Self-Care With Chinae Alexander of @GetFitBrooklyn (Part 2)

“I think self-care is really important because more than what you’re actually doing, it’s about taking the time out of the day for yourself. It’s not about being selfish. I think it’s actually being very giving, because you will not be able to run at your full capacity if you don’t do that. It’s like if you had a fruit tree in your yard, and you never watered it or only gave it a few droplets of water a day, and you let it sit out in the beating sun, would you expect that to provide fruit for you? No. If you really want your life to thrive, you have to take care of yourself because you have to thrive first.

My favorite self-care thing is probably skincare. I love skincare. I’m like a skincare nerd. I have so many products. Just last night I went to an event and I got a bunch of new skincare and my boyfriend was like, ‘How can you have more? At what point is it too much?’ I’m like, ‘When I have a new face and it looks like a baby’s butt.’ I don’t know, it never gets tiring. It’s the ritual of doing it that I love. It’s the trying new things that I love. Even if it’s a few products, it’s something that takes five minutes and is a really nice way to start and end your day. It’s something that I also think often gets skipped over. I know really busy people, and their beauty routine or their skincare routine, besides exercise, is the first to go. It’s like, ‘These ten emails are more important than me putting a serum on.’ I’m like, ‘Maybe, but maybe not. Maybe the serum is more important.’

Then I’m always obsessed with face oil, face cream, and face masks. I love Korean skincare. I don’t know any of the brands because they are all in Korean, but I love anything that’s weird. I have a snail mask—they are kind of amazing. I don’t know if snails are good for your face. They said they are so I’m going to trust them. Then my boyfriend came back from Hong Kong, and he brought me all these different masks. One was like algae and one was like tiger blood. I mean, nobody’s going to put tiger blood on their face. It was all these weird ingredients and I’m like, ‘This would not be marketable in America.’ Snails on your face would not fly, but Korean skincare is the dopest. I think, in general, I like makeup but I want to be wearing less makeup and be more focused on my skin. I think that’s where everything is heading. It’s like, care about your internal more than your external.

I love a good perfume. I’ve been wearing Le Labo perfume for years, and I’m obsessed with it. To me, having a signature smell you put on every day, where people can kind of know that you walked into a room, is something so luxurious. This perfume is ungodly expensive, but in the practice of buying something that’s a little bit more pricey for myself, it’s saying you’re important, this is important, and this is like a secret little luxury thing. I don’t have an expensive bag on my shoulder, but I have this smell and this product that I love.

I’m also obsessed with candles. Candles are burning in my house 100% of the time. Maison Louis Marie candles are some of my favorites. I love the Malin and Goetz candles. I love Le Labo candles, but they’re like a million dollars. For someone that burns candles constantly—I go through a big candle week—it can add up.

I would love to meditate, but I just can’t. I literally have tried so many times and either I fall asleep or I end up coming up with a really great idea, and I have to stop meditating and then go do it. If you know any good pointers for that, let me know. I would love to meditate, but we’re going to work on that.

I think cooking a meal at the end of the day is a really nice way to wind down. Sharing a meal, lingering over a meal, leaving dirty dishes in the sink, and cleaning up in the morning—I like that. Then, another favorite thing to do is host people. As an extrovert, I love having people over. People give me energy and they relax me. I spend so much of my day in meetings, but primarily by myself working alone, that it’s really relaxing to be around people.

One of my favorite things to make, and I know this is so basic bitch, but I love zucchini noodles and meat sauce—traditional-ass meat sauce with a lot of Parmesan cheese. I don’t really like the way I feel after eating real pasta, even if it didn’t have any carbohydrates or if it wasn’t going to make me super bloated; I just prefer zucchini noodles in general. Eating a really warm, big bowl of zucchini noodles and meat sauce with Parmesan cheese on top, having a glass of red wine, and then eating a piece of chocolate afterwards—I’m like good to go.

When work gets busy, sleep is the first thing to go. I don’t really let other things go, which probably makes me a psycho, but I refuse to live my life in panic mode. I’ll stay up till two in the morning to churn out whatever I need to do, but I’m still going to go to the gym, I’m still going to spend time with people, and I’m still going to invest in my relationships. The thing I will sacrifice is sleep—I don’t value sleep highly.

To prepare for my week, I don’t like to pack my Sunday nights with activities. I think any other night of the week is great. But on Sundays, there is something about just being at home and relaxing that puts you in a calm, prepared mindset. Some people are like, ‘I meal prep on Sundays. I do all this stuff.’ I’m not really that type of person. I don’t like leftovers, so meal prep is kind of out for me. I think just making sure to relax and having a little bit of a quiet moment before the week starts is important and intentional.

There are certain things I won’t sacrifice in my life just for the sake of being healthy. I remember going to a dinner party one time, and this girl showed up with a meal-prepped meal and wasn’t participating in what was going on. And you know, good on her, I’m all about goals and whatever, and I appreciated her determination. But I also think that life is to be lived. There are certain times that you eat your crappy ground turkey and broccoli in your home and you shut the fuck up and you eat that shit and you’re just like, ‘Okay, this is my lunch.’ But if you’re at a dinner party, your body will thank you to eat what the host prepared and spend time with friends and have an extra glass of wine. Mentally, you will be more balanced and happy, and your mind and body will be less stressed. I think those calories don’t count. Calories spent in deep enjoyment don’t count.

It’s the same with travelling. We were in Portland recently, and we were at a doughnut place and I had a photo shoot the next day. And I’m like, ‘Man, fuck, I should not eat a doughnut right now.’ Then I’m like, when am I in Portland at this really cool doughnut shop with six girls who we’ve been brought together by Instagram? And we’re going to do an Adidas photo shoot tomorrow. Hell yeah, I’m having this doughnut, life is good. Let me fucking celebrate this for a hot second. To me, those are the things that I’ll never forget. You never look back on those moments and think, ‘Man, I’m really glad I ate that shitty meal-prepped meal.’ You’ll look back and be like, ‘Wow, I so enjoyed that moment with friends.’ I think I’d rather have ten extra pounds and a happy life than a flat stomach.”

—Chinae

Read Part 1: Body Talk, where Chinae gets real about her journey with body image. For more motivation and advice on all things fitness, beauty, and wellness, you can find Chinae on her hilarious and kickass Instagram and Snapchat.

 

As told to Stephanie Park, September 2016.

Photos by Stephanie Park


Don't Miss A Post!

Sign up to get our latest recipes, interviews, and tips delivered straight to your inbox.