Geez didn’t everything get really busy again in what almost felt like overnight!
Back to the office, back to after school sport, back to the gym, back to the pubs and restaurants, back to everything and what strangely seems like that, plus a whole lot more than ever before.
It’s great! It is much nicer to feel useful and purposeful after a year of loss and uncertainty. But boy it is a bit overwhelming. I am not sure if it is that we are all doing more than ever before, or that we got so used to essentialising our lives last year that we are finding it hard to manage all this business now that it is back to ‘normal’. It might be a bit of both.
One of the major lessons many of us picked up on last year was that we were doing too much, always busy, always running around, never present. We spent more of our time enjoying walks in nature, bike riding with the kids, or just sitting down and relaxing. So much so that I am sure many of you, like me, don’t want to give those things up. They were the best parts of 2020.
Currently I am finding myself trying to fit in these ‘moments’ while also trying to reintroduce all the busy tasks and responsibilities that regular non-COVID life demands of me. It is hard. I am not always nailing it, far from it. But I am improving. Here’s how…
One of the biggest lessons I think we have quickly forgotten is that we can’t do everything. We only have so much bandwidth, so much ‘stuff’ we can fit into our bubble. As much as we want to do it all and want it now and want the results from all these things we do to come to fruition quickly, it just cannot happen. We must sacrifice things. This doesn’t necessarily mean we have to cut things out completely, we might just need to cut back on some things to allow more space for others.
Often when we find ourselves under the pump we begin to struggle to get to the gym as often as we’d like. We want 5 sessions in the week, we get 2. After 2 weeks in a row of this we often throw in the towel and decide to stop completely, because what’s the point of only going 2 times, right? Right?
Well… no. There is absolutely nothing wrong with only going to the gym twice a week. Twice a week is better than nonce a week. But for some reason many of us use this as a reason to bail. We base our decision to stop off false assumptions, hearsay and fakts from Insta heroes that make you feel bad for not dedicating as much of your life to the gym as they do. We use this as an excuse to cut something out in order to handle our busy lives. We are made to believe that if you’re not going hard all the time, if you’re not grindin’ 24/7, then you are wasting your time.
Many of us are parents, are uni students, have jobs that require us to travel all the way across the Monash carpark, and have a range of interests that include but are not limited to the gym. Most of us don’t have any desire to make it to the CrossFit Games or sell our body to supplement companies via Instagram. Most of us just want to be fit and healthy. And if that is the case, then no, you don’t have to train every day.
If we are a bit flat out, our life doesn’t have to go to shit because we can only work out 1-2 times a week for a while. In fact, you can absolutely only go to the gym twice a week if you want to and still get fit, still get lean and still be incredibly healthy. We have a couple other variables we can manage and are far more easy to manage during periods of business. I have spoken of these in the past. They are our NEAT and our daily dietary intake.
Our NEAT is our daily movement. The low impact stuff. The easy stuff that doesn’t wear us out. Move more, walk more. Our NEAT contributes significantly more to our daily energy expenditure than our gym workout and doesn’t hurt the lungs and muscles like a workout does (but we love that too though ayeee).
Our daily dietary intake is how much energy we consume in a day. If we eat less, we have less to burn, if we eat more, more to burn. Simples.
So if we can’t get to the gym but we still want to work towards our health and fitness goals, we just need to slightly increase our NEAT and slightly decrease our food intake. Nothing drastic, there is no rush and nor should there be. As we know with training, high intensity exercise cannot be sustained for long periods of time. Well neither can an intensely low calorie intake, so don’t even bother trying it.
But that is it! If you aren’t likely to burn as much energy on a day, don’t eat as much. Open up the gap between energy consumed and energy burned by moving more. Go for a walk during lunch. Get up from your desk more frequently. Make everyone a coffee in the office. And go for a quick bike ride with your kids when you get home before retiring to the couch and your screens. Don’t feel guilty for only going to the gym twice. It’s fine. When you do get in, make the absolute most of your sessions. Work hard, enjoy the atmosphere, worry less and just get amongst the magic that happens in the class. Repeat that week after week and you’ll find yourself achieving all the fitness and health you were originally after.
Lastly, we all spend time on more wasteful activities. Most notable today would be Insta/TikTok scrolling. As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, we need to make sacrifices if we wish to achieve the lifestyle we desire. If we want more time with the kids and more time in the gym and a better relationship with our partner and to avoid chronic diseases, sacrifice the wasteful shit first, not the shit that actually makes us happy and healthy.
‘Busy’ is not a valid excuse for your lack of desire to care for your own health, fitness and happiness.
‘Unwilling to make it work for your current situation’ is a more appropriate description.