Maya Monza, a SoulCycle Instructor in San Diego, shares her insight with us how to live a balanced life in this guest post celebrating National Women’s Health and Fitness Day.
Life is all about balance, right? As a full-time SoulCycle instructor, it’s my business not just to teach others how to live a balanced life, but it’s my personal goal, too.
SoulCycle is a unique 45-minute indoor cycling experience. It is so much more than just the high-intensity workout, candlelit room, and one-of-a-kind playlists. It’s my job to support, coach, and push my riders to be their personal best. After teaching my classes, you can usually find me on a rooftop bar, surrounded by friends, with a margarita in one hand. Ok, maybe both hands! That’s where I like to be: surrounded by friends and reasonably close to some tequila.
Some people might assume that fitness instructors eat perfectly clean 24/7, never drink alcohol, always say “no” to staying out late, but that just isn’t me. My life is and will always be about balance. Work AND play. Fitness AND food. Going out with my friends some nights and staying in to get rest on other nights.
I have found the best way to stay happy and healthy is through BALANCE. No yo-yo diets. No depriving yourself of entire food groups. Plus, keeping up with a regular workout routine as much as possible. It is important to eat as clean as you can when you can while giving yourself the freedom to enjoy life to the fullest at other times. Finding that balance between health and fun is how I live my best life.
On National Health and Fitness Day, in celebration of all the all of you working so hard, I want to share with you my top 3 tips on how to live a balanced life.
My top 3 tips on how to live a balanced life:
Life in Balance Tip 1 – Be Consistent
Our consistent behavior directly impacts our circumstances, bodies, and lives. Even if we can’t control everything, we have control over the things we put in our bodies and how often we work out. Small changes, like eating more plants and getting your body moving as much as possible, are a great start.
Experiment swapping in fruits, veggies, and healthier alternatives at every meal. Find a workout routine you enjoy and can see yourself sticking to. What you do consistently is going to have the most dramatic effect on your body composition, your mood, your energy levels throughout the day, what you look like, and most importantly what you feel on the inside.
Consistent actions get results. Being able to manage a lifestyle that is enjoyable and makes you feel good and feel fulfilled is key for longevity. We should all strive to be as consistent as we can in getting into a workout routine. However, when your best friend’s birthday comes around, don’t beat yourself up. It’s okay to miss your fitness class or treat yourself to a margarita at happy hour. Building the schedule in your daily life doesn’t have to be constraining. Allow yourself flexibility when you need it, and then get back to consistently being a boss!
Life in Balance Tip 2 – Treat Yourself
Teaching multiple fitness classes 6 days a week is a demanding job, that requires me to invest in my wellness and health. Bodywork, massage, acupuncture and cupping, chiropractic visits, facials, foot reflexology – are investments in my present and future wellness. Treating our bodies to massage is not just for people with physically demanding jobs. A massage can be a great way to relieve stress and muscle tension that can be caused by physical or emotional stress.
Seeing a chiropractor can drastically improve your mobility, overall pain, and reduce overuse injuries. Plus, doing things that you enjoy and make you feel good are ways we can all take better care of ourselves, no matter where you are on your wellness journey. It is my job to perform every day and to show up as whatever my riders need me to be for them at that moment. I have to make sure that I take care of myself from the inside out first and foremost so that I can be at my best for those who need me.
Life in Balance Tip 3 – Take Time Off
Remind yourself of the things that make you happy, feel fulfilled, and drive your passion. Take time to schedule your hobbies, social events with friends, and vacation time when you can. It’s possible to get so comfortable going through the motions of our work/home lives that we can become robotic. We forget that this is our one life to live.
A lot of my riders say it seems impossible for them to take time off work to make a mental reset. It’s not! We need to prioritize some time off, even if it feels impossible. Not everyone can take a week off of work for vacation, but some people can take a half day or long weekend. Try to find more separation between work and weekends. Leave your phone behind for a walk on the beach or pledge to not obsess over work emails during the weekend.
Research day trips in your area, choose to stay home and enjoy drinks with family and friends or seek out your next worldly adventure. Giving ourselves some time off work allows us to reset mentally, gain perspective and inspiration, and be more productive when we return. We also contribute to our overall happiness when we seek out the balance in our lives.
How I Live a Balanced Life
The universe has opened doors I never thought possible. I went from working at a job I no longer loved, to travel the world, to HUSTLING hard in NYC. All things that landed me here today. I am actively creating a life I love. Sometimes taking a risk and switching routines up, breaking out of your rut, can generate imbalance but lead you to a new equilibrium that is your best life. Cheers to all of you learning a little bit every day how to live a balanced life. I think this celebration of life calls for cocktails!
My friends and I say “Life is like a Spicy Margarita … you never know what you are going to get!” It’s so customizable, and you can make it however you please. Blended or the rocks? TAJÍN® rim or salt rim? Jalapeños or serrano peppers? My favorite margarita of all time is my best friend Tanya’s original Spicy Skinny Margarita recipe that we’ve dubbed “Living My Best Life.” Learn how to make it below.
“Living My Best Life” – Spicy Skinny Margarita
1.0 oz Azuñia Blanco Organic Tequila
Sliced Jalapeños to Taste
1.0 oz Fresh Lime Juice
1 Handful of Fresh Raspberries
Add sliced jalapeño, fresh lime juice, and a few fresh raspberries in a shaker. Muddle ingredients so you get the spicy flavor of the jalapeño and the sweetness from the raspberries.
Fill shaker with ice.
Add Azuñia tequila and shake.
Strain all contents from shaker into a cocktail glass with an “aggressive TAJÍN rim.” Just a little lime juice on the rim of the glass will help make the TAJÍN stick.
Garnish with lime, jalapeno and throw 1 or 2 raspberries into the top of the drink itself.
Variety can be a good thing. Add mint leaves into the mix to freshen up and give an unexpected minty kick. Or add agave syrup for a sweeter drink. No matter how you mix it, just make sure you’re taking the time to enjoy it!
The fun and balanced lifestyle is part of what drew me to San Diego. I moved here in 2012 from San Luis Obispo, to study Kinesiology at San Diego State University. The people here are always walking, running, riding their bikes around the bay, hanging out at farmers markets, or enjoying time by the beach drinking with friends. In the years after graduation, I felt like I was pouring a lot of myself into my work while also feeling uninspired by it. My life felt like it had been thrown out of balance. Go to school, get good grades, get into college, study hard, graduate, get a job, go to work, I felt like I was on that never-ending track. There was no passion in my life, and I wasn’t engaged with the world.
I had no idea what the next step in my career was going to be. Taking a chance on myself, I decided to take a 6-week backpacking trip through Thailand, Vietnam, and Bali. I remember being so scared to take time off work. During my trip, I realized that there was so much more out there than what I was stressing about every day back home. My final weekend in South East Asia, I got the phone call I had been waiting for.
After applying, auditioning, interviewing, and waiting for weeks, I was accepted into SoulCycle’s 10-week instructor training program in NYC. I’ve been leading classes at SoulCycle in La Jolla since they opened their doors. If I’m not on a bike, you can find me drinking in the San Diego sunshine. A few of my favorite San Diego spots for drinks are Fat Fish Cantina, Cafe Coyote, and Puesto. Hope to meet you there – or on a bike!
Join Us in Reducing Single-Use Plastic.
Enjoy Maya’s favorite drink strawless. Or be one of first 500 people to join our No Plastic Straws 365 initiative and you’ll receive a reusable stainless straw. Grab a friend and join the challenge here.
Pick up a Bottle
You can find Azuñia tequilas at fine restaurants, bars, and retailers across the country.white