She’s fabulous at what she does and our readers agree. We gave Fit Style contributor Jane a quick Q&A to get some insight into how she manages to stay so chic and level-headed while being a full-time working mama, blogger, and fashionista-meets-fitnessista!
What made you decide to start a blog about fitness and style?
Before I started blogging, I used to post discussion threads about fitness and fashion on the bulletin boards of several popular websites for Chinese expatriates and for people who work and/or study in North America (e.g. wenxuecity.com and huaren.us).
My readers loved how my posts motivated them and suggested I start up my own fitness and fashion blog to inspire and motivate more women/moms who want to stay fit and fab. So a year ago I decided to start blogging.
When did your interest in fashion take hold, and how has it evolved over the years?
I’ve been interested in fashion since I was a little kid. My grandma was really good at making clothes and I always loved helping her pick and sort out different materials.
My sense of style, my designer/industry knowledge, and my taste have all certainly evolved, and will continue to do so over the years. I used to love those street-chic casual looks, but after working in corporate America for over 10 years, I am more into those versatile styles that I can wear for work, as well.
You must have an impressive closet! How do you organize your wardrobe?
I have a good-sized walk-in closet, yet organizing it is still serious business! Here’s how I organize different parts of my wardrobe:
- I clean my closet twice a year: I donate, consign, give away, or throw away clothes I no longer wear after a year.
- My entire closet is color-ordered: It makes it easy to mix and match outfits when I can see all my choices.
- I stay seasonal: I store off-season outfits and shoes in boxes and put them in the storage room.
- Shoes are still a challenge: I have a large collection and they are very space consuming! We are currently remodeling my closet to add more shoe shelves to fit them.
Health & Fitness
When did fitness become integral to your life?
My fitness journey started back in 2007, when I was overwhelmed and stressed out over having a career and two young kids. The tension built up and the pressure snowballed. It seemed like there was no escape until I started running. I ran 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week, and it really helped me feel better, calmer, and stronger. Those 30-minute runs were my head-clearing time, get-focused time… my chill-out time! Later on I added weight training, barre dancing, and yoga to my fitness journey.
Tell us about your workout routine.
Based on my fitness experience, I follow a fitness formula rather than a “set” workout routine. I’ve found it more effective and efficient in helping me achieve my goals.
A + B + C + D = E
A = Good Nutrition
B = Weight Training (e.g. lifting or barre)
C = Cardio Training (e.g. run)
D = Flexibility Training (e.g. yoga)
E = Excellent Health and Great Physique
If I’m not traveling, I try to maintain a one-hour workout (either cardio, weight training, or flexibility training) 5 days a week. I like to mix it up with individual workouts and group classes. You don’t have to follow an exact routine or plan – as long as you incorporate elements A-D in your workout, you are on the right path to achieving your fitness goals. For more details, please refer to my blog post here.
How do you stay fueled for your busy life?
I believe good nutrition is the most important thing for both fitness and health! When we get busy, it’s easy to fall into the trap of grabbing whatever is convenient (especially for breakfast and snacks). Here are a few things I do to stay fueled and energized when I’m busy and on the go:
- Eat well for breakfast: Breakfast is my most important meal of the day! Typically, I start my day with egg whites, turkey slices, whole wheat toast, peanut butter, oatmeal, and a banana.
- Plan meals and snacks: I always make sure to stock up on healthy choices like salmon, avocados, almonds, green veggies, carrots, yams, whole grain bread, turkey breast, etc. The best and easiest way to avoid unhealthy food is NOT to have them be in front of you!
- Drink plenty of water: Dehydration can make you feel sluggish, lightheaded and tired. And stay away from sugar-filled sodas and juices!
Parents play a key role in nurturing healthy eating habits, so I make sure to share my choices and beliefs with my kids! For more details, please refer to my blog post here.
As a mom, wife, and blogger, what does a typical day look like for you?
As a full-time working mother of two children (ages 12 and 9), wife. and blogger, I lead a busy life. Every day is a constant juggle and quest to create more time. On top of my 9-5 work schedule and 6-8 family time, I try to work out first thing in the morning and do my blogging late at night. The weekend is an important window of time for me, as I can focus 100% on my kids and husband.
What’s the best advice you can offer to other moms who are trying to juggle family and work, and still take time to care for themselves by working out and eating healthy?
- Know yourself: You need to figure out what you want out of life before anything else. As work moms, we should also think about priorities. Mine are: I want to do my best each day at work, to spend quality time with my kids, and to take some time for myself. Finding a balance of the three is the key.
- Have a plan: Well… I liked it better when my days were spontaneous and random. But after having kids, routine and clear plans are necessary! Every day (especially weekdays), I have a clear idea of what needs to be done and when. Time management is all about staying focused.
- Multi-task effectively: I watch my favorite movies when I do my cardio on treadmills. I listen to audio books when I’m driving long-distance. I sometimes do blogging when I oversee my kids practice their musical instruments. Multi-tasking can help save lots of time if we utilize it effectively.
- Delegate: I am a perfectionist. I used to be a “do-it-all-by-myself” super mom. But guess what, you’ll burn out! Try delegating some tasks to your spouse. Try hiring a nanny, maid, or gardener. Or even try take-out every so often. Being a mom is not a one-day deal – if you don’t delegate, you accumulate stress and tension over the long haul. Burn-out is surely the destination…even for “superman.”:)
- Know when to stop: One of the most important concepts I learned from my Economics class was “law of diminishing marginal utility.” It means the first unit of consumption of a good or service yields more utility than the second and subsequent units. It truly applies to our daily life, as well! For example, if you believe that spending four hours in the gym is going to quadruple your result compared with a good one-hour workout, you need to rethink it. My years of experience have taught me that wisdom is knowing when enough is enough.
- Take time for yourself: Simply put: We are humans, not machines! We can’t keep up with our work or family if we don’t take care of ourselves. “Me” time is very important for busy moms.
For more details, please refer to my blog post here.