Nutrition | POSTED November 30, 2022
How to Squeeze Healthy into Your Busy Schedule
Everyone wants to be healthy, but squeezing healthy into your busy schedule can be a challenge. In our previous blog, we spoke about some strategies that you can implement to improve your health. These included simple food and drink swaps, increasing your daily water intake, getting in your two servings of fruit and three servings of veggies each day, improving your quantity (and quality) of sleep, and increasing your activity levels. In this blog, I’ll cover how I implement healthy strategies into my busy schedule each week.
Whilst we all have 24 hours each day, we don’t have the same 24 hours. Sure, the measurement of time is a common denominator amongst us all, but the ability of what we can do do with that time varies drastically between people based on many factors, including ones we can’t control. In saying that, we do have the ability to determine our healthy non-negotiables for week, and do whatever you need to tick them off – whether it’s writing them down, adding them to your calendar, or even setting yourself little reminders.
My healthy non-negotiables for the week are:
- Training: complete 4 x strength training sessions per week
- Physical Activity: reach an average of 8,000 steps per day (56,000 per week)
- Nutrition: plan my meals for the week
- Sleep: get to bed on time
It should come as no surprise that ticking off my strength training sessions for the week is high on my list of priorities. I am currently training 4 times per week, and I schedule those training sessions into my calendar as if they were an appointment with a client (or my hairdresser)!
I have a coach who writes my training program for me, which not only means I don’t need to worry about writing it myself, but I also get an objective input into things like exercise selection, intensity and volume. It’s not uncommon for me to train at a few different locations throughout the week, so I keep my gym bag in the boot of the car so I am ready to train on the run.
Below is a screenshot my Google Calendar for the week. I colour code my calendar as follows:
- Yellow: client appointments
- Light grey: breakfast and/or lunch
- Dark grey: training or physical activity (like walking the dogs)
- Green: Ivy Training content (like writing this blog)
- Blue: other adhoc work commitments
- Pink: personal commitments (like appointments with my hairdresser)
As you can see, I had “Training” scheduled in today between 1pm and 2pm. Scheduling in your training sessions like an appointment gives it priority, and will mean you’re less likely to miss sessions.
Before you think, “Doesn’t training count as physical activity?!” Yes, it absolutely does. However, here I am referring to other forms of physical activity, and in my case it’s walking and monitoring my step count.
I give myself an average daily target of 8,000 steps each day, or 56,000 steps across the week. Thanks to a combination of running around the studio after my wonderful clients and taking my gorgeous Frenchies for walks, I usually hit my 56,000 steps by Friday or Saturday and will often have a complete rest day on Sunday. It’s all about balance!
Below is a screenshot of my Health app on my Apple iPhone, and you can see that I’ve hit an average of 10,565 steps each day this week so far, and I’ll head out for a walk before dinner this evening to get today’s steps a bit higher. My yearly average is sitting at 8,704 each day – can you tell which month I got struck with COVID? If it wasn’t for that my average would likely be a tad higher. I track my steps with my nifty Apple Watch, but you can also use your smartphone or other activity tracker.
How I structure my diet for the week depends on what my current body composition goals are. At the moment, I have the aim of maintaining my body weight and composition. My approach is tracking my dietary intake Monday to Friday (eating in a slight calorie deficit to offset my intake on Saturday and Sunday) and enjoying meals out with family and friends over the weekend.
During the week, each day I aim to:
- Have 4 meals spread approx. 4 hours apart
- Eat approx. 140g protein
- Eat 2 servings of fruit
- Eat 3 servings of vegetables
- Have dessert (even if it’s a 79kcal Paddle Pop – I love a little treat at the end of the day!)
To make life a bit easier, my husband and I order meals each week from Vic’s Gourmet Gains. Her meals are home cooked, taste delicious and are a great source of protein and vegetables. My pantry is always stocked up at home and the studio with nutritious options so I am not left stuck without my next bite to eat.
Whether you’re cooking for yourself or are using a meal prep company like me, having your meals prepped and ready at the start of the week is a good way to ensure you’re squeezing healthy into your busy schedule.
Okay, so sleep is something that I struggle with at times during the week. My quality of sleep is awesome, I just struggle with quantity – especially on nights that I don’t get home from the studio until 7:30pm.
From Tuesday to Friday, my alarm wakes me up at 4:00am. In order to get an 8 hour sleep, I would need to be sweet dreaming at 8:00pm. As much as I’d love that to happen, it’s just not feasible with my current schedule. So, I settle for the next best thing – a 9:00pm bedtime for a 7 hour sleep. To help me get to bed on time, I have an alarm that beeps at 8:30pm each weeknight telling me to get my butt to bed. Sometimes I listen to it, and other times I ignore it (when I know I shouldn’t)!
As you can see from the screenshots below, I have been aiming to get ready for bed at 8:30pm, however my average sleep time is 6 hours and 4 minutes this week. It could absolutely be better, and it’s something that I am working on improving. Let me know if you have any tips!