Working out can be an incredible way to boost our energy, support our physical and mental health, and connect with others. However, it can be hard to get into a routine when we’re struggling with limited time, a fluctuating schedule, or a tight budget. It’s easy to get sucked into a perfectionist ideal about our diet and exercise routine rather than focusing on enjoying it and adopting a routine that fits our lifestyle versus trying to do it the other way around.
Making fitness fun and accessible help make it easier to incorporate into a busy week, but it doesn’t always come automatically. This was one of the challenges Payal Kadakia was trying to help people overcome. She is the Founder and Executive Chairman of ClassPass, a monthly membership program that provides people of all fitness levels access to the best boutique fitness classes and gyms across the US and internationally.
Here, she answers my questions about how we can get into a good groove with our exercise and eating so we don’t have to overthink .
Jess Cording: What are the most common mistakes busy women make when it comes to food and fitness?
- Not planning ahead. I plan my meals and my fitness regimen ahead of time. I always know what exercise class I plan to take each day, and I also always have a Plan B and Plan C (for especially busy days) in case my work schedule interferes with the original plan. In terms of food, I always carry healthy snacks like a baggie of almonds, and when traveling, I research healthy restaurant options near the hotel and meeting locations.
- Not enjoying them! Ideally, fitness should be enjoyable, not some dreaded task we force ourselves to do. Staying fit is a way to make time for ourselves in our busy lives and even clear our heads and shed stress. If you haven’t found a fitness activity you enjoy, get more creative, and experiment with new types of classes and activities. ClassPass is a great resource for different fitness options that will keep your routine fresh and challenging. And the same goes with healthy food. I love foods like almonds because they’re that perfect in-between snack that keeps me going. It’s important to experiment in order to find the healthy foods we love.
Cording: Do you think we make things harder on ourselves than they need to be?
Kadakia: Of course—it’s human nature. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to stop and listen to our inner voice. Making the time and space to listen to our needs also clarifies our personal intentions and purpose. Once we know our goals and needs, putting a plan in place to actualize them becomes much easier.
Cording: What does a typical work day look like for you?
Kadakia: Atypical! No day is ever the same, and I love it that way! Entrepreneurs by our very nature need to be adaptable. I love that each day I solve new problems, learn new things, and achieve new milestones.
Cording: Do you have a go-to routine you follow with food and fitness?
Kadakia: I begin each morning with a cup of green tea. And because I don’t plan my day around food, it’s important that whatever snack I put in my bag is quick convenient and satisfying. A baggie of almonds is perfect for that. In terms of fitness classes, I love variety! After all, that’s part of the reason I created ClassPass—to make it easy for people to stay motivated while also being active. I go to class almost daily and love switching up my routine regularly.
Cording: How can someone work in healthy eating and fitness when they feel like they’re strapped to their desk?
Kadakia: It’s important to take breaks in the day and to find a time to move and switch up your environment. Movement spurs creativity and helps solve challenging problems. Having nutritious snacks like almonds and carrots on your desk can help prevent unhealthy binge eating and keep energy levels steady while working.