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As a mother of four, caretaker of an elderly parent and full-time professional, staying fit has been a challenge for myself and my family. And did I mention turning 46 doesn’t make it any easier? Luckily not all has been lost! In my family, we set an intention to keep our health a priority and focal point—no matter how busy life gets.
So, how do you balance a hectic schedule and your health goals? By creating a plan. It sounds cliché, but the saying is true, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”
Here are five (very realistic) tips my family and I use to stay happy and healthy:
Meal Planning - Confession: I hated the idea of planning weekly meals and cooking for the week. The thought of sitting at my computer or picking meals on my phone was not a task I looked forward to. When I took the time to plan meals for the week, not only does it help our routine flow better as a family, it makes grocery shopping easier, and we save a ton of money not eating out as much. Stuck on where to find fresh recipes? I get my inspiration from Pinterest and use the app Plan To Eat to ensure healthy, tasty meals are always at our disposal.
Managing Snacking - Eating unhealthy snacks can decimate any healthy food plan and sabotage your efforts to stay fit. Adding dried fruits, nuts, and other vegetables into my family’s food routine helps to manage cravings and can appease my hungry kids’ appetite until the next meal. Having my whole family decide on healthy snacks ensures junk food won’t creep into the refrigerator or pantry—and it’s a fun activity that gets everyone involved!
Prioritizing Exercise - The benefits of getting fit go far beyond just staying in shape. Not only can exercise be done anywhere and with the entire family, but it also gives you a chance to reconnect. My kids and I take walks when they come home from school, and we discuss their day while getting a workout. A little extra afternoon cardio always brightens our moods, even after a long day.
Being Accountable - The definition of accountability is “the obligation of an individual or organization to account for his or her activities and accept responsibility for them.” Having a family workout regimen or eating plan creates a built-in accountability system for myself and all members of my household to adhere to. We become responsible for and support each other’s wellness. Having someone to keep you on track when you fall off your fitness path is always beneficial.
Getting Enough Sleep - Getting necessary shuteye is probably one of the most overlooked keys to staying fit and healthy. In this digital age of computers, tablets, mobile devices, etc., sometimes we find ourselves getting much less sleep than we need for our bodies to properly function. Lack of sleep leads to overeating and tiredness which can destroy your goal of maintaining health. For my family, I make time to “disconnect” before bed. Whether it’s reading or talking, detaching from screens helps to strengthen our bond as a family—making us healthier and happier.
No matter how busy life can be, it’s important to remember that what you make a priority will help you succeed, especially when it comes to your (and your family’s) well-being.
That’s something I never expected to hear. Think about it: we join gyms and studios because of their equipment, instructors, space, community (and AC, of course). But who’s to say we can’t get all that—or at least most of it—with virtual and online classes, too? In this new wave of wellness, we’re all switching up our fitness routines as we switch up our everyday schedules and habits. It’s not just in-studio or at-home anymore. It’s in-studio, at-home, at the park, beach, parking lot, rooftop...virtual, hybrid, Instagram Live, online, on-demand, and so much more. As we’re adapting, adjusting, finding our groove, etc., online gym memberships enter the fray. Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?
There are tons of benefits to an online gym membership, especially right now.
Let’s break this down:
1. Scheduling convenience
A virtual/online gym fitness membership is a monthly subscription that gives you access to tons of live stream fitness classes you can take anywhere, from studios across the globe. These fitness studios offer tons of at-home workouts, group exercise, and one-on-one training sessions to choose from, no matter your exercise program or fitness level. With so many options, it’s easy to find one that fits your schedule. Whether you want to fit in a morning flow before work, combat that afternoon slump with some cardio, squeeze in some strength training before dinner, or wind down with an evening barre class, you can pick and choose classes to fit your fitness routine.
2. Minimizing exposure to COVID-19
And because they’re online, you can take these classes from the comfort of your home (or wherever you are), thus minimizing your exposure to COVID-19 and eliminating your commute to the gym or studio. By now, many of us have our designated “workout spot,” whether it’s an actual weight room, a quick scooch of the coffee table, or a grassy area in the backyard. Maybe you’re comfortable here... maybe you’ve even learned to love it.
With an online gym membership, you can stay in your safe space/comfy workout spot. Or, you can go somewhere new (local park, beach spot, a different area of the house, you know). You can access these virtual, live stream fitness classes from any device, so you can prop up your phone, laptop, or tablet wherever you want to go, or roll out your mat in front of the big screen TV in your living room.
We all have our favorite, go-to workouts. But sometimes, it feels good to switch it up (especially right now). Working from home all day, many of us are craving some variety and excitement, and an online gym membership can definitely help with that. According to our recent poll about COVID’s effect on our fitness routines, 64% of you have tried new online workouts since the start of the pandemic—I know I have. Maybe it’s because trying new things is easier in the comfort of our homes, maybe we’re finally able to try some classes we normally can’t find locally, or maybe we’re all just bored out of our minds...I don’t know. But I’m excited about it.
With an online gym membership, you can get that spice you’re looking for easily. Start out your Monday by hitting some HIIT, ease your sore muscles with some Restorative Yoga, and end the week with some dance cardio to pretend you’re at the club. The world is yours.
4. Working out without a commute
My favorite part? No commute. There are literally no more excuses when it comes to skipping workouts. No traffic, no schedule conflicts, no fear of returning to the studio. You don’t even have to worry about packing a gym bag with a change of clothes and shower supplies or prepping a snack or protein shake to bring to work. Just shut your computer, throw on some leggings, and get to work.
Community—the element of online fitness memberships we don’t often think of. When we go into studios, we understand the beauty of a fitness community. We’re greeted by our instructors, we chat with others in the class, and we all sweat together and encourage each other throughout. But working out at home is different... or is it?
We can do workouts on our own at home all we want, but we’re definitely going to miss out on the community aspect we all know and love. But, with live stream classes, we can create a different kind of community. The beauty of it? It’s not just your neighbors anymore. Anyone with an online fitness membership can join these classes, regardless of where they’re located in relation to the studio, so you can be working out alongside people from all over the world—now that’s something I can get behind.