In a "no days off" culture, how do we find balance in our fitness grind?
I think a lot of us fall in to one of two categories: there's those who's ambition far outweighs their time and capacity, and then the crowd that has no ambition or obligation. Then there's the rest of us: the half-and-halfers that have drive but also love naps. No matter where you fall on the hustle scale, theres's one thing we all have in common: guilt
That awful nagging feeling of "I'm not doing enough." I think as a certified trainer a lot of people assume that I am one of those trainers that works out twice every day and eats only clean foods on a fasted schedule. I'd like to think I've found my balance, and it works well for me, and doesn't require me to give up on the things I love. I had to think a lot about the types of sacrifices I'd be willing to make for the goals I aspire to. I've been on both sides of this scale, and here's what I've learned:
There's space for both.
There was a time in my life (before having kids or a husband) where I was in the gym daily for hours on end, and only eating my super healthy meal preps. I got shredded and was so strong, but there was a downside. No matter how good I looked, how strong I got, I was not happy. I was feeling guilty if I strayed even a tiny bit from my meal plan, I was so hard on myself if I took a rest day, or modified movements due to injury or soreness. On the outside I looked lean and strong, but on the inside I was practically torturing myself, and for what? I only worked that hard to "look good" and I eventually decided that it wasn't a good enough reason to be pushing myself into exhaustion.
Fast forward to my first pregnancy: I was hardly able to work out because I had severe back and hip pain that kept me from moving much. After having my daughter I suffered from diastasis recti and I was struggling to adjust to motherhood. It took me a long time to heal enough to feel "safe" to start working out again. (This journey is also what brought me to becoming a certified trainer, but thats a story for another day!) I went from dancing professionally and going to the gym constantly to basically sedentary and dealing with the mental toll of adjusting to a newly postpartum body. I felt all sorts of guilt because not only did I feel fat and flabby and ugly and couldn't bring myself to workout (due to my DR and pure exhaustion) but I also felt so guilty for leaving my daughter to have time for myself. So I just didn't really work out. I hated the way I felt, and I decided to buck up and heal my diastasis recti and get back to some semblance of myself again.
5 years after that, january of 2022, I am happy to say I found my middle ground. I could go on in depth about my story, but I'll spare the details and give you the good stuff. My hustle-to-restmode ratio is perfectly in balance. Here's what I've learned:
You have to start with your goals (be specific!) Then decide whether or not you will realistically take the necessary steps to get there. If not, adjust the goal
If your goals are bigger than your circumstance allows, then you'll need to commit to making a few sacrifices. Be prepared.
Once you've decided your trajectory, commit to the plan and stick to it. Learn to create boundaries with yourself and with others for the sake of the goal. For example: a mother scheduling time for herself to work out. Sacrifice being either money for a sitter, or choosing to exercise knowing there may be interruptions from kiddos. She may have to sacrifice a few extra minutes in the morning before the kids wake so she can have solitude.
Choose your "non-negotiables" that you allow yourself to keep when eliminating undesirable habits. Whether its daily naps or a morning mocha or eating after 8pm, you choose what you can't live without and allow yourself some wiggle room
Your best effort may look like somebody else's worst. And your worst effort may be another's best. Everyone's journey and "hustle threshold" is different.
Remind yourself that you will have to adjust your grind. Some seasons you'll feel really on-point and others you may not have the energy or resources to get it done
KEEP. PROMISES. TO. YOURSELF. You'll mess up. You'll fall up, but promise you will keep trying. Whether it takes a month or ten years, you will get there if you keep working at it
You got this. Finding balance takes time!
P.S: Download your free copy of my Nutrition Guide when you join the Chloe Puff Training mail list!
BONUS: For goal setting tips listen to this episode of my podcast Muscles Motherhood & Motivation below! or go directly to https://musclesmotherhoodmotivation.buzzsprout.com/