Maintaining or gaining balance across your training, nutrition and lifestyle can sometimes seem like an impossible task but understanding what works for you can help you go a long way in building balance.
The first thing to understand is that balance looks different for everyone – what works for you might not work for your training partner or people in your social circle – so keep this in mind when figuring out what best suits your lifestyle.
What does balance look like for you?
We know that, whether you’re training frequently or just building your regime, missteps can feel like they’ll throw you completely off course.
Part of the reason that this happens is because people try to commit to too much at once or chase lifestyles that don’t suit them (no, you don’t have to follow Mark Wahlberg’s routine to be successful).
Understanding your lifestyle and how to create balance within it, is an important first step. For instance, if you work 40 hours a week for a hybrid office job, the few days a week that you’re working from home could be designated training days.
Allocating these days as training days could mean you can join a local gym, which may be a shorter trip than going from the office to the gym.
Secondly, if you’re looking to eat healthier, you could start meat-free Mondays.
Now, we’ve already got two training days per week, enough rest days and a refresh of your diet. It’s not a complete life overhaul but instead, small changes to only three days a week.
Forming incremental habits
Incremental habits aren’t always easy to build. It can be tempting to start a week and want to completely overhaul your life but change on such a level isn’t sustainable (or balanced).
Small habits, consistently, will get you further over time but, where do you begin?
We recommend starting here and adapting for your lifestyle:
- Create your own routine: you don’t have to get up at 5 am and hit the gym before breakfast. You might find it easier – and more beneficial – to block out your calendar and train for an hour at 3pm. Understand what works best for you.
- Choose one thing to focus on: Whether you want to eat better or train more, the best way to create an incremental habit is to introduce one change at a time and
- Keep it up for 28 days: it only takes 28 days to build a habit, so short to mid-term consistency is important.
Here are some of the daily habits that our founders use to help create balance:
Izzy’s 3 daily habits
- 30 mins of non-negotiable walking per day
I make sure that everyday I manage to get in at least 30 minutes of walking. I find this particularly important when working from home as sometimes the day runs away from you and you realise you haven’t had the chance to move yet! Even better if I manage to get out in the natural light too!
- The two-day rule
Ok so I definitely didn’t come up with this rule but I find it very helpful. Never take off more than one day at a time of a productive habit. Of course, we all have off days or days when we can’t get to it, but I just try to make sure it is never more than one in a row!
- Just start the workout
Sometimes I feel like working out and sometimes I don’t! I always start by reminding myself that I have never regretted completing a workout and how good I feel afterwards. If I still don’t feel like it, I tell myself I will complete the first 5 minutes of the workout and if I don’t want to continue, I can stop. I have never ended up stopping but it helps get over that initial motivation hurdle!
Tony’s 3 daily habits
- Get your kit out
If I’m planning a workout the next morning, either at the gym or at home, I make a point of getting my workout clothes and kit out the night before. That way, I have one less excuse to make in the morning when it’s cold and I’m struggling for motivation.
- Front load as much movement in your day as you can
When I’m anticipating a particularly busy day of meetings, I’ll make sure I’m up and out moving in the morning, sometimes just a short brisk walk does the trick. If I can’t find the time to workout later on in the day, at least I have made an effort to fit some activity into my schedule.
- Rest days can still be productive
When I’m feeling in the zone with my fitness, I am often reluctant to take rest days, even though I know my body needs it. When I do listen to my body though and take a day off, I make sure I am still doing something productive to keep the momentum going. I might do 10 minutes of mobility or accessory work that I would normally neglect on my training days, like calf strengthening that I know will benefit my running and help to prevent injuries.
Maintaining the balance
Once you know what your balanced lifestyle looks like, the next step is to maintain that balance. The idea of balance is that it can change – it doesn’t have to be strictly adhered to (go on, have that slice of cake) – and this is what can go into making it more sustainable and giving it longevity.
So, how do you maintain balance?
Now that you have your 28 day habits locked in and you better understand your routine, the trick is consistency (seriously, that’s it).
Trust in the process and know that if you wobble on one or two days of the week, all is not lost. Even Dwayne Johnson has cheat days. Pick it up again another day that week or look to start fresh the week following.
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