Balancing Life And Fitness
"I don't have time to get in shape" is by far the most common excuse for people not achieving their fitness goals. Fair enough.....or is it?
We all have 24 hours in a day, but what you do with those 24 hours is what keeps time from being a limiting factor. Fitness is not about revolving your life around the gym, but rather about incorporating exercise into your life in order to have a better quality of life. In this article I cover ways to incorporate fitness and health into your life without sacrificing your social life or enjoyment in life.
If It Fits Your Macros
No, I don't mean eat whatever you want just because it fits your macros (the amount of fats, protein, and carbohydrates balance out the same at the end of the day). But rather, I am saying that you can manipulate your diet various ways in order to maintain and build upon your progress without being too strict in life. One way would be to eat nutrient dense foods 90 percent of the time, while giving yourself some room for eating out with friends, having dinner with family, or going out on a date. This way you still get in the nutrients you need, but then enjoy the remaining calories by consuming more "situation-friendly" choices (popcorn at a movie, homemade food with family, or restaurant food with friends). The other diet manipulation would be consuming calories when available or when you are hungry, rather than during a strict time. This allows you to enjoy life more spontaneously, rather than worrying about if you got enough protein in exactly 120 minutes after the last protein shake.
Exercise With Others
Trying to balance life and fitness can be difficult when trying to make time for your family, relationship, and friends as well. You don't have to sacrifice time from one in order to compensate for another. Rather, you can involve both your fitness and your social/family life together. Some days do home workouts with the family and some days get your friends or girlfriend/boyfriend to come exercise with you. By involving the people you are close to into your "fitness life", you are able to not only be more time efficient with balancing your life but you are also being able to build a bond you may not have been able to form without doing so.
Get Up Earlier
I can hear it now "Oh, but I love my sleep". We all do, but how much of it are you really benefiting from? Most people who claim to be tired do one of two things; they either stay up all night watching television and/or on the phone, or they sleep over 8 hours which results in diminished returns (more sleep isn't always even more beneficial). By cutting out wasted time watching television before bed, you will be able to sleep earlier. This results in your body's ability to wake up earlier due to getting enough sleep. For those that sleep more than 8 hours a night (the lucky ones who get to), you can set an alarm in accordance to the time you usually fall asleep (set your alarm for 8 hours after the time you usually go to sleep). This way you can be awake early enough to get in a quick work out before you start your day. For example I typically fall asleep around 11pm, so I now set my alarm for 6am every single day. This is because around 7 hours is the time my body recovers the best without sleeping too long (which results in me waking up tired). By doing so, this allows me to get enough sleep each night while being able to fit an hour and a half work out in with work, content writing, sleeping, and anything else I do each day. With waking up a little early, you can easily fit some exercise into your life.
Get A Physically Active Job
Like most of us, work takes up a majority of our time. Thing is, when at work we are usually working in an inactive environment doing inactive things. Most jobs require skills, manipulation, persuasion, and knowledge, rather than physical abilities. The jobs that do require physical abilities usually require more physical activity than what people are willing to do. If you are willing to do the work, you can easily develop me a healthy body just from working at your job. YOU GET PAID TO EXERCISE. If you like picking heavy weights up then putting them down, this would be the best option for you. You don't have to worry about having energy to work out after work. You worked out during a whole 8-12 hour shift. Now the remaining hours of the day you can use to explore all the other aspects of your life.
Grease The Groove
Pavel Tsatsouline was the one who created and stated the phrase "greasing the groove" in his book "Power To The People". Greasing the groove involves performing sub-maximal sets with quality repetitions (with good form) in order to stimulate the nervous system and muscles as much as possible without taking the muscles to failure. This is done by performing a given exercise (or exercises) throughout the day. In doing so, you improve specific motor patterns and place frequent stimulus on the targeted muscles. Doing so allows you to perform the exercise whenever convenient. This allows for autoregulation based on how busy the day is (you do more when you have more time). Most people who use this method usually perform the exercise during designated times (every hour on the hour) or during designated activities (push-ups after every restroom break or pull-ups every time you pass a specific door frame). This is perfect for those who have many brief moments of spare time, but never a lot of spare time in one setting.
Regardless how busy your schedule is you can always mix fitness into your life. Don't think about "adding" fitness into your life. Rather think of "mixing" fitness into your life. When you think too much about adding exercise, you get overwhelmed with the fact that your life is already busy without exercise. How are you expected to add exercise ontop of what you already have going on? You're not! You should be mixing fitness and health into your life by utilizing flexibile dieting, making it a family/social thing, getting up a little earlier in order to start your day off right, getting a job that influences physical activity, or greasing the groove each day.
You don't have to make life completely about health and fitness in order to become healthy and fit, but you can fit health and fitness into any busy schedule in order to improve your quality of life.