This seems simple, but unfortunately that’s not always the case.
Exercise should enhance your life, not control your life.
There’s a growing (awesome) trend in the fitness industry: finding balance when it comes to exercise and nutrition.
Both exercise and your diet should truly enhance your life (that’s right, make it better). Exercise should not control your life and should not make you miserable.
Obviously, many people exercise because they want to lose fat or they want to look better. Sure, exercise helps, but there’s so much more to it than just improving your body composition.
Exercise should enhance your mind, body and soul.
How you know your exercise and nutrition are in balance and are enhancing your life:
- You look forward to training.
- You look forward to rest days.
- You have energy.
- You’re getting quality sleep (at least 7-8 hours most nights).
- You feel good about yourself and you have some realistic, yet challenging, goals.
Exercise doesn’t have to suck. In fact, it shouldn’t. Your workouts don’t have to take up so much time that you don’t have a social life. Your workouts should feel like a privilege, not a chore.
Here are a few ways you know your “balance” needs a little work:
- You get anxious when you take a rest day.
- You’re eating food you don’t enjoy.
- You’re saying no to social events because you’re afraid you’ll be eat something off-plan.
- You don’t feel good and your energy level sucks.
Finding the right balance may mean you have to make a few adjustments to your current training and/or nutrition plans.
I’ve mentioned a slight case of the winter blahs lately. I’m learning that this happens for me every time around this year. I train pretty hard all summer and stay ridiculously active. Guess what? I love it. I love summer, I love the sunshine, I love lifting heavy and I love movement!
What I was doing for training towards the end of summer and into fall felt good. I enjoyed my strength training sessions and I was walking (and loving it) all the time. However, after my summer high, I started feeling a little burnt out. I’m learning that at this time of the year I need to adjust my training to my lifestyle. I wasn’t excited about long strength training sessions at the gym or long walks outside anymore. I found myself needing a lot more of a pep talk before each workout. Exercise didn’t really feel like it was enhancing my life for a bit there.
Instead of forcing what just didn’t feel right this year, I scaled things back a bit. It’s temporary, but it’s what works right now.
I’ve shortened up my workouts. I’ve been doing 30-40 minute workouts about 5 days each week instead of my normal 3 lengthier ones. I’m getting outside for walks when it’s nice enough. They’re not 4 or 5 miles like they were, but it’s good to get some fresh air and get out there for a mile or two.
These changes are keeping me moving, keeping my training mojo up and giving me a break from what had started feeling like a chore. I’m sure I’ll change back to my norm in awhile, but this is what’s working for me right now during the busy start to the holiday season. I’m excited for these workouts because they are different than what I was doing before. They give me energy to get everything else in my life accomplished right now. Yup, I call that a win.
Here’s an example of a workout I did the other day. It was quick and effective! I did 10 rounds. Every round I did one less squat, but everything else stayed the same. I used a 20K kettlebell for the squats and swings. Obviously, this workout can be adjusted based on your strength level and what equipment you have available.
Your exercise and nutrition plans should be dynamic. Your life is dynamic and your training and nutrition will likely have to change over time to meet your needs. In fact, the right amount (and the right type) of exercise will make you better at everything else in your life. Not only does it make you healthier, but it helps control your stress level, helps you sleep, gets you “in the mood” and helps you balance work and family!
Do you feel like your exercise and nutrition habits are helping you create balance in your life or do you feel like they completely controls your life?