The Most Important Factor To Balance Work/School And Gym
June 22nd 2019
Everyone is busy. Everyone has obligations and things to do. But what really separates the people that want to get results versus the people who just think about results are in this one deciding factor. Nothing I can say or do will ever change this one pivotal element that solely decides whether or not you can achieve a balance among work, school, and gym. Or is there? Let us go over multiple strategies that can help you achieve an optimal workout schedule that can only help you improve your quality of life. We won’t discuss silly strategies like bringing your workout clothes in your bag (common sense), wearing your workout clothes when you sleep or working out during lunchtime. We will go through a blueprint that will ensure success and will help you make clear and rational decisions on whether or not you are the type of person who can balance workout time and work time.
The how-tos - balancing gym and work
People can balance gym and work by following this three-step blueprint that will eliminate doubt, stress, and anxiety from deciding how to utilize their time:
- Figure out what is a higher priority
- Create a plan
- Find a gym
1. Figure out what is a higher priority
Look, everyone will not have the same goals and that is okay. But you are doing yourself a huge disservice if you are working out for the wrong reasons. Making coin is stressful. Going to the gym is stressful. You need to brainstorm what is most important in your life. Do you want to continue working at your job, giving in 10+ hours every time you clock in? Be honest.
Or do you picture your life in the gym, pumping iron and getting more swole? Again, you need to be brutally honest. You may have read that strength training is the best thing on Earth since sliced bread. But if you absolutely dread going to the gym after giving it years worth of effort, there is no shame in that. There are plenty of other exercises that supplement any lifestyle. For instance, you can go do aerobic exercises, like running, swimming, climbing or cycling.
Can I have both?
Another question you may have is that you want to do both things, will there be a compromise? In reality, the answer is yes even if we say there is no huge overlap. Why?
To be great at something, you will need to put in 100% of your concentrated effort into any endeavor. Anything less than 100% will always put a small cloud of doubt in your mind and the what-ifs will start to come. This is one reason why you see athletes excel in only ONE sport or why certain businessmen are killing in one industry.
It is difficult to be good at anything. So, having 4-5 things you want to do will spread you thin. Even 2-3 things will be extremely difficult to manage if you want to have “free time” or downtime after long days.
To get back on topic, you can try to be the best at work and at the gym. But the chances of that happening are slim. I am just letting you know the truth. Let us do an objective analysis, how many CEOs do you see are also placing top 3 in certain fitness competitions or have an amazing physique you dreamed of?
We can also do the reverse thought experiment, how many world-class athletes do you see that is also killing it in the business world?
To both questions, you can probably count the number of people on one hand. But does that mean you should give up and just not try at all? If life gives you sour lemons, will you make lemonade? No, you will try to find something else to sell your sour lemon to.
And the same point applies here - wherever your focus and passion lies, you just need to go with it. For your mental health and sanity, you need to go and do the thing that draws you in the most. Nothing I can say will ever deter you from your mission.
2. Create a plan
If you have identified that going to the gym is something you desire, let us go through the next steps into making sure you can balance gym time and work. You need to create a plan now. The longer your plan is, the more likely it is that it will become into a habit and you can begin to integrate working out into your lifestyle. I would suggest that you have a plan to work out for a minimum of 6 months. A yearly plan/goal would be most ideal.
This way, you are able to set milestones and small achievements that you can check off a list in order to continue encouraging yourself.
How often should you go?
Is an hour at the gym enough? How often should I go to the gym? You have probably read online or known some people who claim to go to the gym 6 times a week or even every day. For most people, “working out” means that they also include some cardio into their exercise program.
In the world of strength training, unless you are a paid athlete, this is not the most optimal plan. You cannot get the same recovery or treatment methods that professional athletes get, which makes their exercise routine not great for you.
Typical beginner strength training routines are 3-4x per week. Greyskull LP and Starting Strength, two programs I have run in my first two years of strength training. I have also them both, here and here, respectively.
Will it be difficult to strength train?
When you begin any new habit, it will be difficult. I believe the key for any successful adventure is to look past an immediate gratification. You must trust that the path you are on is going to deliver small gifts along the way that will only enhance and enrich your life, beyond your imagination.
For instance, if you have never stepped foot in a gym for 40 years, it will be intimidating. But you must also put things into perspective, everyone in your gym, at one point in time, also began their strength training journey as well. Everyone was once a beginner and everyone had to figure out what they wanted to do.
3. Finding a gym
Once you locked down your routine, you will need to find a gym. It is 100% recommended to have a tour of the facility before you sign up for any gym membership. Gyms should provide you with free trials or guest passes in order for you to check out their equipment. Your gym should have, at minimum, a power rack with enough plates. Dumbbells, bench presses, and other isolation machines are just added benefits.
Traveling to your gym
This is a less ideal situation but if you have already committed to bullet points 1 and 2, you know that it must be done. If traveling is really eating away at your time, you know something in your life needs to change.
Changing jobs, changing your hours, moving gyms, etc. are some alternatives that people think about when traveling becomes an issue. You can be really creative with how you solve this issue.
Honorable mentions - procrastination
This must be a young generation thing - never have I seen so many young kids being distracted by an electronic gadget. But if you find yourself wasting 2-3 hours binge-watching Netflix or Youtube, and you wonder why you have no time to go to the gym, something is seriously wrong with that picture.
How to beat procrastination - Prevent it from happening
As humans, we are very predictable (for the most part). We hate to do things outside of our comfort zone and as a result, we have developed routines that are on auto-pilot. Observe your past week - if you find that you start procrastinating once you go home, you need to recognize that it is happening and make an appropriate decision to combat that unwanted action.
So, for our specific example, one way to beat procrastination is by going to the gym before you go home. That way, you beat your habit before it can even form.
How to beat procrastination - Being proactive about patterns
Still using the example above, another way to crush procrastination is when you go home, repeatedly recognize that you want to procrastinate but you will go to the gym in order to better your health, you are taking a proactive step in your life to change the outcomes of a very predictable habit.
This is a conscious effort to break old habits, which may seem difficult at first. You may feel stressed and depressed even. These are common mechanisms to stop our body from doing things that are uncomfortable. However, to change our lives for the better, we know that the present changes we try to implement will reward us with heaps of gold years down the line.
It is easy to balance gym and work IF you know what you want. It is a known fact that you cannot have everything in the world. So, you pick and choose parts of life that you want to enhance and you let the chips fall where they want to for the other parts.
If you truly value working out and changing your physique, you will instinctively know the next questions or ask or figure out a solution to make sure your health is a priority. There will be no more gray area or weak questions asked about how you can achieve a “balance” between work and gym.