Hey PumpUp, Meet Makenzie! Makenzie is a student and fitness enthusiast from Texas, USA. For a special #OnTheGoOctober feature, Makenzie is sharing her top 5 tips for balancing a school, social life, and wellness - all while having fun! We've got the best inspiration for getting the most out of your day, everyday! Take it away, Makenzie...
School, work, friends, travelling on the weekends, working out… How is it possible to keep up with it all? I am here to answer this question and give a few tips on how I manage my crazy school and social schedule while still staying on top of my health and keeping fit.
Tip #1: Get a Day Planner and Actively Use it
I would be completely lost without my day planner. It key to staying on top of daily activities, school assignments, and anything else that you think is important and need to remember and prepare for.
My day planner has a month layout and also a day-to-day section. This is ideal for planning out your months and also your weeks, so that you know what it ahead. When a new month starts, I go through and I fill out my month section with any big assignments that I know will be due, birthdays, and any events that I plan on attending. I then go through and fill these items in the day-to-day section of my planner as well. Every Sunday, I take the time to go through and fill out the entire day-to-day section with much more detailed information about things I need to get done that week; Ex: grocery shopping, workouts, classes, homework that needs to get done, etc. I have specific colored pens per different event and thing that needs to get done. This helps me to quickly be able to glance at my calendar and know what exactly I need to get done.
Tip #2: Plan Meals to Stick with a Healthy Diet
I commute to school Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday for classes. With this being said, those days are crammed full of different activities, which does not leave much time to sit down and eat. I personally follow a macro based (IIFYM) style diet plan. Meaning, I have a specific set of Carbohydrates, Fats, and Proteins I hit a day. I use an app called MyFitnessPal that helps me track everything I put in my body and how many grams of each macro I have eaten per meal.
No matter what style of eating you follow; meal plan, IIFYM, or simply intuitive eating, meal prepping for your busy days is a very easy way to stay on top of a healthy diet. With this being said, I make sure I never leave my house without a fully stocked cooler with all my food I will be eating from the time I leave to the time I get back home. I am now going to break this tip section into 2 parts to better explain how I plan out and carry out a healthy diet through prepping my meals:
Step #1: What do you want to eat?
The first step to meal prepping is deciding what exactly you want to eat for the day you are preparing for. For the days I am off at school, I prefer choosing meals that are easy and quick. Some of my favorites include:
- Greek yogurt cups
- Sweet potatoes
- Turkey sandwich on whole grain bread
- Celery and hummus
- Grilled chicken tenderloins
- Pita bread wraps with veggies and meat
- Protein powder
These are all great examples of easy and fast meals that don’t take up too much room in the cooler.
Step #2: Preparing the food
This is the longest part of the process. It requires weighing or measuring out your foods, cooking and preparing it, then properly packaging it so that it will stay fresh until you choose to eat it. Lets put it this way… tupperware is your best friend!
After you are done preparing the food, pack it up in a cooler and you are ready to go!
Balancing a healthy diet along with a social life can be somewhat of a challenging thing. Food is such a large part of society and how people interact and bond with one another. Eating out and healthy is absolutely possible and really not that difficult. Any and all restaurants can alter an order to exactly how you want. One of my personal favorite things to order when I go out is a burger without the bun, cheese slice on the side, and a side salad instead of fries. I end up using half of the cheese slice instead of the full one and use the lettuce brought with the burger as my bun.
Another thing to remember is that it is okay to cheat every once and a while. Take one night a week and enjoy yourself while eating out with friends. Give your body and mind a rest from tracking and paying close attention to exactly what you put in your body. Eat the chips, the fries, and the burger. Then hop right back on it the next day and kill it in the gym!
Tip #3: Plan your Workouts
If you haven’t discovered yet, planning ahead has become quite a theme! This theme does not change when it comes to your workout schedule. Just like any other event or activity in your day, working out is just that…. One more thing that you want to do in order to maintain a healthy body. With that being said, make time in your schedule to workout as often as you can without over doing it (4-6 times a week is ideal!) The best way to make the most out of your time in the gym is to have a planned workout routine before arrival, that way when your not sure what your supposed to be doing or you get sidetracked, you have something to look back at to keep you going and get back on track.
Also, always remember that the amount of time you spend in the gym is not important, it is more about the quality of the workout and pushing yourself to the limit in order to build and better you!
Tip #4: Pack and Prepare for your Day
Days can get busy and long very easily. For the majority of people, the only time to go to the gym is on the way, or in between other activities of the day, like work, appointments, or school. For me, my workouts happen in between classes or after running errands. With this being said, it is important to prepare for your day ahead of time, not only with food and scheduling, but also by what you bring along with you during the day.
First, I would recommend purchasing a good gym bag. This will be essential for toting your gym clothes to and from the gym. My favorite thing about my gym bag is the outside pocket found on the side of the bag. This pocket is designed to hold dirty clothing or shoes; allowing air to get to the clothing while also keeping it separate from the other items in your bag. Which works great for storing my sweaty clothes in after my workouts. I would highly recommend when purchasing a gym bag to look into getting one with a pocket like this.
Now that you have a gym bag, what do you need to bring in order to be prepared for the day, along with the gym? Below is a list of things that are in my gym bag:
- Travel bathroom bag
- Hair brush
- Dry shampoo
- Bobby pins and hair ties
- BCAAs (my favorite brand is BPI Best BCAA; helps with muscle soreness and recovery)
- Pre-workout (only used on days that I'm struggling)
- Workout clothing (if I plan to workout after class)
- Normal clothing (if I plan to workout and then go to class)
- Extra bottled water
- Jump rope
- Resistance bands
- Weight lifting belt
- Gym locker padlock
- Plastic bag (sweaty gym clothes if your gym bag does not have an outside pocket as mentioned above)
Another thing I would like to mention that helps me out a lot is renting a gym locker in the locker room. I enjoy putting my gym bag in my locker so that I can rest assure none of my things will get stolen, and also it allows me to have a place to put my backpack after class and during my workout.
Many gyms and rec centers also have day use lockers that work perfectly fine as well!
Tip #5: Stay Positive
Some days are going to be harder than others. It can be hard to stay positive and focused on your goals. Days get long, exhaustion hits, and the last thing you care about is planning out meals, workouts, and going to the gym. I encourage you to look for the positive, keep your head up high, and stay dedicated to your goals and health!
Lets recap! In order to stay on track, organized, and balance a crazy busy life, it is helpful to follow these tips:
1. Get a day planner and actively use it
2. Plan out your meals and prepare them before-hand
3. Plan your workouts
4. Pack and prepare for your day
5. Stay positive
Health is a state of mind as well as a physical state. By taking control of small details in your daily life, it is very easy for working out and eating healthy to become a habit and also be fun! It is absolutely possible to stay on top of your health, while also working, taking classes, and keeping an active social life. I hope you have found these tips helpful and easy to apply to your lives!
Thanks Makenzie for you great insights! For more inspiration from Makenzie, follower her on Instagram @m_f_fitnesss.