Many people ask me how I do it.
How do I manage to meal prep, stay on track, study, work, or excerise every day with such a busy schedule.
The key is managing your time effectively and focusing on what you want. If something is a priority, make time for it! It it’s not a priority, get rid of it.
Here is a snapshot of a “normal” day.
I work full time in Denver at a private OBGYN practice. My commute is about an hour which means I wake up at 5am on work days. I spend about 5 minutes staring down my alarm clock and checking various social media platforms before I hop in the shower.
After my shower I blow through a few household chores like laundry and unloading the dishwasher. I let the dogs out and dry/straighten my hair. (Yes, I wash and dry my hair every day.)
Around 6am I start breakfast. I make breakfast every single morning, no excuses.
You can follow my #WhatSheAte hashtag on Instagram if you want to know more about what I eat. If I don’t eat my big, healthy, awesome breakfast I know I will feel crappy, so I make it a point to eat well every morning.
Breakfast is usually done around 6:20am. I wake up Eric and, while we eat, I am scrolling through the daily news and my updating my professional Facebook page.
Quickie change into my scrubs, grab my meal prepped snacks + lunch (<– LIFESAVER), and head out the door just before 7am.
Rock out to country music & drink my iced chai latte.
Arrive at work around 7:45-8am.
Immediately jump into the craziness of the day. When you see me updating my social media throughout the day, that is usually when I am peeing or running labs downstairs. 😉 Making the best use of all my time!
I keep snacks in my scrub pockets and my food is always on hand in the staff lounge. My reusable water bottle gets refilled 5-6 x per day. I pee about every 20-30 minutes in between seeing patients. 😛
I take a “working lunch” every single day.
That means I am clocked out of my “real job” but I’m on my laptop updating my blog, writing articles, answering e-mails, checking in with clients, updating my challenge group nutrition plans, and taking care of personal things (like reading for school, banking, medical school applications, etc…) while eating.
When it’s nice outside, I run across the street to the park and set up shop on the picnic tables. Sunshine is important.
If I’m lucky, I’m off work by 4:30-4:45pm. My super-secret, special way home beats most of the Denver traffic and I’m pulling into the driveway between 5:30-6pm.
We immediately start dinner while simultaneously watching our favorite Netflix shows in the background. (This is my moment to catch up on Grey’s and Castle. 😉 )
Dinner is usually some sort of grilled meat + veggies. We utilize our backyard grill fairly often. Chicken, steak, burgers… whatever.
By 7pm, I am off to the gym. I will occasionally tan before I hit the gym which also gives me a chance to swing by the Walgreens and/or Target nearby if need be. I am at the gym every day from 8pm-9:30/10pm. (Remember: I am in Competition Prep mode.)
At The Gym
I hit the weights first because they are my favorite. This also gives me a chance to spend time with my “gym friends.” Our crew all heads to the gym around the same time every day. Social time!
I spend about an hour lifting and then I’ll run intervals for about 15-20 minutes (30 minutes if I’m feeling extra ambitious) on the treadmill or stairmill. My dude friends will occasionally hop on the treadmill next to me and start a race. This is helpful for motivation and fairly comical. #GymBrosRunning
Posing practice has been important during this process so I spend another 30 minutes in the group fitness room posing post-workout. That time (and lighting) is pretty perfect for #selfies as well. 😛
On the way home from the gym, I will usually swing by Sprouts to pick up any missing food items. Thank goodness they are open until 11pm.
This was my haul from a few nights ago. I have many of staples (rice, beans, protein powder, bread, oatmeal, nut butters, protein bars, condiments, ect…) in my kitchen at all times so I really just do a quick stock.
This is a little cheaper than normal because I didn’t buy my usual bulk pack of chicken (it would have been $6.50-$8.00 more) or as much deli meat in general as I normally do.
Store: Sprouts, Boulder Colorado
- Deli Roast Beef
- Deli Container of Feta Cheese
- Chunks of Beef (stir fry)
- Jones Frozen Breakfast Sausage
- Dozen and a Half Eggs
- Gallon of Skim Milk
- 5 Pink Lady Apples
- Bag of Mixed Baby Potatoes
- Container of Mixed Greens
- 1 Bag of “Vegetable Medley”
- Container of Pre-Cut Pineapple
- 2 Small Avocados
- 2 Bags of “UpSides“
- 1 Bag of Frozen Mukimame (shelled edamame)
- 5 Singe Serve Chobani greek yogurt
- Fat Free Cottage Cheese
- Earth Balance Coconut Butter
- Earth Balance Peanut Butter + Coconut Spread
- 2 Chocolate Chip Quest Bars
- 2 Single Serve Justin’s Honey Peanut Butter Packets
- Bulk Salt & Vinegar Almonds
It IS possible to get healthy food on a budget. Personally, I don’t go out and spend much on restaurants or booze. (I don’t eat out for lunch or dinner. Eric and I will occasionally hit Chipotle or our favorite Boulder burger place on the weekends.) I haven’t actually purchased any booze in 3 months. The amount of money wasted on booze blows my mind. Then people complain about not being able to afford healthy food… Well… I’ll just leave it at that.
Another “hack” is shopping at several different stores. I use Sprouts, King Soopers, Target, and Whole Foods all for different items. Certain brands or foods are cheaper at different places. Produce that is fresh and siting out (not boxed, pre-bagged, pre-cut, whatever) is cheaper. Yes, you need to wash, cut, and prepare it yourself but it’s a money saver.
Things like Quest Bars and individual nut butter packets are also 100% unnecessary and expensive. It’s cheaper in the long run to get the whole container of nut butter.
I value my time and know that I won’t individually portion out nut butter during prep so I buy the individual packets. That’s a choice I make based on my life and my goals. When I’m not in prep, I literally put the entire peanut butter jar in my lunch bag so I can use it at work. LOL
Frozen foods are also good options. There is no real benefit to buying all fresh foods over frozen. Bags of frozen fruits & veggies are CHEAP. Like… dollar cheap. Many grocery stores run “10 for $10” specials which means you can get 10 BAGS of peas, carrots, corn, broccoli, bell peppers, edamame, mixed veggies, beans, berry medley, strawberries, peaches, mangos, etc… all for $10 bucks.
Yogurt is another steal in my opinion. Stores are constantly doing “5 for $5” sales on Greek Yogurt. That’s 5 days worth of snacks for my pre-packed lunches for 5 bucks.
The majority of my grocery store time is spent “on the outside perimeter” or in the bulk/produce section. I buy bulk rice, beans, nuts, trail mix, veggies, fruits, and deli cut meats and cheeses. The aisles are where you spend the most money. Why? Because someone has taken the time to prep, cut, box, package, or extend the shelf life of the food for you. Meat can also be pricey but I am not a vegetarian, don’t intend to be a vegetarian, and enjoy meat so I deal with the cost. The deli counter always runs sales on SOMETHING.
Be smart, take your time, have a plan for meals, and look at sale items.
Get home and quickly prep all my snacks and meal for the next day. Spending 10-15 minutes doing this before bed saves time (and stress) in the morning! It also saves me from mindless eating throughout the day or having to go out for lunch.
Most of my “prep” is done on weekends (more on that in a bit) so this process is actually really easy. Throw my lunch bag in the fridge, put clean scrubs in the bathroom for the morning, re-pack my laptop bag, and head to bed.
My weekends are usually just as packed as my work days. I’m an active person so I utilize my weekends to get outside.
I “catch up” on sleep just a bit (wake up at 7am instead of 5am.) Spend some time really updating my blog and scheduling posts for the week. (Fellow Bloggers: TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE SCHEDULE OPTION. You can schedule blog posts AND Facebook posts.) This is crucial for maintaining my social media presence throughout the week. When I am “too busy” to post, scheduled posts take care of the problem.
Depending on the season or what’s going on with the weather, will either hike or snowboard in the morning/afternoon. We make sure we get the dogs outside for a few long walks, hikes, or a quick swim. My gym schedule stays the same on the weekends as well. I might go early afternoon or around 4/5pm instead of late night.
Catch up on errands, clean the house, watch the Spartans win the Final Four ;), do laundry, spend time outside doing yard work, nap in my hammock, hang out with friends and bonfire it up, and have BBQ’s and play yard games (fairly common in the summer! Instead of bar hopping, we do this.)
Most importantly, my weekend is the time for me to meal prep. Meal prep is an easy process. I literally just make more of whatever I’m already making. If we are grilling chicken for dinner on Sunday, we grill 10 breasts instead of 2. I make two sheets of baked potatoes instead of just one serving or I make several boxes of mixed rice + veggies. I utilize this “extra time” to wash, chop, and store all my veggies and fruit. Everything goes in Tupperware in the fridge. Produce that is about to go bad gets put in the freezer or made into something else (muffins, guac, smoothies, dog treats, etc… ) Sunday’s are normally my days to do a “big grocery run” and get the expensive stuff like meat.
Weekends are also a good time for me to catch up on course work, MCAT prep, and reading. I am in the process of applying to medical school so I am taking pre-reqs and studying for the MCAT. My classes are 100% online at the moment which means I do my work on my lunch break or on weekends.
Once prep is over, I will have the “luxury” of taking evening classes again which means my “after work” hours will be spent at class, not at the gym, 2-3 nights per week.
Overall, I do better as a person if my time is utilized well and my schedule is fairly packed. I have always been that way. (In college I took 24 credits per semester, worked two jobs, was active in my sorority, and volunteered.) If I don’t pack my schedule, I get lazy real fast. No, I don’t have kids but I know plenty of people who do and still make time for health, fitness, and meal prep.
Once my competition is over, I will be focusing more of my time on the academic side of Amanda. Hoping to delve into my Master’s in Public Health this spring and medical school applications for Fall 2016 open shortly. Health + fitness wise, my goals are to get myself back to 2,000+ calories per day and really focus on gaining muscle mass.
I hope that helps shed some light.