In today's fast-paced world, maintaining a healthy work-life balance is crucial for your overall well-being. Since we spend a significant portion of our waking hours at work, it is essential to prioritize our physical and mental health.
Balancing work and the gym is about more than maintaining physical fitness. It improves mood, reduces stress, increases productivity, and improves overall mental well-being. By carving out time for fitness, you can boost your energy levels, relieve work-related tension, and achieve greater clarity of mind. A harmonious work-life-gym balance can also lead to increased job satisfaction and improved relationships with colleagues, as you'll bring a more positive and focused mindset to the workplace.
Continue reading for tips on how to balance your work, life, and health.
Make Fitness a Priority, But Make it Realistic
Often, getting yourself to the gym can be harder than working out itself. Not everyone has the motivation to slip out of bed at 4 a.m. like The Rock (or the crazy 5 AMers, you know who you are) and others face the challenges of alternative work schedules.
In his article, Balance a Weird Work Schedule and the Gym, Michael Morelli, CPT, and founder of Morellifit says, “Regularly missing workout classes or training sessions due to a crazy schedule can cause discouragement.” Setting achievable goals will help you avoid feeling overwhelmed and ensure a sustainable routine.
Staying in control by recognizing your limits, can help you use small bits of momentum to build and reinforce new habits that move you closer towards your goals. This might look like attending class 2-3 times per week or meeting with a trainer once or twice.
Planning and Prioritizing
Effective planning and prioritization are key to maintaining a work-life-gym balance.
A great way to improve the likelihood of making it to the gym is to assess your work schedule and take note of your peak work hours and any flexibility you may have. Consider your fitness goals and decide on the frequency and duration of gym sessions that best align with your schedule.
Simple tips to help you prioritize your fitness routine:
1. Put it on the Calendar. Just as you schedule important work meetings and appointments, make it a priority to block out dedicated time for you and your gym sessions. Treating gym appointments as non-negotiable commitments to yourself can help you shift your mindset and priorities.
2. Pack a Bag. Make it a habit to pack a gym bag before you go to work. This way you can go straight to the gym without any additional trips that can get you sidetracked.
3. Be Adaptable. Consider how often you can comfortably attend gym sessions without causing over-exertion. This might change seasonally or with work-based projects, especially if you primarily work outdoors. If you are trying to make 5-6 days a week and it’s wrecking you, dial it back and work in 3 days to get in a groove and feel your energy and stamina increase.
4. Pack balanced snacks. You are more likely to attend a gym session after work if you are properly fueled. A lack of nutrients can leave you feeling tired and sluggish after a long day. Eating a snack of protein and carbohydrates one hour to forty-five minutes before a workout can help you re-energize.
If you work in a profession such as nursing, construction, or food service, and your schedule is constantly changing with shifts, use the energizing (and sleep-enhancing) benefits of exercise to your advantage. It can help keep your body feeling more normal.
In How to Balance a Physically Demanding Job and Working Out, the author shares examples of how he improves his energy and maintains a sense of normalcy by establishing a structured routine to make it easier to incorporate the gym into daily life.
With busy work schedules, making the most of your gym time is crucial. At Graham Strength & Conditioning, our coach-led high-intensity and strength-based workouts deliver maximum results in just an hour of your time.
Building our members’ fitness from the ground up is a cornerstone of our mission. At GSC, quality form and athlete safety are always more important than how heavy you can lift or the complexity of movements you can perform. If you’re having a rough day or you’re only running on enough fumes to get you to the gym but not to give your maximum effort, check your ego and meet yourself where you are with your training volume, frequency, and intensity.
Decreasing your training intensity (amount of weight you’re lifting, scale the movement) to a bearable level to complete a good workout is a healthy and safe alternative to risking injury by over-exertion.
Nutrition. Matters. PERIOD.
Eating nutritiously will prime your body to perform well in the gym, but also keep you from getting set back if you need to miss a workout. You'll find yourself in a better state of mind, too. It’s even more important to eat well on those rough days when you might not be making it to the gym.
If you’re feeling fatigued or like you’re draining yourself, you might not be eating enough. An excellent way to check on that in more depth is to set up a nutrition appointment with one of the nutrition coaches at GSC!
Be Flexible and Willing to Adapt
Maintaining a work-life-gym balance requires flexibility and adaptability. You have to be just as flexible with your goals as you are disciplined.
There may be days when work demands are higher than usual, making it challenging to stick to your gym routine. In those situations, it's important to be kind to yourself and be okay with changing what class time you go to for that day. Every little effort counts towards achieving a healthy work-life-gym balance.
Remember, a healthy work-life-gym balance is the key to a happier, healthier you. The coaches at Graham Strength & Conditioning are well-equipped to help you succeed no matter the circumstances in your busy life. If you are struggling to manage your time or balance a busy work schedule, discuss options with a coach today!