We are not all so fortunate to live in a world or work in a career that is most conducive to a lifestyle of health.
There are breweries a plenty and happy hours for every occasion in our social worlds, demanding we take part to stay connected in a sometimes lonely life of computers, cell phones and desk jobs. We live in a world where we are so connected (to social media) that we ache for a connection IRL (in real life). And our commitment to our health and fitness routines demand that we find ways to create positive and healthy routines, amidst the unhealthy addictions that swathe our worlds.
I have worked in the restaurant industry and at desk jobs for all of my adult life; a lifestyle that is comprised of either late nights and staff camaraderie shots, or long hours slumping at a desk typing as fast as possible and arching my neck to see the computer screen. These are not always easy professions, but for many of us, they are our livelihoods and are rewarding in many ways.
Over the course of the last year, however, I’ve made a deeper commitment to my health and lifestyle of fitness. I’m in my early 30’s now, and I’m realizing the importance of maintaining balance and strength. I want to move with more grace, and feel strong throughout my day. In changing my view on the health of my lifestyle, without changing my vocation (I’m really good at managing a bar, slinging beautifully crafted drinks and my love of writing), I’ve had to re-evaluate how I stay healthy in my everyday life.
Here are a few ways I’ve helped stay on track with health, even through late night hours and aches and stiffness in my body.
Routine. Stick with it ... regardless!
If you’ve created a routine of classes or workouts, it can be hard to stick with it if you’re rolling into bed, oftentimes like me, at 4 a.m. Instead of making excuses for the 2 hours of sleep I will get, I opt to take a nap, get up for a bodyweight workout in the park or my living room with some friends – and go back to bed afterwards. Just because my job demands late hours, doesn't mean I can’t re-create my sleep schedule to keep to my routine. I’ve noticed, that although I’m tired initially, yes, I’m also re-invigorated after a workout; I got sweaty with my favorite people, encouragement from coaches and I can go to sleep after and wake up already feeling accomplished in my day. It is helpful, for me, to rely on workout buddies to motive these bodyweight workouts. It’s also helpful to remind myself that I get one shot in this body – and the health of my physical body affects my mental strength in my professions. I want to be able to move well, feel strong, and stay inspired, as long as I can. No excuses.
Surround yourself with like-minded individuals
We don't get to choose our co-workers. As such we can love and appreciate people from all walks of life through practices of loving kindness. I've made some of my best buds through the service industry or the media; we work well together, inspire each other with new creative ideas, and have fun. I’ve noticed, however, that oftentimes on my days off, I opt to hang out with my community of fitness friends, like the ones I’ve made through bodyweight fitness. It’s a balance, and different friendships and relationships serve different areas of our lives. There are also folks I've met through work that have similar hobbies and active lifestyles, and those are the relationships that can foster healthier habits while at work. I’ve noticed, however, that I have different groups of friends for different occasions. There is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to our behaviors as social beings. And moderation, in every aspect of our lives, is key to sustaining and thriving.
Inspiration on the clock
It's become extremely apparent that the more I talk about health and fitness at work (in the restaurant industry), the more I realize how many of my co-workers are on similar journeys of trying to be healthy. We are all striving to be better versions of ourselves, to some extent. I will oftentimes opt for short breaks of ‘party pumps’ (20 pushups) with any of my willing colleagues. Sometimes we do a 30-second wall sit, or 60 calf raises while we are waiting for an order from the kitchen or have a few minutes of lag time. Multiply this by 5 times in an 8 hour shift, and you’ve gotten a little mini workout in. It only takes a minute and a half to do something to get your blood flowing. Opt for a quick set of pushups or hollow body rockers on your way from your desk to get coffee, and who knows? Maybe you’ll inspire those around you to follow suit. The natural blood flow and adrenaline you stimulate will make you more eager to stay on track with work and might even re-inspire you in a proposal you are writing, or emails to your boss.. In my case, it gives me the energy to sustain late into the night and early morning hours. And I combat any lethargy with movement (and a few cups of coffee).
My job is draining. My free time doesn't have to be
I work in an industry where folks are out to celebrate (usually with more than enough to drink) and good food, as well as a job with demanding deadlines and hours in front of my laptop. This over-indulgence and high-stress deadlines are a part of the success of my career. But my free time, outside of my work, doesn't have to be. The days off from the restaurant industry or away from my computer are sacred for me. Although my weekend usually falls in the middle of the week, I opt to spend my time off going for hikes, training with my bodyweight fitness friends in the park, followed by coffee and inspiring conversation, or afternoons of jogging and writing at my favorite coffee shop. I often shy away from opportunities to go out to bars or breweries on my days off, or engage in happy hours with other freelance writer friends. This balance keeps me feeling a semblance of normal life, and a continued commitment to my lifestyle of health and fitness.
What we consume affects our training
I’ve noticed, especially as I've gotten older, that my body has demanded my attention when it comes to what I ingest. I no longer have the urge to get tipsy or drunk; my body knows when a couple social glasses of wine and a light dinner will suffice compared to a night of double pour cocktails and greasy bar food. Also, if I know I’ll be training bodyweight fitness first thing in the morning, I'll opt to skip the drinks or pizza the night before. I want to function at my highest, and feel the best I can. Because the commitment I’ve made to myself outweighs any social obligation or outing. We come into this world alone, and we die alone, and that's not pessimistic. The journey of life is a solo one, and the care we take of our individual bodies and minds directly affects the way we experience the things we love most. And I’d like to experience the most I can, while I'm here. And looking good while doing it? Well, that's the added bonus :)
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