Fitting in Fitness for Busy People

I recently recorded a podcast with Dr. Meredith Butulis, an expert on fitness and performance, to discuss practical strategies to adjust to the back-to-school routine while maintaining a healthy lifestyle and routine.

Listen to the podcast here: I share practical lifestyle strategies you can put into play with your family right now to tame the chaos.


Family Meal Planning

When everyone has their own schedules, sports, and commitments, how do you set the day up for nutrition success, versus grabbing coffee, power rings (aka donuts), fast food, or whatever is available?

Emily: I personally love back to school because everyone is on more of a set schedule. We stay on top of the chaos with a meal calendar. I sat down with all three of my kids, and we collectively thought of what everyone wants for breakfast and dinner each day. For example, Mondays, we’ll have steel cut oats with turkey bacon. The next day, we’ll have scrambled eggs with sourdough toast. They have decided what the meal will be. That way, I’m not running around in the morning asking everyone what they want, because they all end up wanting something different.

Family Activity Time

Even though the kids have their own sports, what are some ways the family can stay active together too?

Emily: It is so important to have physical activity as part of family activity. We will just go outside and race each other in sprints, play soccer, use the garage door for tennis . . .. We did a lot of biking this past summer. Everyone goes, and we go at the slowest person’s pace so it’s enjoyable for everyone. Even in the winter, we still go outside. We ice skate, ski, wrestle in the snow, have snowball fights . . .. I don’t let the weather determine whether or not we go outside. We go outside regardless.

Finding Time for Your Own Workouts

As a role model of health and fitness, how do you juggle all of the family activity and still get your own workouts in?

Emily: I do love to workout. It is so important for all of us, even if it is just a half hour a day where we do something physically active. I need to schedule it into my day. I plan ahead of time, whether it is going to a class, or getting outside over lunch and taking a walk. It is planned in my day, and I make sure I get it done.

 Getting Back on Top of It When the Schedule Is Out Of Control

When life gets out of control and you just want to hit the snooze button, how do you get the healthy lifestyle back together again?

Emily: That is when it is even more important to show up and get the workout in. It really helps with stress management. I take many supplements. At night, magnesium really calms you and helps you get a great night’s sleep so you can feel recharged the next day.

New Developments in School Lunches

What are some of the most interesting developments in your healthy school lunch mission?

Emily: We started seven years ago. The Lifetime Foundation started with one school, and now we are up to 600 schools across the country. There is still so much to be done. When we partner with a school, they agree to take out seven harmful ingredients. At the end of the day, when we take out those ingredients, we are left with healthy food.

Ingredients That Detract From Learning

Can I ask you for an example of a few of the ingredients that schools take out of lunches to enhance learning?

Emily: The school eliminates high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors, and bleached flour. There are more, but we will focus on those. We found that those three ingredients really impact focus and learning ability. When you take those ingredients out, kids actually learn better.

Additional Closing Thoughts

Emily: Education is key. It is so important that kids and parents educate themselves on what is healthy, and not get brainwashed by commercials or marketing to kids – like junk food at their eye level. Educate yourself and surround yourself with positive influence. Know that you can do it. As busy as you are, it is important to make the time to be healthy and physically active.

Next steps

Wondering how you can revamp your school lunch program for health and learning? Learn more or contact the Lifetime Foundation.

Comments (1)

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    […] As a physical therapist, Meredith has extensive experience helping her clients prevent and recover from exercise related injuries. Below are Meredith’s tips for avoiding injury and keeping your body at optimal performance. Meredith’s name may be familiar toy as  I recently sat down with her to talk about ways to make time for health and fitness for people with busy schedules. In case you missed that podcast, listen to it here. […]


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