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Active Life talked to local bloggers Chelsea Clark of Chelsea Eats Treats, Abby Wolfe of The Secret Life Coach of DC, and Allison Godrey of The Wicked Healthy Washingtonian about their fitness routines. Read up and learn how this healthy crew juggles work, life, and healthy habits!
ALDC: What time of day do you typically work out, and why does this work for you?
Chelsea: I like to work out in the morning because I find that I have so much more energy throughout the day. I ride that endorphin high all day long and I just feel so much happier in general. It puts me in a good mood that lasts all day.
I also find that it’s a lot easier to make my workouts happen if I get them done in the morning because I won’t get sidetracked by last-minute happy hours or having to work late. Plus, coming home from work and not having to work out is probably the best feeling ever. The sunrises in DC aren’t bad either!
Abby: Ideally, I would love to get my workouts over with first thing in the morning, however, this unfortunately doesn't work with my commute to work. On weekends, though, I make it a point to work out in the morning--I love having my workout completed for the day, plus it makes me feel energized and ready to go first thing. During workdays, I throw on my workout clothes right after work and either head down to the gym or take a run. As long as I don't sit around for too long, I tend to be able to stick to this schedule.
Allison: I’m definitely one of those morning workout people. I love the early hours and enjoy getting my workout in then so that I can shower, clean up, and be productive for the rest of my day. Although, I will admit, I like working out at any time of day- there is something to be said for mid-afternoon yoga classes and runs as the set is setting. But on a regular basis, I workout before work (I have to be in around 10am usually) because its sets up some structure to my morning, gives me a good dose of me time first thing, and helps me to feel productive and healthy throughout the rest of the day. Plus, there is a less of a chance of skipping a workout later in the day if you just hop out of bed and get it done in the morning!
ALDC: What types of workouts do you do, and how do you balance different types of training?
Chelsea: I have to confess that balancing workouts is not my strong suite- running is definitely my favorite and I always have to remind myself how important cross training is. However I do have a system that works pretty well for me; every Sunday evening I schedule my workouts on a dry-erase calendar that I keep on my fridge, and I make sure to plan a variety of activities. Typically I will run 3-4 times a week and do a strength-focused workout 1-2 times a week.
I recently quit my gym membership so I rely on workout DVDs (P90X and Insanity are my favorites, but I also love a good yoga or Pilates DVD) and just use my basic home equipment (a few weights, resistance bands, etc.). It’s cheap and easy, so it works for me!
Abby: Lately, I have been really into running. I just ran my first half marathon a week ago and I like to say that I have 'caught the running bug.' Currently, my routine is 2-4 runs per week with one or two strength workouts. My strength workouts tend to incorporate high-intensity exercises like squat jumps or burpees to induce the metabolic effect. Once every couple of weeks, I will try to fit yoga in. I wish I did yoga more but that's still a habit I have to form!
Allison: I try and do a little bit of everything. Whenever someone asks me what I do for workouts, I say that I cross-train the crap out of life (if I should be so bold). I love running, spinning, lifting, boot camp style workouts, and yoga. I thrive on a well-balanced workout routine and for me, that is one that includes all of those things in moderation. Whenever I focus too much on one type of exercise, I tend to resent it a bit and miss the other things I like doing. For me, strength training is just as important as cardio and so I make a big effort to get in both- even when I’m training for a race. I’m fairly new to working out (it wasn’t until the beginning of 2012 that I started to exercise) so I’m always open to trying new things (like barre, pilates, crossfit, etc.) because I really don’t know if there are other things out there that I would love. I will always have a soft spot for functional exercises and boot camp style routines that emphasize moves like squats, pushups, lunges, deadlifts, overhead presses, etc. because those were the first exercises and workouts I did when I was looking to become fitter and healthier.
ALDC: How often do you take rest/recovery days?
Chelsea: I think rest and recovery days are really important for your body, so I will usually take at least one (but more likely two) throughout the week. Sunday is almost always a rest day for me because I typically do longer runs on Saturdays and use Sundays to recover.
Abby: One to two times each week. I have been struggling with plantar fasciitis and achilles tendinitis, so I know that I need to rest in order to heal and avoid major injury. My rest and recovery days really depend on how my body feels--if I am hurting a little extra one week, I will devote more of my time to rest, stretching, and becoming best friends with my foam roller.
Allison: I usually have, what I call, one active rest day during the week where I go to yoga. And then I have one rest day where I don’t do any sort of class or running. Also, this may vary on a weekly basis based on how I’m feeling or the intensity of workouts I’ve just completed or that I have ahead. All that being said, I walk a lot and rely on my feet to get pretty much everywhere in the city. So even when I’m not working out- I’m a very active person and am always moving.
ALDC: How do you balance your social life, work, and fitness?
Chelsea: It’s hard! Working out in the morning definitely helps though; when I used to work out in the evenings I always had a really hard time fitting everything in. Another thing that helps is to have friends who you can work out with. Meeting up with a running buddy or taking a class with a friend is such a great way to knock two things off your list at once.
It's also a good idea to check out group sports like kickball, softball, or volleyball. Last spring I played on a kickball league every Wednesday night and it was a great way to hang out with friends and still be active.
Abby: I believe that in order to have a healthy social life and work life, I myself need to be healthy, so dedicating time to fitness, whatever type it may be, is crucial. I balance these three aspects of my life by planning ahead--if I know I am hitting happy hour on Tuesday, I will either plan for that to be my rest day for the week or I will try to fit in a quick workout at my office gym. I also try really hard to give myself a break in case I miss a workout, as fitness is supposed to be a 'de-stressor' not an added stressor.
Allison: I decided that fitness was going to be a priority in my life. I committed myself to moving more back in 2012 and I haven’t looked back since. I’ve realized how much happier I am when I fit in workouts and exercise on a regular basis- thus there really is no reason why I shouldn’t be working on my fitness! My social life and work are also important, but I working out is just as significant. I pencil in my workouts, gym time, and run time into my planner (I’m an organizational freak!) just like I would any other appointment, work meeting, or food date with a friend. When it’s there in black in white in my planner (well to be honest, I use a teal blue pen for anything fitness related in my planner), it becomes something I’m doing and something that I need to plan around. You just gotta make the time- and you will if it’s important to you.
ALDC: What's the duration of a typical workout for you?
Chelsea: It depends what kind of workout it is! During the week I like to keep my workouts around an hour, however I do have some DVDs that are more like an hour and a half or an hour and 15 minutes (ugh, those are NOT my favorite). However on the weekends I like to go on long runs or bike rides, so those obviously last a lot longer.
Abby: 30-60 minutes. I rarely go over 60 minutes, unless I am doing a long run.
Allison: It could be anywhere from thirty minutes to an hour. Sometimes I run three miles and call it a day. Sometimes I run three miles and do some strength based exercises to balance out the cardio. Sometimes I do an AMRAP bootcamp style workout that lasts about forty minutes. Sometimes I spin for an hour. Sometimes I spin for 45 minutes and then lift some weights. It all depends on my schedule for the day and my energy levels. It also depends on the intensity of my workout. If I feel like I did enough and that my time was well spent- then it doesn’t matter too much exactly how long I worked out.
ALDC: Do you work out alone, in a group, or with a personal coach/trainer?
Chelsea: I’d say most of the time I workout by myself or with my boyfriend. He’s pretty good about waking up to work out with me, and by “pretty good” I mean it usually happens about 50% of the time. Haha! I’m lucky though that he does like to work out the same ways that I do, so we can run together or do DVDs together. It’s nice to have someone by your side to keep you motivated and he’s great at pushing me to keep going when I’m feeling beat.
Abby: Usually alone. Occasionally I will attend a group fitness class but I find that I get my best workouts done when I do them alone--I am more mentally focused and in the zone, plus I can choose the time, duration, location, and intensity of my workout.
Allison: I always run alone- I’m definitely a solo runner. And sometimes I do my own circuit/bootcamp style workouts by myself. But I love the classes at my gym and the people that come to them. Group exercise is awesome and wicked motivating. I love the instructors for spin, bootcamp, and yoga at my gym and I can’t imagine not going to those classes.
ALDC: How many hours of sleep do you typically get per night?
Chelsea: According to my Sleep Cycle app (which I love!) my average time in bed is 7 hours 22 mins. Not too bad!
Abby: I try really hard to get 8 but I probably average around 6.5. The woes of an energetic mind.
Allison: I try really really really hard to get 7-8 hours a night and I usually do. Sleep is so important to me. It took me a while to realize the difference that quality sleeping routines can make in my overall happiness and productivity- but now that I know, I can’t bear the thought of not getting enough sleep. I’m pretty grumpy and not so fun to be around if I get six or less hours of sleep.