As a personal trainer I get insight into many human behaviours. Early Wednesday can be spent with a stressed out mid-level manager of an SME who is having a crisis of identity, didn’t sleep, and was late to training.
“Our weeks don’t magically become busy. Patterns are evident whether you work shifts, see clients all day or know that Thursdays are interstate travel day.”Mid-morning, a client who flew in the night before from North America, on 4-5 hours sleep is going through our warm up whilst discussing access to pipe lines with an African politician. They are 100% focused on the session and then click into meeting preparation the minute we finish as they head into the city to sign off billion dollar lease arrangements. Entirely different people living their reality, both intense in different ways, both busy.
ROOT OF THE ISSUEIntensity is self-perpetuating. As the trees disappear into the forest, our ability to focus on the task at hand becomes clouded by our to-do lists. Whether your office hours are from 10am-6pm or from 5am-12am, ‘busy’ is typically a term we throw around when we have lost control of our schedules due to external variables. Our choices become reactionary and as we lose control, we use our downtime to numb rather than recover. As fitness Yoda once said, “Exhausted our good intentions, for healthy living go out the window”. Our weeks don’t magically become busy. Patterns are evident whether you work shifts, see clients all day or know that Thursdays are interstate travel day. We become stressed and busy when we push boundaries, overlooking these predictable patterns and make decisions that compromise our performance in the gym. Over booking weekends as to not allow time for rest and rehabilitation is one of the most common scenarios. Similarly, over committing weeknights, commonly leaves professionals exhausted come the weekend and looking for numbing behaviours such as poor food choices and too much alcohol. These habits compound on themselves. Someone that is struggling looks for reassurance. Whilst someone that is on top of his or her game looks confident and capable. Other people see the former as a mess, the latter as a leader. The mess looks for a drink on a Friday, the leader has goals to hit and gets up early for a run Saturday. They have very different weekends and as the cycle perpetuates itself they are treated differently and grow into different outcomes. These outcomes are set in our day to day behaviour.
RESOLVE THROUGH RESILIENCEIt is always easier said than done, but performance is knowing where you want to get to and optimising your choices to get you there. By sitting down and prioritising what’s important to you at your current stage of life, you can get an enormous amount of clarity on your day-to-day routine choices that you need to make. The first step is identifying what’s important to you and thus what needs to fit into your every week. From there, goals can be set to eliminate your regressive behaviours, leaving time for more movement forward. RELATED: How Your Personal Trainer Could Be Killing Your Fitness Beyonce, like you, only has 24 hours in a day. Drinking, television and social media when combined take up an enormous amount of time. ‘Numbing’ behaviours that distract the mind act as coping mechanisms for the intensity of the day-to-day. As a case study, let’s say you do 3-hours of drinking on a Friday and Saturday, combined with an hour of TV a night and checking Facebook and Instagram for 5-minutes three times a day. This totals 14 hours and 45 minutes per week, equivalent to 22% or your awake time or 2 hours of exercise per day. Having down time, exercise time and food preparation time is about creating space in your head for clarity. Understanding your stage in life, your priorities and the repercussions of your choices are key if space is to make your dreams a reality. In other words, to make time for fitness, balance your schedule against your priorities and stick to your guns. They’ll need your full mental and physical attention to grow.
Jordan Ponder is the founder of Transform Health in Sydney, Australia. TransformHealth has been created to inspire habitual health and improve performance. Contact Jordan to arrange a nutrition, fitness and lifestyle consultation.