Training Changes with Life
A common belief is that training is linear, getting incrementally better with the more time we put in. I go to the gym… I get better… indefinitely. As ideal as that might be, there are many variables (illness, injury, job change, moving, relationship change, aging, etc) that come in the way of our best-laid plans.
Some of these life events we know and plan for. Despite the most awesome plan to take on a new challenge, we don’t necessarily take into account what they will do to our ability to work out, eat healthy, sleep well, and tend to general stress, among many other things we do to maintain health.
So, what to do about it?
Because planned and unplanned challenges in life will arrive!
Tend to the basics; Nutrition, Sleep, & Stress.
Creating base habits in your lifestyle will definitely help you not diverge from your goals too much as well as recover from a setback.
Do you have easy, convenient, whole food meals you enjoy? Do you have restaurants that you feel are healthy for you, trust their food quality, and find delicious? Is a meal prep service (we love My Fit Foods!) during a stressful or busy time something you would consider using?
Creating a list of staple foods that you can prep a lot of, or prep easily will preserve your energy when it is getting directed towards a new challenge in life. If you have a base ready you will be able to spice it up at mealtime with a sauce, dressing, dip, seasoning blend, etc.
What bedtime rituals do you have? Have you cleared enough time in your schedule to get the sleep you usually get? If getting more sleep isn’t possible, how can you get deeper sleep?
Too often we underestimate life changes, only to have our flippant approach come back and cause more problems later. To acknowledge that something is stressful does not make you less of a person. The sooner we accept that something may be challenging the sooner we can adjust and start working with it.
Learning enough about ourselves to learn our capacity to handle changes will help us make a conscious choice of what challenges we want to take on in the future. Or if an unexpected challenge comes up, what other areas of life we can adjust to not just keep piling on more. This may be a hard area for the ego… because of course, we want to be able to handle it all with grace. This might be a time to reflect on our expectations of ourselves as well as challenge where those expectations came from.
If you are taken out of commission due to injury, illness, or life change, a little time away from the gym will not take you down if areas like sleep, nutrition, and stress are given the time they deserve. If you pivot to dedicate energy that you may have used in the gym to be kind to yourself, you will be much more ready to hop back into a gym routine when the time is right. That said, it does not mean just stopping moving. A workout just may look different, ranging anywhere from physical therapy exercises to a restorative walk in the sun, to stretching before bed to calm the mind.
Maybe you want some exercise to help burn off some stress, keeping an eye on the effect of the exercise. Is it restorative or just burning you out more? If you are feeling exhausted after a workout, it is a really good sign of some hormonal imbalances.
Going back to the idea of wanting to be able to take it all on and adjusting expectations of your capacity. Imagine you realize you actually can’t take it all on, do not berate yourself. No one has ever hated or shamed themselves healthy. Be your best ally during hard times, listen to your body, and give it some thoughtful attention.