The holidays are over and since it’s time to get to work/school, it's also time to get back on the fitness bandwagon.
While the prospect of being in the gym right now might seem a little bit daunting, it’s important to try to get back into a habitual routine so that you avoid having to make all kinds of weird and wonderful excuses (trust us, we’ve heard them all). Especially when you’re in the process of getting back to work or studies, your workout routine can quickly become side-lined by more pressing priorities. It’s a tricky load to manage.
Our mentality is that the sooner you can start integrating fitness back into your day to day life, the less overwhelming it will seem.
This doesn’t mean making time for your fitness is easy. The responsibilities and stresses can pile up and put pressure on you to fall back. The reality is that everyone wants a break once in a while so, to help keep you on track, here are a few things you can consider to make the adjustment period as manageable as possible (even when the rest of your life doesn’t necessarily feel the same) …
Pencil in Practice
The best thing about being on holiday and taking a break from the daily grind is the sense of freedom and self control, where you’re able to manage your own time however you like. This means that going back to your normal scheduled and regimented day is taxing in itself. All the minor tasks, like cleaning the house, cooking meals or getting to the gym, suddenly become time consuming duties. Things you have to do, rather than want to do.
It is important then, when easing back into training, to alter your workout in such a way that it best suits the working you. Whether you work a draining 9 to 5 or need the night-time for some midnight cramming, your fitness can only move with you (pun intended).
A particularly useful way to make sure you incorporate fitness into your working schedule is to write it down. If you make note of it in the same way you would with working tasks, not only are you ensuring a sense of priority, but you’re also explicitly outlining where training would fit into your routine. Whether it’s a kitchen calendar or a back to school diary, make sure to add ‘Workout’ as its own slot. You’ll be less likely to be distracted by other jobs and ticking it off will feel like a reward in itself. A job well done.
A really easy way to allocate time to your workout is by choosing a timetabled class like our HIIT, Yoga, or Aquafit classes. For one, most of the hard work of choosing what to do and when is already decided for you. Beyond that, classes are a great way to keep social if you tend to be isolated at your desk for long periods of time. In this sense, exercise is a great way to get two birds with one stone, ensuring your physical and mental health.
By pencilling in practice not as a chore but as a break from your daily grind, you can better prioritise the sense of enjoyment, relaxation, and release that ultimately gets you working out in the first place and supports more fulfilling sets in the long run.
Master your Motivation
This one sounds simple but can often be pretty tough. Think about it - who cares about the gym when you’re starving and tired from work, who can bother with a bench press when your bed is a perfectly cosy alternative. When the pressures of your workload come tumbling upon you, original motivations are quickly squashed.
It’s time to reassess your motivations. You will likely be in a very different position than when you first started and it’s only fitting that your new routine reflects this. On holiday, you had more energy, more time, and more flexibility as to your workout options, but getting back to work / university reduces all of these and adds additional strains.
The best advice? To remember that your fitness journey is not a sprint but a marathon, and as a result, your motivation must secure consistency rather than intensity.
A great example of this mastering would be as regards weight loss. While many desire to lose weight fast, to shed the pounds and move on with life, they don’t necessarily appreciate that weight loss relies quite heavily on training one's metabolism. The mentality of intensity in this case, can sometimes be ineffective and detrimental to the objective. Instead, it is more practical to contextualise your motivation in terms of regular achievable goals, that will help you stay focused when unexpected situations, like back-to-back meetings, make you want to consider ditching.
Personal Trainers can help navigate this kind of personal assessment so that you’re most effectively achieving your goals. Providing regular monitoring and feedback so that you can make the best use of your time in the gym (and try that new machine without making a fool of yourself).
Embrace the Shorter Set
- “I don’t have enough time”
- “There’s not enough hours in the day”
- “The day is too just short”
We’ve all said it.
For most of us, this is a reliable excuse to skip a workout because everyone’s been there. Whether it’s because you have a lot on your plate at the moment, or because you didn’t manage to get a lot of rest, time is everything. It is so difficult to carve out a chunk of your day specifically for exercise.
However, and this is where the tough love comes in, though scheduling in a sweat sesh can be difficult, it isn't impossible. You cannot be constantly busy all 360 days of the year, so why does it so often feel this way?
The short answer is that many people think they need to set aside at least 2 hours to get in a worthwhile set. But remember what we established previously… A constructive mentality is one that prioritises consistency over intensity, and so, scheduling in a set doesn’t simply require time but strategy.
In 2017, a British study found that those who worked out more regularly for shorter periods of time had overall better results than those who tried to stick out the longer sessions. Importantly, the major variable in this case was the frequency of training, especially since those who committed to longer sessions of an hour and a half (at the lowest) couldn’t commit as regularly as those who maintained sets of around 30 minutes.
So if you’re strained for time or on the clock, it could be time to consider joining a class such as CXWORX (only 30 minutes!) or BodyPump which features the scientifically-backed 'REP Effect', keeping your body burning calories for long after your workout is done.
Get some Shut Eye
Finally, consider whether the explanation behind why you feel like you have no energy, might be simply that you have no energy.
A lacking sleeping schedule can massively hinder your workout performance and your ability to achieve intended results. To quote one of our PTs:
“Sleep drives a hormonal shift that promotes the body's recovery after training or after the strain of your day. If you don’t allow your body time to regenerate muscle tissues, especially those in your brain, you’ll quickly feel the greater strain of over exhaustion. So when a client comes in and tells me they ‘accidentally’ fell asleep, I know what they’re missing out on!
The bottom line is that without seven to nine hours of sleep, and a proper sleep too where you go through multiple REM cycles, you’ll soon be too exhausted to really see the benefits of your training. Regardless of how much hard work you’re actually putting in.”
So if you’re frequently getting late nights and early mornings, you’re setting your body for failure. What energy are you going to have to hit the gym, if you’re not hitting the hay?
What’ve we learned?
Well, first things first, making time for your fitness routine when getting back to work or university is hard, and in order to properly fit it all in, we need to appreciate that it is in fact a challenge. It isn’t simply that you’re being too lazy or not working the grind hard enough no matter what you hear online. Negative approaches that compare your journey with others are only detrimental.
To properly cultivate a workout routine that is suitable for you, you must take the time to mould it into your needs and wants because ultimately, a lasting routine is a rewarding routine, and one worth committing your time to.
And, the one bonus of work / university stress is that Village offers a discounted membership for our lovely corporate / student members - bonus!