Tuesday, August 18, 2015

How to Balance Health and Fitness with Real Life (Part 1)

If you follow me on IG (or Facebook) you may have already seen the photo I posted last night with the caption below:

If you close one eye, and squint the other, I kinda have abs..
I haven't tracked a single macro in a month, the batteries in my food scale have been dead for over a week, and I've only been in the gym a handful of times in the 2 weeks since I got to CO. I've had some beers, more frozen custard and fast food burgers than I care to admit, and some KILLER mac and cheese. I've been on top of mountains, in canyons, and on rivers. I have been living LIFE and enjoying every second. And to me, life > abs. So there's that... Now, back to life :)

I wanted to touch on this a little more today, because lately this has become a topic very near and dear to my heart: balancing health and fitness goals with having a real life.

When I first started working out, I was pretty good at balancing everything - I'd work out a few days a week and eat pretty clean, but I also allowed myself to live my life at the same time.  I started competing, and still kept a fairly healthy balance between the gym and real life - but somewhere around my 3rd or 4th show I lost all concept of balance.  Both pre-contest and 'offseason' I was basically letting my physique run my life - counting every single macro I ate, weighing ALL of my food, killing myself 7 days a week in the gym, and not really allowing myself much freedom from that routine...  Don't get me wrong, I still had some fun here and there and let myself stray a little, but everytime I did I was so overwhelmed with guilt that it was almost crippling.  I truly let my abs (and the rest of my physical appearance) run my life - I can look back now and realize how crazy it was, but at the time it was normal.

Don't get me wrong, if you are actively competing or doing something else that requires your body to be in 'peak' condition a majority of the time I get it, it's important, but please don't make yourself miserable doing it.

I have taken it pretty easy lately - my workouts are no longer 2+ hours, I take days off and don't beat myself up over it, I get outside and do active things like hiking, whitewater rafting, walking the dogs, running (who am I)..  I eat mostly clean, but am far more likely to partake in a burger, ice cream, even a beer (or 3) when the opportunity presents itself.  I stopped counting my macros, quit weighing out all my food, and am finally learning to go with the flow every once in a while.  I am extremely 'Type A' so this can be tough at times, but I am learning to accept that sometimes you just have to run with it.

I am still in the gym 3-5 days a week, and I still lift heavy weights.  I don't ever plan to quit because I truly LOVE working out, but I think I am finally learning to balance the gym with real life, and it's pretty damn cool.

So please, don't beat yourself up if you stray from the plan a little (unless you're one of my clients in which case I WILL FIND YOU lol).. Enjoy your life while you can and stop being so hard on yourself.  Someday you'll look back and can either be proud of your six pack abs or you can look back on all the awesome memories you made outside the gym, because trust me, it's a lot more fun out there :-) 

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