I have been teaching full-time at SoulCycle for almost three years now and one of the most common questions I am asked is, "How do you do it?" To some, teaching upwards of fifteen classes each week might seem like a lot, but it has taken a lot of time and practice to find a sustainable life balance between my personal and professional worlds. As a fitness professional, I have to walk what I talk and take care of my physical body through cross-training and recovery. As someone who values family and friendship above anything else, I also have to make time for the people I love and nurture those relationships. Being in teaching shape requires much more than just eating a lot of bananas and slamming coconut waters all day... we also have to take care of our mental and emotional health, so here are some aspects of my weekly routine that help me accomplish this:
Massage/Burrito/Bachelor Mondays. "Massage Mondays" are actually something I am trying to focus more on because it can be difficult to justify treating myself to a massage every week but this is SO IMPORTANT to keeping my body happy (thank you for the inspiration, Pixie!). Between my 10:30am class on Union Street and my 5:30pm/7:30pm combo in the evening, my go-to is a deep tissue at Lamai Thai Massage in the marina where (for $65/hour) these strong women step on and dig into every major muscle group that needs lots of extra attention. My eating habits vary from week to week and I try to cook as many meals at home as I can. Although, one of my favorite post-massage lunches when I'm feeling all zen-ed out is a spicy tuna salad from Blue Barn and a kombucha to keep my tummy happy before I head to the SOMA studio for my 5:30pm class. Between classes I wish I could say that I eat a protein bar or a handful of kale, but the truth is I'm more likely to grab a bag of Chex Mix from the snack drawer and a juice/immunity shot from Pressed before I get in a Lyft and head back to Union Street for my 7:30pm class.
After class, whether its The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, or Bachelor in Paradise, I have a lady date with some of my girlfriends so I grab a burrito (#BurritoMonday) and head up to Russian Hill for some quality time with my squad. This is a very important aspect of my weekly routine—getting together with people who can take my mind off of the day, help me center my mind on the present moment, and give me a fresh perspective on life while watching people try to find love through reality television. For all of the right and wrong reasons, this is my favorite night of the week because it makes me feel connected to my favorite people (while also keeping me up past my bedtime). Sometimes we can feel like we are staying in touch with our friends because of all the social media we have access to, but it's important to get together face-to-face in order to cultivate healthy relationships (more on this later). This is when we catch up, vent, hash out our emotions (if necessary), and relate to one another on a human level—no filters or hashtags, just a bunch of girls on a couch enjoying one another's presence and keeping it REAL. Very important.
Tuesdays & Thursdays are for Cross-Training and YOGA. After teaching my early morning classes at the SOMA studio (6am & 8am) its time to put in the extra work—the stuff that can sometimes feel like a chore but is really one of the most fundamental aspects of how full-time instructors are able to maintain our intense teaching schedules. On Tuesdays, I do a double floor "Butt & Legs" class at Barry's Bootcamp in the marina (no treadmill for me, thanks) then I head straight to a one-hour float session at Reboot Float Spa just a few blocks down Lombard Street. This combination of cross-training and recovery is essential to feeling strong throughout the rest of the week. The hour I spend floating in a sensory deprivation tank at Reboot helps my body recover and gives me time to reconnect with myself and get my mind right. The super-condensed epsom salt solution relieves soreness, fatigue and tension in my neck and shoulders; adding this hour of blissful relaxation to my weekly routine has truly changed my world.
On Thursdays, I go from my SOMA roosters to a yoga class at Equinox Union Street then to personal training with my friend Ryan Miller at Rise Up Fitness. I have been practicing yoga for about 13 years now and it has always been a way for me to reconnect with my body and take care of myself from the inside out. As a full-time instructor, it can feel so self-indulgent to be quiet and listen for an hour as someone else guides you through a vinyasa flow. Working with Ryan gives me that personalized experience of feeling like I am targeting muscles that need some extra love and attention so that I feel like I am consistently getting stronger every week. One of my favorite mantras is "there is always more to give," so taking the extra time for yoga and cross-training is how I walk in that truth.
Wild Card Wednesdays. I teach a private yoga class in San Rafael on Wednesday mornings (shout out to Crome Architecture!) and then the rest of my day is open until my evening classes (5:30pm SOMA/7:30pm UNST) so there is a good chunk of the day to rest, foam roll, go to physical therapy if I need to, go grocery shopping, and get my mid-week chores done (so much laundry always). Napping is imperative to any instructor's lifestyle, so Wednesdays are an excellent day to make a playlist in bed then snooze until I have to leave for the studio.
On FriYAYS & Saturdays I Recharge. I only teach one class on Fridays (12:15pm SOMA) and Saturday is my regularly scheduled day off, so after cardio partying with my lunchtime/working-from-home crew, I'm ready to get together with my friends and take advantage of the amazing city we live in. Friday afternoon through Saturday night I'm trying to find something new and exciting to throw myself at. "Sun's out guns out" is definitely a motto that I live by, so if the weather is nice, I am at the park with some snacks and sunscreen ready to soak up the awesomeness of my surroundings and some Vitamin D... Drive to Marin for a hike or a hangout at Hippie Tree? Yes. Matinee movie with bae? Absolutely. Bottomless mimosas and topless tanning? Why not.... but I won't disclose where that goes down. OFF THE GRID?! Always. Drive up to Tahoe? Yes Please! When I have a day off I make sure to enjoy it because I am a living, breathing human being and there must be a healthy balance of hard work and good times in order to live a happy life.
Sweaty Sundays & Date Night. When my day-and-a-half-off is over, its time to get back to work. Between my 9:30am soul survivor at SOMA and my 1:00pm class at Union Street, I teach a private yoga class which makes my Sunday teaching schedule fly by. When classes are done, it's time for late Sunday brunch with some riders (if you haven't joined us yet, what are you waiting for?!) then date night with my man in Palo Alto (location may soon change when he moves to Burlingame). Connecting with my riders outside of the studio is also a very important aspect to balancing my work and social life; I have learned countless times that SoulCycle attracts some of the most influential, inspiring people, so taking time to get to know their stories is truly enlightening. Having one night a week dedicated to having a date night with my boyfriend is what keeps us feeling connected and present in our relationship. No matter what we are going through, professionally or otherwise, taking time to enjoy one another's presence and spend quality time together reminds us that we support one another and we have each other's backs. Girls night, date night, family dinner—spending time with the people you love and who care for you is always worth it.
Do plans change from week to week? Of course they do, and flexibility is necessary. Do I sometimes skip out on cross-training for an extra long nap? Yes, especially if I am teaching more classes than usual. A weekly routine should not be rigid or fixed, but setting weekly goals can help you feel better physically, emotionally, and mentally. What I hope to convey is that it is important for us to look at our lives and notice how much time we are spending on taking care of ourselves and our interpersonal relationships. Sometimes we can get caught up in the glamorization of being busy and forget that cultivating a strong relationship with ourselves and others requires time and effort. Take the time. Make the effort. Remember that life is short and unexpected, but seemingly small moments of self-care and social interaction can help you make the most of it. It's all about balance and moderation... Take time for yourself so that you have something to give to others. Spend time with people who love you so that you have a stronger sense of self—this can be incredibly grounding and motivating for your professional pursuits as well. Cross-train your body, nurture your mind, and surround yourself with love... I'll keep trying with you.
How do you find work/life balance in your weekly routine? Please share your story, leave a comment and check out my SoulCycle schedule in San Francisco this week!