A “side hustle” can take some time away from focusing on yourself. Chonce Maddox shares some tips on how to keep a work/life balance in a hustling society.

These days, it’s common for Grownups to focus a large amount of time and energy on the our careers as opposed to exercise. We all want to reach our next goal, be more productive, and make more money.

Money is a huge reason why we work so hard. The average debt burden a U.S. household carries is $137,063 (including mortgages) which is up 11% from the past decade.

While the median household income has grown by 23% in the last 10 years, expenses have increased by 57% pushing that drive many of us feel to hustle and make more money.

I love that more people are side hustling, but I know first-hand how draining side hustling can be. Not only for your time and energy but for your health as well.

What Happened to Me

I started side hustling heavily in 2014 because I wanted to pay off my student loan debt and car note. I worked from 8:00am-4:30pm at my day job, then went home and did freelance writing at night or the following morning. On weekends, I picked up brand ambassador gigs at local stores.

I prioritized the hustle over my health for two years and lived a sedentary lifestyle that involved sitting at the computer for 10 hours a day, then coming home and crashing on my couch to binge watch T.V.

I was paying off tons of debt and increasing my savings, but I felt horrible and had gained 50 pounds since 2013.

Since then, I’ve lost about 30 pounds by making some lifestyle changes, but it’s not solely about the weight. For me, it was about feeling my healthiest and using exercise and clean eating to reduce stress and improve my mood. Here are a few practical ways Grownups can squeeze in time to prioritize exercise on the cheap without making major lifestyle adjustments.

Get an Early Start

To prioritize your health and fitness over the hustle, you’ll need to block out time to focus on exercise and wellness.

If you’re a morning person like me, consider getting an early start. I tend to work out in the morning because I love the feeling of checking that item off my list for the day.

I’ll wake up at around 6 am 2-3 days out of the week to get my workout done, then I’ll sleep later the other days.

Waking up an hour early just to workout doesn’t sound too glamorous, but your body will adjust in just a few weeks and I found that it gave me more energy and focus throughout the rest of the day.

Stand Up More and Walk

At my old job, my coworker and I used to go on short 10-minute walks around the block.

Go on brisk walks and stand up throughout the day if you have a desk job. See if you can get a stand-up desk or ask your boss to get one for you. Also, consider sitting on a stability ball instead of a chair if you spend a ton of time on the computer.

Sitting on a stability ball while you work doesn’t seem like it would do much, but it actually forces to use your muscles, improve your posture, and activate your core in order to continue to sit upright.

Utilize a Company Gym Membership Plan or Discount

If your company provides a gym membership plan or a discount on one, be sure to take advantage of it. None of my past employers offered this, but I used to intern at my old university and the employees received a free membership. I remember one worker would always head to the gym during his lunch break for a quick workout.

If you take an hour lunch and have a fitness center on-site, you can easily squeeze in a 20-minute workout a few times a week.

If your employer doesn’t provide any fitness options, check out your local park district. I pay about $36/month for my fitness center membership at mine and as long as I go at least twice/week, it pays for itself.

I also like how most park districts and YMCA offer cheap childcare services as well. For just $3 per hour, I can work out while my son plays with other kids at the gym.

Become More Active at Home

At home workouts allow you to be more flexible with your schedule. You can watch free YouTube videos for instruction or even download apps like Nike Training Club or Fitocracy.

Even something as simple as getting a bike and going for a 15-minute ride in the evening or running can make a huge difference. CK25 is a cool app that helps take you from the couch to running a 5K in just 8 weeks.

Turn It Into a Hobby

Turning workout plans into a hobby was one of the best things I could have done. I’m not a huge fan of working out so I decided to try out different options and techniques so I could create a fun hobby out of it.

I found a local kickboxing gym and have been going for about a year now. It’s a killer workout but it’s fun and doesn’t really feel like a chore. I also take group fitness classes at the park district and I enjoy the social setting.

You Can’t Afford Not to Exercise

When I was putting off exercising and focusing on working extra hours, my excuse was that I didn’t have time or couldn’t afford it. After being all about the hustle, my body broke down and my energy and creativity suffered. The crash was devastating as I have a family depending on my success. The truth is that you can’t not afford to exercise and take care of your body.

Without your mental and physical health, you can’t hustle and meet all your goals. Plus, it feels great to take care of yourself and invest in your overall wellbeing.

Let's take action, Grownup.

Check out our courses to start taking action on your goals any time.

Take a course

Let's stay in touch, Grownup.