We are overworked, underpaid... and clearly unappreciated (women and girls even more so). #Facts.
Wake up, dress, eat, (if you’re lucky), go to work, eat, sleep (again, if you’re lucky)—repeat. That’s the life we’re expected to lead and be satisfied with because, what? We’re young? We have no experience? We’re supposed to slave the day away using our tech-savvy ways for X corporation making pennies per hour because we’re newly minted off the college train (or not) and new inductees into the school of life. That’s the beaten path our parents and grandparents may have followed blindly because when they were growing up—a time when expectations were high and opportunities were few. On that, we call BS.
But enough baby-boomer bashing. That could take hours (jk…if you even know what that means, but you know we love you!)—a precious commodity none of us have. From person to person, generation to generation, that much hasn’t changed. No, you’re not seeing things—that’s us rolling our eyes. What has changed is our willingness to put ourselves first and focus on not just survival, but on quality of life. Darn it, we’ll have our cake, eat it too, and exercise to burn it off immediately after.
Don’t hate. You’re only playing yourself and wasting time that way, because you can do it too.
Let’s get one thing straight: making time to take care of your body is NOT selfish. It is necessary not only for you, but for all of the people who need you. It’s necessary for the world, which WILL be a different place without you in it. So, we’ve completed a public service (because we’re just that awesome) and created a 10-step guide to help prioritize your health, fitness, happiness and all the other things in life being held hostage in today’s world by “the man.” (Yeah, we don’t know who he is either—we just know he’s doing the work of the devil).
We stand by them. Who said life doesn’t come with a set of instructions?
Rule #1 ABC - Always Be Carrying (Your Workout Gear)
The cardinal rule of life: you never know where the day will take you. How many times has this happened to you?
Karma smiles on you and your boss lets you out of work early. You FINALLY have a chance to get to the gym at a decent time, and it’s right near the menial labor camp otherwise known as your 9 to 5. But you’re unprepared. Do you A) go all the way back home to grab your gear and come all the way back (thereby defeating the personal win you scored by leaving early), or do you B) skip the gym altogether because it’s no longer worth it? There goes your only chance to work in some cardio today. Excuses, excuses—but totally understandable. So, the next time you even THINK you’ll have the opportunity for a dash (or even if you don’t) carrying a properly organized bag of gym clothes, water bottle, towels, deodorant, dry shampoo and your favorite kicks (did somebody say Fenty X Puma?!) will guarantee you a chance to sneak in a quick sweat session wherever, whenever. Crisis averted. No more excuses.
Rule #2 Bring The Gym To Your Home
OK, so we’re not expecting a leopard to change its spots over night with that first rule. And the goal of the guide is to do what works for YOU. We’re talking about your body, after all. If you prefer not to be saddled down with your workout gear throughout the day or if you’re feelin’ yourself that day and are just far too fabulous for the gym that day, you can always workout in the comfort and privacy of your own space. And it doesn’t have to be anything over the top. Sure, you can bring in a tread mill or elliptical— but resistance bands, yoga mats, weights, pilates ball or downloading your fave fitness app can be just as effective, no equipment required!
Rule #3 Catch Those ZZZZZs
Health experts suggest that on average, young adults need at least seven to nine hours of sleep daily to perform to their fullest the following day. Stop laughing. We know you don’t get that much sleep, and neither do we. But can we at least try to turn into bed sometime before 2 AM knowing we have to be up by 8 the next day? Anything less than 6 hours a night on an ongoing basis will send you spiraling into the hole of a massive sleep debt collections agency that will collect from you in other ways (eg prematurely aging skin). Don’t let that frighten you—unless it forces you to get that extra hour of sleep, then by all means, be very afraid. Insert sinister laugh here. In all seriousness though, reaching your sleep goals for the night will do more than improve your appearance; it will improve your outlook on life, regulate your metabolism and keep the systems of your body working smoothly. If you’re having trouble in any of these areas, look no further than your own bed.
Rule #4 Do More Of What You Love
Life doesn’t have to be approved by Rihanna—it’s far more than just #workworkwork, and of your boss doesn’t understand that, you don’t want to work for her anyway. That may sound obvious, but if you were to ask a group of women about the last time they went on vacation or even took a personal day, many wouldn’t remember. Whether it’s reading a good book, going for a run, treating yourself to a spa day or hanging out with your besties, do something for you. Your body will thank you, and hint: it will come in handy for Rule #8.
Rule #5 Go Off The Grid
Nothing makes us more miserable, or delays our own progress more than when we’re comparing ourselves to other people. The internet is lethal when it comes to this because it allows us to make those comparisons without even realizing until it’s too late. You start to think—what does it matter if I exercise or not? I’ll never look like (insert name of fave model here). Oh, I can have that extra donut of so-and-sos having it. Well, you’re not so-and-so—and because we’re coming dangerously close to sounding like our mothers, we’ll leave this one right here.
Rule #6 Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!
Didn’t we already cover this? Seriously, go hydrate yourself—then we can talk.
Rule #7 Meal Prep
Wait, you expect me to actually prepare my own food? Short answer: yes. Long answer: yes. Before you start spinning, think about how much money you spend in a month on greasy takeout. Now, cut that in half. That is about what you would spend if you created the meals you like yourself. Same goes for the number of calories you consume as well, because preparing your own meals will give you a better idea of how much you can eat—no more shoving extra helpings of pasta into your face just because it’s there. But you don’t have time, we know. But, allowing Rule #10 to be guiding light on this, set aside some time each week to prepare ALL your meals for the week… and freeze the ones you won’t get to until later in the week. Head into your kitchen—if you remember where it is. ;)
Rule #8 Reflect On Your Day
Journaling can be a pain when you’ve had a crappy day. It’s even worse when you’ve had a string of crappy days because you’re not feeding your soul with things you love. But when you have done them, reflecting back on the day right before going to bed is a good way to check in with yourself, see where you are and set new goals. It can also be a time to write down positive affirmations, and let go of any negativity that has weighed you down throughout the day. Think of it as the ultimate detox regimen—100% custom.
Rule #9 Stay Flexible
Literally. You may not have time for a hardcore workout session over the course of your day, but making time to stretch those muscles will ensure that you don’t lose any flexibility in between periods of exercise. In addition to keeping you limber, certain stretch positions (eg: like the ones in a vinyasa yoga flow) actually strengthen and tighten muscles (in a good way) when performed over a long period of time. So, the next time you’re running woefully behind schedule and just can’t eke out enough time to make a cardio blast worthwhile, don’t sweat it. Take a few minutes for a deep stretch, and count yourself ahead.
Rule #10 Write. It. Down.
There is nothing a strong-willed woman can’t do when she has a mind to it. No matter how busy our schedules may be, there is always a little room for the things that truly matter if we plan ahead, and a plan is always more effective when it’s written it down. On paper. Not only does it aid in memory retention for those days we’ve just got too much going on in our pretty heads, it is now so much easier to refer back to what you can’t remember, technology be damned. Because there WILL be a quiz later. It’s called life.
And no, this article was not sponsored by Rihanna.