Teachers & Educators: How?

Hey all!

Here’s the downside... An hour commute to work, teach all day, catch up on admin during lunch, usually a two hour drive home thanks to rush hour traffic.

My sleep reminder for my 8 hrs beauty sleep usually goes off on the drive home, or just as I’m pulling into the drive, if I’m lucky.

So my question to you is, how do you do it? How do you find time to work out on a regular basis without it affecting your family time?

Dad was a teacher for over 40 years, and he’d run five miles every day. But he also taught 10 minutes down the road!

I’m just curious as to what y’all do to stay active!



  • eightyschica
    eightyschica Posts: 1 Member

    Kindergarten teacher here. It's crazy hard to find time to workout after being on your feet all day with your kids. And I don't have your commute to deal with. I decided to start prioritizing myself and leave earlier than I had been previously. Like you I work through lunch and try to not get caught up talking (bitching haha) with coworkers after school so I can get things done as quickly as I can.

    Maybe you could find a gym or area to workout near your school so by the time you get home you can focus on family and maybe even miss some of the rush hour traffic?

    Good luck!
  • drea2011
    drea2011 Posts: 874 Member

    I work out in the am! Shower and head to work. I’m too tired after work. I’m currently doing P90X3
  • Solace1977
    Solace1977 Posts: 26 Member
    The main issue you have is the commute. I used to do this and was so knackered after a full day teaching. I’m home by 5/530 now, have an hour with my boys before bath time and bed so am able to do workout at around 730/8. I currently used the Fitbit coach app and results are great.
  • Aside from cutting down on commuting time the thing that really helps me is to have my meals prepped so I can eat almost as soon as I get through the door. Then, while I'm digesting I'll mark books and plan lessons. Once that's done I head down to my gym (shed) and work out (working out at home also helps!).
  • dramaqueen45
    dramaqueen45 Posts: 1,008 Member
    I'm lucky to live 5 minutes from where I work, but some days there are meetings, I have been drama coach for years, you get it. You just have to make it a priority. If I was an hour away I would work out near school and then drive home. We also have people who walk the school after hours and that may also be an option, depending on the size of your building. If you're a teacher who is out of your seat and walking around the class a lot you can also factor that in (some teachers sit behind their desks all day so it just depends on what you do). I am a counselor in the schools and my job often has me stuck behind my desk unfortunately. So I make going to the gym a priority on my way home. If I don't stop on the way home I won't go back out. I try to eat a banana before working out so I don't come home famished.
  • brittanystebbins95
    brittanystebbins95 Posts: 560 Member
    I work 12 hour shifts in corrections, have an hour drive to and from work everyday, and still make time to workout.
    It's not about having time, honestly. Its about MAKING time. Would I rather come home and sleep somedays? Sure. Sometimes I do. But most days I come home, go to the gym or go running (I usually don't have time for both so my running has been slacking a bit) and then come home, shower, and go to bed. When my stepdaughter is home, she comes to the gym with me and my hubby. She plays in the kids area and I'll give her my phone to play on so she stays in one spot and out of the way.
  • Faebert
    Faebert Posts: 1,588 Member
    I realise I’m lucky not to have a long commute, but if you can find a way to work out early in the mornings before work I agree with others who recommend it. I know myself now, and I just can’t manage a hard workout at the end of the school day. Teaching all day can be exhausting, and I generally just want to come home and see my own kids and relax. If I’ve done a run or worked out in the morning (at home if i have no childcare, before the kids wake) I feel strong and motivated and can blast through my teaching day.
  • jljshoe1979
    jljshoe1979 Posts: 325 Member
    Okay I tried to post this idea and my phone locked up. I don't think my message went thru, but forgive me if u get a similar suggestion (mfp has been acting wonky for me lately):

    I like some of the other suggestions on here, but here's one creative idea I didn't see. Would you be able to include 5-10 minutes in your lesson plans of doing something active that included you? If you did this every hour or every class period that time could add up to 30-60 minutes of working out each day you did it. The kids would probably enjoy it too. It wouldn't be an "ideal" workout, but better than nothing.
  • tccroston
    tccroston Posts: 34 Member
    Thank you all for the fantastic ideas! You’re right, it’s about making time for me...

    I’m an instructor for the railroad, so my “kids” vary in age, but I do look forward to the days I’m out in the railyard with them. I force them to walk everywhere!

    We do get free gym membership through work at several locations, so I think I’ll look into something closer to work on the way home (or on the way in)!

    I’m going to keep following this for more great tips, and don’t be surprised if you see a friend request...

  • lg013
    lg013 Posts: 215 Member
    I also teach high school and have an hour commute. Last year I got too involved, too many preps, conferences, clubs to sponsor, courses developed, and concern for student well being. I realized I became a horrible role model on wellness and work life balance, so I changed my habits at the end of the year:

    1. I joined the YMCA which has a location near my house and near school. I can go to either location before or after school depending on my day and what traffic is going to look like. When I plan my course calendar for the week, I include planning my workout calendar all on google. This lets me know what I need to pack for and how to plan my sleep.

    2. I completely changed my eating habits and got rid of processed foods. Every Sunday I pack of mason jars full of healthy snacks and meals so I don’t have to waste time making lunches every night. I often packed dinner that I could eat on the way home and that saved a ton of time.

    3. I learned to say no at school and makes restrictions. I was going to not allow myself to work past 10 hours each day to ensure I had time for workout and sleep. I learned to grade and give feedback on what was critical and find more efficient ways to grade. Sometimes, it was simply saying, that’s going to take 2 more days to grade Bc I need to workout, eat, and sleep each night too.

    4. I started to involve my students in planning and setting health goals. I teach math and computer science...which can lead to sedentary careers, so it’s equally important to teach my students to develop healthy habits too. I started creating option ideas for getting some HIIT, muscle toning, and cardio in while working on homework. To my shock, students LOVED it and asked for more. I now post a daily optional homework workout plan for different levels for students to use. We had a health discussion board like this one to post our goals and achievements. It REALLY helped me be accountable and students love it.

    I’ve been enjoying the summer a ton and ability to be at the gym for three hours and not rush workouts...so I’m not looking forward to starting up again...but these things helped
  • lg013
    lg013 Posts: 215 Member
    Oh, we have 6 minutes between bells and they ask us to be circulating the halls during that time for behavior issues...I started power walking them (can’t run in the halls) and volunteered to watch the stairs (going up and down them)...that’s 40 extra minutes of cardio a day for me!
  • missysippy930
    missysippy930 Posts: 2,577 Member
    Many people have long commutes, very long hours on the job, don’t take breaks, lunch at desk, limit vacation days to one or two at a time, or (sometimes no vacation at all) bring work home a lot, sometimes work weekends, and work 12 months of the year. I got up very early to go to the gym before work. Where there’s the will, there’s a way. That was me, and a lot of other people, until 12/29/17 when I retired, It’s been a glorious year and a half. I’m not bored yet with all the time I have now, it’s one of life’s great joys.
  • lg013
    lg013 Posts: 215 Member
    edited July 2019
    Many people have long commutes, very long hours on the job, don’t take breaks, lunch at desk, limit vacation days to one or two at a time, or (sometimes no vacation at all) bring work home a lot, sometimes work weekends, and work 12 months of the year. I got up very early to go to the gym before work. Where there’s the will, there’s a way. That was me, and a lot of other people, until 12/29/17 when I retired, It’s been a glorious year and a half. I’m not bored yet with all the time I have now, it’s one of life’s great joys.

    For the record, I am paid for 10 months of the year I’ve been working, but let me tell you all about my summer as a teacher:

    1st 2 weeks of summer: Ran the freshman orientation program (60+ hours per week)

    3-4. weeksof summer: finished writing 2 new courses and met with the state to get them approved as curriculum for the next school year (40 hours per week)

    5th week of summer: vacation to Colombia, my first trip of the year

    6th-7th: unpaid conferences and presentations (50 hours per week)

    8th: return a week early for freshman orientation makeup and new hire orientation

    About half of this was paid work, but for the record most teachers also work 12 months a year. I worked for 10 years as a program manager in IT in which I had an hour commute. I worked 60-70 hour weeks year round in that job. I’ve been teaching high school for five years now. Let me tell you, no job has ever consumed my life, been as exhausting, and been more hours than teaching. You really will never understand without doing it and also have no idea what we are doing in the summer (we have required pd and planning all summer that we aren’t paid for). I also had double the time off in my previous career. Putting 180 lives before your own can take its toll on personal health and that’s why the poster is looking for fellow teachers.

    Also, keep in mind that some high schools start the day at 6:30 or 7 am...we have meetings often before school and are required to be there an hour before school starts (5:30-6 am). Add an hour commute to that (4:30-5 am) and time to shower/get ready (4-4:30 am). Most gyms in my area don’t open until 4:30 am, meaning unless I beg for first period planning and permission for late arrival 3 days a week, I cannot work out before. Just some perspective here and a reminder that this poster is looking for other teachers who understand this perspective of life.
  • My drive to school is half an hour so not as bad as yours. But I wake up early each day to workout for an hour. Sometimes just have to prioritize time😉
  • kiela64
    kiela64 Posts: 1,447 Member
    My dad is a teacher! He doesn’t go to a gym during the week it’s just too much. He does yoga & meditation in the morning before breakfast, and goes to the gym to cycle, take a yoga class and swim on the weekends. In good weather he rides his bike by the water.
  • breanamock
    breanamock Posts: 29 Member
    Wow, a 1-2 hour commute! I found it really useful to have a membership at the gym I had to drive past on the way home, but my commute was only 20-30 minutes. And during the seasons when I was working 12-14 hour days, the gym just didn’t really happen. I did discover that if I didn’t leave the school by a certain time, my commute would be way longer because of rush hour. Can you leave right after the end of your contract day and finish your work at home? Or would that not affect your commute time?

    What age/grade do you teach? Could you play with them at recess, or walk circles around the playground? I was the elementary music teacher, so I was able to do lots of dancing/jumping/squats/moving as part of my teaching. If you teach older kids, could you do more walking as you teach (maybe with a presentation mouse so you’re not stuck to your desk because of tech)? Brain breaks for your students that you also participate in? Take a walk around the school (inside or out) after the end of the contract day, before you continue on with grading/planning/etc? I know none of that is as good as a hard workout at the gym, but it should give you at least some benefit.
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 41,515 Member
    For now anyways, I have stopped going to the gym. I work full time and have an hour commute each way and a gym is just another commute for me and takes away time that I could be doing something else or hanging out with my little guys and my wife...I had been going to the gym 3x per week for the last 6 years or so, but recently had been missing more gym days than going so I just decided not to go anymore.

    For cardiovascular exercise I primarily cycle. I get up at 5:15 and hit the road shortly there after. My rides during the week aren't long...usually right around 30 minutes...40 tops. For resistance training I'm doing bodyweight exercises right now and using a bodyweight training app. There is a different workout for everyday and most of them only take 15 minutes or so.

    I utilize my weekends for longer rides or going for hikes, etc.