Fitness Goals On A Tight Schedule

As many of you may know, I am a full time Emergency Room Registered Nurse. My fitness passion has always been more of a hobby and lifestyle for me. I am currently, and have been for about two years now, working the day shift from 7am-7:00pm, and before that I worked the overnight shift 7pm-7am on a Medical/Surgical unit for 4 years.

The number one reason people are not reaching their fitness goals seems to be time. I often hear people say they don't have the time or flexibility to train as hard as they would like, or eat the way they would like. Thus, I often find people asking me how I manage my training and nutrition with such a demanding job. So, I thought I should write a blog about my usual work day in the hopes that it can provide some helpful insight and ideas for you to integrate into yours.

First off, I want to share with you, the number one secret that has enabled me to reach my fitness goals, and I hope it is an obvious one for many of you.

Food Preparation:

Since starting on this fitness path back in 2009, I have always brought my meals to work with me. If you do not do this, you are most likely going to fall off the wagon. You need to be properly prepared and have healthy foods on hand, otherwise, when you are busy, and working hard, you are more likely to just grab whatever is quick and easy which typically means junk food, a nearby restaurant, cafeteria or fast food joint. It is very important for everyone looking to change and improve their health and the way they look, to start cooking, prepping, and carrying their healthy meals with them every day.

As far as cooking my meals, for the most part I cook 3-4x a week, depending on how much time I have. I leave the cooking and meal prep for my days off. It really doesn't take that long if you don't mind eating the same thing for a few days in a row. Just yesterday, I cooked 6 pieces of salmon, two bushels of asparagus and 5 sweet potatoes. This took me half an hour and prepped six separate meals. Many people might find this boring, but I find it helps me appreciate going out for dinner for a nice meal once or twice a week that much more.

Food Routine:

Everyday on working and non-working days I do not leave my house before first having a protein/veggie/fruits smoothie and so.

Lately, I have been using Labrada's Jamie Eason Series Lean body for her Whey protein in my morning and during the day protein shakes. I personally like her supplements line and love her Whey Proteins because they are very clean, in the sense that it contains all natural ingredients with no added fillers, colors, sweeteners and chemicals. You can check out her full supplement line by on my products page.

A couple of hours after my morning smoothie, I eat breakfast which could be anything from 3-4 hardboiled eggs (I eat one whole egg and the rest egg-whites) with 1/4 cup of oatmeal made with unsweetened Almond milk, or my favorite Protein Pancakes (you can check out my protein pancakes recipes in the recipes area of this blog.

Along with my breakfast, I also bring two other meals which would contain a lean protein, some green leafy vegetables, and some kind of complex carbohydrate. This is typically a combination of the following for me.


  • Baked salmon, tilapia, chicken breast, turkey burgers or any vegetarian substitute, such as tofu. 


  • Spinach, mixed green salad, sautéd brussels sprouts, broccoli, or asparagus

Complex Carbohydrate:

  • Quinoa, brown rice, baked yam, or baked sweet potato

I have never been a fan of measuring and weighting my foods and much rather like using portion controlled for my meals. We all have different metabolisms and have different activity levels throughout the day, so play with your portion control to find what is right for you. Too little, and you will have little energy and feel hungry throughout the day. Too much, and you will notice the extra calories spill over into fat storage.

I also pack two protein shakes, another plain 0% fat free Greek yogurt, and nuts or other healthy snacks, such as an apple, cucumber or a banana to have in between meals or when things are too busy and don't allow me to sit down to eat.

Training Routine:

On the days I have to work, I usually train lighter than on my days off, and sometimes I take the day off from gym all together, depending on my energy levels. Some days I just can't make myself go to the gym after working over 12 hours in a crazy busy emergency room. But, on my next day off from work, I make sure to train the biggest body parts like Legs and Back, and make sure I really go all out and train with the most intensity. I work 3 shifts a week sometimes 4, so there is plenty of time to catch up and get a great workout in and eat just as consistently on those days off from work.

As always I recommend you listen to your body and know when you need a rest. The most important thing I would say is to bring your foods and healthy snacks to work with you all the time. Diet is key and healthy eating is what's going to help you reach your fitness goals. Good luck to all my fellow RNs and thank you for being good nurses and showing that we practice what we preach! Stay fit and healthy!. ♥