Traci Copeland is a Nike Master Trainer, yoga instructor, model, and dancer — movement is her world. And even with her busy schedule and hardcore dedication to fitness, she works hard to infuse all that movement with positivity. 

Copeland shared some of her secrets with Thrive. Read on for her expert insight on reaching your own movement and nutrition goals.

Thrive Global: What is your morning routine? How do you set your day up for success?

Traci Copeland: I start with a morning workout (typically a run) just so I can have more energy through the day. Or I’ll have my morning coffee with muesli, almond milk, and blueberries. Breakfast might actually be my favorite meal of the day

TG: What is your fitness philosophy? 

TC: Sustainability. We need workouts that work for our lifestyle. Set your goals within reality versus just having an ideology.

TG: Have you ever fallen off the fitness wagon?

TC: Sure — I think we all do. I think I fall off when my schedule changes, or if I’m traveling a lot for work. It’s hard to feel grounded without a routine.

How do you get re-inspired when you have a lull?

TC: I go to dance class. Dance class, and that community, is the best way for me to feel inspired and accomplished. My brain is challenged along with my physicality and musicality, but mostly it’s just a great way for me to connect with old friends.

TG: What advice do you have for people who want to get back to the gym, but find fitness overwhelming? 

TC: Begin. Start. The hardest part of getting to the gym is the 10-15 minutes it takes for you to get out of bed or put on your gym clothes. Find ways to make those 10-15 minutes less challenging. Decide what you’re going to wear well in advance so you don’t get caught up. 

TG: How do you find ways to sneak in movement throughout the day — other than the obvious? 

TC: Bike to work. Take stairs wherever you can. Luckily, being in New York City, I walk everywhere — up and down subway stairs. Instead of getting in that $10 Uber, you can probably walk.

TG: How has your personal fitness routine evolved? 

TC:  It’s definitely evolved from the different types of classes I teach, but also the movement that I enjoy doing. Running and dance tend always be in the background of everything I do.

TG: Can you share an effective sample workout we can do at home or when we are traveling? 

TC:  10 minutes of Cardio (treadmill, elliptical, spin). Then do AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) for 20 minutes, of:

20 alternating lunges with 10-15 lb. dumbells,  20 plank rows with 10-15 lb. dumbbells, 30 hollow body flutter kicks, and 15 squat jumps.

TG: What is your go-to healthy breakfast?

TC:  Muesli, almond milk, and blueberries .

TG: Lunch?

TC:  Sautéed tempeh or chicken sausage with a tomato and two eggs over spinach and seven grain sprouted toast

TG: Dinner?

TC:  Lentil or vegan gnocchi broccoli, spinach, and chicken sausage.

TG: What are some ways to avoid snacking/grazing?

TC:  Carefully plan your meals, at least in the beginning. If you’re someone who snacks, then avoid buying snacks at the grocery store.

TG: Any solutions for stress-eating? 

TC: Find healthier solutions that replace eating unhealthy things – like going to the gym, the movies, or meet up with friends.

TG: What are some easy, small things we can do to improve our nutrition? 

TC: Stay away from anything fried on a regular basis. Choose lean meats over heavier meats. Also, be wise with portion control. 

TG: What are the benefits of stretching?

TC:  Stretching  or any mobility work is great post-workout. I typically like to do it before going to bed. It’s great for creating more space within your connective tissue. Also, it’s great for muscle recovery for that next workout. 

TG: How do we move more and sit less? 

TC: It’s all about the choices we make. Choose not to sit down on the subway. Choose the stairs over the elevator. It starts here.

TG: How do you prioritize when you have an overwhelming amount to do? 

TC: In an ideal world, everyone has endless amounts of time. We have to prioritize self-care. If we don’t get enough rest, if we can’t get to the gym, if we aren’t eating the right foods, it has real health consequences, so we have to make it a priority. 

TG: Can tech help you with your fitness goals? How? 

TC: I think technology can be a good way to measure your goals, your miles ran, and your calories burned, but beyond that it can disrupt a natural flow. When I’m in dance class, I’m not counting calories I’ve burned, I’m just enjoying my workout.

TG: What are a couple of quick and easy ways we can encourage our families to be healthier? 

TC: Do things that are active together. It could be as simple as going on a hike, biking, or training for a 5K. 

TG: How do you stay focused? 

TC: I try to eliminate unnecessary distractions.

TG: How do you stay hydrated? 

TC: I drink plenty of water. But also, we want to make sure we replace electrolytes lost. So if I’ve danced a lot or gone for a long run, then I make sure I get plenty of Gatorade. Also, you have to be careful with your coffee and wine intake. You need to stay away from too many of those types of drinks that may dehydrate you. 

TG: When you are traveling, do you have any small tips or tricks to move your body on a plane?

TC:  I do a lot of East to West coast travel. When I’m not sleeping on planes, I do try to get up several times. I typically stretch and do knee hugs and inner thigh stretches near the bathrooms just to help with circulation.

TG: How do you sleep? What is your wind-down routine?

TC: Lately, I’ve been doing a lot more reading before bed. That typically helps me naturally fall asleep. Occasionally, I do fall asleep with the TV on, but I know you don’t get the best, deepest sleep, so I try to avoid it. 

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