Where are our “9-5 er’s” at?? Ever since graduating college and starting full time jobs, we’ve both had to work at finding some kind of routine. Even more so since we’ve been together. We’ve had to work at finding time to fit in fitness and staying active, eating healthy, and maintaining a healthy relationship.
Graduating college we both loved spending as much time on fitness and health as possible. We didn’t realize how much we would have to adjust starting a 9-5 job that required us to be sitting at desks the majority of the day. We didn’t realize different our schedules would be
Are you Stuck with a 9-5?
In college or high school there’s plenty of time. You can easily fit in going to the gym, eating healthy, and binge watching Netflix or hanging out with your friends (i.e having a social life).
Working a job that requires you to be there from 9-5 leaves you struggling to eat home cooked meals, less “time” for the gym, and the closest thing you have seen to a friend is your starbucks barista.
Today we’re constantly seeing motivation videos like Nike ads telling you to “Just Do It”, and endless commercials for athleisure wear showing working out as something exciting to do. Getting in a good workout is rewarding but more times than not the issue is just getting to the workout. The same issue is with getting the motivation to make a healthy meal or make time for your friends.
As boring as it is, consistency is the key to fitness and your health. If having one salad doesn’t make you healthy, then we’re sure you understand that no crazy workout you do once will get you in shape. It’s about consistency.
We thought it would be helpful to share more about our current healthy lifestyle with working, provide some advice and any prior trials and tribulations.
Fitting in Your Workout
When we started our working lives we weren’t together yet and consequently, we took very different approaches to fitting in a workout. Tiffany would get up at 4am to go to the gym 5 days a week and Matt would walk to the gym after work. Neither of these approaches ended up being sustainable for us. Tiffany would fall asleep during work and Matt would sometimes end up lacking the motivation to go to the gym or end up not having enough time due to getting out of work late.
This led us to where we are today.
We still get crazy looks from people when we tell them how early we get up to workout but this is what works for us now and that’s all that matters. Three or four times a week we get up at 4:45am to be at the gym by 5:15am. This allows us to get in an efficient hour workout and be home in time to shower, have coffee and get ready to go to the train. Again, this is what works for us. This allows us to get our workout checked off in the morning so we aren’t stressed about getting to the gym after work and can spend some quality time together.
Our routine doesn’t need to be yours. We tell you our routine to make it known that no matter the schedule you have, you can find some time to fit in a quick workout. It doesn’t even need to be at the gym for an hour like we do. It could just be an at home workout for a half hour, a jog around the block, or some type of fitness class. Just drop the excuses, find some time, and commit to it!
Get Your Z’s
This brings us to sleep. If we’re going to wake up so early in the morning, how do we make sure we’re getting enough sleep? To be honest, this is something we are still working on. We aim to be sleeping by 10pm each night to try to get at least 6 hours of sleep but we aren’t close to perfect on this.
Right now we get home between six and seven. This doesn’t give us much time to spend time together (between eating and chores). This lack of a lot of free time ends up cutting into our sleep time but it’s a work in progress.
It hasn’t been until recently that Tiffany has joined the bandwagon that sleep is important. For a while (as can be told by her 4am wake up calls) she believed she didn’t need sleep. Matt always said how he relied heavily on sleep and there were many arguments over whether or not an hour or two made a difference. Our bodies need sleep. Since we’ve made an effort to sleep more, we’re experiencing better moods, less fighting and less bloating. So be sure to get your sleep in order to be able to do everything else!
Making Time to Eat Healthy
If we need to make time for sleep then how do we also make time to eat healthy?
When it comes to eating, we took the same approach since starting our 9-5’s. The easiest and (in our opinion) the only way to stay on track is to prepare your food on the weekends. Sure, it can get boring eating the same foods day in and day out but if that means staying on track, and less stress then we’re all about it.
We take about three or four hours on the weekend to make sure everything we need for the week is made. We package lunches individually, pack up our snacks (currently fruit and chia seeds), and package meats and veggies separately for dinner. This saves us hours and calories each week. Because of this, we’re able to have more time to spend with each other. We also can stick to eating healthy foods every meal.
With this comes questions and judgement. Because the majority of Americans struggle to eat healthy, the first question that comes is how do you do it? Then comes the judgement when you don’t want to eat the treats that people bring into work. You almost feel shunned. One of the biggest things we have worked on and gotten to is not caring what other people think. What we do works for us and again, that’s all that matters.
We encourage everyone to prepare their meals in advance, we promise it makes a world of a difference.
Keep Moving During Work
One of our top pieces of advice is to stand up and move around as much as you can.
Because we both bring our lunches to work, there’s no real need to take a lunch break. Instead on our lunch break, we make sure to get out and take a walk. It helps take our eyes away from the computer and allows us to get some fresh air.
You can invite your coworkers to sit down for lunch or go on your walk with you if you are looking for something social during work. Having someone else to do it with will help keep you honest and even excited about being healthy.
Matt just tried adding in something called the Pomodoro Effect where you work 25 minutes on, 5 minutes off for three cycles, and on the fourth cycle you take a longer 15- 25 minute breaks. This helps you focus your day into more productive blocks. It also gives you scheduled moments to get up and take a quick walk to fill up your water or just move.
It may not seem like a lot but standing for 3 hours a day is the equivalent of running 10 marathons a year. The little sustainable things that you can add to your day add up to make meaningful changes in your day. So if you have a standing desk use it as much as you can. If not, try to get up as much as possible.
Keeping our Relationship and Friends in Mind
In our opinion, the only way to be able to make time for your relationship and friends is by taking the time up front for yourself. We do that through all of the ways above. By preparing our food, getting to the gym, keeping moving, and most importantly sleeping we have the energy to focus on us as a couple and any friends that we have. We aren’t left with the stress of doing those “healthy” things and therefore can enjoy other things.
Where to go from Here
Some people think that by living a healthy life (and fitting it in with a 9-5) we don’t have fun then. But that couldn’t be more untrue. Being healthy is fun for us. We love the gym and love finding new ways to get moving. We even love to try new healthy recipes.
So where do you start? You just start. Do what you need to do for yourself to get to a place where you feel healthy. Remember, there’s no such thing as not having time. Instead of spending those hours at the spend, spend a few of them in the kitchen and in the gym. Once you make it a habit it’ll get easier we promise!