Food · Running

5 Tips for Exercising and Meal Prepping After Work

     I’m not going to lie. Some days it feels really hard to eat healthy and get my butt outside for a run. I start work at 8, and haven’t mastered the whole going on a run before work thing. And to be honest, I have accepted that. I cherish sleep and have bouts of insomnia, so I would rather get the extra shut eye. I love a morning run on the weekend after a good night’s sleep with no alarm set, and do have more energy in the morning, but if I am being real a week day run happens after work, or it isn’t happening haha.

     Today I left the house at 7:30 am for work at 8, left work at 5, got home at 5:30. I was tired, and moderately – pretty dang hungry. But instead of saying screw it and making some crappy meal and getting in my comfy pants, I put on my running clothes. I ate two spoonfuls of peanut butter and an organic energy gel. By 6:15 I was out the door and went on a 4.25 mile run (45:20 mins). I did this knowing the fridge was empty and that I’d need to go grocery shopping, put away said groceries/make lunches for the rest of the work week, and also eat dinner. And alas, here I am at 10:00 pm just finishing my dinner with all of the aforementioned things accomplished. I’m going to share the tips I actually used today to make exercising after work and meal prep happen.

5 Tips for Exercising and Meal Prepping After Work

Tip 1: Make a decision early in the day.
Like on your morning commute, or before you leave the house. I hurriedly made a pile of running clothes as I got dressed for work, without even really definitively telling myself I would go on a run after work. I already knew I had to go grocery shopping. I planned on going yesterday, but went to the dollar store to get $37 worth of cleaning supplies and knew if I went grocery shopping too their was very little chance of me actually cleaning. Ha. Anyways, I think I must have decided that I *needed* to go running, because running is the best procrastination tactic/excuse ever, and I was not in the mood to grocery shop. 🙂
Tip 2: Hydrate and eat good food at work.
If I eat crap at work and only drink coffee without getting plenty of water in too, there is no way I am going to have energy to be a productive person after work. I had probably 1.5-2 liters of water, nectarines and blueberries, and salad at work (all hydrating foods). I should have had more water, but you win some you lose some.
Tip 3: Plan ahead.
     I took the time on a break at work to write down a grocery list. I wasn’t able to get everything, but I did pretty good. Here is a picture of said list post grocery run:
     You’ll notice not all of it is super healthy. I didn’t buy organic this time around. Popcorn is my guilty pleasure. I know a lot of people have issues with the processed meat replacement products, but honestly they are so yummy and I really enjoy them. I’m not into depriving myself of these simple joys, because life is short and looking back I am not going to regret eating popcorn. Know thyself, :).

Tip 4: Know that you will not regret it, want it for the right reasons, and be mindful of your inner dialogue.
     It is easy to think “UGH. What is the point?! Screw it.” I’ve been there. I go there. But I always come back to the realization that I care deeply about my health. AKA I want to fuel my body with good nutrients and less toxicity. I want to feel amazing and have energy and feel comfortable and confident in my own skin. I want to take care of my body now as a preventative measure for future health problems, especially as diabetes runs on both sides of my family. I care because I want to keep enjoying this crazy adventure we call living.
All those cliches about “the hardest part of the run is the first step out the door” are completely true. I have never, not once, regretted a single run.
Same goes for grocery shopping. Sure, it’s a total pain in the a$$ sometimes. But opening the fridge and having an abundance of delicious, healthy options is such an amazing, empowering feeling. Instead of my inner dialogue being something along the lines of “UGH. Are you kidding? Grocery shopping sound like the most tedious, annoying thing ever right now,” I try and remind myself, “I am incredibly fortunate to have the knowledge and resources to make responsible food choices that are good for me, animals, and earth. I am truly, truly fortunate. Don’t forget that grocery shopping is a privilege many humans on this earth do not have. Count your blessings and choose to have a mindset of appreciating the abundance in your life.”
Jumping back to exercise, having a positive inner dialogue is essential, if you want to actually enjoy the activity. Become mindful of what you are thinking. Are you worried of what others think you look like or how your clothes fit? Are you focusing on how tired you are, or discomfort you may be feeling? Just do a mental check in, maybe between songs if you are listening to music. How are you feeling and what are you telling yourself? Those questions are some that occasionally throw off my mental game when running. But I practice mindfulness (and believe me, it’s a PRACTICE), and I can catch those negative thoughts quicker now. When my mind-reel starts going to a dark place, I choose to get curious about why I am thinking that way and offer myself some compassion.

Tip 5: It really does get easier if you stick with it and make it a habit.
     Nothing really to add to this tip. It is just the truth. So keep at it! And know that you are awesome. This salad was bomb and I can’t wait to have it again for lunch tomorrow. And the day after. And the one after that too. 🙂


If you made it this far, thanks for reading!

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