It seems like every day is a constant struggle when it comes to getting all of our responsibilities done. Between giving it our all at work and having a social life, there just never seems to be enough time for everything—let alone making healthy choices. We're constantly in awe of the girls who are not only able to balance a demanding career and time with friends but also make it to the gym on a regular basis and have a colorful, nutritious breakfast that's worthy of being Instagrammed.
For a long time, we thought that these luxuries were only afforded to those ladies of leisure, and we came to accept that in order to prioritize ourselves, something else would have to give. But (thankfully), turns out we were wrong. We chatted with the experts, and they had a different outlook: Busy girls can be healthy too. Keep reading to find out how.
Start the Day Off Strong
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. And it occurs before the craziness of the day hits, so treat your a.m. nosh as your time to fuel up for the busy day ahead. “Beginning your day in a healthy way informs your mind and body to keep making healthy choices,” Taliah Mekki, health coach and group fitness manager at Equinox, says. Mekki recommends starting the day with a berry and veggie smoothie, which you can divide up and freeze in individual plastic bags on Sunday. That way there’s no morning prep during the week—all you have to do is toss it in the blender.
Eat for Energy
Don’t be afraid of carbs. “Our bodies need carbs because they provide the energy for the whole body,” says Alejandro Chabán, certified nutrition consultant and founder of the Yes You Can! Diet Plan. “Our brains and nervous systems, for example, are highly dependent on carbs to carry out their main functions.” But you need to know what to eat and when to eat it. “Eat slow-absorption carbs (such as whole grains, legumes, and red berries), and limit fast-absorption carbs (honey, sugar, fruit juice), which create glucose spikes and are harder to burn.” Aim to get one serving of good carbohydrates in at breakfast and at lunch, but Chabán says it’s best to avoid carbs at dinner. In the evening, when you’re powering down for the day, your body doesn’t need carbohydrates.
Set an Alarm
Set an alarm to drink water. Confusing hunger for thirst is very common, and it could be sabotaging your get-fit goals. Chabán says drinking water steadily throughout the day will help you avert unnecessary cravings in between meals: “So set an alarm to remind yourself to drink at least one glass (eight8 ounces) of water per hour.”
Snack on Portable Protein
Protein is important. “Muscles are the little ovens that burn the fat in our bodies, and protein is what gives muscles their strength to carry out that function,” Chabán says. “By consuming more protein, you will be able to have healthier muscles, burn more fat, and boost your metabolism.” So eat protein at every meal, and, more importantly, when snacking. Lean proteins, like chicken, turkey, and fish, however, aren’t exactly on-the-go friendly. That’s why Chabán suggests high-quality whey protein products, like bars and shakes. “It is tough to find low-calorie, high protein, great-tasting products, which is why I recommend the Yes You Can! Diet Plan Protein Shakes,” Chabán says. “They truly taste like dessert, are less than 100 calories, and are highly convenient to take on the go.” Try to get your protein fix every three hours to keep your metabolism up and running.
Do Something (Anything, Really)
When it comes to workouts, “Remember: Something is always better than nothing,” Mekki says. That doesn’t mean you need to spend hours in the gym. Interval training is an effective workout that’s also quick. “The most efficient cardio workout right now is Precision Running, created by David Siik for Equinox,” Mekki says. You can print out the workout and take it with you. Getting a 30-minute treadmill session in two or three times a week is all you need to stay fit (and feel good about it). But find a workout that works for you. Even at your busiest—actually, especially at your busiest—you need to make time for yourself.
This story was originally published on August 26, 2014.