Ahh…the question I get all the time AND the question I’m constantly asking. Unfortunately folks, there is no correct answer to how exactly I or others consistently succeed in balancing work with exercise. For me, this is an area I’ve found to be the largest challenge so far since I’ve graduated college and become a “NARP” (Non-Athletic Real Person). For those of you who are still feeling the struggles of becoming a full on NARP, I feel ya!! It’s quite a challenge going from having a structured practice time in place, with dedications and commitments to the sport, to having a full days of work and no one jumping down your throat to get a workout in. Either way, for those who are ex-college athletes or for those who are just athletic, yet have trouble finding the time to fit in workouts post-college, then I’m here to offer my own advice and assistance!
I wish I could say I had this work-life balance down pact, but unfortunately I’m no master at this. Each day is a struggle and each day, I find myself fighting the urge to sleep in or attend a happy hour after work instead of getting the workout in. There are a FEW tricks I try day-by-day to overcome these “speed bumps” that I’m willing to share with you for a SMALL fee.
Just kidding, all my advice is free! My only ask of you is to not judge me on these as some may sound slightly insane. But, hey, I’m okay with that. You got to do what you got to do, right?!
Below are a few mechanisms I use to get me back on track in a time when food, drinks, and One Tree Hill (my latest Netflix binge obsession) is calling my name!
– Personalize iPhone alarm label. When you set your alarm on the iPhone, there is an area you can edit and input a small personal message. Usually my messages to myself vary depending on events that may be coming up or just inspiration to myself! A few examples of messages I’ve used have been:
-Current Message: “Get in shape for EDC.”
-Previous Messages: “__ Days until Spring Break!”
-“Get that beach bootay!” (like I said, no shame in these messages)
-“It’s a new day”
-“WAKE UP. WORKOUT. NOW” (sometimes, you just got to be blunt)
-And sometimes, you just need to break out the bitch mode: “RUN, bitch. NOW.” (excuse the profanity, please)
– Lay out your workout clothes the night before…or better yet, WEAR those workout clothes to bed. This way, you have no excuse to not wake up and get that workout in for the morning.
– Don’t shower before you go to bed. This way, when you wake up, you may as well workout before getting a shower in for work. Unless of course you don’t shower…that’s fine too.
– For my running friends out there who may just be into running for fun, training for a 5k, half marathon, or a marathon…put a plan together. Recently, I created an excel worksheet using the McMillan Running Calculator and laid out my running/workout plan for all the weeks leading up to my next half marathon race on July 27th.
– Once you’ve created this workout plan, the important part is holding yourself accountable. In the past, I’ve used sources like running2win.com. Currently, I’ve added another column in my excel sheet where I fill out the actual amount of mileage I do on that given day. I also have printed out my overview week-by-week plan and hung it up at my desk, which I’ve found to help as well!
– If you can, plan on biking to and from work! Now I realize this is not always possible and it actually works out in my situation, but any extra movement you can get throughout the day pays off!
– If you can’t bike, take a local commuter rail to work. Why? If you are in walking distance to the train, this again, adds extra exercise to your daily routine!
– Use the stairs throughout the day!
– Get up and walk A LOT at work (I drink A LOT of water throughout the day so I’m constantly getting up)
– Create a standing work station at your desk or sit on a stability ball like I’ve been doing!
– Find a workout buddy! I have running “appointments” with a few co-workers automatically saved in my calendar.
– Attend a workout class with a friend!
– Come prepared with a healthy lunch and snacks for the day. Trust me, if you eat better, you’ll more likely be ready and motivated to workout.
– GET ENOUGH SLEEP!! You need energy to work out and to be healthy!
– Sometimes, you just need a little coffee in the AM to get you going and motivated
– Allocate a “day off” once a week, that way you can look forward to some resting each week, which in turn will keep you on track for the rest of the week days.
– If you missed your morning workout, bring your workout clothes to work that way it taunts you until you get your workout in!
– With that, try using your lunch break to get a workout in…throw in some dry shampoo and you’re good as new!
-Find out if your company offers workout classes either for free or at a discount. You’d be surprised what may be offered that you didn’t even know about!
Now, I know I just listed quite a number of ways I practice a balance with work, fitness, and all the other good stuff, but that’s what works for me! Most of the time, I try and get my workout in early before work so I can go on with my day and not stress about when I’m going to run. But, sometimes it works out that I just want to sleep in! So, on those days, I try to make sure I get my run in during my lunch break, or I hit the roads right after work when the sun’s still shining. And, of course, some days, I just ditch the run. I hate these days, but my thoughts on this is that it’s really my body and mind telling me I need a rest day. So, I quickly give-in and know that tomorrow is a new day!