I have a lifestyle where it’s hard to find time to accomplish everything daily without becoming completely burned out. Working as a Registered Nurse in a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, coaching as a Level 1 CrossFit Trainer, planning a wedding, and doing research for going back to school in order to advance my career as a Nurse Practitioner – all of this can take a toll on me.

Working 12 hour shifts at the hospital while trying to fit in everything else in my life makes it challenging to keep up with living a healthy lifestyle, or even do anything fitness related at all. I mean, who can be motivated day in and day out to always be lifting, running, climbing, swimming or cycling? -- let alone getting up hours before the sun even comes up!

So where do I find motivation? It helps that my fiancé and my friends like the same things I do when it comes to fitness and food. We encourage each other, make plans to meet at the CrossFit box, and sometimes do something social afterward. The social and personal connections in my life are something I truly value. In order to find more time, which is a priceless and sparse commodity (both for exercise and fun), my fiancé and I like to prepare our meals days ahead of time, so we are not eating on the run or spending a lot of money buying lunch daily – we are saving for a wedding and as you know, weddings aren’t cheap!!

Eating healthy is a challenge. It takes time to buy and prepare interesting meals. What we do is make meals 2-3 days out, generally on a Sunday when we have 4-5 hours of time to devote to food prep. Mainly we focus on breakfasts and lunches, and put them in the fridge or freezer for the week. This helps to give us more time to do other things, which for us happen to be fitness related – crossfitting, running, hiking or indoor rock climbing. Managing your time is incredibly important to living a healthy lifestyle and prepares you to have a healthier quality of life.

A quote I see a lot in the CrossFit community is, “When life knocks you down….do a burpee (aka squat thruster)”. If you’re finding it hard to fit fitness in your life I suggest you do an Internet search for 15-20 minute bodyweight exercises. These are things you can do at your desk during a lunch break, while dinner is cooking in the other room, even while the kids are taking a nap or are outside playing. Exercise can be done anytime, anywhere. It really comes down to how motivated you are to do it and finding something you enjoy doing.

If you’re not someone who can easily motivate yourself – find a friend, trainer, neighbor, co-worker, etc. who can encourage you and accompany you along your path to creating a more active lifestyle. As a nurse, I highly recommend finding time for it. This will greatly cut down on diabetes, cardiac disease and other illnesses that many people are becoming more susceptible to because of an inactive lifestyle.

I have to admit that with so much currently going on in my life, finding a formula to make it all work has not come gracefully. It’s taken a lot of time and effort for me to create a lifestyle that allows me to maintain my desired level of fitness. Now we all have different levels of fitness that we may wish to maintain, but time is precious for all of us, so find what works for you and find your motivation to help get you there. Is it social, financial, spiritual...? Whatever it may be, finding time for fitness in your life can result in major improvements to your overall health and happiness.

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About The Author

Matt Hickling's picture

Matt Hickling is a Level 1 certified CrossFit trainer who has been crossfitting since June 2012. Matt is currently a Registered Nurse in Albany Medical Center's Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. He also has a Bachelors of Science in Sports Administration from Castleton State College, where he played Division III college hockey. Prior to his career in nursing, he was Director of Corporate Partnerships for the Albany River Rats/ Albany Firebirds for 2 years. Matt plans to continue gaining future CrossFit certifications and go back to school to become a Nurse Practitioner.

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