Tag Archives: apps

Staying Healthy on a Busy Schedule

Hello, again, my wonderful readers! I have clearly been M.I.A. for quite some time. Since August 3rd, my days have been lengthy and jam-packed with English, social studies, grading, data-analyzing, and all those other fun activities that come with a teaching job.

Returning to Title I public school teaching is great, but it requires an incredible amount of work. I’ve been putting in 10-11 hour days at school, and then I do at least an hour of more work once I get home. It’s a little nuts and makes finding work-life balance a challenge, but I love what I do!

Staying Healthy on a Busy Schedule

Once life gets hectic, it’s so easy to let everything else go. When I come home after a day of teaching on my feet, it can be nearly impossible to convince myself to go for a run, stand in the kitchen to cook a decent meal, or avoid the chocolate and beer calling my name.

Because I’ve had a past with unhealthy relationships with food and exercise, it can be easy to fall into extremes….binge eating or restricting, chronic over-exercising or an out-right refusal to ever get off the couch. Extremes are easy to fall into when I’m anxious and stressed, even over a job I love and enjoy.

So I’ve set up a few basic guidelines to moderate myself when I’m too tired to give food and exercise my full attention.

1. A specific exercise goal

smoky mountain half picture

Fortunately, I can’t actually be a couch potato that outright refuses to move once work has ended. Two months ago, Ryan and I signed up for the Smoky Mountain Half Marathon. We’re SO excited about this race because the scenery will be gorgeous and we have an excuse to spend a weekend in Smoky Mountain National Park!

I created a rough training schedule that requires only three runs per week, with the long run scheduled for the weekend. On a good week, I can add in an additional run or workout. (I’ve only had two good weeks out of my eight week training schedule…) Otherwise, three runs per week can safely get me to my goal. Sure, it won’t be my fastest half, but who cares? I’ll be in the mountains!

Take Action! Choose a short term exercise goal that encourages you to get moving! Maybe you can find a race a couple months away. Thanksgiving is about 3 months away, and there are countless Turkey Day races around the country! You could also choose to aim for a certain amount of push ups, complete a month-long squat challenge, prepare for a long hike on your next vacation, or try a new class at the gym.

Make a short term goal that will motivate you, and then celebrate once you’ve accomplished it! Short term goals are more manageable, and you won’t get bored before the challenge is over.

2. Shop Smart


Enough leftovers, salad mixings, apples, and eggs to last us the week!

Set yourself up for success. Get your grocery shopping done on the weekend (or on Monday after work when, like me, you run out of time) and go in with a plan. I try to plan three meals for the week. That will give me three week days’ worth of meals and a few leftovers for other dinners or lunches. We also have our staples: salad mixings, eggs, almond butter, apples, almonds, chips and salsa (for Ryan!), yogurt, and avocados.

With three planned meals and our weekly staples, there’s always something healthy to eat! Ryan and I also go out to eat once a week and don’t really worry about how “healthy” our choices are because the rest of the week is well planned.

3. Squeeze it in

12 minute athlete

Sometimes, life really doesn’t work out as planned and there is no time for a workout and no time to make dinner. Having a list of go-to ideas for these hectic times makes all the difference.

For quick dinners, I think it’s important to choose something you actually want to eat. Sometimes a salad doesn’t sound appealing, so I need to come up with another option. In my personal opinion, food IS more than just fuel. You should enjoy every meal! Here are a few quick and easy meals I enjoy:

  • Scrambled eggs and sliced avocado
  • Soup or chili
  • Giant salad from the salad bar at the grocery store
  • Rotisserie chicken

For quick workouts, the key is choosing efficient moves. Some days a run will do the trick. On other days, I don’t want to leave the house. Throwing together a short, super efficient circuit is a great option! Here are a few ideas:

4. Sometimes, Rest is Key!

Know your limits, and know when skipping a workout or having some wine and chocolate is truly the best option! Self-care is important, too. If you’re too tired, take a bath and call it a day. Watch an old movie or TV show, and give yourself a break. Rest helps you recharge so you can make better choices the next day!

Useful Health Apps: Food & Fitness on the Go!

I was really frustrated after my short run yesterday. My ankle has been bothering me (old stress fracture injury), so I took off a week and a half from running. My ankle didn’t really hurt…I just felt something in the same vicinity as the fracture. However, after taking a week and a half off from running, I felt a sharp pain while walking up the steps after my run. ::Sigh:: I guess that means I need to take off more time.

I feel a little confined because I have no gym membership here and there is no exercise equipment in the house, so I’m stuck with walking and body weight exercises. And even though those are perfectly legitimate forms of working out, I get BORED easily. And I’m bored. You know I’ll update when I discover something more enticing than yet another walk :)

Today  I wanted to share a few apps I use that help keep me on track. I don’t use any of them religiously except for one very simple workout calendar. But I’ll get to that! First, let’s talk food :)

useful health apps

Useful Health Apps: Food!


 Big Oven is a fantastic recipe organizer, menu planner, and grocery list app. When I find a recipe I like, I can quickly add it to this app and have access to it just about anywhere. You can organize recipes in folders you create, and you can drag them into a weekly (or monthly, if you’re ambitious) menu planning calendar. You can also add a recipe to your grocery list, and it’ll sort everything for you into a list along with any other recipes you’re making that week.


My Fitness Pal is incredibly helpful when you want to know the nutrition facts behind your daily eating habits. You can input common foods and even your own recipe’s ingredients to find out what you’re consuming. You can also track calories burned during cardio exercise. (For some reason, it doesn’t track calories burned during strength work or lifting exercises.)

If you are completely unaware of the amount of calories you consume every day, then it might be a good idea to track for a week just to get a good idea. Be careful though…it can be a slippery slope. Some people get too excited when they see a calorie deficit. You can’t live your life in a calorie deficit, so I suggest just using it to get a general idea of your intake.

I use it to track carb intake every once in a while. I used to count calories obsessively, and it turns out I was really just hungry most of the time. Eating more fat/protein and fewer carbs is the way to go :) If you’re interested, click here to watch a video about why sugar (not fat) is our real problem. Ok…backing off from my soapbox. The point is that My Fitness Pal is a good website and app to check in with yourself every once in a while.

Useful Health Apps: Fitness!

I use a very simple workout calendar app to track my workouts. There is really nothing special about this app. I imagine most people could use Google or Yahoo calendar in the same way. There’s something about the picture of the running man on the front of the app that reminds me to track my workouts more often!

It’s pretty straight forward. I can add whatever exercises I want and check them off when I’m done. When I open the calendar, I can see dots for planned workouts and check marks for completed workouts.

Every day I can check off my completed exercises.
Today I went for a walk before completing an
upper body workout, so now I can check them off!

The Nike Training Club App is a fantastic app for keeping things interesting! They have many different categories (“Get Strong,” “Get Toned,” and “Get Lean,” just to name a few) and varied levels based on your abilities. There are also video explanations for any exercises with which you’re unfamiliar. And you can play your music through the app. It’s wonderful.

Another Nike app, Nike Plus Running App, is a convenient way to keep track of your training runs. Whether you run short or long distances, this app will keep you updated on your pace and total miles completed each week. It’s fun to race against yourself, too! At the end of a run, you’ll get a friendly message from and Olympic runner saying something along the lines of, “That was your best 5K time yet! Keep it up!” Sure, it’s a tad cheesy, but it can be quite motivating. :)

 Useful Health Apps: Catch Alls!

 I use Big Oven and Workout Calendar on a daily basis. There are also two “catch all” apps I consult on a daily basis.

  Reddit is an enormous, quirky community where you can find information on anything from the paleo lifestyle to teacher support to veganism to gaming to world news. It’s. Huge. Do yourself a favor and read through some of their forums. I follow fitmeals, paleo, teaching, science, fitness, world news, running, history, flexibility, and many others. If you want to read specific forums, I suggest signing up with a username. (Pause and think about your weirdest quirk. There’s definitely a reddit forum for it!)

 And last but not least…Pinterest! I’m sure many of you are already huge fans of the site. I use it mostly for looking up recipes, workouts, and home improvement ideas. If you’re vegetarian, vegan, paleo, or everything in between, there’s a recipe for you. And of course, there are also countless workout ideas…but read them carefully and modify them as you see fit!

Question of the day: What apps do you love???? Any suggestions?