It’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted on the blog (sorry!) because I just literally haven’t had time to write anything – I’m blaming work (a week away at a conference centre in New York!), friends’ weddings (good times!), seeing family and all the other stuff that fills our daily lives. And that’s before even thinking about fitting in three training sessions a week! Which got me thinking now might be a good time to post something about finding balance and how to make your fitness regime work around your daily life.
So what does my day look like?
I’ll give you a little insight into a typical week day for me:
6:00am – wake-up and get ready for work. Down a protein shake.
7:15am – arrive at the office in Canary Wharf, London and start the usual run-through of e-mails.
8:00am – head down to the canteen for breakfast (4 eggs, 50g oats, 1 slice brown toast, peanut butter).
10:30am – small snack / meal.
12:00am – lunch at my desk, prepped in the work kitchen (usually brown rice, chicken or tuna and green veg).
1:00pm – head out for meetings with clients.
3:00pm – get back from meetings, have another meal. Work through rest of the day.
7:30pm – finish up at work and head to the gym for a work-out. Maybe do cardio for 20 mins afterward.
9:00pm – get home and have dinner, sort out kit bag, meal prep and shakes for the next day.
10:30pm – bedtime! Vitamin D and ZMA before bed.
Working for at least 12 hours each day (and often more) doesn’t leave a huge amount of time and energy for other stuff and it can be easy to make excuses about not getting to the gym, out for a run or to a class. Especially when you want to see friends or do other stuff as well. It’s always important to find a balance in life which works for you; it’s no good spending all your time in the gym if you end up resenting it and feel like you’re missing out on other stuff. Equally, if you spend all day in an office it, getting the endorphins pumping by doing exercise is an amazing way to de-stress. So, back to ‘how to make your fitness regime work around your daily life’ – here are some of my top tips for how I achieved this and hopefully they will also help you achieve your goals.
How to make your fitness regime work around your daily life
1. Look at working out as an integral part of your daily routine.
In the same way that brushing your teeth is just a given part of your day, for me making sure I find some time to unwind at the gym is a also key part of my day which I try to make sure is never in question. I think it’s critical to happiness and wellbeing and something that you shouldn’t have to ‘give up’. Just lock it in as non-negotiable and you’ll be surprised how your mindset changes.
2. Build working out into your schedule but leave your weekend free for rest and relaxation.
Avoid burnout by making sure you set aside some regular free time to do whatever you want. I find that during the week I’m really busy with work and then the evenings I tend to get back home late which leaves little time for anything else. So that means it’s important to keep the weekend as a solid block of time when I don’t need to worry about sticking too strictly to a workout plan.
3. Look for ways to save time and create the ‘path of least resistance’ to you achieving your goals.
Let’s be honest, nobody wants to get home at the end of the day and prepare 5 meals to take to work the next day (as most fitness plans would advocate). There’s a time and place for that when you are looking to make very significant progress, but you can always find ways to make it easier on yourself and therefore making it more likely you will stick to your goals. One of my biggest time savers has been buying microwave brown rice which I can cook at work, or tins of tuna which don’t need any prep. Pre-packed chicken slices are also good (but expensive). Sometimes I’ll limit my food prep to just cooking a batch of chicken breasts in the evening at the same time as dinner so that I can bring them to work the next day. Find out more tips on clean eating here.
4. Find some simple and easy meal recipes which you can make repeatedly.
Following on from the last point, food prep is always going to be quicker and easier if you have a few set meals where you know how to make them and know what the macros are (amount of protein, carbs, fat per serving). Always weigh your food (either by looking at the packs of using an electronic scale) and use an app like MyFitnessPal to record them.
5. Get a personal trainer or go to the gym with a friend.
I’ve worked out with a personal trainer and it was definitely one of the most transformational things I’ve done in terms of the results I’ve achieved and the way I look at workouts now (check out why here). I used to think I worked out pretty hard compared to most people I saw in the gym, then I realised I was really just going easy on myself. Working out with someone else, even just a mate, can make a big difference to your motivation and how much you push yourself and I firmly believe it’s that extra 5-10% which gets you the results.
6. Don’t follow ‘fads’ or gimmicks. Stay consistent.
In the same way that people generally get overweight for the same reasons (overeating, too much sugar, too much processed food, too little exercise etc.), people can pretty much lose weight and build muscle using a standard set of techniques as well. There is no magic formula to getting a six-pack, it’s about following a consistent training and diet plan. I often see people bouncing from one highly marketed exercise plan to the next. This is only a recipe for failure – when the ‘transformation’ fails to come quickly, disillusion sets in sees you bouncing to the next magic formula. My advice – save the money, find a good PT or online workout plan (try bodybuilding.com) and then stay the course.
7. Don’t deprive yourself of nights out or ‘cheat meals’
One of the hardest things about making your fitness regime work around your daily life is what to do when it comes to a night out with friends or a big dinner in your favourite restaurant. All that clean eating offset by one night to debauchery! But as I mentioned before, making your fitness plan sustainable and achieving your goals is also about balance and personally I see no reason why we shouldn’t have one (or two) cheat meals a week. Just pick your dates and then don’t go overboard J