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Teaching is easily the most stressful, yet most rewarding job I’ve ever had. I hear it’s second only to parenting… But since I’m not a parent yet, I can neither confirm nor deny. 😉 With so many responsibilities, extracurricular activities, and directives being pushed down on teachers, it can be difficult to make health and fitness a priority. However, it doesn’t have to be impossible. My fitness tips for teachers can help make the fight a little easier!
I changed my lifestyle about two years before I started teaching, so it was an extreme adjustment with lots of trial and error once I no longer had a traditional 8-5 schedule. I was used to leaving for work at 7:45 to make it there by 8:00 (but really, not starting work until 8:15 or 8:30), getting a one-hour lunch break each day, and leaving work and all its baggage at the door at 5:00. Very quickly, I realized that teaching wasn’t going to give me those same luxuries — which I didn’t even consider to be luxuries at all when I was working an office job! I’m in my third year of teaching, so at this point I’ve come up with a routine that is working very well, at least for now.
1 // Take Advantage of Your “Alone” Hours
As a teacher, you probably put in a lot of hours before and after school. I know I do! I have to be at school by 7:30 to welcome kiddos into my room by 7:45. Since I prefer to get a little bit of work done before the day starts, so my commute starts at 7:00 a.m. If I want to get a workout in, I need to do it early in the morning before my day gets going. I’ve talked about how I wake up early to get my sweat on, as well as the advantages of working out before the world wakes up. I find that I’m much more consistent when I’m working out early and I’ve been able to maintain that schedule for the better part of five years.
If you are not an early riser, that doesn’t mean there’s no time for a workout! Schedule your workout just like any other appointment and don’t let yourself cancel. It can be easy to let life and other obligations derail your schedule, but putting yourself first is equally as important.
2 // Maximize Your Time
As just mentioned, I don’t have a lot of time to work out. This year more than ever, I’ve been taking advantage of shorter, more intense workouts. I like to make breakfast for my husband each morning so I spend a maximum of 45 minutes working out — warm up to cool down — and then I move on to my other responsibilities.
This was a difficult adjustment for me because I’m used to working out for an hour. I couldn’t wrap my mind around the idea that a 30-minute workout could be just as effective as a longer one. To get past that, I started doing a lot of HIIT workouts and AMRAP workouts. I set my timer and went to town! In October, I started a new program and I fell in love with short workouts all over again. Find my favorite program, Jillian Michaels’ BODYSHRED, here!
3 // MEAL PLAN AND PREP
I seriously cannot sing the praises of meal planning and meal prepping enough! In Texas, teachers get a 30-minute duty free lunch. By the time I drop my kids off in the cafeteria, take a restroom break, grab my lunch bag from the teacher’s lounge, and finish eating with enough time to get back to the cafeteria int time to pick up my students, my break is more like 20 minutes. Sometimes it’s even as low as 15! If I didn’t spend the time I do each week to get my meals in order, I would most certainly eat crap for lunch each and every day.
4 // Take a Midweek Rest Day
I used to think Sunday was the only day for rest day. Most workout calendars suggest Sunday as a rest day, and at some point I pigeon-holed myself into this thought process. Those 4:30 a.m. wake-up calls started to beat me down and I found myself skipping workouts for sleep more and more. I knew something had to change, so I reorganized my workout schedule for a rest day to take place on Thursday. I’m loving this! On Thursday mornings, I sleep in about 45 extra minutes and take my time getting ready. By Friday, I’m ready to roll again.
Since teaching keeps me on my feet, taking a midweek rest day helps give me that “active rest” factor. Most Thursdays I still get my 10,000 steps because I’m running around chasing kids all day! Which brings me to my next tip…
5 // Utilize the “Power Zone”
Do you know what the power zone is? The power zone keeps teachers on their feet and roaming between desks and rows throughout a lesson. When utilizing the power zone, within just a few steps you should be able to reach any student in any part of the room. As a teacher, you probably do this naturally, so use it to your advantage. Think of that power zone time as exercise! This is how I get my activity during the day, especially on my rest days. With intervention groups, read alouds, and other activities, it’s impossible to ALWAYS be in the power zone (and also — you work hard and need a break!), but if you realize you’ve been sitting for more than 10 or 15 minutes, get up and take a walk. Utilize that power zone!
Bonus Tip 🙂
Check out the #tiuteacher feed on Instagram. Those ladies will absolutely get you motivated!
What are your fitness fail proofs for a busy life?