By Patrick Connelly  |  Buffalo Law Journal, Buffalo Business First  |  Dec 31, 2018, 6:00am EST Updated Jan 4, 2019, 12:32pm EST

Too busy to stay fit? Area attorneys say it can be done

Sound Off: Balancing work and wellness

A new year brings a new opportunity for many to reset and prepare for a fresh start, particularly when it comes to wellness and exercise.

Tips vary with the source, but experts generally suggest eating more of the right foods, getting more sleep, finding ways to relieve stress and making a regular routine of it all. It can be especially difficult for attorneys with busy schedules as they work long days to build a practice or navigate a case.

Five local attorneys weighed in on how they manage it all.


How do you stay active with a busy schedule? I work out at a gym three or four times a week early in the morning. That’s my baseline and it assures that I’ll get at least some exercise if work and family time otherwise prevent me from some of my other interests, such as doubles squash, running, basketball or yoga. Exercise has always been important to me and it is something I’ll often emphasize with our associates here. It helps relieve stress, clears your head, increases your energy level, keeps you healthy – all of which makes us be more productive while we are at the office and frees us up to spend more time outside the office.

What’s your morning routine? Most days, I’m up around 5:30 a.m., walking the dog and then off to the gym to work out and aiming to get to the office before 8 a.m.

Is it difficult to stick to a regimen? It has always been hard, particularly when the demands of work and home seem to have constantly evolved every few years. When my daughters were young, working out at night was often an option but when they started playing sports in high school. Attending their games meant I had to find other times to exercise.

What do you typically have for lunch? Lunch is where I fall short of the mark. I’ll often go the entire day without eating, especially when unexpected issues arise that require my attention.


How do you stay active with a busy schedule? My husband and I have two little boys under 5 at home and I found it difficult to maintain a regular workout or going to the gym. Before kids, I would work out five to six times a week and then life happened! … A few months ago, my colleague and I started to walk during our lunch break. We would walk in Main Place Mall or down near Canalside. … I also reintroduced tennis into my life. I played for a long time growing up but hadn’t picked up a racket up until a few months ago. I play every Sunday and I’ve never been happier. I guess I did not realize how much I missed it.

What do you typically have for lunch? I would say that I bring my lunch with me 95 percent of the time. I eat a salad every day that includes a lot of veggies and some rotisserie chicken or hard-boiled eggs for protein. I include apples, another fruit, popcorn and a raw pepper to snack on. I downloaded My Fitness Pal, an app, and you are able to track calories and link with other apps like Garmin. After I work out, I sync my information and it shares it with the app. This helps track your fitness with your food. If you are looking to start slowly, I’d suggest downloading the app. I lost 14 pounds just by tracking calories.

How do you balance your time? My husband competes in triathlons and we are still balancing between working full-time while having young and active children with busy schedules and trying to maintain our well-being. Communication is key. If my husband is planning on going for a long run or bike ride, I will schedule my work out around him. … It’s a lot of give and take.

What does wellness mean to you? This question resonated with me because wellness is not only physical health and happiness but also mental health and happiness. They often can help each other out. If you are feeling stressed, going for a walk to clear your head can help. Taking time for yourself to do self care is not easy and it is something that I am going to try to work more on in 2019.


How do you stay active with a busy schedule? I used to work out every day in my home in the early morning and that kept me fit. Life then changed (kid got older, school start time changed, we moved further out and our commute got longer, etc.). Working out at home in the morning was no longer possible. It took me some time but I finally joined the health club in my office building and hired a personal trainer to work with me twice a week. By getting to my building a little early and working with the trainer, I am now starting to get back in shape. The personal trainer keeps me accountable so my workouts, although only twice a week, are really great. This return to being more fit helps me feel like being more active in my daily life. I find that I am now taking the stairs at work more often and want to engage in other activities like walking at lunchtime when I have the opportunity.

How do you balance your time? In order to work out on my schedule and balance the other aspects of my life, I’ve had to prioritize my two personal trainer days. This has meant leaving earlier in the morning so that I can drop my son off at school and still get to my training sessions. It also has meant scheduling around my training sessions when I can and even switching days when necessary. Thankfully, my trainer is very flexible.

How often do you take breaks during the workday? I take breaks periodically during the day to walk the halls of the office so that I can clear my mind and get my body moving. When I forget to do this, I feel pretty awful.


How do you stay active with a busy schedule? The key is to find something you enjoy doing so you will actually want to do it. For me, location and time of day are just as important as the workout. So many people try to run who hate running. Why would you do this? I happen to love running but I don’t enjoy running in the dark so I don’t do it. This goes for gyms and studios, too. Find an ambiance you want to be in. You’d be surprised how different the same workout can feel depending on where you do it. Keep trying different places and I guarantee that you will find something you like.

What’s your morning routine? I try to do yoga every day. I typically go in the morning at 6 a.m. at Power Yoga Buffalo. Oftentimes I get to the gym before around 5 a.m. to weight train. I really love morning workouts and think this is a huge factor in becoming consistent with a workout routine. There is no getting around the fact that these hours are early but you actually have the time to get there without any distractions, and then it’s over. I don’t have children but I know a lot of people with children prefer this time, too, because they are still sleeping and their significant other is home in case someone wakes up.

Is it difficult to stick to a regimen? Of course, but what isn’t? Like anything, it takes commitment to become consistent. There was a time when I couldn’t have imagined waking up at 4:30 or 5:30 a.m. but now my body is used to it. Nonetheless, just get yourself there. I have my alarm auto-programed so I never have to worry about remembering to set it. I always make sure I know where my workout clothes are (not in the wash or in the laundry basket, etc.). Another trick for me is coffee. I drink a coffee on my way to early workouts. Sure, there are days when I do not feel like getting on my mat or lifting a weight that early but within moments of moving my body I’m awake. And I have never once regretted it.


Do you have a daily routine? I try to do something different each day for an hour.

Is it difficult to stick to a regimen? In the beginning it was, and over time you gradually work this into your schedule and it becomes part of your day.

How do you manage an unpredictable day? You have to be able to take things one day at a time. Especially during the holidays or the summer, splurging happens and your schedule can go awry. For me, it just means that you’re in the gym harder the next day.

What do you typically have for lunch? I try to eat healthy (salad, quinoa), especially since most of the “cheat time” happens after work when you’re out socially.

How do you balance your time? It can be difficult, but I try to stick to a schedule and make others aware of it.

How often do you take breaks during the workday? I have a stand-up desk, which helps a great deal; I highly recommend it. Helpful tip: For every hour, if you sit for 50 minutes, you should stand for 10. My rule of thumb with a stand-up desk is 30 minutes standing for every 30 sitting.