Long hours, crazy shifts, and a physically demanding job, if you’re a nurse or you work in the medical field, then you know exactly what that’s all about. So how do you stay on track and stay in shape? We asked Fitmark Ambassador Karey Northington, school health nurse by trade, fitness competitor by design!
When I’m tired, I make poor choices and as a nurse, I’m often tired. Meal prepping makes me stay on track, when I have healthy choices packed away in my Fitmark bag!
It seems like everybody has a crazy schedule these days, but nursing requires a certain level of fitness to stay healthy on the job. Karey explains:
Staying fit helps me accomplish a full day’s work as a nurse. When I was in the hospital, there were times I would have to lift and turn patients. Lifting weights helped me do these tasks with proper form and without injuring myself. Many nurses would complain of back pain; I had none. We’re also on our feet numerous hours per day, and being fit helps me make it through my day with energy to spare.
It’s not uncommon for nurses to work long 12-hour shifts and over a period of time, it can disrupt the natural rhythms of the body. This can lead to poor eating habits, digestive problems and hormonal imbalances that all add up to extra weight gain. Karey’s solution is to make time for exercise:
Even though it seems like all of your energy is used up at work, making time to exercise will help you complete your day successfully, and actually boost your energy levels!
Missing a workout is simply not an option for Karey, particularly as she is a fitness competitor and needs to be in tip-top shape before she steps out on stage. A typical workout week for Karey looks like this:
I’ll have 2 lower body sessions, then 3 upper body lifting sessions, plus 3-4 days of HIIT training. I also do banded glute burnout sets after most training sessions, whether they are upper or lower. In bikini competitions, lower body is very important!
Karey is also a full-time mom, so her crazy schedule doesn’t stop just because her work day is over:
Now I work a typical 9- 5 schedule, but I liked working 12s knowing I had 4 days off to definitely make it to the gym. After work, it’s hard for me to train now, since that is homework time with my son. I make it work by hitting up a few 5 AM sessions. Where there is a will there is a way! It might take some shuffling around and a few sacrifices, but it can always be done!
The Shield is the perfect bag for carrying both meals that need to be kept refrigerated, plus a variety of healthy snacks in the pockets. I typically pack more food then I need so I have options and I don’t feel stuck in a food rut. If I didn’t have these bags, I would be chowing down in the cafeteria!
As a school health nurse, Karey is in a perfect position to be a healthy role model, something that she finds is “the MOST important thing!” And it’s not just the kids who notice:
A parent brought me healthy snacks the other day because she said, I figured you ate healthy because you’re a school nurse! And I could respond, You are absolutely correct!
So what kind of healthy snacks does Karey pack in her Fitmark bag?
I love plain, non-fat Greek yogurt with vanilla dusted emerald almonds or I buy the chopped salad mixes to make a grilled chopped chicken salad and use the OPA Greek yogurt dressing or some olive oil and balsamic as a topping. I also pack cut-up raw veggies and the Wholly Guacamole packs for dipping. And I’m never more than an arm’s length away from my Metabolic Nutrition Protizyme protein powder!
So the trick to staying healthy on the job is to make time for exercise, and prep and pack your meals in one of our diet and meal management bags.
Sport Your Lifestyle
The Fitmark Team