Open Thread: What Are Your Health and Fitness Routines?

what are your health and fitness routines I feel like I am constantly trying to get into a good routine for workouts and eating — so I thought it might be a fun discussion for today. What are YOUR health and fitness routines, ladies? What about other self-care — do you do it as needed or do you try to routinize it? A few specific questions:health and fitness routines for professional women

  • How OFTEN do you work out? Do you mix it up (HIIT one day, Barre the next?) How do you reward yourself if you get X workouts in a week? (On a bigger scheme, do you reassess your workout routine at a regular interval, e.g. every 12 weeks or seasonally?)
  • Does your eating follow a schedule of any sort? For example, do you meal prep on Sundays so you’re super healthy during the first part of the week, then less healthy as the week goes on? Do you always order pizza on Fridays or do brunch with friends on Sunday?
  • What other self-care do you do as a routine — for example:
    • do you have a “beauty schedule” where you try to do a hair mask once a week or anything like that? Haircut every 3 months, Keratin/Botox every 6 months?) Facials? Massages?
    • Do you try to meditate regularly, or do other activities that you look at like meditation/being in the moment (I’ve had this discussion with friends re kayaking, hiking, berry picking…)

For my $.02, these are my health and fitness routines at the moment:

  • My workout schedule is slowly improving. I’ve almost successfully completed Couch to 5K (Week 9, baby) and part of the reason I love the program is because it takes me so long to build my strength and endurance that I’m less inclined to sit a week out — if I don’t go I just know it’ll be harder. I also like having a pure cardio day so I can mix weights in on the other days. And, after years of trying to follow various programs (NROLFW, Girls Gone Strong, Strong Lifts) I’m now just doing my best to pick up heavier weights or do more reps on the same simple exercises (bent rows, concentrated bicep curls, French press, squats) and do bodyweight exercises (pushups, walking lunges, tricep dips, planks). I’d love to get a “crazy workout” in there once a week, like a spinning class or a bootcamp, but we’ll see.
  • The eating schedule is something I’m starting to get more interested in — I’m half considering doing the Faster Way to Fat Loss program (not an affiliate link) in part because I want to learn about intermittent fasting/carb cycling. For the past few weeks I’ve been trying to do low carb during the week, with limited carbs on the weekend only, all while still tracking points on Weight Watchers. The system has worked for me in terms of keeping the workweek’s “spend” low enough that I have rollovers and weeklies for the weekend (I finished a whole two weeks in the black, which I almost never do, sigh), but I feel like Mondays and Tuesdays are super rough for me because every week it’s like starting a new low carb diet where I’m starving all the time and have brain fog… so that may not be the best for me.
  • As for other self-care routines, my beauty schedule is pretty easy. I try to get a haircut every 10-12 weeks, and I’m trying to see if I want a third Keratin treatment. I’ve actually never done Botox (although I’m half considering Juvederm or whatever for my “marionette lines,” sigh). I’ve been into skincare this year so I tend to switch nights between my retinoid and chemical exfoliants like Sunday Riley’s Good Genes or Drunk Elephant Glycolic Night Serum*. (I also got a small version of Lancer’s Radiance Awakening Mask*, I think through Sephora VIB points, and really like it.) *affiliate links
  • A meditation routine is something I’m trying really hard to be better about — but it’s a struggle. To wit: I’ve had a Headspace subscription since the beginning of the year, and I KNOW all about the benefits of meditation — and yet I only just finished the second “Basic” pack. Womp womp. I have a goal set to do it 4 times a week using my Done App… yet somehow finding ten quiet minutes is difficult. (FYI Headspace has a 40% off sale going on right now, and just launched a Mindless Eating pack, I think in conjunction with Weight Watchers.)

So let’s hear from you guys — what are your health and fitness routines right now? Do you feel like you’re “living your best self” or is there some previous point in time where you thought your routines really worked for you?

Picture via Stencil.


  1. Anonymous :

    This is a good topic. I’m using the Done app you posted about last week to see if having a streak will get me to keep going. I’ve set it for three workouts per week. I’m going to hit that this week, and I am hoping that once my streak gets to three weeks or so, I’ll really hesitate to break it.

    I meal plan on Sundays, so your description of my eating getting worse through the week is totally true with me, all culminating in a routine family dinner at our favorite Mexican food restaurant on Friday night. Not good!

    • Good for you. I also have a streak. I now have over 10,000 steps every day since last February, and this includes days that it rains. Dad monitor’s my movements to make sure I am busy working out and NOT loaning my Fitbit to Myrna while I rest my tuchus. He is to smart for me, but my tuchus is finally getting under control. Even the manageing partner’s brother asked me about how I was keeping my tuchus in check when he saw me swimming in the pool in the Hamton’s last week. I know he would grab my tuchus if I let him, but I told the manageing partner that I would NOT tolerate him or his son makeing moves on me s-xueally just b/c I do NOT have a boyfreind. They respect that now and are watching Noreen to see if she is more amenable to their moves, but I told her to steer clear of both of them, as their intentions are NOT good. FOOEY on them!

  2. What’s the best and worst office environment you’ve worked in?

    I’ve realized that cubicles are the worst for me. Feel exposed, lots of distracting noise but since you can’t see where it’s coming from its worse for me, still isolating, kinda dull, fluorescent lights. The only way I can work is by blasting music through headphones, but that’s not okay in all circumstances.

    • Panda Bear :

      My workspaces (in order of career appearance) have been front desk/defacto receptionist; sharing a tiny windowless shoebox office with my boss; office of my own; noisy cubicle under fluorescent lights; now back to an office of my own.

      The cubicle was the worst for the same reasons as aargh’s – distracting noise, horrible lighting, feeling simultaneously isolated and exposed. My favorite environment was actually the tiny office shared with my boss – probably because she was such a great boss who was a really effective collaborator, and I loved the job. Having my own office is pretty nice too, though. Wouldn’t want to go back to a cube!

  3. Great Topic!
    Workout: I schedule a workout with a personal trainer 3X per week (whenever I can fit it into my schedule – usually early mornings or late nights). It costs too much, but I’ve found that I won’t exercise unless I’m committed to an appointment. We either do gym or pool workout.
    Food: I recently found out that I am gluten intolerant and am really enjoying a carb-free diet. It forces me to eat mostly vegetables and protein. I feel amazing.
    Self-care: Morning and evening is the same facial cleansing routine. I wash and dry my hair at night because my hair is thick and unruly. I style my hair in the morning (this cuts way down on frizz). Also, Alterna products help with frizz control (more than Keratine treatments, for me). I get facials quarterly. Nails done 2x per month and waxing monthly. Hair cuts every other month. Massage is a MUST every month.
    My largest challenge is weight cycles – I tend to lose/gain 10-20 pounds every few years and it’s difficult to maintain an edited wardrobe. This is due to travel and inconsistent eating. I’m hoping my new gluten-free diet will help.

    • Gluten-free does not mean carb-free. Signed, a person with celiac disease who is trying to eat keto.

      • (from OP) Thank you for the clarification! I was just diagnosed (technically with celiac disease) almost one month ago and am still trying to figure it out. I am looking up carb-free vs. gluten-free, also Keto (never heard of that). Any advice on living with celiac?

        • Husband has celiac. If you get a hankering for pasta, try the chickpea or lentil kind. There are several brands. Banza is my favorite.

          • Thank you, Torin! By chance, I purchased some Banza chickpea pasta over the weekend. Now, I’m even more excited to try it.

        • I was diagnosed about 25 years ago, so I can’t really speak to advice about the transition from regular food to GF food, but if I were in your position, I’d consider making an appointment with a nutritionist or registered dietitian. I’d try to find a local celiac group to ask for a recommendation.

          My brother was diagnosed about 10 years ago, and IIRC it was easiest for him to focus on eating things he already liked that were naturally gluten-free. So lots of fruit, vegetables, dairy, eggs, meat, etc. You just have to make sure to check nutrition labels for hidden gluten. Luckily food labeling has improved a million-fold in the past 10 or so years. You’ll still get “glutened” occasionally, unfortunately.

          Carbohydrates are made of sugar (as opposed to protein or fat). Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. All gluten-containing foods contain carbs, but not all carb-containing foods contain gluten, if that makes sense. So fruit, vegetables, etc. contain carbs but not gluten. Keto is a low carb diet (20 or fewer net carb grams per day). I would not bother counting carbs while you are just learning how to stay gluten-free!

          There’s a celiac board on reddit that would a great resource for you.

          • Anon,
            (think I posted a partial reply on accident)
            Thank you very much for your insight! This is all so very helpful. Many thanks for your kind time and attention. Rachel

        • Anonymous :

          Any recommendations for gluten-free/carb-free/keto breakfasts?

          • Eggs, with or without cheese.

          • I eat full-fat yogurt and grain free granola every morning. I make it myself from various kinds of nuts and shaved coconut.

  4. LawLunches :

    Advice for what to wear for informational interviews and lunches with law firms? Recent grad but have been working full-time during law school so now considering next steps, and am really fortunate that my job has existing relationships with firms in town (some of which are hiring) and is helping me meet the partners there. I’m treating these coffees and lunches like interviews, but was thinking of wearing a conservative dress in a classic color (black, gray, navy) + blazer/suit jacket combo, not a full-on black suit like I usually would do. Thoughts? Any other advice for informational interviews and stuff like this (especially in law)? Thank you!

    • You are already dressing spot on. Business casual, leaning more towards business than casual is the way to go with an informational interview that may hire you.

    • Yes, I think this is a good approach. I hustled to get my first job out of law school and did a lot of informational lunches and always wore this combo. These were a great setting for me as I am outgoing and (not to toot my own horn but) most people like me when they meet me. They are a good way to have small talk first that opens you up to the person liking you before they get to the resume which can be dry. I have found that at the end of the day, most resumes are pretty similar and people end up wanting to work with people they think they get along with. This was a great way for me to show that. It also endeared me to people who mentored me and helped me network.

      Other advice – bring a small notepad. I found some firms didn’t have jobs at the moment, but the lawyers were willing to brainstorm with me about who else they could introduce me to. This is big because it is them sharing their network with you. Taking notes (not to the point that you can’t have a conversation) signals that you are valuing their time. Follow up afterwards with a thank you, which serves as a nice reminder if they said they would make an introduction for you. Keep in touch with them to thank them or to let them know what you are up to once you are employed. Unless they work in career services, it’s not their job to help you find a job, so be grateful for their time.

      Once I got the job, I was on the other end of this and met with someone who was just graduating. I met her at [email protected] She was late and treated it way too casually – kept looking at faceb00k on her phone. She didn’t have any questions for me or any conversation. The premise of the meeting was for us to meet since she was following the same path I did. I told her I would be willing to look at her resume and had the idea that it would be a continuing conversation and I would introduce her to a network as many had done for me. She never followed up afterwards. Never sent me her resume either. (And I walked away thinking she reminded me of that person in your group project that makes NO effort.)

  5. Panda Bear :

    For workouts, I find I’m mostly likely to make it happen if I do it first thing in the morning – so for the past four or five weeks, I’ve been sticking to a routine of 6am spin classes three times a week. The other two days I try to go to a HIIT or weightlifting evening class, and I usually make at least one of those per week.

    Food routine wise, I try to make two dinners on Sunday nights so that I have lots of leftovers for lunches. I too, get lazier and more likely to eat out as the week passes, though. Maybe I should do a double dinner on Wednesdays too.

    On beauty routines, I’m consistent about retinol serum every night and sunscreen every day – but I fall down on sunscreen reapplication during the day. Also, I used to get my hair cut/colored every 8-10 weeks, and about four months ago I just… stopped. Any since my greys are so few and my hair grows so slowly, I’ve found that it really doesn’t look much different than it did six months ago. I’m curious to see how long I can go before it starts to look problematic.

  6. Anonymous :

    I don’t exercise. Am I the only one?

    I try to use good posture, walk, and take the stairs often. That’s it. My weight and fitness has been pretty good because of a decent diet, cooked at home, in moderation, with plenty of sleep.

    I mostly cook at home. Skip breakfast my entire life, and eat a balanced dinner with lots of vegetables. I don’t make rice, potatoes or eat bread regularly. Mostly lean proteins. No evening snacking.

    I make shopping lists, stick to them, shop the outside of the store and avoid the middle, don’t waste food and don’t buy junk. But if I want French fries or a donut, I eat one. Whenever I want. But only the absolute best one I can can find so it is worth it. And I don’t keep it in the house so I have to make a special trip to get it.

    I get enough sleep. The most important part of my fitness routines. I take calcium and vitamin D supplements when needed, and a multivitamin.

    I am 49. No medical problems.

    • if I grow up I want to be as sane as you ;)

      • Anonymous :

        Because exercising is not sane . . . ??

        • What? I exercise to help ensure I can lift my kid, run after him, help with stress/decrease anxiety among other good reasons. This poster seems to think that the only possible reason to exercise is to chase after unhealthy weight loss. Not sure that’s a ‘sane’ perspective.

          • Nor is it medically accurate. Weight-bearing and resistance exercise reduces risk of osteoporosis. Other exercises reduce LDL cholesterol. The list goes on.

      • ditto

    • Do you live in a walkable city? I find a lot of people who say “I don’t exercise” actually walk a lot, which does not address cardio requirements, but is a form of exercise. You may not intentionally exercise, but walking 3 miles a day or more to and from work and appointments will keep you healthy.

      If you are actually rather sedentary, you might want a check up to verify your healthy heart wise.

    • Anonymous :

      One thing I took away from all those books on Blue Zone diets is that exercise is poor compensation for an otherwise unhealthy lifestyle (and plenty of people who don’t exercise live long healthy lives).

    • Anonymous :

      This is basically the French approach, right?

    • Yeah, we don’t exercise either. I walk my kid to daycare (1 mile?), take her to gymnastics, pool, and rock climbing. She’s at an age that I’m doing all these things with her to some extent. Cook at home, don’t keep snacks or sweets at home, get enough sleep. If we want desert like pastries or ice cream, we’ll buy it the day of and only enough for that day. It’s true that we walk pretty much everywhere when we go outside the house.

  7. Great topic! I can’t wait to hear what everyone says.
    * workout: I try to workout every day but usually it’s more like 5x/wk. But the only 2 workouts I do is 1) work out with my personal trainer for 30 min. of weights or 2) 3.5 mile walk in my neighborhood. In the winter the walk becomes an elliptical session.
    * eating: I am a calorie counter, when I do it. I use the my fitness pal app, when I am on track. I have 50+ lbs to lose, so I should cut calories. I struggle with weekend eating and booze calories. I meal prep for the week on sundays and try to keep it healthy, but this is mainly driven by the fact i hate spending money on lunch. We eat pre-prepped food exclusively all week.
    * beauty routines: brows every six weeks, haircut every 8-10 weeks, manicure/pedicure monthly. I alternate between great skincare in the evenings and doing a 3 step peel/moisturize routine and just taking everything off with a makeup wipe while eating halo top in bed.

  8. Gail the Goldfish :

    I succumbed to all the BodyBoss ads on my facebook feed and bought that sometime around Thanksgiving last year. It’s a 16 week HIIT program (including the 4 “pre-training” weeks) with 3 workouts a week. I’ve been stuck on week 8 for like 4 months now because my routine keeps getting interrupted and I do a week over. When I do get a couple of uninterrupted weeks in, the results are pretty awesome. My goal is to do those workouts at least twice a week, cardio (usually elliptical, sometimes swimming laps) twice a week, yoga once a week, and horseback riding once a week. More realistically I usually do 1 HIIT workout, 1 day on the elliptical, and yoga and horseback riding (which are usually the same day). Or work gets busy and I don’t make it to anything for a three week stretch of time.

    Other than, I try to get 7-8 hours of sleep every night. DH and I try to cook instead of eating out, but no particular focus on cooking healthy foods as opposed to spaghetti or whatever.

    • Oh, this is good intel. I have been wondering if I should get BodyBoss, mainly because it’s all over my feeds and I keep subscribing to apps I then never ever use. Maybe the book will be better…is it really worth the $?

      • Gail the Goldfish :

        I bought it on a black Friday sale, so it was half off, I think, and it was worth that. I got the book + online version and usually just take the book to the gym with me. It is hard. Like I thought I was in ok shape. I went to the gym regularly before I bought this. Nope, apparently not. Once you get past the “pretraining” weeks, you’re supposed to do 3 rounds of the exercise sets, and they say each round should take 7 minutes. I have no idea who is doing these things in 7 minutes (or I’m just in way worse shape than I thought). I can usually only do 2 rounds, and it takes me closer to 12-13 minutes/round. It does appear to be effective, and partly I just like have a format to follow since my routine previously was basically just a random collection of whatever weights I felt like that day with some squats and lunges thrown in.

  9. 33 years old :

    Lost 7 lbs so far doing IF, would like to lose 9 more. I have a CSA membership in the summer and it’s so fun to make interesting meals out of the vegetables I get each week. Walking is my only form of exercise right now, and it is also meditative. Would like to fit in cardio and/or strength training but haven’t found a routine yet.

  10. My exercise routine tends to be a bit Jekyll and Hyde. I’ll go a few months working out about 5 times a week and then a few months working out maybe 1-2 times a week. I like group fitness classes and like to mix it up: Pilates, barre, spin, whatever. I’m a big ClassPass fan!

    I tend to be a relatively healthy eater insomuch that I am a vegetarian, eat very little sugar, and mostly cook at home unless I have a reason to go out. But, I’m guilty of sometimes getting Ethiopian food delivered or grabbing Chipotle or whatever. I guess there’s no real routine, and I just assume it all evens out.

    With regard to beauty routines, I get my hair cut/lightly balayaged when it looks bad (maybe every 4ish months?), but have no other real routines beyond, like, washing my face at night or my hair in the morning.

    To be honest, I don’t meditate. I don’t feel particularly compelled to, but maybe I’ll start someday.

    • Are you me?
      I like fitness classes like you, mostly barre and yoga. I’m just not really motivated to workout on my own. I run sometimes. Definitely more motivated some months and not so much other months.
      Also a vegetarian. Definitely the kind that prefers pizza over salad, but I try to be balanced.
      Balayaged hair that I get touched up every few months. I’ve decided that less is more with my skincare. I use micellar water cleanser, witch hazel toner, a nice moisturizer and sunscreen, sometimes a face mask. I have acne prone skin and I’ve found that this works pretty well for me.
      I love hearing everyone else’s comments!

  11. Workout schedule: I like group gym workouts and go 5 days a week, mornings before work, alternate between spinning and hi-reps weightlifting.

    Eating schedule: I meal plan then shop to fill that plan on Saturdays, cook dinner every night. Lots of fresh veggies, decent amount of fruit, whole grains, some dairy, small amount of lean meat once in a while.

    Beauty schedule: I take a shower most days.

  12. Maudie Atkinson :

    I want so badly for us as a culture to reframe the idea of self-care so that it isn’t a matter of only buying things (face masks! hair treatments! wine!) and more about creating a life in which we are actually doing the (hard) work of caring for our bodies and minds, day in and day out. This topic is a good way to get at that–What are our exercise routines? What are our eating routines? Do you have a mindfulness practice?–but I hate that we then lump those acts of care in with our beauty routines.

    As for the question, my goal is 20 workouts a month, with at least 1/2 of those happening on weekday mornings before I get to the office. That consists of a mix of barre and yoga, with a pure cardio workout once a week. I usually get more than 10/month in the mornings, but for the last several months I have been just a few shy of 20 total. I am not as thoughtful as what or when I eat, though experience confirms that when I am, I feel so much better. As to mindfulness, yoga practice helps me with that, as does a consistent religious practice, and beginning a few months ago, I started writing down points of gratitude each night in a tiny Moleskin notebook I bought for that purpose.

    • Lana Del Raygun :

      Yeah, putting mindfulness and exercise, which are objectively good for you, in a giant category of “self care” with Botox is ridiculous. I’m not saying Botox can’t improve your life, but “mitigating the harm of living under an ageist patriarchy by injecting toxins into your head” does not fall under remotely the same umbrella as “becoming stronger and reducing your risk of heart attack.”

      • Maudie Atkinson :


        For the record, I do get regular Botox injections, and I have no shame about it. But that’s not caring for myself; it’s vanity. And it’s arguably inconsistent with otherwise creating a life that’s sustainable and doesn’t require my retreating from it to keep going.

  13. Anonymous :

    Lift weights (for strength, not reps) four mornings a week for about an hour. Walk 15 minutes each way to work daily.
    Eat pretty well, 5-6 days a week. I treat myself to a fancy (expensive, but healthy) salad most workdays, eat healthy breakfasts, and usually make simple but healthy dinners (piece of chicken or fish + roasted vegetables + starchy vegetable, bread, or rice). Indulge more on the weekends. Cut mid-week alcohol. When I eat well for a week or so (including lots of water and healthy fats), I lose the urge to treat myself, and don’t end up craving sweets or unhealthy fats.
    I’m very bad about the other things. I get my hair cut when I realize it looks totally horrid (usually every 5 months or so…). I don’t do expensive cuts, or color, or any other treatments. I was thrilled to get into the habit of washing my face before bed every night. Pedicures maybe two or three times a year, usually in a panic ahead of an event that requires me to wear open-toed shoes.

  14. I work out 10-15 hours a week. This is a lot. I’ve learned that it’s important for injury prevention to both take rest days during the week, and to take full rest weeks, where my only exercise is walking and gentle stretching, every 2 months or so. Exercise provides both stress relief and mood stabilization for me, so by the end of a full rest week I tend to be cranky. But it’s important for long-term health so I do it anyway.

    In terms of food I try to just relax. I try to avoid simple carbs in my own cooking but not worry about the “empty carbs” in a few drinks or a dessert once in awhile. But by the same token I try to not eat desserts simply because they’re in front of me even if they’re not very high quality: like don’t eat the cheap office birthday cake because honestly it’s just not that good, but OTOH thoroughly enjoy eating a few macaroons from Favorite Bakery once in awhile. I’m not always actually successful with being the zen person I aspire to be about this, but when I catch myself guilt-tripping myself about an indulgence, I try to stop.

    Beauty: I get my hair cut when I feel like it has outgrown the cut, which happens like twice a year? Depends on the cut. I wash my face with jojoba oil most days but sometimes I use toner. That’s kind of it I think.

  15. And Peggy :

    I’m stepping into the fitness ring a little. I’ve been dancing as a hobby for over four years now, which used to keep me in shape, but it’s no longer fulfilling my fitness needs. I started doing Pure Barre last month, thinking of adding cardio onto it via spin or Zumba classes, and looking into ClassPass so I don’t break the bank!

    For eating, I’m currently cutting back on my meat intake these days, prioritizing plant proteins and meat substitutes whenever possible. Lots of brown rice, chickpeas, black and pinto beans, sunflower seed bites, cashews, and rice bowls with sofritas from Chipotle. Is it the best diet for weight loss? No, I know that, I understand that I also need to keep track of my sugar, dairy, and calorie intake as well if I want to lose weight, but I definitely feel good doing this . . . as long as I remember my Beano, that is!

  16. Workout: Exercise a minimum of 5x per week. Gym classes, running, biking, pelaton.
    Food: Unfortunately lots of takeout. Cook 3x per week at dinner.
    Self-care: Hair cut and color every 6 months. Botox + Clear & brilliant facial every 4 months (I’m 36 and have been doing this since 28 and look younger than my friends for sure). Dermatologist every 6 months. Spend a good amount on skin care, which includes retin A, vitamin C, and a few other physician prescribed things. Nails every 3 weeks (gel on hands, regular pedicure). Massage every 4 months but want to do this one more.

  17. I am impressed that so many of you work out so frequently! I work out around twice a week (doing OrangeTheory) and the rest of the week I try to hit 10,000 steps a day. I really want to work out more but I hate waking up early to work out because I love to sleep! Trying to get into meditation right now.

    Food: Not great. Try to eat healthy but often fail. It is hard for me especially to eat healthy when socializing and to say no to the home baked treats that my co-workers often bring in to the office. I know I should just say no but I don’t. :(

    Beauty: Get my greys colored every 6-8 weeks. Do balayage twice a year and get it cut around once or twice a year. Really into skincare and love my nighttime routine of serums, jade rolling, and moisturizers. Sunscreen every day and a hat and sunglasses anytime I will be outside in the sun (yes, I am that lady wearing a sunhat on her commute to work).

  18. Great topic. I’m 2 years PP and have to face the fact that the baby weight isn’t going anywhere without major intervention.

    I’ve started adding walking back in, with a goal of redoing a Couch to 5K this fall (or as soon as the humidity breaks). I can do that in my neighborhood safely, at night with a headlamp, after kiddo is down. In the meantime I’ve also started doing yoga almost every night. Thanks to whoever here recommended Yoga with Kassandra on YouTube- she’s a nice change from my standby Yoga with Adriene.

  19. I’ve been consistently working out since high school (I’m 50 now). I have dogs who expect daily walks or runs, so there’s no getting out of it (plus I enjoy it). I have a home gym with weights and cardio machines. It’s just my thing, I guess. Right now in the morning I’m running 4 x a week and walking the other 3 days, weights twice a week in the evening. When it gets colder and darker in the morning (about October), I’ll switch to all after work workouts. I’d like to do yoga and meditate, but there’s only so much time in a day. I’m definitely not a hard body like I was in my 20’s, but you get to the point where good enough is good enough.

    I food prep on Sunday, always pack a lunch with lean protein and veggies and fruit. I very rarely eat out unless on vacation. I do snack on chocolate, cheese, and chips but try to keep it in check most of the time. I make sure to get enough sleep, although when my son was little that was not always possible, but he’s a teen now.

    I have to color my gray roots every 3 weeks at this point, which is a pain, but I’m not ready to give it up yet. I get my below the shoulder hair trimmed every 2 months. Do my own pedicures, no manicures or facials or massages.

  20. Legally Brunette :

    Workout – 2 or 3 times a week with Fitness Blender videos (strength training and pilates only, no cardio). I also love to walk and try to walk 1-2 miles a day when I can (usually I get off at a farther metro stop from work and walk the rest to work).

    Food – intermittent fasting, generally eat between 1 – 8 pm. IF has been a lifesaver for me, I don’t have to think about it and it keeps the weight off. Most of our meals are cooked at home, we go out maybe once every two weeks.

    Beauty – used Paula’s Choice products for the last decade and don’t intend on stopping. started using Retin-A almost every night and it’s amazing to see the difference in my skin. Haircuts every 3-4 months, facials 3 or 4 times a year, brows twice a year (I barely have any).

  21. Rebecca in Dallas :

    – I’m a distance runner, so it mostly revolves around what race I’m training for. I usually do 2 marathons a year (one in the fall, one in the spring) with half marathons and trail races sprinkled in. So I’m either building up to a race or recovering from one. I usually run 4 days a week: one long run, one hill or speed workout, 2 medium distance easy runs.
    – I do Camp Gladiator (boot-camp style workout) twice a week, sometimes three times if my schedule permits. It’s early in the morning, so I just roll out of bed and go before I can talk myself out of it.
    – I also do yoga, I’m currently getting certified to become an instructor. Normally I practice 1-2 times a week but with my certification training, it’s been about 4 times a week.
    – So yes, a normal week is 7-8 workouts. For some people, that’s a lot, for me it’s perfect. And all of these workouts are group oriented, so I’m actually getting some social time in as well. If I have a busy week at work or with social obligations, running takes priority, then yoga, then Camp Gladiator.

    – I do food prep on Sundays, mostly making things that will be good lunches/leftovers for the week (pastas, soups, salads, veggie stir-fry).
    – I’m a vegetarian but otherwise I don’t really eat a particular diet, just try to make everything well-balanced between protein, carbs and fat. Yes, I get plenty of protein.
    – I tend to eat 3 square meals a day, I’m not much of a snacker. If I’m working out early in the morning, I’ll eat a banana pre-workout and then oatmeal or toast with pb afterwards. Lunch and dinner are usually one of the things I made on Sunday or a big-ass salad. We don’t eat out a whole lot, I might grab Chipotle or Panera for lunch once a week.
    – I limit alcohol to weekends for the most part. My husband is sober so that’s fairly easy.

    – I think exercising is a huge self-care routine for me, same with reading.
    – Alone time is also important, I try to make sure I get at least one weeknight at home with no commitments other than cooking dinner and watching a trashy reality TV show.
    – I don’t have any special beauty routines. I wash my makeup off before I work out and/or before bed. I use sunscreen every day.

    – I started using the 10% Happier app (I also highly recommend the book) and was good about taking a break every afternoon to go to a private conference room to meditate. But I’ve gotten out of that habit unfortunately, need to bring it back.
    – Yoga and running are definitely moving meditations for me.

  22. I recently read The Obesity Code by Dr. Jason Fung, and frankly, it blew my mind! It opened my eyes to intermittent fasting as a way to lose and manage weight. There are tons of benefits to fasting that I was not aware of before: autophagy (killing off weak cells to replace them with new ones – i.e., the fountain of youth), increased growth hormone levels (if you fast long enough), increased BDNF (think neurogenesis, neuroplasticity), decreased insulin resistance (lowers risk of someday developing diabestes), etc. Find talks by Victor Longo (researcher at USC) about it on youtube. Fasting for one day isn’t as hard as I thought it would be either. Green tea and sparkling water keep me going.

    I have long tried to control my weight with cardio, but it just isn’t that effective. I still enjoy it, but cardio for me these days is more about burning off stress and creating a good mood. (Cardio is also good for increasing BDNF.) Intermittent fasting is what is helping me finally make a dent in my weight, and I feel like it will be sustainable. It is still an experiment for me, though.

    Recently, I have started doing kettlebell workouts, too, based on a book. Kettlebells are supposed to combine a heavy weight workout with cardio, and therefore, it is supposed to be a very efficient workout. The movement of the bell also forces you to adapt to its momentum, which is supposed to help with your balance, too. I’ve been working out two times per week. I cannot do more because the soreness does not really subside until after 2-3 days. On other days, I am just doing cardio or sometimes yoga.

    I’ve discovered the health benefits of saunas, too. They are good for increasing cardio endurance, BDNF, stress, and helping with recovery from a workout. Just wish there was more time for it!

  23. Exercise: Another long-distance runner here who relieves stress through exercise. I run 3x a week (1 long, 2 mid or shorter runs that usually involve speedwork or hills). I have gotten into using Aaptiv for my runs, which helped me push myself more than usual and was able to set a new half-marathon PR earlier this summer. I do strength/HIIT workouts 2x a week (almost always videos from, but sometimes I use Aaptiv. I play tennis with my husband once a week, and usually do an elliptical workout or strength afterwards. We joined a racquet club with terrific childcare (up to 3 hours per day at nominal cost, plus they have twice a month “drop-off” events on weekends, also nominal cost). The 7th day is my yoga day. I do warm or hot vinyasa, but I use it to get in a good stretch from all of the other workouts, as well as a form of self-care. I really came to enjoy yoga while I was pregnant, and then didn’t stop. I used to think it was “not enough of a workout” but really enjoy it now.

    A couple of other notes: I own a treadmill at home, which is great when I don’t want to run outside or if I’m home alone and my son is napping. I also bought a treadmill desk at work–not for running, but just for walking for periods during the day. I am literally the only person in my firm with a treadmill desk, so some people think it’s kind of weird, but most are jealous!

    Food: I try to meal-plan so that I can make sure to include everything we’ll need for the week in my weekly order from Fresh Direct and my weekly trip to Whole Foods. We usually order once a week and then either go out or order one other night. I am the one who usually cooks, while my husband bathes and puts my son to bed. We eat after he’s in bed. I try to make healthy meals including a protein, carb, and vegetable. I search for recipes and read blogs with recipes (e.g., the Kitchn, Smitten Kitchen) for ideas. I’m not really a fan of cooking, especially at the end of a long day, but I prefer to cook so I can control what we eat. We grill a lot as well. We also belong to a co-op of sorts where we get 6 months worth of meat and frozen vegetables delivered and keep in the freezer. The meat thaws very quickly. This helps with grocery shopping because I rarely need to order meat. I’m usually just ordering food for breakfast, snacks, and some lunches. I actually get lunch out every day because I work in DC in an area densely populated with fast-casual places like sweetgreen and Chop’t, so I usually get a salad of some sort every day.

    Other self-care: I get gel manicures (or SNS) fairly often, although will go on “breaks” to allow my nails to heal. I get gel pedicures maybe once a month. They last a long time for me. I don’t get my hair cut often enough, according to my stylist, but I probably go every 3 months. She trims my bangs in between cuts. My hair is layered and on the long side so it is pretty low maintenance. I also do go for occasional facials and massages–maybe 4-6 times a year total.

    Since having a baby, I have cut my “getting ready” time pretty significantly. I try to shower quickly, do minimal makeup, and in the summer, I just “scrunch” my hair while wet. I have also moved to every-other-day shampooing, something I never thought I would do because I work out every day in the morning. I use a lot of dry shampoo and have an excellent shower cap! I am also a bit of a product junkie and have recently started splurging more on higher-quality products, such as Le Mer skincare. The jury’s out on whether it is working, but a colleague once told me that a client looked younger than me and “must use more expensive eye cream” than I do, so perhaps it is partially driven by that.

    I will end this already-too-long post by saying that despite all of the above, my life is far from perfect. I have struggled with variations of BDD or other body-image issues for a long time. After I went off of birth control to try to have a baby at the age of 30, I never got my period and went down the long path of fertility treatments. After several rounds of IVF, I fortunately got pregnant with my son, who is truly the love of my life (now 20 months old). We are currently trying to have another child (through IVF again), but have had 2 miscarriages in the span of 3 months. My doctor told me I should probably gain some weight, so I’m trying to back off of the exercise a bit and eat more food. Both of my parents died in the past 5 years from cancer and both had heart disease, so I struggle with balancing wanting to be “healthy” with preparing my body for (hopefully) a successful pregnancy.

  24. Anonymous :

    I’ll play. Pertinent background info: 4 kids under the age of 10, 50-60 hour a week job, super supportive husband.

    Exercise: On weekends I always do some form of cardio (often a HIIT class, sometimes running outside or swimming laps). In addition, I aim for a yoga class each weekend day, but often get only 1 in. I try very very hard to be active with my kids. Walk “runs” in the woods, long bike rides, basketball games, kayaking in the summer, swimming, etc. whatever we feel like and fits the weather. One of the reasons I exercise so much is to make it easy for myself to want to be active with my kids and to enjoy it. Another is to set a good example, which helps with the guilt at taking time away from them.
    On weekdays, my goal is a 5am class every morning. Happens probably 3xs a week on average (some weeks, if work is brutal, it is 0). I also belong to the gym in my building and will often pop down and run a quick two miles on the treadmill, take a quick shower and be back at my desk in less than 45 minutes. I also bike or walk to and from the train, which is about a mile and a half each way. 1-3 nights a week I go to a late hot yoga class. Other nights, if I’m not working and weather permits, I ride bikes with my kids (or a couple of them anyways). From a time mgmt perspective, this is possible because I outsource and, in addition, I get a lot of help from my husband, mom, weekly house cleaner, and babysitter, with laundry, shopping, food prep, homework, etc. so most of my free time is spent “playing” with my kids. Also, I am not type A so I dont care about my house being perfect, etc.

    Diet: I aim for low carb, moderate protein, minimal processed foods. I very often fail and eat pizza, drink wine, grab a hot dog at a cookout, get dessert, etc. Oh well.

    Self Care: including beauty treatments, though I totally get the comments above pointing out that botox, etc. is NOT self care, I do the following:
    I dye my hair every 4 weeks, cut every 12; nails every 4; eyebrows, lip, etc. waxed, every 4 weeks; botox twice a year. I use quality skin care items,including prescription retin-A, quality shampoo/conditioner, and use face masks a couple of times a week.

    I consider yoga my main form of true self-care as it helps my mindfulness, focus, sense of peace etc. tremendously.

  25. Anonymous :

    Great topic, Kat. How about a thread on how folks keep it together when traveling? I would love to get the wisdom of the tribe.

  26. After several years of exercising inconsistently/not at all since I started as a law firm associate, I got a Peloton about 6 months ago. I haven’t exercised this frequently or consistently (or with this enthusiasm!) since college. Cutting out the time of getting to/from the gym has made it very achievable for me to fit in a 45 minutes of cardio 5x/week, and the various stretching and strength training classes where I can. Peloton can feel like a cult, but for good reason — it’s really empowering!

    I agonized over the expense of it, but after cancelling my gym membership it made sense for me. Since then I’ve realized that I should stop feeling so guilty about prioritizing my health. There are so many useless things I can (and sometimes do…) spend money on besides an exercise bike that has given me — for the first time in my adult life — an exercise regimen I can stick with and is making me feel strong and healthy.

    Exercising more rigorously has increased my motivation to eat better and cleaner. I’ve done several rounds of Whole 30, which are a helpful reset for me when I’ve really fallen off the wagon. Between Whole30s I’m eating Paleo, or close to it, Sunday through Thursday and giving myself more flexibility on Fridays and Saturdays. For me this looks like lots of fruits and vegetables, eggs every morning, and fish/poultry/meat, and no alcohol on weeknights (except for my Sunday evening wine to ward off the Sunday scaries).

  27. I also LOVE LOVE LOVE my Peloton. And signed up for StrongerU, which is not a diet but you follow how much you are supposed to eat, track it, and send it to your coach once a week. For me the external accountability, plus the flexibility of eating what I want is great.

  28. I’ve enjoyed reading most everyone’s comments!

    I’m lucky that I was raised to enjoy exercise. Its what I do. I don’t reward myself for working out because working out is my reward. I’m actually sick with a horrible cold right now and not having the energy to workout after work this week is really taking a toll on my mental state. I use the Sweat app by Kayla Itsines and ideally do a BBG workout at Equinox M, W, & F; train for long-distance races with my dog T, R, & Sa; play tennis Su; and do a BAM yoga workout on the Sweat app Sa & Su. I used to love group fitness classes when I was at a law firm, but now that I’m in-house, I need to be alone during my workout :)

    I’m 31 so still at the age where I can eat whatever I want and get away with it weight-wise, but I do feel better when I eat better. My biggest issue is that I don’t enjoy cooking AT ALL. Any advice?

    As far as self care, besides being religious about my am & pm routines, I fake tan once a week, get a mani/pedi every other week, get my eyebrows threaded once a month, and get quarterly haircuts, facials, and massages.

    For mental self care, I set aside one hour in the morning and evening to follow a modified “miracle morning” (by Hal Elrod). I meditate, re-read my goals, look at my calendar, and “write” in my Five Minute Journal and Productivity Planner (I use the apps). I listen to audiobooks during my commute.

  29. Exercise: Avid lifter; 5-ish days a week, 5am on workdays. I lift heavy, building a workout around 1-2 compound lifts with accessory work. One of those weekly workouts is usually more core and bodyweight plyometric work. I have arthritis in my knees, so bouncing around is hard–no burpees for me. Try to do yoga now and then. I play roller derby and skate 5-7 hours a week in full season and drop a day or two of lifting to compensate for the time demands. If the weather is good, I’ll skate the 3 mile roundtrip to the gym on the weekends. I often take a 2 mile walk at lunch. I’ve sworn off running and have no regrets.

    Food: High fat, high protein, real grub with the occasional treat. I love food and can easily feel ill from eating too much. I prep 3-4 300 calorie mini meals either the night before work or the morning of, not because you have to eat mini meals, but because I’m happiest when I get to eat frequently. If I don’t have them, I’ll end up hitting the dreaded snack cabinet mid-afternoon. Start the day with three eggs, a small handful of shredded cheese, salsa, and avocado–almost always. A mini meal is often one serving of nuts, a serving of cheese, and a serving of fruit or fruit, nuts, chocolate chips mixed into greek yogurt. Grains give me heartburn so I try to avoid them. Alcohol in moderation. Weekends I tend to eat more, since I am eating with my kids. When I want to lose weight, I break out the food scale and weigh and log every bite for a couple weeks and aim for macros. Almost always lose 2-4 pounds that way.

    Beauty care (ugh?): Dye my hair with Madison Reed every 2-3 weeks. Very gray at 37 and my hair grows fast. A haircut every 6-8 weeks to tame my giant mane. My feet are so sturdy and so hard up from skating that I wouldn’t dare spend money on pedicures. My hands are rough from lifting, so same for manicures. Wax every 4-5 weeks. Eyebrows threaded every 2-3 weeks.

    I need to sleep more. That’s a big problem for me. My kids have been going to bed later in the summer and it’s taking it’s toll with my early mornings. I’ve started buying only comfort shoes–attractive ones, but fewer ones. Years of high heels are really wearing on my feet and my toes (and bunions) are paying the price. I’m not sacrificing my feet anymore–I need them.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Thank you for commenting. On the off chance that your comment goes to moderation, note that a moderation message will only appear if you enter an email address. If you have any questions please check out our commenting policy.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.