When you’re watching a yoga instructor hold an effortless crow pose, it’s easy to imagine that they never do anything but yoga. Life as a fitness instructor isn’t all green smoothies and athleisure looks, though — at least not for Alex Silver-Fagan. Sure, she’s a Nike Master Trainer and teaches yoga, cardio, and strength-training classes live on the MIRROR several times a week, but she also likes a big bowl of pasta as much as the next person.
It’s all about balance, and Alex makes finding that perfect combination of fun and fitness look easy. Ahead of the busy holiday season, we caught up with Alex to ask how she stays committed to her health and wellness even when life gets hectic. Read on to find out how she keeps up with her workouts while traveling, hear her tips for meditation on the go, and discover what her go-to indulgent meal is.
No matter what’s going on in her life, Alex makes a conscious effort to pay attention to her stress levels. “Even if you completely stick to your diet and exercise program, but your stress level is through the roof, you won’t hit your goals,” she said. When she feels herself start to tense up, Alex will check her heart rate and overall stress level on her Samsung Galaxy Watch Active and do a quick breathing exercise. Best of all, the watch can guide you through a breathing exercise anywhere — even in the middle of running errands.
Mindfulness goes hand in hand with another one of Alex’s key pieces of advice: setting goals for yourself. That’s how she stays motivated to stick to her routine, whether that’s choosing a healthy option for lunch or finding time in her busy teaching schedule to fit in a workout just for herself. “Remember your goal and why you started working towards it in the first place,” she said. “By managing your stress and taking moments to breathe throughout the day, your body and mind will respond to all of the good plans you’re putting into action.”
As important as it is to set goals for yourself and really try to stick to them, Alex also recognizes that she’s only human. Sometimes, she’s going to want to give into her pasta cravings or order an extra glass of wine at dinner — and that’s OK. “Life includes holidays, and holidays include food that don’t normally fall under the ‘healthy’ category,” she said. “Personally, I think a healthy lifestyle includes moments like grandma’s homemade pie and other special foods shared with family and friends.”
Typically, Alex tries to follow an 80/20 rule: 80 percent of her meals consist of lean protein and plants, while she can opt for what makes her happy the other 20 percent of the time. Planning to indulge about 20 percent of the time means that when she does reach for that cookie, she doesn’t feel guilty. “If anything brings guilt, it’s not worth it,” she said. “Reframe why you’re reaching for the treat and enjoy it when you choose it!”
It’s impossible to talk about Alex’s wellness routine without mentioning her workouts — fitness is her job, after all! Besides teaching yoga four times a week, Alex also works with another coach to plan her workouts. “I spend a lot of time writing workouts for my clients and classes so when it comes to my own, I love to be the student,” she said. A typical week of training usually includes three days of barbell lifting, two days of kettlebell work, and one or two days of running.
That doesn’t mean Alex always sticks to her workout routine perfectly, though. Alex said that she sometimes has trouble keeping up with her program while traveling, but even if she doesn’t have access to a full gym, she makes it a point to move at least once a day — whether that’s walking from appointment to appointment or doing a quick yoga flow in her hotel room. “Our bodies are made to move, and an object in motion stays in motion,” she said. “So keep moving, every day.”
Alex’s advice counts for double during the holidays — and not just because you’re treating yourself to hot cocoa and sugar cookies. “My number one tip for the holiday season would be to exercise, and not as a punishment or as payment for eating yummy food,” she explained. “Move because it feels good!”
Last but not least, Alex sets herself up for success by keeping a few wellness essentials on hand, even when she travels. She uses her Samsung Galaxy Watch Active for everything from tracking her steps to practicing mindfulness, so that’s at the top of her list. “Not only is the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active a sleek and beautiful timepiece, but it also acts as a support system to your goals,” Alex explained. “It goes where you go and can be customized to your own personal preferences.” Also in her suitcase? A reusable water bottle, running shoes that are stylish enough to wear to dinner, and a good book. “Having some time to yourself to get lost in a book is so important during a crazy holiday season,” she said. Amen to that!