Today, I pick up where I left off in episode 9 in this 2-part series talking about what’s currently going on in my own self care balancing act. In this episode, I’m taking you behind the scenes of what my fitness currently looks like and how I recharge with off time.
I’ll include the comparison of my old perfectionist exercise schedule to how I’m finding my way back to regular fitness, how I’m finding body acceptance, and my struggle to separate work from the rest of my life and be more present.
Listen above or scroll down to read the full blog post transcript.
“True BodyLove isn’t contingent on a specific weight or clothing size so that when we hit life changes (like entrepreneurship and motherhood!) our body image stays intact.” – Adria DeCorte
In today’s episode, you’ll learn:
- Why gaining 10 pounds brought me closer to body acceptance
- 2 major steps I’m implementing to go from “no time” to work out to a regular fitness schedule that makes me feel strong and energized
- How I use movement to dissipate nervous energy before I hop on the mic for podcast interviews or take the stage for a talk
- The only way I’ve found to shut off my maximizer brain and find something close to “meditation” – and the surprising way I incorporate it into my workday
- My morning ritual step-by-step, including the “rules” I break (which I had a TON of guilt over until I accepted it)
- What I’m doing to make my work and home surroundings more inspiring – a surprising element of self care!
- The relaxing shift in how I plan my business that has been a HUGE part of my self care (and how I’m not taking my own advice right now – oops!)
Mentioned in this episode:
- The Feed Your Hustle Facebook group – to continue the conversation beyond the episode!!
- Adria’s Instagram account
- Wellness Wonderland Radio
- Mind Body Musings
- Adria’s free 3-Minute Morning Meal Plan
- Adria’s personalized Plant-Powered Meal Plan
- Past Episodes
The Full Episode Blog Post
Since this show is part of a community conversation, I want to start out by sharing the story of Amy, one of our sisters in the Feed Your Hustle community (Hi Amy!! 🙂 ). Amy is an active community member I love talking with on Instagram and in the Feed Your Hustle FB group.
Amy’s story is truly relevant for today’s episode, and I think you’ll find it inspiring, so rather than tell you why fitness is key, I wanted to share her words.
Fitting in Fitness
Here’s what Amy says:
“Three years ago, I had so much stress in my life with work and after-work activities that it was severely affecting my body. I wasn’t eating or sleeping properly, I gained quite a bit of weight and on top of it, I got a bad case of cystic acne.
Tired of feeling the way I was, I eventually found a kinesiologist and he said my “body was shutting down, but, everything could be treated with proper food, exercise and supplements.”
From that day forward and determined to get better, I made a pact with myself that I would treat my body differently… and FOR GOOD!
Fast forward to now, I’ve lost 45 pounds, exercise consistently 4-5 days a week by doing Kettlebell classes and walking, and have found out that Paleo works best for my body to function at its fullest.
I really understand how vital fitness is on a daily basis. My stress levels are much less. I sleep better and more sound. I’m not foggy and I function better and at a fuller capacity during the day. I’m able to maintain my current weight and the list goes on!
However, I completely get it that we get busy and “life” gets in the way and at times, we fall off the exercise bandwagon. I know that I’m not perfect and that if I just dust myself off and get back up, I’ll be completely okay. I’d rather be good than perfect.
Fitness is a piece of the ‘lifestyle pie’ and if I don’t fill up that part properly, then I’m not functioning at my best or being the best me possible.”
I think Amy’s words are the perfect setup for today’s episode because this podcast is a look at self care in real life to help you see beyond just expert advice and into how healthy habits might look when YOU try them on.
Feed Your Hustle isn’t about feeling like you need to add something to your to-do list or feeling triggered because someone does it better than you. It’s about connecting to how you want to feel in life, especially as an entrepreneur and architect of your own life.
With that said, before I dive into my own fitness routine, I want to address something I’ve gotten curiosity about from members of our community. And a topic dear to my heart – body image and balance not perfection.
Finding Body Acceptance
“Since I rarely hear women talk about gaining weight as a good thing, I’m excited to hear your perspective on your 10 pounds gained.”
To clear this up, I want to say that when I was at my lowest weight, I was constantly struggling against weight creep – counting my calories and exercising 7 intense days a week simply to maintain.
Letting myself gain 10 pounds wasn’t so much a conscious decision that I wanted to gain weight but more a relaxing of my strict standards for my body and letting go of the struggle I constantly had against my weight creeping up.
I loosened the reins and allowed myself to take a little more pleasure in food while still eating healthy and to have movement that made me feel good and take days off from workouts when I used to push myself so hard before.
A lot of this also naturally happened when I took the leap to leave my government job and become a full-time entrepreneur. I didn’t have time to obsess over these things and workouts especially started to fall away.
The reason this weight gain was positive was because I allowed myself to be okay with my changing body.
Our bodies are always evolving through our lives and different life changes – whether it be maturity, motherhood, or entrepreneurship. It behooves us to have BodyLove that isn’t contingent on a specific body size or weight so that when we hit these changes our body image stays intact.
But still, know that this is one unique situation for one unique person – it’s not to say that you have to gain weight to find balance not perfection or that I won’t ever lose weight again in a healthy, natural way, or that people who are slender are inherently over-controlling.
My body just naturally leans towards having some curve to it, and my self care at the moment is not to fight it.
My Fitness Routine
Stefanie also wanted to know what my workout routine looked like when I was being really controlling with my body versus now and what the key differences are. She says,
“I want to know these answers because I’ve been spending too much time on the couch lately and am wondering what your perspective is on working out consistently.”
I used to be a gym rat. Fitness was the stable element in my life, the one that I knew how to do well.
I remember back to a life coaching session I had just last year. My coach asked me to write down each segment of my life – marriage, friendships, business, etc. and say what made me good at each and what I could improve on.
I was so confident and solid in the fitness area of my life that I ended up using it as the basis for how to approach improvement in the other areas of my life. For example, in setting date nights with my husband, I was “going to the gym” for my relationship.
My “Old” Over-Controlling Routine
Before, my weekly workout routine was 3 days of BodyPump (a weight lifting group class focusing on using barbells), one 1-hour high intensity interval training session, and 2 days of Bootcamp classes. I would often also attend a 1-hour yoga class after a couple of these sessions. At a certain point, the bootcamp classes were traded in for 2-3 days a week of Bikram yoga.
There’s nothing wrong with that schedule per se. I love feeling strong and fit.
What all of these had in common was that I was very competitive with myself and I would push myself to my edge – to always be the heaviest lifter in class or to give just a little more than I did the session before.
It was exhausting, and I wasn’t even training for anything so there was no “off” season.
This is a huge contrast to now.
Getting Back to the Gym
Over the last several months, workouts have steadily been bumped in favor of client calls, interviews, and product development.
And I started to notice it in my stamina and energy. My gym was a half hour drive away and my BodyPump classes were mid-morning, exactly when most of my interviews and meetings get booked.
It wasn’t until I was halfway through a yoga class about a month ago that I realized how stiff and out of shape I’d gotten with my haphazard workout schedule the past year.
I missed the strong, grounded feeling that came along with regular fitness.
Have you, too, let fitness slide while juggling your business?
Are you making any tweaks to get back to fitness? It can be as small as morning walks or jumping jacks during computer breaks. Or maybe adding in more movement has been in the back of your mind, but you haven’t acted on it yet.
It snuck up on me, but finally I’ve taken action.
2 Major Steps I’m Implementing to Set Myself up for Fitness Success
(And these fall very much in line with what personal trainer Catherine Basu recommended last week on FYH episode 10!)
- Switching gyms to one closer to my house
- Setting up my weekly calendar to leave space for workout classes
Consequently, I’ve gotten back into the routine of doing 6am BodyPump classes on Tues and Thurs mornings. This is the core of my fitness and most important to be consistent. I’ll be adding a Saturday morning class soon.
The difference between now and before is that I’m easing in and not assigning myself a full schedule of classes.
I’m allowing myself to succeed at being consistent and staying true to my real goal – to feel strong and energized in my body.
That doesn’t require whipping off every ounce of cellulite (which I’ll tell you I never did anyways even when I was tiny).
Then I layer on lunchtime yoga classes and morning walks, both things that make me feel grounded and energized.
Movement – Beyond “Exercise”
Another thing that has a huge impact on my hustle is movement throughout the day. It keeps my energy from stagnating and helps dissipate nervous or over-excited energy from speaking.
Before I hop on Skype for an interview or take the stage for public speaking, I get my heart rate up with a little blood-pumping movement, a tip I learned from guest on episode 7 Alexia Vernon. At home, I’ll jump on the trampoline or do jumping jacks, pre-interview. This helps especially when I start getting nervous, sweating, or breathing fast. Then I’ll follow that with 3 deep breaths before I jump on the call.
Recharging (and Unplugging from Work)
The last element I want to cover today is what I’ve been doing to separate myself from my business and unplug/recharge.
Disclaimer: before I shift gears, I first want to be transparent that I’ve been hitting a bit of burnout the past couple weeks and find myself having ups and downs despite my overall passion for what I’m doing. I’m a work in progress, too. Even though I set boundaries for myself and take time off on the weekends, I will still work a few hours even on off days – probably a lot like you, it doesn’t always feel like work!
Feed Your Hustle community member Donna says,
“I think that when you are your brand, it’s sometimes hard to step away for a break. I often feel like I could be doing just one more thing, but in reality doing too much keeps me from doing anything with the quality I want.”
I really resonate with her words (and I’m guessing you do too) as this has consistently been the most challenging part of my self care. I’m a maximizer and have to be forced to slow down. Repeatedly.
But I’ve been taking baby steps.
Recently, I was inspired by my convo with Stef Frank in episode 4 to take a vacation. Well, it was a vacation tacked on to a conference, but still. Baby steps.
It was wonderful to disengage and that white space brought clarity to some of the projects I’ve been working towards.
Consequently, I’ve got more vacations planned coming up – including my first ever trip to Hawaii this summer for 2 weeks!
Yet, in day-to-day life, I’m always doing or learning something and have a hard time just sitting in peace.
Baths – aka Forced Unplugging for Maximizers
This is the only time I’m still enough to count as meditation because I can’t have any electronics or be reading anything. I’ve had a couple of good friends who are self care coaches preaching this forever, but I never took the time to apply it to myself until now.
So I light a candle, add a soothing essential oil blend to the tub, put on a reiki tunes radio station on my iPhone and sink down into the water. There’s something raw and evolutionary about being submerged, dating back to being in the womb. It’s inherently soothing.
And want to know something that may sound a little weird? I don’t reserve these baths for evenings or off days. I will do this for a 20 minute break in the middle of a workday!
To Donna’s point, I’ve been practicing setting boundaries for my workday, both in how I begin it and end it.
In mornings, I used to lament that I didn’t have a set “ritual”. But recently, I realized that I have a happy-making routine that works for me even if it’s not the definition of anyone else’s morning routine or even has some parts that seem to be no-nos.
I wake up early, at around 5 or even earlier with a burst of creative energy (I try to get to bed at 9/9:30). But this is before the sun comes up – so what I do is grab my phone and come back to bed to write for a couple hours. This is often when my creative juice is flowing and I produce my best content.
I know it’s not ergonomic and all the advice says not to look at your phone first thing in the morning so I felt guilty about this habit for the longest time until I accepted it.
This allows me to capture my creative energy and at the same time I start my day feeling leisurely because I’m lounging in bed! (Though I’m not recommending anyone take up this habit!)
Then around 6 or 7, I’ll get up, make and eat my breakfast smoothie in a bowl with a spoon while I listen to a podcast or read a book that gets my mind humming. On an ideal day, I’ll go for a walk with my husband and our two dogs. Then I get into my work.
On the other end of the day, I’m really possessive of my evenings and much prefer social gatherings that are earlier.
Evenings are my sacred time for myself and family and I try not to look at my phone after I shut down the computer for the day. (Doesn’t always work.) If I feel like listening to a podcast while cooking dinner, I switch to non-business podcasts, something that makes me feel luxurious, womanly, and enough.
I like to listen to ones around Body Love and wellness in a very holistic gentle way rather than finding optimal health by following set rules. I love Katie Daleabout’s Wellness Wonderland Radio and I just discovered Mind Body Musings which I’m digging.
After dinner, I unwind by reading a fiction book – urban fantasy – or by watching a show on Netflix. I try to be in bed by 9am because I know it works best for my body and energy, and I don’t bring anything electronic into the bedroom with me because I know from experience that it messes up my sleep. Before bed, I’ll read my fiction book until I start falling asleep. It honestly only takes 5-10 minutes!
An Inspiring Space
When my husband and I had our San Diego vacation in April, we stayed in this beautiful historic Airbnb home from the early 1900s, and all the walls were all bright colors.
My favorite space was the living room with its huge windows and lime green walls. I felt so energized and alive in that space, yet at peace at the same time.
For weeks afterwards, I thought back to that room and the feeling associated and wished for more color in my life.
We live in an old Vegas house from the 50s with many of those same beautiful features and wood floors. Yet we have old, busy, faded wallpaper on every wall. One day when I had a mastermind of ladies over, my friend Laina said I needed more color in the house and started talking about painting.
And I had a realization.
If I want more color in my life, want to be inspired by my surroundings, I have the power to change that.
So I began a painting project.
Me, who hasn’t had the passion to take on anything outside my business in months if not a couple years. I was excited to be excited about something besides my business for once.
That’s when I realized that this WAS self care – getting outside my head and into another project – something I woke up wanting to do which had nothing to do with my business.
I’ll add some before and after pictures here and on Instagram for you to see how it’s looking so far.
The Relaxation of Focusing on One Thing at a Time
And the final element I want to talk about is a shift in how I plan my business which has been a hugely important part of my self care.
The recent burn out I eluded to at the beginning of this episode was only when I stopped implementing this shift due to a burst of so many good opportunities that I really wanted to take them all. But, come June, when my overbooking phases out, I’m getting back on track because I know it works.
So, what am I talking about?
One key thing I’ve been working on since last summer is focusing on one thing in my business at a time.
Recently, as you heard with my list of current activities in episode 9, I’ve been spread a bit thin.
True to #8 with Hillary Rubin, I find that the more I honor my bandwidth and focus on one thing in my business, the more at peace I feel with shutting down at the end of the day or feeling deliberate and relaxed when I’m working.
This doesn’t mean I do less or have less hustle.
It just means that I space out the projects on my list in sequential order so I work on one major one at a time, whenever possible. Then the next step then the next.
That’s what I did with my business as I rebranded and transitioned to adriadecorte.com in 2014. In the summer, I took a few months getting clear on what I really do, how I best help. Then I created my free 3-minute morning meal plan as a super-high end value-added optin bonus for my list.
This was all BEFORE I launched the new website or moved on to the next several projects I had on my list.
And even then, that to-do list already had this podcast on it!! But I didn’t launch the podcast until March this year 2015. There were other projects that came before that. For example, I spent hundreds of hours on the layout and how I deliver my personalized plant-powered meal plans to clients to make it as simple and effective for them as possible.
And now my clients are blown away by the simplicity, beauty, personalization, thoroughness, and usability of the meal plans I create for them.
It’s a good thing I didn’t just try to tackle everything at once or I wouldn’t have the clarity of branding or mission that people now regularly compliment me on.
I don’t say any of this to brag because I think we both know by now that I’m not perfect, nor do I want to be. I just want to give you some perspective in case you see yourself in me.
I hope this episode was helpful.
Tune in next Friday when I release episode 12, my open conversation with a relationship coach who helps entrepreneurs whose business is their mistress take their relationship back from roommate to romance, an overlooked side of self care!
And subscribe to this podcast:
Warmth and joy,
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As an Architect turned Plant Scientist turned Healthy Living Strategist, I help female entrepreneurs who don’t want to choose health over hustle make healthy living part of their business plan.
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