I feel like this is the first time in a long time that I can legitimately be excited about Friday.
I’m a half-day away (yay summer hours!) from completing week one of my first big girl job. I mentioned before that I’m a little worried about maintaining my healthy habits now that I’m gainfully employed but week one was a definite success. Sure, it’s only been one week but I think when it comes to healthy living, you have to take it one day at a time. That’s how good (and bad) habits are formed, after all.
For my own future reference (and maybe yours too), here’s how to survive a busy work week:
1) Take cooking shortcuts
One of the biggest things people struggle with is cooking healthy meals after a long day at work. My strategy this week was to take cooking shortcuts to reduce the amount of prep and/or cooking time involved. For example, on Tuesday, I cooked a new recipe for lemon chicken with corn and avocado salsa from the cookbook I recently bought. The salsa was supposed to have chopped red onion and grated ginger but I didn’t feel like these ingredients were necessary enough to warrant the extra effort. So I nixed ‘em and stuck with the ingredients I really wanted – avocado, cherry tomato, corn and black beans. Worked for me!
For the chicken, I George Forman’d that bad boy. I’ve rarely used my George Forman since I won it in a Secret Santa Swap at Christmas but I can see how it might come in handy for a quick meal. My chicken was grilled and ready to eat in five minutes!
The second recipe I tried this week called for slow cooked brown rice. I don’t know about you but after a long day at work, I am not waiting no 45 minutes to an hour for my rice to cook. So I used instant brown rice instead.
2) Have a backup plan
I figured my meticulously crafted meal plan might fall by the wayside at least one or two days this week so I bought an Amy’s Pesto Pizza that I knew would last me for two meals. I ate this on Monday and Tuesday for lunch since I didn’t have any leftovers to bring with me.
3) Be flexible with workouts
This week, I still planned my workouts in advance but I was more flexible than usual. Rather than create a set-in-stone schedule, I aimed to do a certain number of a certain type of workout – 3 runs, 2 strength training sessions and one cross training activity – by the end of the week. I didn’t commit to a specific time either; I made a note of when my favourite classes were running and played it by ear. Here’s what the week ended up looking like:
Sunday – RPM
Monday – 11 km run
Tuesday – Body Pump
Wednesday – 6 km run
Thursday – rest
This afternoon, I’m planning another 6km run and on Saturday morning, I’m planning to do free weights and cardio (there aren’t any classes at GoodLife this weekend because of the CanFitPro conference).
4) Plan something fun midweek
I finally understand why people call Wednesday hump day. By midweek, I was definitely in an “are we there yet?” rut but luckily I had a fun run planned with my friend after work. I’m a recent convert to buddy runs so I was pumped about this. Next week, I intend to plan another midweek outing – coffee with a friend, shopping, whatever. It breaks up the monotony of the week and gives you something to look forward to.
5) Plan, plan, plan
There’s a big difference between being flexible and flying by the seat of your pants all the time. At the end of the day, I don’t think I would have had a successful week had I not prepared for it in advance - over the weekend, I stocked up on all the food I needed, washed all of my workout gear and sketched out a rough workout and meal plan. These steps made it much easier to follow through with cooking and working out.
Are you a planner or do you just wing it?